As the thermal and line printing market experiences turmoil in the wake of TallyGenicom's filing for Chapter 11 in the US and running under adminstration in the UK, South African printer distributor Printacom is finding new opportunities for growth.
The company has forged a new relationship with heavy duty printing solutions manufacturer Printronix to establish a dedicated printing division focused on OKI line printers and RFID (radio frequency identification) barcode and label printers. The new division is headed up by Libby Ballardin.
The two companies have an established association based on Printronix supplying the OKI MX series of line printers, which the US vendor manufactures on an OEM basis.
The extension of the deal sees Printacom adding the Printronix range of RFID barcode and label printers to Printacom's existing product offering.
"We see a lot of potential in offering this kind of dedicated solution to a market that is moving towards an integrated logistics supply chain environment," says Neil Rom, MD of Printacom.
RFID barcode printers not only print product and shipping barcodes on to labels, but simultaneously encode the microchip contained within the label for radio frequency tagging and tracking.
In an integrated logistics supply chain, goods can be tracked from the factory floor right through to the retail till point without the need to physically read the actual barcode.
"Thermal and barcode printing is growing and with RFID maturing in the background as a technology evolving in the not too distant future, the relationship with Printacom will largely increase market coverage and therefore market share in a win-win scenario," says Holger Steer, Printronix area sales manager: Central Europe and South Africa.
He adds that the strength of Printacom's distribution system was a big attraction in targeting the southern Africa market.
"The structure of the Printacom distribution network with a strong reseller base fits perfectly into the worldwide Printronix strategy," he says. "Printacom is active well beyond the borders of South Africa, giving Printronix the scope for future growth."
Rom says the Printronix RFID printers can operate as a standard barcode unit, with the RFID functionality available as a subsequent add-on.
While Printacom will be directly managing sales, service and warranties will be handled by approved warrantee centres who will also deal directly with Printronix on relevant service issues.