Today, the division's IT team spends more time programming and less time troubleshooting printer problems, and the state has reduced its overall printing costs considerably.
The division replaced its entire fleet of direct-to-card printers with Zebra®'s ZXP Series 8 retransfer card printers and laminators, giving them high-quality, on-demand cards. Alaska has the lamination and security features it requires along with much-needed high reliability and print quality.
Alaska rolled out the ZXP Series 8 to 31 locations statewide, from Barrow to Dutch Harbor, and did so remarkably fast. With the division's prior printers, deploying statewide units required more than a year. This time, it took just two weeks.
Contributing to the easier deployment, staff at each of the locations could get printers up and running on their own, largely without IT support. Zebra provided training videos and very clear written instructions. The accompanying software further simplifies use.
"The driver is so easy that a non-technical person can use it," O'Quinn said.
Instantly, the ZXP Series 8 exceeded previous printers at the division for reliability, print quality, speed and consistency. Before, the division could print approximately 5,000 cards on a direct-to- card printer before the unit's end of life. With the ZXP Series 8, offices run tens of thousands of cards.
Because the models hold up under heavy printing longer, the division no longer taxes its IT team with constant repairs or needs to replace printers on a regular basis.
The ZXP Series 8's picture-perfect image quality means that color stays consistent across all printers. Before, color varied between printers.
"We had to adjust color on prior models to attempt to get something consistent," Oates said. "Cards printed on the ZXP Series 8 look tremendous. Retransfer print technology is very impressive. Now you print from any office and all drivers' licenses look the same."
On the busiest days of the year, the main office in Anchorage can print as many as 1,000 cards. As the office takes on mail-in renewals, its volume will increase significantly. With the speed of the ZXP Series 8, the high-volume office is well-positioned to handle that volume with a 24- second turnaround on continuous printing and laminating.
"We used to take three printers at our main office to service customers. Even then, our customers would have a significant wait time if one of the printers went down. Now, our staff can't take pictures fast enough to outpace the one ZXP printer we now use.," Oates said.
Additionally, spare printer requirements were reduced by a third due to increased performance.