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As shoppers turn to online ordering, Chrome OS and PaperCut have enabled Australia’s BIG W stores to uplevel printing

Editor’s note:Today’s post is by Steven Kernahan, Portfolio/Solution Owner for Australia’s Woolworths Group and its 176 BIG W department stores across Australia. In collaboration with Woolworths Group IT, BIG W X improved in-store processes for printing delivery and online pickup, using Chrome OS and PaperCut software.

When BIG W’s customers embraced online pickup and delivery at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, our store printers went into overtime. For every package that had to be picked up or shipped from our stores, we needed to print out a label. To keep pace with the demand for pickups and deliveries, printers had to run without a hitch, including printing out the standard tickets for in-store pricing. Now that we have Chrome OS devices and PaperCut software, our printers keep humming even at our peak when the number of print jobs reach over half a million per week.

Saving time by reducing clicks and keystrokes

In 2016, we made changes to printing storewide to keep pace with our growth. Now that most of the apps our team use day to day are web-based, we replaced PCs with more than 3,000 enrolled Acer Chromebooks that store workers use to manage printing. In 2018, our BIG W X Team figured out that employees spent too much time and extra keystrokes to print each label. They used to have to walk back and forth between two printers: one that printed out mailing labels, and one that printed out other packaging labels. 

Then, once we chose the PaperCut Mobility Print solution for our multifunction printer devices, we were able to simplify all in-store printing significantly, customizing the solution’s internal APIs to make the printing process even easier and more robust. With in-house One Click Print functionality enabled by our move to Google, we were able to save some clicks per print job and streamline the user process. In fact, we’re working on adding PaperCut Mobility Print to many more of our in-house software solutions.

Right away, the BIG W X Team reduced the number of clicks it took to create a label, saving about 30 seconds per print job. That time adds up: We were able to dramatically speed up the process for packing and labeling pickups and deliveries, which has helped us get products in customers hands much faster. Combining Chromebases and PaperCut with our internal platforms helped us quickly develop a solution with greater reliance and stability for printing, and increased efficiency for our team. 

Reducing printer issues to just about nothing is a tremendous benefit that has a knock-on effect on everything from budgets to customer happiness. On top of the significant dollars saved with improving the team’s process, we’ve eliminated several thousand points of failure, like power cables and network dependencies. And the simplified printing architecture means we can diagnose issues faster, should they crop up.

Once we started using PaperCut Mobility Print and Chrome OS for BIG W’s online operations in January 2021, we tracked a 95% reduction in operational incidents for printing. Steven Kernahan
Portfolio/Solution Owner, Woolworths Group

Printing is faster and easier with the right infrastructure

Once we started using PaperCut Mobility Print and Chrome OS for BIG W’s online operations in January 2021, we tracked a 95% reduction in operational incidents for printing, including all the process efficiencies introduced in 2018, such as one-click print.

In fact—and we think this is amazing—we haven’t seen a single printing product or solution failure across 176 stores using PaperCut and Chrome OS since January. Our store support team tells me that printing issues in stores are virtually nonexistent and the switch to PaperCut was completely transparent to employees. Everything worked without a hitch.

Of course, the result of our trouble-free printing process is that we can get in-store pricing updated and purchases into the mail or outside for curbside pickup much faster. BIG W customers might not know what’s going on with label printing behind the scenes, but we know they’re happy when their orders show up quickly.

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