Since the pandemic began, value-added resellers (VARs) and technology providers (ISVs, ISOs) in the point-of-sale space have been going through one of the most rewarding and challenging macro environments of their lives. Costs and demand are up, supply is down, and uncertainty seems to be the only constant. Sometimes, we can get too caught up in the details and forget the larger picture.
At Star Micronics, our executive team is always listening. We want to understand the challenges our channel partners face so we can do whatever is in our power to alleviate them. Star is working relentlessly behind the scenes throughout these hardships to help our dedicated channel partners achieve their goals. We believe when we work together, there is nothing we can’t overcome.
Recently, I sat with Mike Hanson, Executive Vice President of Star Micronics America, to get his take on how the industry horizon looks from here.
What areas is Star Micronics investing in to help channel partners succeed?
Star Micronics has been investing in several areas to help channel partners succeed. Following our “Always Leading, Always Innovating” decree, this includes diversifying and expanding our product offerings and bolstering our supply chain operations and sourcing.
To start, we recently launched the new TSP143IV printer. It features Android Open Accessory (AOA) to allow power and communication on a single wired connection for Android, which is highly used in the industry now. Having AOA now complements our wired SteadyLAN power and communication technology for iOS devices. We also re-engineered the design of our mPOP from wireless Bluetooth MFI to wired USB-C MFI, getting more out to market sooner.
As for our supply chain operations and sourcing, Star has experienced unprecedented demand for our products thanks to our partners’ success. Globally, Star has been strategic by transitioning and diversifying our production lines to incorporate additional regions aside from our traditional team, allowing us to expand manufacturing capacity aggressively. Star has vigorously sourced components from available global suppliers to overcome continued semiconductor supply limitations.
How is Star's product line evolving to meet the needs of today’s channel partners?
Star is dedicated to providing our channel partners with a full solution suite to power their workspaces this year. Thanks to solid relationships with our partners, we have developed complementary products that leverage our advanced software integration tools to provide a complete hardware solution.
The Star solution suite is a cohesive, connected network of products that work together to provide reliable and easy-to-use solutions that support various industries. This gives resellers, retailers, and channel partners products that offer years of use and support from a single supplier. The Star suite enables resellers to purchase printers and related peripherals (like scales, barcode scanners, cash drawers, etc.) in one place. Fewer vendors to manage makes it easier for channel partners.
What new programs and services does Star offer that can benefit channel partners?
Star is blessed to have the industry’s best group of dedicated distribution partners who have truly shined during the recent supply chain challenges to meet resellers’ needs. To support these incredible channel partners, we established our Empower Partner Program. The Empower Program’s introduction has successfully reestablished value and price parity for our resellers.
Last year, we enhanced the program with the addition of loyalty benefits. These benefits reward resellers that provide a variety of products from the Star solution suite. We recognize the long-term value of every reseller offering our complete suite, such as our printers, cash drawers, scanners, scales, stands, paper, warranties, and other Star products. As a result, full solution suite resellers are rewarded at the same level as a large volume reseller that may only sell Star printers.
As we head into the second half of 2022, is there any advice or insight Star can provide to channel partners?
As we move into the second half of 2022 and beyond, we are seeing some improvements in semiconductor and component availability. Gradually, this will help recover product shortages, which is good news for all.
Conversely, the macroeconomic situation is unstable as we feel the impact of inflation, high oil prices, and global unrest. It’s tough to see when logistics, components, and manufacturing costs will stabilize, making it difficult to imagine when pre-pandemic prices will return.
We want every channel partner to know that Star is working hard behind the scenes to reduce transportation costs while implementing new software solutions to improve the accuracy and visibility of product availability. We are also expanding our resources to support our partners in any way we can.
Please take some time to learn about the many new solutions Star has just introduced, and look forward to more “Always Leading, Always Innovating” products and services that will help our partners continue to flourish.
Star's Latest Solutions
This futureproof printing solution provides maximum connecting flexibility with added features like support for the Android Open Accessory (AOA) protocol and a USB/LAN Dual Interface (TSP143IVUE) or WLAN capability with a dual-band wireless connection (TSP143IVUW).
mUnite Tablet Stands & Mounts
Star Micronics is proud to offer both function and style with its mUnite tablet display solution stands, kiosks, and mounts. Built to accompany a vast array of printers, cash drawers, scales, and peripherals, these modern, all-steel stands unify your point-of-sale while protecting your valuables.
mG-T POS Scales
Star’s new line of three NTEP and Measurement Canada certified scales are trade-ready and effortless to set up, connecting to your POS system via Bluetooth or Serial connectivity. Plus, they integrate easily with Star SDK, so you’ll be back doing what you do best.
Star Micronics Cloud Services
By connecting Star printers to Cloud Services, Star has created a practical, developer-friendly platform for more efficient, connected, and intelligent systems. For business owners and technology providers alike, Star’s Cloud Services can be used for device management, receipt customization, and cloud-based data access.
This 3″ linerless label kiosk printer is compact and lightweight, ideal for the food and travel industries or any self-service application. Linerless labels are an alternative to silicone-lined labels or tape and are more eco-friendly with less waste.