Five Questions With: Keith LeFebvre

Have you ever used a store loyalty card, or had a patient-identification bracelet affixed to your wrist in a hospital? It may have been printed by a local company before distribution.

Keith LeFebvre is vice president of the specialty printing group at Zebra Technologies, which has a product-development center in Lincoln. There, it creates ruggedized mobile printers, which can be used inside or outside, for those who may need to print in the field under special conditions.

PBN: Zebra Technologies focuses on technological products with mobile capabilities such as mobile communication and mobile pay among them. Why are these products superior to smartphones?

LEFEBVRE: Savvy companies are using enterprise-class mobile devices to more effectively deploy their workforce to do tasks that in the past were scheduled in advance and not flexible to change. This approach of managing a smart, mobile workforce has radically improved workflow management and would not have been possible before the advent of cloud computing and rugged, reliable mobile computers.

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Zebra provides purpose-built mobile computing, scanning and printing products that are designed to withstand the physical rigors of daily use. For example, these devices are designed to easily pair with one another using Bluetooth, utilize purpose-designed batteries that allow workers to operate all day long – even under extreme conditions – and are designed to be easily managed remotely.

PBN: Are there industries that you serve that have more of a need for these mobile capabilities?

LEFEBVRE: Our solutions are used by 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies in industries including retail, manufacturing, health care, and transportation and logistics, and can consist of mobile computing devices, RFID [radio-frequency identification] and data capture, barcode and card-printing, cloud-based device management as well as location and motion sensing. These industries require real-time visibility and location solutions … so organizations can sense what’s happening in their operations. For example, in hospitals, our mobile solutions include everything from wristband and label printers to barcode scanners that can help health care providers prevent medical errors throughout all steps of the patient journey.

PBN: Speaking of health care, Zebra recently launched a line of new health care printers for use in doctors’ offices, medical facilities and other locations. What are some of their key features?

LEFEBVRE: Health care organizations remain concerned about data security and privacy issues. … Our ZD420-HC and ZD620-HC printers offer industry-first device security features to secure connections, block unwanted access and increase protection around patient data. These printers also feature best-in-class print speeds while maintaining premium print quality required for accurate prescriptions, lab/specimen labels, patient-ID wristbands, asset labels and more. They were also specially designed with disinfectant-ready plastics … to help prevent the spread of germs.

PBN: Are there health care organizations that are still using traditional printers? 

LEFEBVRE: While virtually all health care facilities still use laser or ink-jet printers for printing documents (or even for printing sheets of wristbands), more and more health care providers are using a combination of mobile computers with scan-and-print capabilities to ensure patient safety by only printing on-demand labels or wristbands after data is confirmed for accuracy. For example, a nurse is now more likely to print a specimen label in the patient’s room only after a scan of the patient’s wristband and his/her own badge assuring that the patient, practitioner and specimen are all properly identified in real time, and in a verifiable way to ensure maximum patient safety.

PBN: I understand Zebra Technologies’ office in Rhode Island is primarily focused on the printer industry. Can you tell us more about the different types of printers you manufacture?

LEFEBVRE: Zebra is the world’s leading producer of ruggedized mobile printers and those products are developed in our Lincoln development center. Zebra also develops card printers in the Lincoln facility, which are used to print and encode identity cards, driver’s licenses, and instantly issue financial cards and a wide range of access control cards. Zebra card printers produce more than 1.5 million cards every business day – improving personnel tracking, access control and secure ID badges across a variety of industries. Retail markets commonly use Zebra card printers for membership, loyalty and gift cards.

Susan Shalhoub is a PBN contributing writer.