“UniPrint is a must-have add on for its support, features, performance and reliability in a Citrix Environment.”
Canfor Maps Out its Global Printing Strategy with the UniPrint Solution
Since 1938 Canfor Corporation has grown from its simple beginnings as a Canadian furniture and paneling veneer operation to become the largest producer of SPF lumber in North America, and a leading integrated forest products company with interests in Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia.
To support its highly dispersed global operation, Canfor deploys Citrix application virtualization (also known as served-based computing or SbC) technology to centralize management and distribute applications to approximately 5,000 employees and 2,200 independent contractors working in offices, telecommuting from home or other remote locations, and on the go.
Canfor’s IT network connects many far-flung operations – from a small sawmill in rural Canada, to a regional sales office in Europe.
Even though Citrix Server-based Computing (SbC) effectively enabled centralized management and distribution of complex applications, managing a multitude of printer drivers and printer incompatibility issues was a nagging problem for network administrators.
Many Canfor employees and outsourced contractors work from home, overseas or other remote locations using a variety of client devices, including PCs, Mac computers, iPads, laptops and various mobile devices.
Users wanted to print to any printer and access advanced multi-function printer features, such as stapling, when printing to their local device.
Without an enhanced multi-platform printing solution, Canfor’s IT department struggled to support the expansion of its global operation.
Another major challenge was ensuring printing reliability for large, complex files generated from mission-critical applications like Geographical Information Systems (GIS).
Canfor uses GIS to create large color-coded maps and geographical plots used in forestry operations.
In the past, GIS files were susceptible to WAN blips and slow latency times, sometimes resulting in partially printed or inaccurate documents.
The accuracy and color integrity of Canfor’s plot files and maps have serious legal and safety implications, making stable and accurate on-demand printing a necessity. Canfor needed a reliable, anywhere and any device printing solution beyond what Citrix could offer.
Around the end of the 1990s, an employee attending a Citrix User Group conference was explaining Canfor’s unique printing challenges.
The Citrix presenter introduced her to a UniPrint representative at the conference and soon after, Canfor began to map out its global printing strategy using the UniPrint solution.
Having tried other printing solutions in the past, Canfor was now able to virtualize printing using UniPrint’s patented Portable Document Format (PDF)-based universal printer driver technology.
Canfor administrators only needed to install and manage a single universal printer driver that is recognized by all printers.
Printer management is simplified and incompatibility issues are solved, enabling the IT department to spend less time on printing-related calls.
“The greatest benefit of UniPrint is the reduced support cost. We have a single client that we can easily deploy, and we never touch it again,” noted Grant Fast, IT Service Delivery Team Leader.
With the UniPrint solution, Canfor users are able to access the features of their local printer, and experience fast, reliable and consistent printing regardless of operating system, platform or device.
“We know we are doing our job when we don’t get any contact from users, and we haven’t heard anything for about two years now,” remarked Roy Kliewer, IT Infrastructure Team Leader.
Canfor users can also take advantage of greater options offered by newer mobile devices.
Many smartphones, iPads and other tablets are great PDF viewers, and some Canfor users already use UniPrint’s PDF functionality to view copies of files and reports they may not need to print.
For Canfor’s forestry operations and its independent contractors, the UniPrint solution has improved printing reliability, stability and accuracy.
The contractors simply install the UniPrint Client software on the user device and are able to print as if they are on the Canfor network.
With its patented PDF-based printer driver technology, UniPrint is able to render GIS file details and colors accurately, ensuring reliable on-demand printing even for remote users.
As Fast pointed out, “The accuracy and fidelity of mapping files is critical in forestry operations. Our users can print accurate GIS files every time, which improves efficiency and helps us maintain our competitive advantage.”
Canfor Corporation has deployed UniPrint Server to simplify printer management and reduce support costs, provide users with anywhere, anytime, any device printing, and enable accurate and stable printing of specialized files from centralized applications.
Key benefits include:
- Ability to easily transfer application printing functionality into a Citrix environment
- Solves all printer driver incompatibility issues with one universal printer driver
- Simplifies printer management issues, enabling reduced support costs
- Enables fast, reliable and accurate printing for all clients from any application to any printer
- Enhanced user experience, including access to multi-function printer features and PDF email and archive functionality