Bartender vs. SSRS

I have never used Bartender and at my current company we have a license for it but are not currently using it. I started setting it up but was wondering if it is even necessary. I can create any number of labels using SSRS, so it got me wondering if there is even any benefit to using Bartender.

What are people’s opinions on Bartender? Is it worth it? What benefits are there over printing labels with SSRS reports?

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And may I jump onto John’s post and ask has anybody moved to the more advanced Bartender licenses, like the Enterprise version?

@hkeric.wci is a Bartender power user. What say you?



We use Bartender. Some of the advantages I’ve seen are:

  1. Easier to design and work with the labels.
  2. All we have to do is write a text file to a directory and labels spit out of the printer. This part is really handy in BPMs.

We’ve only been using it for a little under a year though, so there may be other things that we haven’t run across yet.

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If you want to make sure that you don’t get super pissed at yourself because you will realize how ridiculously stupid SSRS can be, then definitely DO NOT use bartender.

If you would like to make your life waaaay easier… then use bartender.


BarTender will always win in my book. If you have never had to implement Customer Labels it’s difficult to understand.

Try doing QR, PDF, various other BarCode types on SSRS, you will stumble easily. Try support various printer models, you will find constantly fighting with margins.

Try passing AIAG (B-3, B-4, B-5, B-8, B-10) standards, you will have a hard time in SSRS.

Here is an example of doing business with GM:

Doing the above would have been a nightmare in SSRS… It only took a few days in BarTender.

Can you imagine managing 100 various windows fonts to support all the MIL sizes of various barcodes… :slight_smile:

A QR Code isnt just a QR Code there are even various options for that… For example when we did business with Amazon they were specific what type of QR Code. BarTender had all those controls.


Besides just the format there are other benefits… Some Customers want a label on each corner of the box (4) some want just 2 corners, some just 1 Label… Printing Duplicates while maintaining the Serial Number, so on is very easy with BarTender.

BarTender works well with Drivers. While SSRS can’t even show a PageNumber in a body! :smiley:

Need to adjust font-spacing? Cant do it in SSRS.
Need to have vertical text? Cant do it in SSRS.


@hkeric.wci ok, I’m convinced that Bartender is beneficial if you are printing labels :grinning:

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It has benefits from a customization perspective as well.
To print a BT label you just create and copy a flat file to configured location.

I think there is more to this overall conversation, than just the technical side. Cost should be considered also.

We have a few labels and lots of printers. The cost of bartender for all the printers is not worth it. We would have to pay per printer.

So we are doing the straight forward internal labels in SSRS and the more difficult customer labels with the fancy barcodes in bartender that was bought with Epicor.



What version do they sell? Basic? Professional? Enterprise?

We bought Enterprise Automation through Epicor.

You will probably ever only need the Automation Professional Edition… Enterprise is costly, and eventually each printer will cost you way more than you want to spend.

I have Enterprise now, we are looking to downgrade, you save 150-250$/per printer alone and usually Enterprise Features we never had a need to use.

I am also looking at other Vendors because Epicor upmarks theirs by 200-400% compared to other quotes I received.

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It is Enterprise or Automation? Epicor likes to recommend Enterprise but it may have more features than you will even use or need. The license costs also drop another $125 when you go some to Automation. @hkeric.wci will also tell you to look elsewhere to purchase your printer licenses.


Here is the differences in features between the 3 versions Bartender has to offer:

Bartender 2021 Features

On the official certificate Seagull gave us, it is literally “Enterprise Automation”. It is the 2016 version

We add QR codes to a lot our our reports, we have them on pack slips, job travellers, goods labels, etc. We dont use bartender, and have not experienced any real issues using just SSRS

For me in the past every MES Station gets a Zebra Printer (BT License), Brother Paper Printer and a MES License.

You need to shop around for better pricing, I know this is an Epicor forum and I should be all in-support of Epicor but what is wrong is wrong.

Each Automation Printer should run you about 250$ with a good Vendor. Plus you don’t need the BPM Auto-Print that should also save you on maintenance, its useless. Plus Epicor needs to stop upselling BT Enterprise, many Customers have been duped into buying something they dont need and are paying hefty for it, because the Printer price is also determined by Edition. Some CAMs just sell you Enterprise period, they don’t even inform you of what you are buying.

I can’t probably disclose Epicor pricing but I can tell you what other Vendors charge (CDW, Barcodes Inc, Local Reseller):
Automation Printer: $250-300
Enterprise Automation Printer: $375-445

It may be due to the fact that they specialize in selling BarTender and get better pricing from Seagull, perhaps they sell 10,000 more a year than Epicor does and get better deals from Seagull, who knows.

To conclude, I am more outraged by the MES Licensing costs :slight_smile: you pay way more just to give a station the ability to Start/Stop a Job, thats what its used for in most companies, most don’t use the Material Queue and so on… MES License should be 100$ :stuck_out_tongue:


I have mixed feelings here - there are places for Bartender and places for SSRS.

Job Traveler, PackSlips, Sales Orders, Pick lists are just some examples of reports that would be almost impossible to do as Bartender. i.e. there are no subreports in Bartender.

However, there are some items like material transfers that may not have a label available and Bartender is a good choice.

I have had some customers that currently are having issues with Bartender picking up the labels sent to the watch folder. I provided them with a shortcut to the watch folder so they can change the file extension and “reprint” the label and that works - but frustrating when labels do not print.

I will agree that label layout is MUCH easier in Bartender than SSRS.


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Sounds like they are still using Commander and not Integrations which came with BT 2016 I believe. Commander had alot of hiccups like that. Integrations has been awesome. (Commander replacement).

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