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The Co-operative deploys new handhelds

The Co-operative deploys new handhelds
The Co-operative Food Maghull store
Monday April 8 2013

Food store chain improves customer service with queue-busting and replenishment capabilities through new mobile device roll out

The Co-operative recently announced it is rolling out new wireless handheld devices across its entire food store estate to improve customer service, following a £6.5-million investment.
It is working with BT Expedite and Datalogic to introduce more than 6,500 Elf handheld terminals (HHTs) at more than 2,800 food stores before the end of May.

Stock and queue-busting functions
The terminals can be used for stock gap checks, to produce scannable barcodes for reduce-to-clear items, cash reconciliation functions such as till balancing and for queue-busting checkout, where shopping can be scanned and a ticket with a barcode is printed, which the customer can use at the checkout to pay for their goods.
Over 2,890 devices, designed to be fast, easy-to-use and have a longer battery life than the older HHT devices, have already been issued to almost 1,500 food stores, with the remaining 3,615 terminals going live in May.
The Elf handheld terminals, which are replacing a variety of older handheld devices, feature the latest version of Windows Mobile v6.5, plus QWERTY and numeric keyboards, and bright and easy-to-read display screens.

SMART supply chain support
The introduction of the new devices, along with an improved Wi-Fi infrastructure and the in-house development of a store-based ordering system, Store Merchandising and Replenishment Transformation (SMART), is helping to substantially speed up the day-to-day tasks for store staff.
Steve Bond, head of IT retail solutions at The Co-operative Food, said: “The new Elf handheld devices, along with the improved Wi-Fi infrastructure and central replenishment system, are helping transform the way our store staff work, and the feedback we have received from our store teams has been extremely positive.
“These new systems are not only helping our stores run much more efficiently by speeding up the processing of a number different tasks, they are also freeing up more time to enable our food store colleagues to concentrate on our customers’ needs.”

Retail Technology magazine also recently spoke exclusively to Mark Hale, The Co-operative Food chief information officer and supply chain director, about IT developments including SMART and other projects (September/October 2012, p6, The customer drives Co-operative Food IT).

Tagged as: Co-operative | Food | supply chain | Elf | handheld | mobile | queue-busting | replenishment | merchandising