Tesco store managers reclaim 78 hours with Symbol MC50

The company

Tesco is one of the worlds leading international retailers. Since the company first used the trading name of Tesco in the mid 1920s, the group has expanded into different formats, markets and sectors. The principal activity of the group is food retailing, with over 2,000 stores worldwide.

Tescos core UK business is significant within the group, with over 250,000 employees and over 1,000 stores. Nearly 80 percent of the groups sales and profits come from the UK business. Growth in the UK business comes from new space, extensions to existing stores and a multi-format approach. Tesco has a long term strategy for growth based on: growth in the core UK business, international expansion and growth outside of its core food business. The challenge: delivering real-time data to

Tesco store managers

Tesco wanted to give store managers the freedom to spend more time on the sales floor by ensuring they were constantly connected to email and other business-critical IT applications when away from their desk. A key objective was that this would increase the profitability of each store by giving managers more time on the shop floor interacting with customers and staff alike. To achieve this aim Tesco wanted to equip managers with a real-time data solution that would enable them to continue to do their office-based work while on the shop floor, giving them the right business processes, technology and information. An increased shop floor presence would help store managers motivate and monitor staff, investigate operational performance and be able to interact with customers. Managers would therefore be in a good position to deliver a more memorable, personalized shopping experience.

The solution: the MC50 Enterprise Digital Assistant

To replace time-consuming, paper-based processes and unchain store managers from their desktop e-mail, Tesco evaluated four different vendors. The company opted to equip its UK based managers and supervisors with 750 Symbol MC50 mobile computers across its biggest stores. The MC50 is a rugged, durable handheld device that delivers enterprise class functionality. Unlike typical consumer PDAs, the MC50 is more robust and reliable, able to withstand the demands of a high usage environment. Running the Microsoft Windows Mobile Operating System, it integrates seamlessly with Tescos enterprise business applications andincludes support for e-mail, phone and scheduling/calendar. The MC50 also easily integrates into other applications, such as those for inventory management. As such it is an ideal handheld for Tesco store managers. Its capabilities include options such as data capture, voice telephony (push to talk (PTT), peer to peer (P2P) and private branch exchange (PBX), smart battery, device level management, wireless and security options. Key to the decision was the MC50s built in bar code scanner. The scanning feature quickly scans items with bar codes for a convenient and speedy service and since the product features the same keying sequences as most POS systems, checkout is possible anywhere in or around the store. This all helps in delivering a more powerful customer experience.

"Using Symbol MC50s will help managers spend more time on the selling floor while still remaining connected to essential IT applications," said Simon Hick, Project Manager at Tesco. "The use of e-mail on the shop floor frees around seven to eight hours of a store managers time per week."

The benefits: customer satisfaction

The MC50 has transformed the working style of Tescos store managers. Traditionally they would have to make frequent trips to the back office in order to access e-mail and view store sales reports. Now, however, managers have constant access to all of this information on the move in real time regardless of their location within the shop. It has helped in increasing productivity and sales and customer satisfaction levels, since managers can now spend more time with staff while still having access to enterprise level applications.

The MC50 also provides the store managers with online, real-time access to point of sales (POS) reports. Store managers can now monitor the POS system from the MC50 to get  current information about the movement of merchandise throughout the store. Store managers can also utilize this information to maximize category profits and optimize merchandise displays. The MC50 has enabled store managers to check shelf labels, locate stock or expired product and identify returns in a more efficient manner and in real time. Having up to date information on the inventory also helps to remain ahead of the competition.

Eager to help its managers achieve a good work/life balance, Tesco uses an RF Network to send and receive data to the MC50. Employees can only pick up e-mails when in store in range of the Wireless LAN.

Overall, the MC50 has redefined the store managers working days by enabling them to capture, move and manage customer information to and from the point of business activity.

Future plans

Tesco is also looking at capitalizing on the VoIP telephony functionality offered by the MC50. VoIP was a key consideration in choosing the MC50 and Tesco hopes to start using VoIP capabilities by end of the year, keeping store managers constantly contactable without running up additional phone bills.

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