'Supply chain visibility is for life, not just for Christmas,' claims Datatrade

Service provider Datatrade believes that investing in the bigger picture and gaining far greater visibility of their assets would enable retailers and logistics firms to better prepare for huge shopping spikes like Black Friday and Christmas.

"Black Friday 2014 was all about buying in-store while last year's sales were largely online, serving to highlight how today's customer wants to buy from anywhere, anytime and anyhow. And to do that, visibility of inventory is essential," says Peter Laplanche of Datatrade.

He says that using location devices, RFID-tagging and other multiple capture technologies improve product tracking but retailers are starting to realise that technology in isolation is not the answer, it's how it meshes together to address fundamental operational and communication issues too.

Having greater visibility of the health and performance of mobile devices like printers could make real gains in productivity, either in store or in the distribution centre. Being able to predict when batteries in a mobile scanner are about to fail, for example, may seem relatively unimportant but in the ecosystem of fulfilment it could represent the difference between a sale or a non-sale.

By using Zebra's AVS and OVS platforms with its own, proven asset tracking and printer management solutions, Datatrade has made great strides in enabling customers to better manage their fleet. To view not just the location, condition and usage rate of mobile computing devices but also the mobile environment and infrastructure in which they sit.

"We can enable retailers to see the big picture. Hardware talks to software and the cloud, and it's this total connectivity that gives retailers sight of inventory from distribution centre to store," offers Peter.

This 360° visibility could help minimise the amount of delivery trucks running empty; help store managers optimise staffing levels and promotions; facilitate proximity marketing using beacon technology. But ultimately, it restores control to organisations, enabling them to better manage their assets, as well as equipping sales teams with the tools to improve conversion rates and customer service.

"Being one of only a handful of Zebra solutions partners and repair centres enables us to deliver such enterprise asset intelligence. But more than that, being totally vendor independent and having over 30 years practical experience of supporting leading brands of back office hardware and software means we understand just how to develop such solutions in the real world.

"We know how to make a difference and can make supply chain life run a lot smoother for retailers, manufacturers and logistics providers in not just the run-up to Christmas but over the whole trading year," says Peter.

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