Magazine Article | October 19, 2012

Rugged Tablets Boost Poundland's Productivity

November 2012 Integrated Solutions For Retailers

By Erin Harris, associate editor

This discount retailer replaced its outdated trolley-based data management system with a rugged tablet capable of withstanding the unique conditions of the warehouse environment.

Poundland is Europe’s largest single-price discount retailer, with 388 stores and two warehouse locations. Mick Corbett, IT solutions leader at Poundland, was tasked with overhauling the retailer’s legacy data collection equipment, as it was incapable of helping Poundland’s warehouse-based quality assurance (QA) team to keep up with the demands of the supply chain.

Poundland’s QA team is responsible for cross-referencing inventory availability and ensuring timely delivery to all 388 stores. Indeed, the QA team checks the inventory (i.e. type, color, quantity, etc.) against the database in real time. When issues arise, the team must take images of the inventory and upload those images into the database. “The process was fine, but the technology was flawed,” explains Corbett. “The legacy solution included a militarygrade laptop, which was bolted to a trolley with four wheels. Two car batteries were bolted to the bottom shelf with some leads to power the laptop. Imagine driving around in a Chevy with a laptop bolted to the roof. The batteries themselves were an issue for us, because they simply didn’t have a long life. Also, in the warehouse environment, racking extends about 30 feet high. Because space is a premium in our warehouses, as forklift trucks went up and down the aisles at the same time as the QA team, someone had to give way. The QA team member would have to move out of the aisle, wait for the other guy to finish his picking from the locations in the racking, and then get back to his work.” As a result, Corbett uncovered that the QA team experienced a great deal of wasted time just moving in and out of aisles waiting for trucks to shift out of the way before the QA team could begin or finish its work.

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