Retailer is Height of Efficiency

— September 06, 2006

Who: Marks & Spencer, a major U.K. retailer of clothing, home products and quality foods.

What: Marks & Spencer needed a solution to efficiently create shelf-edge labels for its products. The current method involved a time-consuming five-step manual process that required employees to take note of a label error, walk back to the office to reprint the label and then replace it. The company wanted to find a mobile solution to expedite the process and allow its 65,000 employees to spend more time serving customers.

Solution: The company equipped the employees of its U.K. stores with Zebra QL 320 direct thermal mobile printers and Symbol industrial-class PDT8142 mobile handheld computers. Together, the devices were used to print new labels right in the aisle, saving valuable productivity time.

Zebra's QL 320 printer is fully IP-addressable, and Symbol's PDT8142 mobile computer is a versatile large-screen device that delivers the functionality of a Pocket PC, along with wireless networking capabilities that ensure reliable data delivery.

"We selected Symbol mobile computers for their reliability, robustness and flexibility," said Peter Caines, project manager of marketing IT for Marks & Spencer. "Combined with Zebra's mobile printers, the solution has provided us with a mobile platform to enhance employee productivity [and] allowed us to spend more time on our service to customers."

Results: Thanks to the new system, Marks & Spencer has a more efficient label-printing process. Replacement and short-term labels can now be produced on-demand in a matter of seconds.

The company predicts that the system will provide shop floor staff with significant time savings. "This solution will help Marks & Spencer stores manage their operations and will also help to provide a noticeable impact on the customer experience," said Mark Self, VP of Symbol's Retail Industry Solutions Group

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