Tesco claims it has seen a 1-2% improvement in on-shelf availability through the rollout of wireless technology in its stores and supply chain.
Replenishment at Tesco now goes through a single system, which store staff can tap into at the shelf edge via 10,000 handheld terminals from Intermec Technologies.
Tesco is expecting a return on its £13.5m investment in the technology in less than two years through faster and more accurate stock replenishment, said Tesco IT strategic development director Philip Robbins-Jones.
Given Tesco’s store replenishment is automated, inaccurate stock files can cause havoc, he said.
By enabling staff to scan products at the shelf edge, find out how many are in stock and when new orders are coming in, corrective action could be taken immediately should any problems emerge.
Previously, staff would have to pick up information from the shop floor, and then feed information into back office systems, said Robbins-Jones.
“The benefit of increased product availability completely dwarfs any productivity gains.”
The technology also enables Tesco to speed up pricing changes and improve accuracy by enabling staff to produce and print off mark-down pricing labels on the terminals, scan the codes and update back office and till systems immediately - all at the shelf edge.