EUROPE'S LARGEST RETAILER PUSHES BACK THE BOUNDARIES OF WIRELESS SHOPPING WITH SYMBOL TECHNOLOGIES Thursday 22 March 2001 PDF Print …Karstadt's unique new wireless infrastructure maximizes productivity, price savings, in-store efficiencies and customer service… Karstadt Warenhaus AG, Europe's largest retailer and a long-term Symbol customer, is deploying Symbol Technologies' extensive voice and data wireless local area network, including voice-over-IP (Internet Protocol) NetVisionÒ Data Phones and the next generation of handheld laser bar code scanners. The German retail chain has teamed with Symbol to develop in-store solutions based on Symbol's innovative mobile computing, wireless local area networking and bar code scanning technologies since the mid 1980s. Karstadt's current ground-breaking rollout explores an entirely new way of performing real-time supply chain management, at the same time generating considerable savings in time and money. With 66,500 employees and 2.2 million square metres of floor space, Karstadt is Europe's largest department store organisation. Each day two and a half million customers visit the company's 189 German stores, including Karstadt, Hertie, Wertheim, Alsterhaus and KaDeWe, some of which offer as many as 400,000 different products. Peter S. Niederhausen, Karstadt's IT Co-ordinator, explains that capturing and transmitting data on every item a customer purchases as effectively as possible is key to managing inventories and ensuring that product lines appeal to customers. The primary objective of data collection in sales is to obtain an accurate view of all products offered for sale. "Capturing data with handheld bar code scanners is an extremely effective way of following our business with the help of IT. By scanning in each article we sell, we kill two birds with one stone. We not only manage our stock in an extremely efficient manner, we can also compare this information with our stored data and avoid costly errors. Bar code scanning provides us with extremely helpful information on the products we've sold, allowing us to accommodate changing customer demands more effectively." For as long as bar codes have been around, Symbol Technologies' scanners have been used at Karstadt. Currently more than 10,000 handheld laser bar code scanners from Symbol are in use at the company's stores. "Last year we decided to purchase approximately 7,000 of Symbol's new generation of M2007 handheld scanners for use at our cash registers," said Mr Niederhausen. "These offer us the advantage of also being able to take the scanner to the product whenever necessary. Our stores use price labels that contain two separate lines of scanning information. Unlike conventional handheld bar code scanners, the M2007 can decode both lines of information simultaneously," he explained. "Wireless technology provides us with some very important advantages. It allows us to reposition our sales counters to adjust for changes in season or inventories. Considering that non-sales related tasks comprise about 30% of salespeople's time, reengineering related data capture processes leads to substantial increases in overall efficiency. Inventories can be completed during normal business days." In addition to installing new scanning equipment, Karstadt is currently exploring an entirely new way of performing real-time supply chain management. Access points designed for instantaneous wireless networking are to be installed on the stores' ceilings to enable immediate two-way communication of transaction data between the handhelds and the server. "With the help of an Ethernet network, wireless communication of data is surprisingly easy to execute and as safe and reliable as traditional communication," said Mr Niederhausen. "Despite the use of mobile scanners, many retailers spend considerable time placing their scanners into transmission stations. We decided to work around this issue by deploying a wireless local area network. By capturing and comparing data online we've saved considerable time and are able to work on inventories during normal business days. New products can now be ordered when we need them." Thirty three of Karstadt's stores have already been equipped with the new technology and an additional 40 stores will receive these new capabilities by year end - the remaining stores within the next two years. World's Largest NetVision DataPhone Customer With the completion of this project Karstadt will have created a unique IT infrastructure that ensures maximum accuracy of data in all of its stores, using approximately 10,000 NetVision® Data Phones from Symbol Technologies acting as portable data terminals over Symbol's Spectrum24® wireless LAN. The use of Voice over IP (Internet Protocol) means these ergonomic devices can also be used as wireless telephones. "By processing all sales related data the moment we obtain it, we not only eliminate errors, we're able to control our inventories much more effectively," said Mr Niederhausen. "This enables us to improve our relationship to customers by offering the right products in the right stores." Tomo Razmilovic, President and CEO, Symbol Technologies, said: "We're seeing global retail leaders such as Karstadt pioneer a worldwide trend in next-generation strategic technology that allows employees to maximise their time and better serve customers. We believe that, even in a tightening global economy, our customers will continue to invest in technology which directly affects the way they do business." About Symbol Symbol Technologies, winner of the USA National Medal of Technology, is a global leader in mobile data transaction systems, providing innovative customer solutions based on wireless local area networking for data and voice, application-specific mobile computing and bar code data capture. Symbol's wireless information appliances connect the physical world of people on the move, packages, paper and shipping pallets, to information systems and the Internet. Today, some 10 million Symbol bar code scanners, mobile computers and wireless LANs are utilised worldwide in markets ranging from retailing to transportation and distribution logistics, manufacturing, parcel and postal delivery, government, healthcare and education. Symbol's systems and products are used to increase productivity from the factory floor to the retail store, to the enterprise and out to the home. Information about Symbol is available at http://www.symbol.com Media Contacts: Karen Daniell/Rebecca Irani Brodeur Worldwide + 44 (0) 1753 790700 firstname.lastname@example.org Helen Rigby Symbol Technologies EMEA + 44(0) 118 9457427 This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Pleon in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit https://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.