…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
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
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
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."
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
Karen Daniell/Rebecca Irani
+ 44 (0) 1753 790700
Symbol Technologies EMEA
+ 44(0) 118 9457427
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