Toshiba TEC, Norprint and Opticon join forces to provide Tesco suppliers with an approved solution

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Toshiba TEC has joined forces with Norprint and Opticon to provide a Tesco-approved Advanced Shipping Notification/Serial Shipping Container Code (ASN/SSCC) labelling solution, which aims to help all Tesco suppliers become 100% compliant and meet the strict criteria laid out by Tesco.  

The timetable set out by Tesco requests that all supplier pallets must be SSCC labelled to GS1/TESCO standards.  Fresh produce suppliers have already achieved compliance since 2008, with grocery suppliers set to meet a November 2009 deadline and all non-food products tasked to meet the criteria by 2010.

The retailer says that the benefits of becoming ASN/SSCC compliant will provide suppliers with electronic proof of delivery, eliminate order discrepancies, provide full pallet traceability and earlier notification of delivery on time; resulting in a reduction in claims costs and administration while offering improved turn-around times and ultimately a more efficient finance process.

The Norprint solution, which is endorsed by Tesco, uses robust Toshiba SX industrial printers combined with Opticon hand-held devices. An entry-level system can be installed for as little as 6K.

Fully automated and traceable, the system is accurate and easy to administer. The process is simple; information from the TESCO EDI order is downloaded through the Norprint ASN program to the Opticon device.  Two unique labels per pallet are required; both contain the unique SSCC barcode. When this pallet enters the logistics chain, the barcode is its unique identity, so the retailer knows exactly what its contents are as soon as it is scanned into the DC (Distribution Centre).

Before the pallet label bar-codes can be populated and items despatched, the product labels must be scanned for format, date code and order compliance verification and the relevant pallet label barcode is scanned to link the information. This process continues until the order has been completed. The Opticon device displays exactly what remains on the order and at the end of the order process, the information is uploaded to the Norprint ASN Creator and an ASN is created for uploading to Tesco through the Tesco Information Management System (TIMS) website. Individual pallet information is retained and viewable on the TIMS website; thus providing full pallet traceability throughout the Tesco supply chain. A paper delivery note displaying this information along with a vehicle load plan can also easily be printed, if required, directly from the Norprint software.

The system is able to deal with delivery of multiple orders to multiple depots and can simply switch between orders and depots. It reduces the opportunity for human error, preventing incorrect products from being despatched. It also stops the use of a wrong Tesco order, as the system looks directly for the date of the order and associated reference number. The Norprint/Toshiba/Opticon solution can be tailored to meet the needs of different suppliers; it can be used as a picking tool for other retailers and is scaleable to meet the size of the supplier's operation.

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