The Canal + Group is the leading provider of premium channels in France. Each year, the company invests $2 billion in its programs, which include a vast assortment of sports programs, documentaries, news, cartoons and more. The company's steady growth in recent years has led to the need for a new inventory management system in order to meet demand and provide better service to its customers.
As Franois Govignon, the Canal+ Process, Methods and Distribution Systems Director, explained: "Every day, we deliver equipment to the stores in our distribution chain. Each store has a stock of decoders and subscriber cards that are the property of Canal+. As the stock held in the store belongs to us, we have a legal obligation to carry out at least one inventory every year. That being the case, we also carry out regular inventories during the year in order to check and adjust the stock levels. We may carry out inventories one to four times a year depending on the size of a particular store."
He went on to add: "We already had an inventory solution involving a handheld barcode scanner and base unit with a cradle/charger function in order to transfer the data via a modem connection. But this solution was not satisfactory because we could not transfer information in real time or provide an inventory report to the store. We therefore decided to replace this equipment and seek out a solution that put together a handheld barcode scanner and a GPRS telephone for data transfers. We drafted a document indicating our requirements and called 10 different companies to see if they could help us. Of these ten companies, nine told us that what we wanted was not feasible. Nogema was the only company that told us it could be done and that they could provide us with the solution."
The Canal+ Group had two major requirements for the equipment that would be used to carry out inventory operations: first, a reliable, small terminal was essential, and second, the company did not want to open a second GSM/GPRS account. The Memor mobile terminal was the only solution, a lightweight, compact and rugged product, making it ideal for applications out in the field. Thanks to its integrated high performance laser scanner, the Memor enabled the sales staff to scan barcodes on products held in stock and thereby keep a count of the number of decoders and subscriber cards held in the distribution shop or in the store. Once this information was gathered, it was automatically transferred to the sales staff's Smartphones via a Bluetooth connection. Using a specific application developed by Nogema, the data was then transferred to a host server. In this manner, the server could process the data received in real time and provide direct feedback to the sales outlet either by fax or by e-mail. Franois Govignon affirmed that: "Our sales staff was impressed by the solution.
Datalogic Mobile's Memor was five to six times lighter and four times smaller than the one used before, yet it offered much higher performance levels. At first we were sceptical about whether the communication was really carried out in real time, but the initial field tests provided us with immediate reassurance. We were pleasantly surprised when we saw that the store inventory report was received within a minute of the information being sent. We were also pleased with its performance results and ruggedness out in the field. The Memor is a very reliable product that we would recommend, concluded Franois Govignon.