The opening of a new terminal or satellite at any airport is a huge undertaking. Currently, the final touches are being put to a new facility at Munich Airport. Once opened, the new satellite will increase capacity for Lufthansa and its' Star Alliance partners at Terminal 2 of Germany's second largest airport which handled almost 9 million passengers in the first three months of 2016, alone.
Eurotrade, a wholly owned subsidiary of Flughafen München GmbH (FMG), is responsible for the management and infrastructure of approximately 65% of the airport's retail sites, and once the new satellite is fully operational, this will number 80 outlets. Rather unusually for an airport, staff at these outlets (including duty free stores, clothing and accessory boutiques, news-stands, and jewellery shops) are employed by Eurotrade, which runs the stores as franchise operations on behalf of the retailers. Including the management team and logistics support, this accounts for 1100 personnel in total.
Key amongst the management tasks is the running and maintenance of the airport's retail IT estate and infrastructure. With an eye to the opening of the new satellite, a decision was taken in November 2015 for a general upgrade of the POS systems including the installation of new H5000 Verifone payment terminals. This and a change of colour from grey POS hardware to black also meant a change in the colour of the technology mounting solution.
SpacePole technology mounts from Ergonomic Solutions had been in use at the outlets for many years without fault, and when invited to tender in November last year, were able to understand and develop solutions to address some of the unique challenges faced by retailing within such an international environment.
One specific example of this was within the payments transaction process. There are subtle differences in the requirements of the card issuers and tax authorities of different countries. For this reason, a signature pad is a necessity and is used in some cases for a passenger to physically write a declaration on which country they originate from. Historically that signature pad has been desk mounted, and suffered from having duty free mini kegs of beer dropped on them along with other weighty duty fee purchases! Therefore, the decision was made to mount the pad on a pole with a specially designed arm rest, and those tendering for the contract were asked to create a prototype for testing.
At the same time, the tender required several different types of mounting configurations to suit the existing and new furniture for PoS and payment alike. As Eurotrade has ownership of all outlets, they had to supply not only a solution that could be traditionally screwed to the furniture, but also in the case of one high end retail establishment, affixed to marble as well.
With such a short purchase and roll out cycle, the selection process was swift and intense but awarded to Ergonomic Solutions for reasons that really marked the organisation out from the competition. Firstly, and historically, the SpacePole product was well known and liked for its Danish build quality and ease of use. Payment terminals, for example, are rotated between customer and operator almost constantly and Eurotrade were very impressed with the almost flawless reliability in a challenging operating environment, for many years.
Secondly, production standard prototype arm rests and configurations including the different desk mounts were designed in-house by the dedicated customer support team and supplied within a week (over the Christmas holidays). These completely addressed the requirements demanded by Eurotrade - something not achieved by the competitors.
From those initial conversations in November, the order was confirmed with Ergonomic Solutions on 22nd February. The new mounts and configurations began to be delivered in March this year - well in time for the opening of the new satellite at the end of April, with full roll out to follow by the end of May.
Speaking of the tendering and roll out process, Sebastian Sand, from the IT department at Eurotrade said, "Ergonomic Solutions are the experts in understanding the integration of technology in challenging environments. They understood our requirements immediately and very quickly delivered prototypes that addressed the unique issues we face at Munich Airport." He added, "With such a short project timescale, we need to be confident in our chosen supplier at every step of the process, and in Ergonomic Solutions, we found the ideal partner."