Marks & Spencer selects Symbol and Zebra to mobilize shelf edge labelling at 400 United Kingdom food outlets

Symbol Technologies, Inc., The Enterprise Mobility Company and Zebra Technologies Corp., a global leader in on-demand printing solutions for business improvement, today announced that they have been selected by Marks & Spencer as its mobility partners for mobile shelf edge labelling across 400 Marks & Spencer food outlets in the United Kingdom. 

Marks & Spencer is using the mobile labelling solution as a complement to its main e-ticketing system to quickly and efficiently replace incorrect or damaged labels, as well as to produce new shelf-edge labels for their food display units.

An internal time and motion study conducted by Marks & Spencer revealed that creating shelf edge labels ad-hoc on its existing e-ticketing system took several minutes. Replacement and short-term labels are now produced in-aisle and on-demand in a matter of seconds, replacing a time-consuming five step manual process that involved identifying the error, noting it, going to the back office to reprint it and then back to the shop floor to replace it. Marks & Spencer predicts that the system will provide shop floor staff with significant time savings.

We selected Symbol mobile computers for their reliability, robustness and flexibility, said Peter Caines, project manager, marketing IT, Marks & Spencer. Combined with Zebras mobile printers, the solution has provided us with a mobile platform to enhance employee productivity allowing us to spend more time on our service to customers.

Marks & Spencer has equipped employees across its UK stores with the PDT8142 mobile handheld computer. The mobile computers are linked to QL320 portable label printers from Zebra Technologies Europe Ltd. The combined Symbol and Zebra mobile shelf edge labelling solution replaces the conventional method of updating shelf edge labels on the shop floor, which typically involved time-consuming paper-based methods.

Marks & Spencer uses an e-ticketing system to create the first batch of product labels displayed on the shop floor. The Symbol handheld devices, along with the Zebra mobile printers, are used for replacing incorrect product labels or those that have fallen off or for instances where products are moved from one shelf to another.

Symbols mobile handheld terminals, have made the ticketing process even easier since problems are rectified as soon as they are identified, Caines added. it has reduced the time spent going back and forth to the back office, minimizing the impact on staff time and internal resources.

Symbols PDT8142 mobile handheld computer is a versatile, large screen device that delivers the functionality of a Pocket PC coupled with wireless networking capabilities that ensure delivery of data when and where it is needed.  Zebras QL320 is fully IP-addressable and can be accessed and managed in the same way as any fixed station printer on the network. 

Symbol Technologies is proud of its eight year relationship with Marks & Spencer and remains committed to enabling customers like Marks & Spencer to grow and compete in an industry where efficiency and differentiation are crucial, said Mark Self, vice president of Symbols Retail Industry Solutions Group.  This solution will help Marks & Spencer manage their operations and will also help to provide a noticeable impact on the customer experience.

Rod Rodericks, managing director, EMEA for Zebra Technologies says, We worked very closely with the team at Marks & Spencer to ensure the system was robust, including obtaining user feedback through in-store trials. The gain in productivity for Marks & Spencers shop floor team is a significant result, underscoring an increasing trend in the retail sector to invest in mobile, on-demand printing solutions that minimise cost while increasing levels of customer service. 

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