Note: A free brochure, white paper or datasheet is available from Datalogic on the subject in this story. Click here to request a copy

DFS is the undisputed market leader in upholstered furniture retailing with 70 stores nationwide, three factories and one distribution warehouse. Like all retailers, DFS recognises that its success is ultimately dependent on offering customers products that they want to buy, at appealing prices and with delivery dates that meet their requirements. With competition in the upholstery market increasing to unprecedented levels, DFS has redoubled its efforts not only to develop attractive new products but also to ensure that it achieves services levels that set DFS apart, including delivering products to customers on time.

To stay on top it is always looking at ways in which it can make its customer experience even better. Shortening delivery times was high on the list and when they met ExPD, a Datalogic Quality Partner in the UK, at a trade show, DFS realised that it was one step closer to realising that aim.

Before the new system was installed, goods would arrive from the factory and each item would be input into the system manually. In some cases, the sheer volume of orders could put undue pressure on the distribution process. Only once it was booked in, could an item then be manually matched to a customer order and then a telephone call made to the customer to arrange delivery.

Automating this booking-in procedure was DFS's key aim and it needed a supplier who was willing to work with them to develop a real-time integrated system. Using Cisco radio access points and Datalogic's Viper mobile computers in the warehouse, ExPD provided a solution that reduced the booking-in process to seconds by eliminating time consuming manual processes.

The sofas now arrive at the stores, pre-bar-coded. The operator scans the stock tickets using the Viper mobile computers, with the system automatically matching the bar code to the customer order. This then triggers a telephone call to the customer within a few minutes to book a delivery date. The system will also immediately flag if only a partial delivery has been received which will activate a search for the missing item. As a result, DFS has achieved improved control over stock during transit and distribution operations.

This solution has resulted in DFS stores benefiting from increased speed of data collection, greater stock control, payback based on improved stocktaking and improved customer service. The system has also been designed to allow further development with the ability to integrate with shop floor processes in the future. In fact, the company plans future growth based on the continued expansion of the store chain, amongst other things, and there are 40 new stores in the pipeline.

By implementing this system, DFS now aims to reduce delivery times to customers, cutting out needless delays and errors in manual processing. Jon Massey, Chief Operating Officer of DFS said, "To help maintain our position as the UK market leader, speed and quality of service are absolutely essential. We are delighted with the new wireless system which has provided us with immediate increases in efficiency across our distribution process."

Note: A free brochure, white paper or datasheet is available from Datalogic on the subject in this story. Click here to request a copy

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