Kwik Save plans hands-on IT for stock audit staff

Kwik Save is introducing handheld computers for its stock-control staff in an effort to give them more time to carry out complex in-store management tasks in the retailer's 700 stores.

Kwik Save - a division of Somerfield - has invested in a system from Peak Technologies, which uses the Microsoft Pocket PC operating system for small computers.

The Nucleus IS solution is a data-capture system that runs on industry-standard Symbol hand-held machines. It communicates data back to a central database through radio frequency channels.

The Nucleus application will be used by a total of 60 staff, split into 10 stock audit teams nationwide, according to Kwik Save store stock controller Mark Woodward.

He explained that the company decided to make the investment to replace an earlier generation of devices that had done 'sterling service', but were past the end of their technical lives.

'We did a capital expenditure study to cost-justify this upgrade, and found that the time savings and streamlining of activities we could get justified the decision,' said Woodward.

Kwik Save conducts three stock audits per store each year, which amounts to 2,100 separate inspections.