Retail Solutions - Hand-held units give Robert Dyas a speed boost

Hardware chain Robert Dyas has invested£150,000 in hand-held terminals from Anker Systems to speed up in-store stocktaking and pricing.

A pilot kicked off last week at the retailer's Cobham store. Each of the chain's 76 shops will receive a hand-held unit, while the store opening team will share a dozen units.

'(Using the hand-helds) shaves two or three days off the merchandising process in the new stores. That's six man days per store,' said IT and systems controller Warren Woods.

In existing stores, which the retailer describes as an 'Aladdin's cave' of up to 8,000 products, staff will be able to check stock availability online, rather than in the store room. Prices can also be kept up to date without having to check on a fixed terminal.

Robert Dyas considered using the terminals as mobile tills in an effort to cut queues. However, Woods said he will wait for Chip and PIN migration to be completed before he revisits the strategy.

- Feature: page 22.