Safeway begins introduction of hand-held tools

Safeway has begun to roll out its ‘shelf-edge computing’ project, with an order for 2,000 hand-held computers and wireless local area network (WLAN) tools for its 490 stores.

The hand-helds, supplied by Symbol Technologies, will be used for real-time stock-keeping and inventory checks, price-checking and product look-up. The project enables staff to perform multiple tasks.

In trials, the system has shown a reduction in replenishment lead-times of 48 hours to 24 hours, while out-of-stocks have been reduced by as much as 30 per cent.

Both Safeway and Tesco are introducing innovative multiple-tasking wireless systems that improve supply chain efficiencies and pave the way to additional customer service functions in future.

The systems enable real-time information on consumer demand to be integrated with supply chain data to create a just-in-time value chain.

The use of WLANs is expected to increase by 20 per cent over the next three years and create a market worth US$47billion (£31.52 billion) in networks, services and mobile systems.

- Symbol has just launched SymbolAir as a wireless supply chain solution.