The Swiss retail group Valora is implementing new technology at its points of sale (POS). The Muttenz-based company is using handheld scanners from CipherLab to improve its performance in three areas that are decisive to remaining competitive and increasing market share: speed, economic efficiency and reliability.
Valora, with around 9,000 employees, 1,400 sales outlets and 60,000 wholesale customers in ten countries, is one of the most successful retail companies in Europe. It concentrates on consumer markets with high sales potential through the following corporate divisions: Valora Retail for small retail outlets at frequently visited locations, Valora Media, responsible for selling media products, and Valora Trade, the distribution partner for food and non-food brand name articles.
It is a company driven in every respect by trade and fast and reliable data input has always been crucial to it. Christian Würger, Head of Corporate IT Operation and Support at Valora, remembers the initial plans regarding the evaluation of new barcode readers for all sales outlets of the Swiss retail organization: “We wanted to introduce a new inventory management system for 1,100 sales outlets.” The team quickly dropped the idea of using the cash register scanners for scanning incoming goods. This didn’t work because the scanners could not resolve certain items of information satisfactorily.
Reason enough then for Valora to look for an alternative, which was found in the offer from Zurich-based Dataphone AG and including the CipherLab barcode scanner. Würger: “After performing extensive tests, it was clear that the CipherLab scanner performed much better than any of the other solutions. We therefore decided to order 1,100 devices for our Swiss sales outlets.”
In addition to being easier to operate than the rival products, data input is much faster with the models from CipherLab. “Data transfer is much faster. Delivery notes appear on the screen as soon as the button is pressed,” says Würger. A short delay was often noticed after scanning products using devices from competitors. The scanners from CipherLab were extremely reliable though, recognizing all barcodes that were scanned.
“The price was also a decisive factor”
Würger was not only impressed with the technical qualities of the device – the scanners from CipherLab also fulfilled his economic expectations: “The price was obviously not an unimportant factor”. Valora tested “We tried the expensive scanner and found that the value and performance of CipherLab 1500 are far more better.”
The barcode scanner’s new area of application: with the CipherLab 1500, each sales outlet is now equipped with a device for use in the back office or connected directly to the cash register. The scanner, which is plug-and-play connected via USB, scans the barcodes on the delivery notes that Valora requires to ensure consistent inventory management. They can also be used as emergency replacements in the event that the scanners connected to the cash registers malfunction. All data is then transferred to the central server, which is connected to the inventory management system.
Stefan Gerats, Sales Director Central Europe at CipherLab, explained the technical details of the 1500 series: “The CipherLab 1500 was developed especially for use in the retail trade industry, the health services sector and the public sector and can be mounted in three ways. It can be fixed to the wall, placed on a work surface or used as a higher level auto-sense scanner unit.” This makes the scanner suitable for use on shop counters, in all areas along the production chain as well as in environments with a high level of usage, says Gerats. “The new scanner is equipped with ScanMaster, software that allows individual configuration. Two hundred decodings per second guarantee a high level of productivity.” Repair and maintenance costs for the CipherLab 1500 are also low as it contains no laser or moving parts. Gerats: “This is why we provide a five-year guarantee.” The Valora manager, Würger, could confirm these comments almost instantly: “We had no previous experience with CipherLab and were positively surprised with its error-free scans, reliability and the convincing value for money it offers.”