“Printing is a very important issue for DCs and determines our ability to deliver what Tesco customers want. Datatrade ( A Renovotec Group Company ) has demonstrated over time its ability to be pro-active in working with us and is a strategic partner in shaping our supply chain and computer print solutions.” Don Stubley, IT supply chain business analyst, Tesco.
Tesco is the UK’s primary food retailer and worlds largest e-tailer with group sales of £26.3 billion. It operates 2,291 stores around the world and employs 296,000 people. The UK operation focuses on three areas; the UK core business, non-food and retail services such as Tesco.com and Tesco Personal Finance which, from its launch in 1997, now has more than 3.4 million customer accounts.
The Business Challenge
Serving millions of customers a week and retaining their loyalty requires a meticulous supply chain strategy. Tesco has more than 25 Distribution Centres (DC) across the UK and Eire to stock its stores. The largest of these moves 2 million items per week and supports 65 stores. Accurate labelling is vital in ensuring the right consignment is delivered on time to the right store. Tesco needs robust, reliable printers capable of interfacing to many systems and able to deliver large quantities of output in busy warehouse environments, and even in cool chambers maintained at close to zero degrees. Tesco is a 24 x 7 business, operating three shifts per day and requires efficient equipment to meet this demand.
The Business Solution
Datatrade has provided a series of solutions over the years to meet Tesco’s business needs. Initially, they were based on coax shuttle matrix printers but have now been complemented by thermal printers attached to either the host or one of Tesco’s new radio frequency warehouse control systems. A typical Tesco DC will have a mix of both types of printer to produce the various pallet and picking labels for goods as they enter and leave the buildings. In addition, Datatrade has also supplied Tesco with printers for many other DC office and transport applications.
The Business Benefits
Downtime has been markedly reduced and the line printers have proved admirable workhorses in the labour intensive environments. In using ribbons rather than toner or ink cartridges, Tesco estimates its line printers run to just 5% of the costs associated with laser printing.