HODGKINS, Ill. -- Certified Grocers Midwest here, a cooperative with roughly 300 CertiSaver Supermarkets and Certified distributors, has reported positive results from its year-old rollout of an in-store ordering system for warehouse products, including support for the 2005 Sunrise deadline.
Heartland Computers, a reseller based in Wauconda, Ill., sold Certified about 300 Symbol PDT 6100 Portable Laser Terminals for store ordering, along with custom software called Smart Electronic Ordering System (SEOS), which keeps track of previous orders placed by a store.
SEOS supports Certified's compliance to the 2005 EAN.UCC Sunrise deadline, Jan. 1, 2005. By that date, Uniform Code Council recommends that stores be able to market and track products manufactured outside North America that carry eight-digit EAN-8 and 13-digit EAN-13 bar codes. The co-op anticipates being in compliance later this year.
The Symbol PDT 6100 Portable Laser Terminals, from Symbol Technologies, Holtsville, N.Y., consist of an integrated laser scanner, charging cradle, and modem for transmitting collected store orders to the co-op's PC receiving system. The cradle/modem enables users to transmit orders simply by setting the terminals in the cradles. "As long as the order is in by 3 p.m. each day, orders are delivered like clockwork the next morning," said Dennis Wszolek, director of information technology for Certified Grocers, in a statement.
Since the deployment of the terminals, only 12 have required minor service. "Really, there have been no problems to speak of with either the 6100s or our software," said Wszolek. "Best of all, we can upgrade software in the 6100s anytime we want to remotely, using the cradle modem."
The laser terminals allow store personnel to "scan shelf tags faster, without ever touching the tags themselves," added Wszolek.
The SEOS keeps track of in-process orders and notifies store personnel in real time of shipments in progress via the PDT 6100 display screen. "That way, stores never order 'in the blind,"' said Ross Moore, regional sales representative, Heartland Computers. "So often, store workers will re-order an item, not knowing that an identical request is already in the system."
Certified serves stores in the Chicago area, and across Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin from its 1 million-square-foot distribution center here.