CARTERET, N.J. -- Aiming to improve checkout productivity, reduce shrink and create a single scanning platform for its checkouts, Pathmark Stores here said it expects to complete a rollout of "smart" scanner technology across its 144-store chain by November.
The new system, called the Magellan 8500, is from PSC, Portland, Ore. Pathmark previously used multiple scanning technologies, including an older PSC system. The chain has purchased 2,150 Magellan 8500 scanners for the point of sale and an additional 565 PSC Duet scanners for use at customer service, deli and pharmacy counters. Pathmark tested the Magellan scanners during a week-long run in early spring. Bob Schoening, Pathmark's chief information officer, said the test came about as the chain started to shift its POS system to IBM's newest generation technology, the SurePOS 750. Pathmark decided to find a single scanner/scale to install chainwide as the new POS system was rolled out over the course of the year. To date, 70 Pathmark stores have the Magellan scanners fully installed.
The Magellan 8500 contains a three-dimensional scanner that can read codes on all sides of an item regardless of its scanning position. Schoening said that feature was what most appealed to the chain. "We were looking from a productivity standpoint at the technology," he said. "We looked at whether we were getting more accurate first scan reads. During the time when we were going through with our testing it was our determination that this particular product [the Magellan 8500] offered the greatest level of efficiency."
In addition, the scanner comes with a fully integrated scale designed to more accurately weigh produce or other items that may overhang a scanner's scale. The Magellan 8500's scale uses a lip that items can rest on to capture total weight. This feature, while second in importance to productivity, was what first excited Pathmark about the system, said Schoening. It was important, he said, because in a number of Pathmark stores where a large volume of leafy green produce is sold, the tendency of the lettuce to overhang the scale was causing revenue losses.
The new scanner technology also has a built-in decoding software designed to improve reading of damaged or truncated labels. The scanner is also designed to facilitate cashier training, productivity reporting, diagnostic reporting and energy efficiency. The system is also able to read Reduced Space Symbology (RSS) bar codes.
Schoening declined to comment on cost to Pathmark of installing the scanners. According to Matt Schler, vice president, automated data capture group at PSC, a fully loaded Magellan 8500 scanner, with all of the possible functions included, can cost as much as $4,300, but the cost can be considerably lower depending on the options a retailer chooses to include.