VERNON, Calif. -- Smart & Final Stores Corp. here will conduct a two-store pilot test of portable printers that will enable employees to generate replacement shelf tags in the store aisles.
The new printers, which will be piloted in two Los Angeles-area stores this month, should streamline the process of replacing shelf tags, and improve labor productivity and scanning accuracy, said Bob Graham, director of store systems.
"Printing tags on a wireless [printer] is going to make everyone's life easier," Graham said. "Adding these printers is not a big expense and I suspect we'll achieve some cost and time savings from them."
If the portable printers result in operational savings, the retailer will consider rolling them out chainwide, he said.
When employees currently find an incorrect shelf tag, they remove it, return to the store office, prepare a batch and print a replacement tag. The new portable printers streamline that process by allowing the employee to generate a tag on-site.
"The remote printer is going to take out the cycle time of waiting to print the batch," Graham added.
Having the real-time ability to replace inaccurate tags will also improve Smart & Final's scanning accuracy rating, Graham said, adding the chain has already made great strides in maintaining integrity through the use of in-store printers linked to the point-of-sale.
"We're as close to 100% accuracy as you can get. In the last few months we've averaged a discrepancy of about 10 items out of an 11,000- to 12,000-item file," he said.
"We're taking a serious approach on data integrity; it's not just the tags that have to be right, but all our infrastructure has to be right," Graham added. "These systems are all feeding our category management and customer loyalty programs, so we can't afford to have any breach in integrity."