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Morrisons introduces in-store tablets with ThoughtWorks

UK supermarket Morrisons says it has streamlined its stock management processes through a new partnership with custom software consultancy ThoughtWorks that involves the use of electronic order pads in its stores.

The grocer said in its recent half-year results that the new technology is being implemented to ensure store managers are better connected to the business's supply chain, and the systems are part of a wider multi-million pound investment in IT services that it is hoped will bring the company into the multichannel retail era.

The tablets are being wirelessly linked to the store's network where they will transmit the orders to the mainframe. ThoughtWorks says Morrisons will benefit from time saved in data entry, more flexibility in its ordering and better accuracy.

Replacing what up until recently was a manual process, the tablets were introduced to a quarter of Morrisons' stores in the first six months of its financial year and will be placed in the entire retail estate by the end of 2013.

Richard Manners, director of retail process improvement at Morrisons, remarked: "Our colleagues have found the tool very simple to use and the training has been much easier than with most new systems. It was also important to us that our store managers continued to have a certain degree of autonomy and could still control what they sell in store and have in stock, and the Order Pad has allowed this to remain the case."

Head of retail in Europe for ThoughtWorks, Mark Collin, added: "We set out to form an easy to use and effective online solution to stock taking and it’s great to see we have achieved our goal. It eliminated back-office data entry while also minimising the amount of potentially expensive mistakes."

Morrisons has committed around £310 million to an IT infrastructure upgrade, which also includes the introduction of electronic cash counting machines and the implementation of the Oracle Retail platform, but it hopes the move will provide significant cost and efficiency savings in the future.


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