Advanced shopping system
inco Danmark is a leading wholesaler within the food sector in Denmark and serves a broad section of Denmark’s restaurants, canteens and cafés via its one-stop-shop concept. The company, which was founded in 1922, has the most advanced shopping system in the Nordic region, with digital price indicators that are updated automatically and cover more than 60 percent of its 25,000-plus stock items. Since 2005, hand-held scanners have allowed inco’s customers to scan and settle all their purchases themselves.
inco Danmark’s head office is based in Copenhagen along with a 15,000 square meter cash and carry store. The company has a series of subsidiaries across Denmark as well as two fresh produce terminals and employs around 600 staff.
Flexible data transportation
A few years ago, inco Danmark realized that it faced a number of challenges in relation to the working conditions of its checkout assistants. It emerged that employees had to lift immense weights in order to scan customers’ purchases at the till. When the decision was made to change working practices, a comprehensive business case was drawn up which ultimately resulted in rapid development bringing inco Danmark to the forefront of IT-based shopping systems in its sector. “With more than 25,000 stock items and sales of around EUR 228 million, enormous quantities of data are constantly being moved between our numerous ERP systems. The challenge is not only to get this data transported, but also to get it converted between these different ERP systems without problems,”explains John Svendsen, IT Manager, inco Danmark.
Shopping with wireless hand-held scanners
An IBS employee, proposed that they take a closer look at the IBS Enterprise Application Integration solution. John Svendsen and Development Consultant David Bojsen had high hopes when they went to see a presentation of IBS Integrator – and they did not leave disappointed.
After that, things took off. From when the decision was taken to go with the IBS integration solution to the system implementation and ready to go, it took just four weeks.
“We chose IBS Integrator because it is an open system that allows us to develop and produce the scripts and applications that we use in our business ourselves. This puts inco in a good position because we are not completely tied in to using other IBS products – a problem that we often have with other IT providers. IBS Integrator also gives us the capability not only to transport data but also to convert and transform data in various formats,” Svendsen elaborates.
IBS EAI software enables inco Danmark’s IT department to develop scripts and programs that employees are able to use themselves. In the past, it would be necessary to identify the price change centrally, calculate the new price, print new price tags and reprogram the till system to be able to accept the new prices. Now, the individual departments, using IBS Integrator, are able to change the prices themselves and these are then automatically updated using the wireless digital price indicators and synchronized with the till system.
All system updates and transactions take place in real time, including when customers shop using the wireless hand-held scanners. This safeguards the data in the system to the best possible degree in the event of a local system failure. If a hand-held scanner were to break down, the data scanned is saved on a server and the customer would be able to just grab a new hand-held scanner and carry on shopping.
Reduced queues at the checkouts
Following implementation, nearly half of inco Danmark’s sales are now conducted through IBS Integrator. Amongst other things, the system supports inco Danmark’s entire online shop and the company’s use of wireless hand-held scanners. When the system using the hand-held scanners was introduced, inco Danmark’s Copenhagen branch had thirteen checkouts, where customers often had to queue. Today, the company has cut back the number of checkouts to six, of which only four normally operate at any given time. Problems with queuing are largely a thing of the past.
The wireless hand-held scanners have also reduced measurable wastage from inco Danmark’s shelves. inco Danmark had not anticipated this benefit of handing over the responsibility for recording products to the customers themselves. inco Danmark is aware of the great value IBS Integrator has to the company, and everyone is happy with the positive development.
More integration in the future
"We have various internal ERP systems, and our external partners add even more distribution systems to that. All the systems ideally need to work together, and IBS Integrator is actually the glue that holds everything in place," explains Svedsen.
IBS EAI software currently handles around 20,000 transactions a day and is used in connection with sales, purchasing, invoicing, price adjustments, Internet business, electronic payments and a broad range of other areas. IBS integrator software can move data from anything to anywhere in any format. Svedesen continues, "It’s a kind of pocket knife of the IT world, with an incredible range of capabilities. The best bit is the price, however. The system actually only costs us a fraction of what we pay other IT suppliers for various licenses."
In the future, inco Danmark sees much more system integration between suppliers, distributors and customers. "This will make great demands on the ability of those systems to communicate smoothly with one another. In terms of integration, IBS Integrator is unrivalled as the best solution for us right now,” Svendsen concludes.