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in store full scanSpecsavers have moved their stock checking system to Metric Group's hand-held computers, and switched to the Android operating system, bringing their software up to date, ready for future expansion.

Specsavers had been using a Honeywell hand-held computer for stock-taking along with a bespoke software application for a number of years. However, when the old system finally reached the end of its life, the company needed to find a way to bring it up to date without changing the way the system worked. They approached 4Court Solutions, an established Specsavers supplier, and asked them to find a way to run the system on a new hardware platform.

The new solution uses handheld computers from Metric Group, a market leading European manufacturer based in Germany with UK operations in Swindon. Metric Group worked together with 4Court Solutions to make the software run on the company's latest, slim line handheld scanners, which are designed for busy retail and commercial environments with intensive scanning requirements.

The Decision to go to Android
Specsavers chose Metric Group's Allegro mobile computer as their new hardware platform for a number of reasons including its flexibility and functionality. This model is the latest of several mobile terminal designs that Metric Group offers for 2D barcode scanning under the Android operating system or Windows Mobile/CE.

“4Court Solutions understood exactly what our stores needed and the software environment we were using”, says Tim Daniels, Store Infrastructure Manager at Specsavers. “We felt the Metric Group scanners were technically superior to others we tried, and the design provides a light-weight ergonomic scanning solution. It’s also much more cost-effective”.

Metric Group's scanners run several operating systems, and initially Specsavers asked for the new system to run on Windows Mobile/CE, and were impressed when 4Court Solutions and their partners delivered this a week later.
However, the Android operating system was thought to be a better choice for the longer term, and offered better communication with the server, so they decided to re-work the application under Android. Once this was done Metric Group simply loaded the Android version of the software and the operating system onto the terminals from a SD flash drive.

The New System

“This system is perfect for our store staff, as they can use it straight away without any additional training on the software,”, adds Matt Short, Store Infrastructure Lead at Specsavers.

Metric Group's Allegro is the top selling hand-held computer for retailers in Germany. It is a modern, streamlined mobile terminal that is
very easy to use. It can be operated with one hand, either the left or the right, especially by the female store staff who tend to have smaller hands.
The Allegro makes it very easy to collect stock data, just by pressing the scan button, and then uploading it to the server by docking the hand-held
when the check is completed.

in store close up scanSpecsavers are using the new system to check new stock in as it is delivered, by scanning the barcodes when new stock arrives at the store.
Periodic in-store stock checks can also be done around the schedule of the individual stores to keep track of inventory. Once completed, the Allegro is docked and synced with the server in the store. This means that Specsavers can then access accurate reports, for example stock levels and lists of goods to order.

The Allegro scanners are part of a total solution which 4Court Solutions and Metric Group have built together, using a new version of the
previous stock checking software.

The Rollout
There are over 690 Specsavers stores in the UK, and the new solution is to be installed in each of these as soon as they are ready to upgrade. All new stores and refits will be offered the new solution straight away.
Thinking about the future, the Allegro mobile computers will allow more accurate management of stock, and they have greater capacity and flexibility to add new product lines, so the Specsavers stores are well equipped for the future.
Metric Group is focused on delivering more than just mobile computer hardware. They are working with their strategic solution providers and partners, such as 4Court Solutions to design highly efficient and cost-saving solutions for retail, logistics and field service.

Specsavers is a Partnership of nearly 2,000 locally-run businesses, committed to delivering high quality, affordable
optical and hearing care in the communities they serve.

4Court Solutions
4Court Solutions pride themselves in being customer focused and creative in sourcing services and technology
solutions for their customers and partners.

Metric Group
The Metric Group is a leading IT, hardware and software technology specialist for mobile solutions,
ticketing and parking applications in Germany and the United Kingdom.

Mike Buchanan, Managing Director, 4Court Solutions, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., +44-1344-512-029