EuroShop 2011: With its mobile applications for corporate management, cloud computing for POS software and RFID solutions for SMEs, the IT specialist from Bad Hersfeld has once again proved its technological leadership in the field of modern commercial IT.
For höltl Retail Solutions, a leading European specialist in IT solutions for the non-food trade, the outlook for 2011 is straightforward: growth. The company's order books are nicely full. According to höltl, this is because the retail industry is fully involved in streamlining their processes and are therefore open for modern IT solutions to help exploit any potentials for rationalization; höltl CEO Johannes Schick: “The market is shifting. For innovative IT providers, this will open up new, lucrative business."
Business Intelligence via App
This, for example, refers to software tools that will in the future also be offered as mobile applications (App). In this way, IT solutions by höltl Retail Solutions, which so far require a computer workstation or mobile data acquisition devices, are now available via an App on mobile phones. During the trade fair EuroShop, from 26 February to 02 March 2011 in Düsseldorf, the company will present the new possibilities by the example of Business Intelligence software M.A.R.S Essentially, it is about accessing information about individual items on the sales floor using a mobile phone. “For this you simply take a picture of the item’s bar code using the phone. The article’s entire history is then displayed on the mobile phone,” Schick explains.
According to him, this form of mobile Business Intelligence will in the future be used wherever such queries were previously too costly or complex and thus avoided. The mobile application provides more transparency without additional organizational effort. The application can, for example, be used to track goods movements it can also be used to carry out price changes. “This mobile solution is a perfect example for our motto: making the processes of our customers from the trade industry even smarter,” as Schick puts the company’s goal for 2011.
In the opinion of the expert, the retail sector wants to improve more than just processes – it wants the IT to take over entire topics and process steps. “Particularly the administrative work is to be relieved,” says Schick. Often, it is matter of further automation. Systems will increasingly have to be able to “think ahead”; this is about combining analysis and forecasts. In the future, modern retail IT will offer the retail trade courses of action which in the ideal case can be confirmed simply by pressing the “Go” button.
RFID on the advance
A further topic for 2011, particularly in discussions with larger companies, is the attempt to standardize entire processes. In this context the team of höltl Retail Solutions sees RFID as one of the central issues for the future. RFID – a technology for identifying individual items along the entire retail value chain up to the checkout – is ready for the market and will ensure greater efficiency in the medium term, particularly in the clothing sector. “I expect a huge step in rationalization in the fashion retail – even for SMEs,” so Schick’s prediction.
In the IT industry, höltl Retail Solutions is considered as a leading innovator in the field of RFID. The technology has been reflected in höltl’s merchandise information systems already since last year. Because of the strategic importance of this issue, höltl is currently conducting two pilot projects with professionals from the fashion retail. The experiences from this cooperation are incorporated directly in the development of an RFID solution by höltl.
The key advantages of this technology:
• Differences between the actually delivered quantity of goods and the electronic delivery order can easily be discovered
• Inventory differences are reduced by a third
• Individual items can be located at any time
• RFID enables regular inventory with almost no manual effort
• RFID improves data quality and increases the availability of goods by reducing shortages for greater revenue opportunities
• Better options for a precise and quicker goods management
The effects of implementing RFID can be based on past experience as shown by these impressive numbers:
• Time needed for receipt of goods: - 85%
• Time needed for inventory taking: -75%
• Inventory accuracy: better than 98%
• Business volume: + 2%
• Customer satisfaction: + 20%
Pilot projects show that investment in RFID pays off within 18 months. The RFID chip, which stores the individual part number, can also serve as an anti-theft device. It is deactived during checkout in the common manner.
Top technology for the footwear industry
höltl’s announcement as to its increased involvement in the shoe industry in 2011 was the topic of conversation at the fair booth. Last year, höltl Retail Solutions won the IT Contest of Ariston-Nord-West-Ring eG (Europe’s largest trade association in the shoe industry). Schick explains: “For IT suppliers with solid products, the shoe sector still offers a huge potential. Thanks to our experience in the apparel industry, we are highly competent regarding the issues and processes which are not yet common in the shoe industry but are fast approaching. These include, for example, EDI or business models such as consignment.”
POSFlow 5: Checkout via the “Cloud”
Among the wide range of latest innovations from höltl Retail Solutions is the prototype of the POS system POSFlow 5, a browser-capable solution for both online and offline use. höltl has already provided the first pilot customer with this product. POSFlow 5 can be used in connection with so-called Cloud Computing based on Windows Azure (Microsoft). “For this, the users access disk space in data centres for a nominal monthly fee. Only the actually server time used has to be paid,” states höltl’s CEO Johannes Schick as one of the key arguments. Windows Azure relieves the user from all administrative duties. This allows offering IT solutions without upfront investment for hardware and software.
With its attractive price, the top technology of POSFlow 5 is to be made available to enterprises of all sizes – without installation costs. Connecting the POS hardware to the mains and the Internet can be done without the help of a technician. It takes only a few minutes from unpacking the POS to bringing it into service. If required, the communication streams of several thousand POS systems can be bundled. “A decisive fact for large branch networks and purchasing associations," said Schick.
höltl Retail Solutions
The company, founded in 1972, has focused its product portfolio on the entire non-food retail as well as the clothing industry. The product line-up includes POS and Merchandise Information Systems, analysis and evaluation tools as well as MDE solutions and CRM systems – all optimally synchronized. The POS and Merchandise Information Systems POSFlow and RetailFlow, respectively, are used by more than 50,000 people all over the world. höltl products are available in 16 languages and are used in more than 20 countries.
For further information, please visit: www.hoeltl.com
höltl Retail Solutions
Telephone: + 49 (0) 6621-92 00 181