As one of the UK’s leading garden centres, Dobbies is always looking to improve operational effectiveness, which is why it is now using mobile label printers from Toshiba TEC in its UK stores.
In 1865, James Dobbie set up J Dobbie Choice Seeds & Flowers of Renfrew and his business soon flurished, creating a legacy that now incorporates 35 stores across the UK.
In 2008, the company became part of Tesco and, with its parent company’s backing and support, Dobbies continues to thrive.
With an ever expanding inventory designed to appeal to the latest tastes in gardening and related areas, clear labelling is a major factor in the creation of a high quality customer experience.
“With such a diverse range, we want our customers to be able to identify the prices of goods quickly and easily,” explained Dobbies loss prevention manager Karen Canavan. “What’s more, plants by their very nature can have a short shelf life, so any discounts and price reductions need to be clearly marked in order to make sure stock isn’t wasted.”
Dobbies stores used to rely on offie-based devices for all their printing, including labelling. This was time-consuming, as employees had to carry information between the printer and the plant, product or shelf being labelled, and the quality of the finished label was often less than satisfactory.
Making a change
Recognising that something needed to be done to improve the efficiency of the labelling process, Canavan invited Toshiba TEC to come in and explain the options.
“We have had a successful working relationship with Toshiba TEC for many years. I’d already heard about the advances in mobile printing and labelling technology and felt that this would tick many of the boxes in terms of increasing resource effiiency, enhancing overall accuracy and avoiding mistakes. We knew that Tesco had adopted a similar system, so felt there was much to gain from such an investment,” she said.
After trialling a number of products, Dobbies selected Toshiba TEC’s B-EP4DL portable printer.
Compact and stylish, the B-EP4DL four-inch portable device offers big printer technology in a lightweight package. It utilises high endurance lithium-ion battery technology for many hours of operation and, as standard, features a clear backlit LCD screen and Wi-Fi and USB 2.0 connectivity. Rubber corners ensure the B-EP4DL can withstand drops of up to 1.8m.
“We have rolled out the B-EP4DL devices so that there are typically three per store,” explained Canavan. “The effect has been quite dramatic in terms of productivity, and staff now spend much less time labelling each product. It has also made a big difference to how we manage stock inventory.”
For example, Dobbies can now easily print labels to indicate discounts and reductions and incorporate this information into barcodes. These labels are far more aesthetically pleasing and easier for customers to read, as well as saving employees significant amounts of time and reducing wastage.
Summing up, Canavan said: “The B-EP4DL is helping us to work faster and smarter. Not only that, the devices have proven to be highly reliable, robust and durable in what is a pretty physical environment. To cap it all, when it’s needed, we know we have excellent support and back-up from Toshiba TEC.”