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iAnywhere Solutions, Inc., a subsidiary of Sybase, Inc., today announced that Thorntons has purchased iAnywheres Afaria solution to manage 400 mobile devices to be used throughout 380 Thorntons retail outlets across the UK. The implementation of the Afaria 5.3 mobile management system will enable the popular chocolatier chain to cut administration costs and improve customer service through significant reductions in paper work and more efficient stock-taking processes.
Afaria will run on Intermec 730 devices and manage applications, developed by Thorntons IT provider EDS, which automate a number of key store activities including inventory checks, product refund and damage claims, warehouse transfers and deliveries-in scanning. Afaria allows the data collected on staff members mobile devices to be automatically transmitted to corporate headquarters for immediate processing and reporting. iAnywheres frontline solution will replace several time-consuming paper-based processes such as stock taking and sales ordering, and will also allow for more effective communication between Thorntons retail staff and its head office.
Generally Thorntons store formats are small in terms of size. Afaria will allow the company to deploy a mobile point of sale (PoS) for out of store selling thus increasing the retail footprint. This could include creating a virtual store outside of the existing retail estate for special promotions and back-up tills during the busy holiday season.
Implementing Afaria has enhanced the device management processes within Thorntons. Applications on the device can be updated automatically, as and when needed, with no user intervention required. For example when a device is first issued or in the event of a battery failing the applications data or configuration will be lost. iAnywheres Afaria solution automatically installs and configures the mobile devices, avoiding the lengthy task of returning them to a central location for reprovisioning, saving significant downtime and reducing the amount of lost data.
The technical benefits Afaria has brought to Thorntons have provided us with many advantages, explains Terry Baines, IT Services Manager at Thorntons. Communications are minimised, administration time and costs have been reduced and software errors are rectified with greater ease. These technical enhancements support our twin aims of further improving our high level of customer service and of retaining our market leading position.
The IT skills of store staff can sometimes be low so complexity had to be avoided. Afarias application management and logging capabilities enables both store and administration staff to monitor data transactions that have been made, using a clear tracking method. This ensures that transfers to head office are successfully completed and not hampered by user error.
Tim Carter, Sales Director EMEA of iAnywheres XcelleNet Product Group, comments: Enterprises like Thorntons, with large store estates, strong customer focus, and very seasonal sales driven by events like Christmas and Easter, cannot afford to have anything stand in the way of excellent customer service at all times. Thorntons are leading the way in retail, exploiting exciting new technologies to improve both their business efficiency and their customers experience. Through this partnership, the Thorntons brand can continue to maintain its strength in the high street, and iAnywhere is pleased to be providing a leading British retailer with support for its mobility solutions.