The retail industry has changed beyond all recognition in recent years as a result of technological innovation and new patterns in consumer behaviour. Throughout this period, which has seen the growth of e-commerce and home delivery services, and a post-pandemic return to bricks and mortar stores, one thing has remained constant.
That fixed point has been the strength of the relationship between leading auto ID brand and OEM Datalogic, and Kemtek, its main Southern African distribution partner. To understand more about the retail space and the role of this relationship in driving innovation within it, we spoke to Jan Hurn, Datalogic’s territory account manager for Southern Africa.
Hurn outlined how, throughout the course of the 20-year relationship between Datalogic and Kemtek, the two partners have successfully won (and retained) a number of major retail accounts – a fact that speaks to the strength of the relationship between Kemtek and Datalogic.
Looking more closely at the nature of this relationship, Hurn identified the shared passion for retail as a key success factor in their relationship – a relationship that has proved to be sustainable and has provided a solid foundation for future growth.
With both companies having such a strong focus on retail and emphasising customer service, integrity and long-term solutions, it is only natural that they have been at forefront of introducing innovations into the southern African retail sector.
Focusing on innovation
From its earliest days, Datalogic has been an engineering-led company with innovation in its DNA. Major breakthroughs spearheaded by Datalogic have included 2D scanners, which offer more streamlined checkout experiences and have resulted in a much lower manual data entry requirement.
Wireless charging is another innovation which has greatly improved the end user experience. The lack of a requirement to physically attach handheld scanners to charging stations with charging pins means less wear and tear, and a lower total cost of ownership for each device. Longer device lifespans are also aligned with Datalogic’s commitment to sustainability in all areas of their business.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is another area around which there is a great deal of buzz at present – and it’s another field in which Datalogic leads. Their DPX scanner (featuring patented technology) is one of the first AI-driven scanners on the market and offers continuous performance improvements. This is thanks to the scanner’s ability to learn from each scan, automatically adjust to accommodate the behaviours of different end users and obtain optimum results in multiple scanning scenarios involving bar codes of varying colours, contrast and legibility.
This has particular applications in the direct part marking sphere and various applications in the automotive industry and electronics.
Improved UX and sustainability
Datalogic scanners are renowned for their ease of use, and the ways in which they improve the end user experience. This is particularly important as many handheld scanner applications require repeated actions in challenging workplace environments. Time spent charging devices, or exchanging battery-depleted devices for new ones, can eat into productivity and even – in some scenarios – impact on employee rewards where this impacts their ability to meet KPI targets.
“Green Spot” technology eliminates the need for audible beeps to indicate a successful scan. This is a great example of inclusive technology (as it can be used with ease by people with impaired hearing) and also reduces noise levels for other users, which has been shown to reduce chronic workplace stress.
Using a green light rather than a speaker also means that scanner batteries last for longer, and the confirmation of a successful scan is presented in the most user-friendly way. This in turn contributes to an uptick in productivity as outlined above.
Today’s end users are looking for value for money, and for modular, rugged devices, plus options to integrate and upgrade rather than replace legacy scanners
Smart battery technology – as exemplified by Datalogic’s SkorpioX5 innovation – uses LED lights on the battery to visually indicate charge and health levels and allow operators to visually distinguish between flat and charged batteries before or during their shift. In addition, Skorpio and Memor scanners do not reboot when a battery is swapped out, further reducing downtime and increasing user productivity during shifts.
Today’s end users are looking for value for money, and for modular, rugged devices, plus options to integrate and upgrade rather than replace legacy scanners. Datalogic’s current range ticks all these boxes, with the focus on enduring quality and relationships also contributing to a more sustainable business model, with devices needing to be replaced less often.
More than just bar codes
Datalogic scanners can also successfully read OCR-A and OCR-B fonts, which means that additional identifying data such as batch numbers and expiry dates can also be captured and used. This enables item differentiation at another level of detail.
Datalogic’s unique lockable docking stations enable companies to link devices to users. This is one innovation that has come about as a result of its “voice of the customer” programme. By interacting directly with customers, Kemtek and Datalogic have been able to identify pain points and challenges and determine how best to address them.
Introducing the Joya Touch 22
This innovative retail solution was devised in response to user feedback and a requirement for a device that can be used in self-checkout supermarkets as a trolley-mounted PDA device, and by order pickers working for app-based home delivery services.
The customisable device has been developed to meet the needs of a dynamic retail sector, as major players look to position their online and bricks-and-mortar offerings more closely, and ensure they remain relevant to always-on, time-poor consumers.
As the relationship between Datalogic and Kemtek continues to go from strength to strength, you can expect to see further auto ID innovations introduced into the retail sector in southern Africa.
To learn more about Datalogic innovations available from Kemtek, visit kemtek.co.za/prod_brand/datalogic.
Kemtek is celebrating 35 years of successful evolution thanks to an ongoing drive to deliver the best possible outcomes to our customers. The company has have grown from being an equipment supplier into a trusted solutions partner. Working with global partners, including world-class, innovative OEMs, Kemtek has pivoted its business to focus on seven key areas: auto ID technology, labelling solutions, digital print technology, large-format printing technology, additive manufacturing technology, 3D printing technology and renewable resources technology.
Kemtek is deeply committed to achieving ambitious transformation targets through providing an inclusive environment for all team members. The company continually strives to improve its B-BBEE contributor level – and on an individual level, provides ongoing upskilling and educational opportunities for all Kemtek employees.
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