Smart Data Capture Decreases Product Markdown Process Time by 50%
DCK Group is one of the world’s leading fashion jewelry retailers, selling directly to or through concessions across a number of partners in the UK and internationally. These partners include Marks and Spencer, River Island, Tesco, Matalan, Gina Tricot, Hudson Bay, ASOS, and Next. The business trades worldwide and has extensive retail and logistics operational capabilities, providing services to both DCK brands as well as external partners. DCK integrated Scandit Smart Data Capture into its product markdown process as part of their overall business digital transformation programme. Replacing what was predominantly a paper-based manual task with Scandit, DCK reduced the markdown process by 50% and also unlocked unexpected value for the business as a whole.
We are going through a period of huge change across the business with our efficiency programme and this comes with a number of implementation challenges. However, this roll out has been the most seamless of anything that we have completed in the last few years. Our field team were really receptive to the change as it was something that they really pushed for and the feedback and uptake has been fantastic.Oliver Simons, Operations Development Director, DCK
With over 25 years’ experience in fashion, DCK are experts in the retail accessories trade producing over 20 million products every year to over 3,500 retail stores. DCK decided to roll out a digital transformation initiative across their retail solutions business to improve efficiencies and digitalize their processes. Previously, many processes were manual and paper-based within the operations and communications of their field teams. In some cases, this caused significant delays to collect data and action insights, leading to decisions being made on out of date information.
DCK employs around 1,200 people across field and trading teams, with many of these in stores covering their respective territories within the UK and Ireland. Of these, many are on mid-size contracts – ideal for those needing flexible working patterns. DCK also hires extra seasonal workers at peak periods such as Christmas. The nature of such an employment model and demographic inevitably leads to continuous high levels of recruitment, which has become a further challenge due to the labor shortages driven by Covid-19 and Brexit. DCK recognized the need to maximize the efficiency of their workers, rather than have them conduct manual and administrative tasks.
One particular pain point was product markdowns which took a huge amount of time to execute. The process involved a spreadsheet of 1000s of SKUs sent to each field worker. Once in-store, they were required to cross reference the spreadsheet against the barcodes on the shelf in that particular store against the 1000s in their list and apply the appropriate markdown label. Not only was this heavily time-consuming, it was also prone to human error.
A further issue was that some colleagues would use a scanner in-store, designed for the customers to use for self-scanning, to check the prices. However, these devices were not designed to scan at scale, were often slow and provided out of date information. They also only worked if the markdown had been updated by the host’s till systems, which often meant sales had been missed at the critical point of the markdown cycle. Colleagues were also not trained on these devices.
DCK had recently introduced a bring your own device (BYOD) policy with the primary aim of helping communication with the field team and enabling quicker onboarding of new colleagues in an environment of change. Learnings from the BYOD implementation taught DCK that colleagues were reluctant to install multiple apps on their own smartphones. In some stores, WiFi or mobile data was sometimes a challenge so they required a solution that worked offline as well.
DCK needed to find a way in which they could equip their teams with a fast and accurate scanning solution which would improve the overall experience for their colleagues as well as provide time saving efficiencies for the business.
From an IT perspective, DCK has been able to revolutionize their operations and supply their teams with a solution that streamlines the business. To address the in-store challenges and reluctance for more apps, DCK integrated Scandit Smart Data Capture via the Web SDK. The innovative web app was built by Scandit partner, TSS, which allowed the field workers to scan barcodes via a browser accessed through a shortcut, rather than needing to download a native app. It was cached, ensuring that any data was stored in the event that they were offline when in-store or traveling.
Oliver Simons, Operations Development Director for DCK said, “Introducing a BYOD policy transformed us pretty quickly, bringing us much closer to our remote teams in the field. It allowed us to start adopting new technology and ways of working such as scanning which had been much further down our initial roadmap, but it very quickly became possible, because we had this transformation in place.”
The whole process with Scandit took only eight weeks from creation to roll out. Oliver comments, “Actually, once we pushed the button, it was a really quick and smooth process launched just in time for our peak markdown season at the end of December. New technology can be difficult to implement to our remote teams, but this was probably the easiest rollout of any of the change programmes that we have delivered in recent years. Our field team were really receptive to the change as it was something that they pushed for and the feedback and uptake has been amazing.”
Since launch, no issues have arisen helped by Scandit’s compatibility across 20,000 smartphone models ensuring it caters for any device owned by the wide demographics within the retail field service team.
DCK Group has seen both unprecedented results and unexpected benefits from their overall digital transformation initiative and the implementation of Scandit Smart Data Capture.
With over 500,000 hours worked across their field teams per year, of which around 10% was spent on product markdowns, deploying Scandit and moving away from spreadsheets has led to significant gains. The product markdown time has been cut by around 50% equating to savings of over 10,000 hours a year to be better utilized on value add activities elsewhere. In addition, scanning all the products has reduced the errors in the markdown process leading to significant financial savings when it comes to discounting items.
DCK has also seen a very positive impact on its ability to engage and retain their colleagues, especially important in a tight labor market. Previously, field workers found many of the tasks challenging and laborious without technological support, but have really embraced this new way of working. Not only have DCK seen engagement improvements, but it has also enabled them to hire those that are open to working with technology.
The implementation of Scandit has also helped increase the job satisfaction of the field team. In the first week of Scandit’s deployment, one team member emailed the head office commenting, “Oh my goodness! In my 19 years of working for DCK I’ve never been so excited about something until now! It’s amazing! I’m really, really impressed! This is a game changer!“
As Simons explains, this positive sentiment helps with future transformation projects, “Our team have absolutely loved it. It has helped us onboard other new technologies because our colleagues trust us to deliver new ways of working that they know will benefit them.”
The overall digital transformation journey, including Scandit, that DCK has embarked on in the last two years has also made them totally paperless in the retail team leading to a more sustainable, environmentally friendly operation.
Looking ahead, DCK is excited by the opportunities that Scandit will open up for them. Simons says, “The more scanning we can do, the better within our retail team. On top of what we have already implemented to support our supply chain operations, there are huge opportunities for us to being able to bring products and concepts to life through scanning and augmented reality. This will really allow us to display much greater information such as compliance, materials and trends.”
DCK are excited by the future of retail digital transformation and are already starting to roll out Scandit internationally for product markdown in territories such as Canada, Scandinavia, Southern Europe and Asia.