22 June 2021

Studio is an established and reputable multi-channel business that has been in operation for more than 50 years. From its humble beginnings, starting out in 1962 as a mail order catalogue company Express Gifts, it has recently gone through a significant period of digital transformation and growth. Now rebranded as Studio, it serves 2.5 million customers each year through a combination of direct marketing and E-commerce, remaining one of the largest direct mail order businesses in the UK offering thousands of products including fashion, homeware, toys and personalised gifts, at the best value prices.  

Requirement  

Studio manages the fulfilment of its online and mail order sales from three state of the art warehouse and distribution facilities based in Accrington, Chadderton and Failsworth. Data capture is currently utilised within Studio’s despatch operation, scanning goods out of the operation and onto trailers for courier delivery. Studio relies heavily on data capture systems, which play a key role in supporting streamlined, efficient and accurate warehouse operations.  

With Studio’s current data capture equipment now unsupportable, the business realised that the time was right to upgrade the rugged mobile computers being used by staff. The decision to upgrade with TouchStar was based on an existing relationship which had spanned over more than 15 years. Allan Harle, Senior Operations Manager at Studio Retail led the data capture upgrade project, commenting, “We were operating on TouchStar’s Atlanta Handhelds, which were over 10 years old. As a device, it had more than proved itself, however it was now unsupported, so we knew we had to upgrade. To us, upgrading with TouchStar made complete sense, we knew they install quality and well-supported data capture devices, so it made sense to start talking to them about how we could move on to a future-proof system that would allow us full support on the latest operating platform”.    

Implementation  

Studio selected TouchStar’s latest in-house manufactured TS8000 handheld for the upgrade. Rugged and reliable, the TS8000 fulfilled Studio’s requirements for high-speed scanning and data capture for its goods out operation.  

As part of the upgrade process, additional development was required to enable the integration of Studio’s existing warehouse management systems onto the latest handheld devices. TouchStar project managed the entire process from the development work through to a successful and seamless roll out of the new data capture technology.

Allan continues, “With the upgrade, we knew there would be technical challenges in getting the new devices to work on our current systems, but TouchStar absolutely surpassed our expectations, providing the support, knowledge and expertise to facilitate a smooth rollout of the technology upgrade”.    

Outcome  

The new TS8000 handheld computers integrated successfully with all of Studio’s warehouse management system modules. Since the upgrade, the devices have fulfilled the objective of providing both high speed data capture and fast efficient data communication. Most importantly, running with minimum downtime, one of the key deliverables promised by TouchStar.  

Allan concludes, “The TS8000’s mobile computers have proven themselves to be extremely reliable which is fundamental to the smooth running of our operation. The past year has been one of the busiest to date, and we would not have achieved the successes we have without the systems and suppliers we have in place. Thanks to fantastic support from TouchStar, we were able to manage the additional demand easily, with absolute confidence in the robust, reliable data capture system they have put in place. We are absolutely delighted with the outcome of the TouchStar upgrade and look forward to working with TouchStar on future projects.  

The Future  

Studio is a clear success story of how organisations in the retail sector continue to benefit from the support of advanced warehouse scanning solutions. Additional investment in TouchStar and its mobile computing technology has now been put in place to coincide with their expansion plans.   As Studio continues to review and consider enhancements to current warehouse management systems, the TouchStar hardware portfolio has continue to evolve, ensuring that Studio continue to invests in the technology that will meet the business’ needs both now and into the future.

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