Expertly blended in London for over 45 years, Molton Brown’s collection of signature fragrances, bath and shower gels, home and hand care luxuries have claimed iconic status with vibrant colours and bold scents. Carefully sourcing ingredients from around the world, each creation is intricately composed by some of the world’s best perfumers for a truly indulgent, memorable experience. Molton Brown are proud to hold a Royal Warrant for the supply of toiletries by appointment to Her Majesty the Queen.
Molton Brown has a network of 58 independent stores located across the UK, Ireland and USA and operates concessions housed within 15 to 20 high-end department stores. Within each of these stores there was a requirement to conduct stock takes to understand the stock profile of the business. Before implementing the Datalogic solution, these stock takes were carried out annually by a third party. “The consensus from the business was that the third party audits of our stock were not as accurate as they needed to be and as they were only conducted annually, resulted in poor visibility of stock levels for a long period of time,” comments Bhavesh Patel, Technical Application Leader at Molton Brown.
Across sixteen core fragrance collections there are hundreds of SKUs to account for. “Some products look the same on the surface but the way they are packaged often means they have different SKU numbers. For example, two shower gels in the exact same fragrance and size would have two different SKUs if one shower gel had a decorative bow on,” explains Patel. “The subtle distinctions between these products were difficult for a third party to make without an intimate knowledge of each collection and seasonal variations. Our store managers and employees however have an excellent knowledge of the collection, so we decided to find a solution that would empower the stores to take back ownership of stock taking in the hope that it would drive better stock visibility and accuracy across the business.”
Molton Brown began its search in early 2017, with the aim of having a solution in place ready for the first stock take in October that year. “We visited Retail Business Technology Expo in May to review the potential software and hardware solutions that were available to us,” continues Patel. “At the show we met with Mobile Data Collection (MDC), who demonstrated their vast technical knowledge as well as their expertise in writing bespoke software, and showed us some of the handheld mobiles computers we could use to carry out stock takes in our stores.”
After further evaluation and discussions with MDC, Molton Brown selected the Memor X3 mobile computer to run the stock taking application. “It was really important to us that we futureproofed our investment, particularly when it came to mobile computers” says Patel. “We didn’t want to select a device that would suit our requirements at the time but then find that we needed to upgrade them in a few years’ to gain additional functionality. The Datalogic Memor device met these requirements and would provide our staff with a durable device that wasn’t too bulky and comfortable to use for scanning during stock take periods.”
The Memor X3 mobile devices have Datalogic’s patented ‘Green Spot’ technology. A green spot provides additional visual good-read confirmation, when noise may interfere with audible confirmation of the scanning ‘beep’. In addition to increasing throughput, this functionality also helps to reduce errors and improve the accuracy of stock takes.
Data collected by the devices is transferred back to Molton Brown’s back office system when devices are docked, however Wi-Fi communications onboard the device mean that in future the data could be transferred over the wireless network in real time.
To ensure that Molton Brown was able to conduct its first stock take with the new solution by October, software experts Mobile Data Collection expedited the software deployment, writing bespoke software from scratch that met Molton Brown’s exact requirements in just two weeks. “We were really pleased with the extremely quick and professional service that Mobile Data Collection provided to ensure that all the devices we needed were available for our first stock take,” comments Patel. “The software provided the precise functionality we needed and was well designed to fit the handheld computers we had chosen.”
143 terminals and 72 cradles were rolled out to Molton Brown stores in readiness for the company’s first quarterly stock take. Two devices are in use at larger mainstream stores and concessions, while smaller stores have a single unit available. Patel concludes, “We were really pleased with how well the Memor devices performed during our first stock take and received very positive feedback from our store teams. The hardware and software complement each other perfectly and integration has been very good, so much so that we are in the process of implementing a POS upgrade that will enable the devices to be used as part of the returns process. The whole project has been a great success and we hope to continue our partnership with MDC in the future.”
“Maintaining an accurate stock record and having top level visibility of stock availability can pose enormous challenges for retailers, particularly those that have a vast number of SKUs for similar product lines. We are delighted that Molton Brown has selected
Datalogic’s Memor X3 along with MDC’s software to help them address this challenge and are thrilled to hear that the initial results have been positive,” comments Jamie Dickinson, retail sales director, UK&I at Datalogic.