Toronto-based Staples Business Depot, a division of Framingham, Mass.-based Staples Inc., began using RFID (radio-frequency identification) to track inventory in May. Besides tagging thousands of items with RFID labels, the intelliTRACKER from AbsoluteSKY, a Montreal-based company that provides RFID technology, and a strategic partner of Frisco, Texas-based Fujitsu Transaction Solutions, is helping Staples track merchandise in real time as it enters a store’s inventory system, is positioned on store shelves and is purchased at the point of sale.
The solution also monitors on-hand inventory, automates receiving, and reports inventory status changes, zone differentiation and shrink reduction. The visible RFID tags are physically detached when the item is sold, so Staples can reuse them.
“This is clearly a significant installation in our inventory management improvement initiative,” said Joe Soares, director, process engineering at Staples Business Depot. “We expect a positive return on investment and the ability to improve inventory visibility and customer service.”
Jack in the Box Inc., based in San Diego, is licensing Lawson Software’s Employee and Manager Self-Service and ProcessFlow Integrator applications to enhance operational efficiencies and employee service.
An existing customer of the St. Paul, Minn.-based software company, Jack in the Box is using the solutions to manage payroll and streamline benefits administration for employees across the company’s corporate and regional offices, distribution centers, more than 2,000 quick-service restaurants and its 50 Quick Stuff convenience stores.
Rather than use a paper-based process to manage its annual employee-benefits enrollment program and distribute paychecks across the vast organization, the new applications automates these processes. Employees use a PC or in-store kiosk to manage their individual human resources information.
With the system, costly paper paychecks will be replaced with plastic cards that employees can use as debit cards and redeem for cash at local banks. The transition will reduce administrative costs associated with printing, cutting and distributing paper paychecks.
In May, The Return Exchange, Irvine Calif., received the Innovative Software award for its Return Rewards solution at AeA’s 14th Annual High-Tech Innovation Awards. The program honors Southern California’s top innovators in technology and education in Orange County and the Inland Empire. AeA, a high-tech trade association, sponsored the event.
The Return Exchange’s Return Rewards software system provides customized coupons that encourage consumers to continue shopping in the store once a return is complete, retailers can “create customer loyalty at the return counter while significantly increasing gross sales,” said Mark Hammond, chairman and CEO of The Return Exchange.
Long lines greet iPhone debut
CUPERTINO, Calif. The long-awaited debut of Apple’s iPhone was greeted with long lines outside of Apple and AT&T stores on June 29 with some people camping out days to get one. Analysts expected Apple’s new smart phone to sell about 200,000 units during its first weekend in release.
The combination phone and Web browser is selling for $499 for a basic phone and $599 for a version with 8GB of memory. The sleek phone that’s operated with a touch screen also comes with an iPod and a camera. The phones are being sold exclusively at 166 Apple stores and 1,800 stores operated by service provider AT&T. Apple ceo Steve Jobs said he hopes to sell about 10 million iPhones during its first year on the market.
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CE vet Callahan passes on
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. CE veteran Phil Callahan died from what is believed to be a heart attack June 26 at the age of 57.
Callahan spent several years at Mitsubishi and also held positions at Sumiko, Hitachi and Princeton Graphics Systems. In June 2005 he founded a public relations and consulting firm named Callahan Public Relations and Consulting.
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