LONDON, March 2 /CNW/ - Tesco, the UK's largest grocery chain, last night
won the prestigious Retail Week Customer Service Initiative of the Year award,
for its hugely successful "one-in-front" campaign. Using SMARTLANE
queue-busting camera technology, developed by IRISYS, in-store queue waiting
time is now kept to a minimum for customers, which Sir Terry Leahy, Chief
Executive of Tesco, cites as a key factor in boosting store profits.
Described by the judges as a "sight of the future", the queue busting
cameras represented "what Tesco does well and what helps give it a competitive
The IRISYS cameras use sophisticated thermal imaging technology to
measure and predict customers' arrival at checkouts, enabling managers to
react in real-time to ensure the right number of tills are open to deliver the
best possible service to customers.
In a recent earnings call, Sir Terry Leahy credited the thermal imaging
cameras as being a key factor in the company's half-year pre-tax profits
rising ten per cent to GBP1.092 billion. Leahy commented, "We have heat
seeking cameras that sense the number of customers entering a store and
predict the checkouts that need to be open in an hour. We can monitor and
manage the service customers get much more precisely - by customer, by store
and by the minute. Thanks to this, a quarter of a million more customers every
week don't have to queue."
The IRISYS SMARTLANE solution uses ceiling mounted infra-red sensors
above the checkout lanes to detect the number and behaviour of customer groups
at the checkouts. The intelligent sensors automatically calculate the average
queue length, average wait time and overall store performance against Tesco's
One in Front(*) (OIF) customer service commitment. Displaying real-time queuing
data on the shop floor enables the retailer's management team to deploy their
multi-skilled staff to react quickly to potential queuing issues.
Attila Winstanley, Productivity Director at Tesco adds, "Ensuring we
offer the best service at the checkouts is one of our core disciplines, and it
is also one of our biggest challenges. Historically we have manually captured
data on queue lengths at the checkout, but accuracy levels were varied.
SMARTLANE accurately captures our OIF performance in real time, allowing Front
End Checkout Managers to deliver better levels of service, whilst at the same
time optimising the deployment of checkout staff."
Chris Precious Sales Director of IRISYS, said, "While Tesco initially
lead the way with this technology, many other retailers both in Europe and the
US are now following suit as they recognise that better service,
cost-effectively delivered by IRISYS SMARTLANE technology, can drive both
sales and bottom-line growth."
IRISYS was recently listed in the Sunday Times Microsoft Tech Track 100
list of Britain's fastest growing technology companies. The
Northamptonshire-based company develops infra-red imaging devices that also
monitor machines for wear and tear and screened travellers for fever during
the SARS outbreak.
(*) Tesco takes queuing seriously and in 1999 pioneered the One in Front
policy (if there was more than one customer in front, they would open
For further information:
For further information: IRISYS, (www.irisys.co.uk), +44(0)1604-594-200,
Simon Emary, Finance Director, Simon.firstname.lastname@example.org