By Aimee Chanthadavong

Unisys New Zealand has extended its contract with New Zealand grocery distributor Foodstuffs where it will continue to provide the company with IT services for store point-of-sale (POS) and pricing systems.

Speaking to RetailBiz, Unisys New Zealand managing director Brett Hodgson said he is delighted to continue the company’s 14 year relationship with Foodstuffs.

“For any retailer it is important to make the purchasing process as smooth as possible for the customer.  From an IT point of view this means that the check out needs to be working when the customer wants to make a purchase  – whether it is via a self service kiosk or a traditional manned check out,” he said.

Under the extension, Unisys will continue to provide services to cover the full IT infrastructure support lifecycle for the POS systems running in 124 New World, PAK‘n SAVE and Four Square stores across the lower half of New Zealand’s North Island. The services comprise installation and maintenance services, including remote and on-site software support, implementation and deployment of changes and upgrades.

According to Hodgson, Foodstuffs has identified three mission critical processes for its retail business that Unisys will work on developing technology solutions for such as the POS system at the traditional and self-service checkouts.

It will also look at producing electronic shelf price labelling system that allows for quick prices changes across the store.

“The electronic price labelling system enables the store owner to quickly update the price shown on electronic displays on the shelves, rather than having to print and replace price tickets. Price changes are driven both centrally by the co-op and locally by individual store owners,” Hodgson said.

“The electronic labelling solution gives the owner operator the ability to respond quickly to competitor moves in the market.  It also drives cost savings as staff do not need to be on the floor constantly changing prices.”

Unisys will also continue to maintain and provide support to a hand-held self-service price scanner solution that has been available to members of Foodstuff’s Shop’n Go card program since the late 1990s, Hodgson said.

“The Shop’n Go service entails customers picking up a handheld scanner at the supermarket’s door and then scanning their purchases as they proceed around the store. This greatly speeds the paying process at the till, as the items have already been stored in the POS system’s server, so the bill can be called up instantly at the till.  It is essentially a virtual point of sale system able to store transactions ahead of the customer reaching the check-out.  It uses the wireless network operating throughout each of the participating stores.”