Case Studies

Farmfoods

Farmfoods, founded in Aberdeen in 1955, is one of the UK's largest retailers of frozen food, with over 300 stores nationwide.

They pride themselves in bringing the best quality frozen food to consumers and are specialists in the handling and distribution of frozen foods.

In 2009, Farmfoods were looking for a solution to a problem which was shortening the life of their PIN Entry Devices (PEDs): costly cable damage due to PEDs being passed back and forward between the cashier and the customer at the checkout. Cable damage means that the PED needs to be repaired or replaced, with a cost in downtime or a potential cost running to £100's for replacement.

Tailwind's FlexiPole system was identified as a solution to eliminate costly cable damage with an additional attraction to the two part approach used by Tailwind where the mount interfaces with a bespoke 'back' or PEDPack, a piece specifically designed for each payment machine which fits securely in place on the back of the PED and latches into the chosen base from the FlexiPole range. As Farmfoods knew they would need to update their PEDs again in the near future, they were keen to explore a solution which would not require a reinstallation of the entire pole mount but just a low cost purchase of new PEDPacks for the new PEDs.

The initial challenge

The only roadblock was that Tailwind did not have a pre-existing PEDPack to fit the Sagem EFT930, the PED Farmfoods were planning to install. For Tailwind, creating a bespoke solution for customers is a challenge we are happy to accept so an ambitious 10 week project plan to design, prototype, tool and supply pilot product was established and agreed.

The development project

The design strategy was based on replacing the EFT930 cable cover with a new piece which would also provide the latch to enable the PED to be snapped into the Tailwind FlexiPole. The detailed design work was quickly turned into an SLA prototype, demonstrating how the product would work, validating critical dimensions and allowing Farmfoods to sign off on the solution.

Timescales for creating the tool for production would normally require 12 weeks but this would not meet Farmfoods' schedule so Tailwind agreed to use the first check point of the tooling process (after 6 weeks) to provide parts for the pilot roll out, allowing the tool to be finalised in parallel with the pilot. While this exposed the project to the possibility of more expensive re-work at the back end, customer requirements demanded it.

The initial tooling process needed to tune critical dimensions more tightly than normal, requiring close liaison between designer and tool-maker. After 6 weeks, the first cut of the tool was loaded into the moulding machines and the resultant pieces despatched for approval and installation.

To everyone's delight, the first cut pieces were almost perfect. While texturing and some other non-critical features had to be added along with some minor tweaks, there was no hesitation on Farmfoods' part to begin the pilot programme.

A week or so after the installation, with no problems identified, and some minor changes to the tool specified, Tailwind was able to provide final production units for full rollout as soon as the pilot phase had concluded.

The rollout and beyond

The initial rollout across around 1000 points of sale was completed within a few weeks of the pilot concluding. Farmfoods' costly cable problems were eradicated and a more customer friendly payment process established. And Tailwind has continued to supply units to Farmfoods as it has opened new stores all across the UK, often providing product at very short notice.

The PED Refresh

A couple of years after full rollout, Farmfoods began the process of planning for a PED refresh.

Farmfoods selected the VX 820 and were very pleased to hear that Tailwind had already developed a PEDPack for this device. Shortly afterwards, Farmfoods became the first retailer to completely refresh a PED estate mounted on Tailwind products, with the two-piece Tailwind product architecture proving itself and making for an extremely efficient and cost-effective operation.

IT Manager, Mark Haggerty, said "We are delighted with the products and support that Tailwind has provided. From the initial development project, through our pilot and roll out and our subsequent refresh programme, Tailwind has been a straightforward and responsive supplier.

"Tailwind's products have proven themselves over several years now and we continue to buy them as new stores are opened. As one of their earliest customers, it comes as no surprise to us to see their products being adopted the world over."

For more information about Farmfoods visit: http://www.farmfoods.co.uk/

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