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Retail outlets save time and improve efficiency with Andon lights

03 June 2016

WERMA got involved in a LED signal tower light set, deployed to signify a problem dealing with checking out purchases at unmanned cash desks in retail outlets.

The Managing Director of WERMA UK, Simon Adams, takes up the story; “it started to hit home that this this application was the start of something quite big when we started to get an increasing number of enquiries, usually at the beginning of the week, where the customer would say that he had been shopping that weekend at, say, that well known DIY outlet and whilst paying for his purchases had noticed how the signal tower above the automated till had been used to call for supervisor assistance to help him when he was struggling to check out a purchase. That is exactly the sort of thing I am looking for our operation, can we have more information please?”

Local problem? – call for action

The basis of the “call for action” system is extremely simple. Usually a two or three colour LED signal tower forms part of the check out “swipe” process. When this process is interrupted – say you are buying alcohol which requires a supervisor to check your age – the bar code of the product you have attempted to purchase alerts supervision by activating the red flashing light bringing a supervisor to your assistance quickly.

So, whether you are a DIY expert buying all sorts for your household at the weekend or a fan of that Scandinavian flat pack furniture retailer or just doing your shopping at certain of the supermarket giants you will see WERMA signal lights in operation at the automated cash desks fulfilling an important role in making the retail experience more efficient.

Industrial operations up and down the country are continuously looking at ways to eliminate wastage in processes and become more “lean” in their operations. An area of concern in many operations is the time wasted by staff having to leave their work position to go and get assistance to have a local problem resolved before continuing their work.

Easy to install – comprehensive package of benefits

A manually operated andon light which WERMA manufactures consisting of a signal tower, four button switch box and “plug and play” desk top power supply provides a low cost, easy to install solution to giving a visual alert that you need assistance at your workstation.

Wireless data transmission package adds even more features

Add to this package WERMA’s innovative wireless transmission package and local calls for help can be wirelessly transmitted to the desired departments all over the operation ensuring that the call for help is actioned. In addition to the activation of the local signal tower light being displayed on local remote PCs or plasma screens so that action required can be seen, the system can automatically send an Email to those required to act, thus, armed with your smart phone you can always be in touch with what is happening on the shop floor. A simple but comprehensive data collection package displays the actual status of a workstation or production line and allows you to monitor retrospectively performance and thus start to eliminate wastage.

In 2013/2014 WERMA has enjoyed its biggest success to date with this application as that well known online retailer that many of us use so often has installed the WERMA call for action system in all of its warehouse and packing facilities in the UK and as the company expands even more into mainland Europe, new facilities there are all being fitted out with this equipment. “In the UK alone we have supplied in excess of two thousand or so andon light sets to this customer alone and our colleagues in Europe are seeing a similar trend. Alongside the benefits of the package we offer another critical factor to our success is the very short lead-time we are able to supply even orders for 100s of these sets at once.” concludes Simon.

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