"What is happening in the Rheinberg Future Store is a masterpiece of integration. We now understand that the integration of these technologies in one store is possible."
Zygmunt Mierdorf, member of the Management Board of the METRO Group
With a vision in place to become a ‘store of the future’, METRO Group set about creating the Future Store initiative. Business partners including IBM, SAP and Intel and other IT and consumer companies worked with the METRO Group on the project.
Ten months of intensive discussions preceded the store’s opening in April 2003. The aim was to see how a range of new retail technologies worked together in a single, real-time, consumer-integrated store environment.
With the experience gained from the pilot, METRO Group aims to become even more sensitive to the changing demands of consumers and to gain market leadership in future retailing. In addition the company intends to promote retail initiatives nationally and internationally.
Why On Demand?
In harnessing IBM Business Consulting and Wireless e-business Services, the METRO Group demonstrated its technological leadership as an innovator, supplying on-demand technology to the marketplace.
The basic technology underlying the Future Store is Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). This technology can be applied across the entire value-added chain for automatic product identification – from production through transport and warehousing logistics to sale and customer service. It is also able to store and recall crucial product information, including prices, best-before dates or supplier identity. All this data is collated centrally on the merchandise management system.
Additionally a local area network (LAN) was created to enable use of technology such as electronic shelf labels.
The new wireless processes save the company from having to perform time-consuming manual counts and save money through tighter inventory control. The store increases customer loyalty while optimising its back-end processes. The wireless integration with the warehouse information application enables the store to use real-time data to track inventory and shipments automatically.