Canadian Tire asks Fujitsu to drive point of sale project

Canadian Tire Tuesday said it had formed a deal with Fujitsu Transactions Solutions Inc. to supply retail point-of-sale hardware systems and services as part of the

most extensive store renewal program in the retailer’s history.

The agreement, whose value was not disclosed, is a “”very large contract”” for Fujitsu, according to Keith McNamara, senior vice-president of the general merchandise industry at Fujitsu Transactions Solutions in Dallas.

It will require Fujitsu to provide TeamPoS 2000 M POS terminals, PRIMERGY TX150 servers and managed services, including staging, integration, on-site/depot maintenance and call centre support.

Canadian Tire, which also looked at a number of other vendors, was “”impressed with Fujitsu’s technology and their engagement with us from a retail perspective, their knowledge of the retail industry, the challenges that we had,”” said Andrew Casey, director of IT retail delivery at Canadian Tire in Toronto.

Although Fujitsu has provided support service to Canadian Tire’s existing POS system for several years, this arrangement is different because both the vendor’s technology and services arm will be tapped, Casey explained.

The agreement with Fujitsu is intended to “”upgrade it, enable (the POS system) to deliver future capabilities from a point-of-sale point of view, moving off of an older, aging platform,”” said Casey.

Casey, who said the retailer has no plans to outsource any other technology services, explained the outdated POS system had caused increasing technology failures that resulted in rising service costs for Canadian Tire that he expects Fujitsu’s product to curb. Canadian Tire will also be able to deliver new features related to promotions at the cash register as well as to improve the productivity of cashiers.

Fujitsu’s POS platform is based on the fastest technology available, which will speed up service at the check-out for customers, added McNamara. “”I think that’s one of the big areas where they’re looking for benefit in this project.””

The new POS devices use Intel’s M-class processor, which is faster than the Pentium-M class of processor and is suited for embedded applications, McNamara said. As a result, “”the Intel M-Pentium processor will actually utilize less energy for the dealers.””

When Fujitsu sat down with Canadian Tire to discuss challenges of introducing the new system, McNamara said, one issue that cropped up was integrating multiple components that connect to POS hardware, such as software and devices like credit and debit terminals. He said Fujitsu cleared this hurdle by using industry standards and choosing the best-in-class components for the POS device.

“”We don’t try to create anything that’s proprietary in nature that they’d have to write a particular driver or a particular integration point to…We’re offering something that’s open.””

Another concern is closely connecting processes in Canadian Tire’s help desk with Fujitsu’s call centre processes. McNamara said Fujitsu, which has similar arrangements with retailers like Best Buy, Staples and Nordstrom, has noticed between 20 per cent and 30 per cent of store visits by field engineers revealed no fault within the POS system itself. He said this may be because receipt paper is feeding incorrectly or operators are unaware of how to use the device.

“”Perhaps their help desk can (take care of that) remotely by maybe getting some training into the stores or some better process between the help desk and the store,”” which can reduce the number of times field engineers are sent on call and therefore cut costs over time, McNamara said.

Full roll-out of Fujitsu’s POS technology to Canadian Tire’s national store network will be finished next year. Canadian Tire’s Associate Dealers, which independently operate 452 stores across Canada, have about 5,000 check-out lanes.

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