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    Magruder's Goes Wireless

    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Magruder's Supermarkets, a 10-store independent chain with roots dating back a century this month, began building a wireless infrastructure in every store to provide flexibility in the locations and movement of intelligent devices throughout each location, and minimize points of failure in the communication infrastructures to these devices.

    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Magruder's Supermarkets, a 10-store independent chain with roots dating back a century this month, began building a wireless infrastructure in every store to provide flexibility in the locations and movement of intelligent devices throughout each location, and minimize points of failure in the communication infrastructures to these devices.

    The wireless upgrade is part of a scale management system rollout using Missasauga, Ontario-based vendor Invatron's Plum and ePlum solutions. "The wireless infrastructure allows us to be more flexible when it comes to relocating or for that matter locating intelligent devices throughout our stores," Glenn Gibson, Magruder's c.i.o., told Progressive Grocer. "For example, our meat, deli, seafood, bakery and produce scales can quickly be moved from one department to another, allowing us to react to a store's production needs during busy times. We might need an extra scale in the meat department during Thanksgiving for weighing turkeys, or in our deli department to handle large catering orders."

    For the scale management solution, Gibson needed a system that could be supported on Magruder's Microsoft.NET infrastructure, and that would manage the stores' promotional retail pricing more efficiently, with more date and time execution flexibility then his legacy system offered. He also needed a system that would possess clean and flexible data import and export capabilities so that we could integrate the scale data into our corporate information systems.

    Although the scale management system is the first solution to go wireless, it's a hint at what's to come, said Gibson. "Some of the future benefits of our wireless store networks include the ability to add and/or temporarily relocate POS cash registers in our stores using the wireless access points instead of having to cable them into our main store network," he said. "We'll also integrate our store security systems into our corporate VPN via the store's wireless network. Finally we anticipate this wireless gateway will be used to offer WiFi originated information and promotional services to our customers who use intelligent PDAs and cell phones."

    This summer, Magruder's is also planning to evaluate the latest release of application software NCR for its FastLane self checkout systems, Version 4.0. "It seems to be much more user-friendly from an interface standpoint," said Gibson. "To make the customer interaction easier, quicker and of course with less intervention from a store associate will continue to make self checkout technology a win-win experience for the customer and our company."
    --Joseph Tarnowski

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