Toshiba and specialist reseller, Paper UK, supply footwear retailer Schuh with a label-printing solution for their despatch process to save time and help to make operations more efficient.

Finding the right fit

Toshiba Tec offers printing solutions for diverse applications in an enormous range of industry sectors, so when dynamic high-profile footwear retailer Schuh needed a label-printing solution that would save time and help to make its operations more efficient, they contacted Toshiba’s specialist reseller, Paper UK (who have a specialist division Duplex Thermal Printers), for advice on the best solution for their despatch process.

Based in West Lothian, Scotland, Schuh is one of the UKs leading fashion-footwear retailers offering over 80 brands from its websites and 130 stores across the UK and Ireland. The company has two fully fledged distribution warehouses in Scotland and one dedicated e-fulfilment centre located in the West Midlands, orders are also shipped from anywhere across the store network which allows Schuh to offer local same day click and collect, and to maximise the amount of stock that is available to sell online.

Improving the label to despatch process

Before working with Toshiba printers, the team at Schuh reported that when processing an order for despatch, labels took an average time of 14 seconds to print. Because they were using laser printers, the running costs were much higher due to the relatively high cost of toner cartridges and the amount of toner that is required to print high quality barcodes and shipping labels. The high frequency of having to change toner cartridges and media also resulted in wear and tear and reliability issues with the printers.

As an agile and ambitious enterprise, Schuh wanted to reduce the time spent on labelling internet orders. After carefully evaluating and considering Schuh’s requirements, PaperUK proposed Toshiba DB-EA4D double-sided label printers. These are compact, rugged and robust devices that have been designed to provide a low-cost environmentally friendly solution for applications requiring dual-sided output.

A reliable, efficient and easy-to-use alternative to traditional single-sided printers, Toshiba’s DB-EA4D prints simultaneously on the label and the backing paper, which dramatically reduces the printing time, allowing it to produce labels and receipts at speeds of up to 6 inches per second.

In its application for Schuh, the printer not only saves time and improves the appearance of the despatch notes, it also prints a return label beneath the peel off address label, making it a simple and convenient customer experience when returning an item. To support extended applications like this, the printers provide exceptional versatility. They can, for example, be fitted with paper roll holders and users can easily produce custom label designs to suit the specific requirements of any retailing business.

After carrying out trials with the new printers, the logistics team at Schuh reported immediate and significant improvements: the despatch notes could be made 60% smaller and the rate of preparing packages for despatch was increased by a factor of three. This is a crucial boost, particularly at busy times such as the Black Friday sales and during the Christmas shopping period.

Further improvements

Thanks to the new label printing solution, Schuh has also reduced errors and order delays. In the first six months of this year, 99% of packages were delivered on time, with the vast majority of the remaining 1% affected by factors beyond the company’s control, such as delays in the postal system.

“The DB-EA4D is a versatile high-performance printer that makes double-sided label printing readily affordable,” explains Becky Viccars, Internal Sales & Marketing Manager at Toshiba Tec. "It’s an attractive alternative to conventional single-sided printing in a wide range of applications and, since double-sided printing greatly reduces the amount of consumables used, it has low running costs and excellent environmental credentials. For Schuh, the DB-EA4D dual-sided label printer is the right fit – pretty much like a great pair of shoes!”

The solution recommended by PaperUK has easily exceeded our expectations. We are able to operate much more efficiently, and we can ship around 300 packages per hour at each packaging station. Toshiba’s label printers offer us peace of mind as well as significant savings of well over £100K per year in toner costs alone, and, as a bonus, they’ve also helped us to reduce our carbon footprint as we use far less paper and no longer ship thousands of toner cartridges to and from our stores. Rob Bridle, Logistics Director at Schuh
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