Optimising Efficiency and the Customer Expereince

TESCO Improves Performance with Mobile Computing

Tesco is the UK’s largest retailer, employing over 300,000 people in 3,330 stores. As well as its stores, Tesco operates an online business and has opened six dedicated dotcom distribution centers around London to fulfill Grocery Home Shopping orders. These centres compliment Tesco’s existing strategy, whereby online orders are picked from retail stores overnight.

Mobile computing is embeded in Tesco and delivers a range of benefits including real-time data capture, smoother workflows, a clear view over our stocks position, enhanced data capture and a better customer experience. Tesco has over 120,000 Zebra devices and, to get the best out of them, the devices need to be properly installed, maintained and updated. Zebra’s Services Team helps achieve these goals, taking care of commissioning each device, support and help-desk services and next-day swap outs. For a set cost, to predefine performaces goals, Tesco gets all the performance benefits of mobile computing without all of the challenges that can come with owning such a large estate of devices.

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The Story


With over 120,000 Zebra Technologies handheld, wearable and vehicle-mounted computers and mobile printers in its business, Tesco was looking fo the best way to efficiently commission, manage and service and support the devices.


Tesco has retained Zebra Technologies’ Services Team to oversee its devices. One of the main solutions is commissioning. The Services Team uses Zebra’s Mobility Services Platform (MSP) to scan barcodes to quickly load the relevant software onto each device. Full acceptance testing is also conducted to ensure that every unit – whether it is a handheld scanner or wearable computer with voice control for stock-picking - is ready for immediate use when it arrives on site. As part of the process the serial number of each product is recorded on a central database for asset tracking. Each depot can also order new devices, with orders automated via an online process and fulfilled by Zebra's Services Team. 

Zebra Technologies also provides service and support for each device and meets regularly with Tesco to review performance. Recently it advised that the handheld scanners installed in 320 stores for personal shopping should be serviced on a proactive basis. This sees a Zebra Technologies engineer visit each store once every two weeks. The engines fix or swap out on site all devices that the store reports as faulty, clean every devices and its cradle; and report back any root causes of common problems to eradicate them.

For all other devices in the estate, the team provides a guaranteed next-day swap out under its FastTrack support contract. The user is provided with a replacement device from a pool of stock while the returned unit is repaired and then added back to the spares float. 


  • Accurate stock position: Stock control is optimised in-store, in warehouses and distribution centres
  • Efficient processes: Improved workflows deliver greater efficiency in stocktaking, picking and counting
  • Enhanced data capture: Operational data is collated from across the business in real time for improved analysis and performance
  • Enhanced customer service: Personal shopping is popular with customers while reducing checkout queues and increasing basket size

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