Headquartered in Burnsville, Minnesota, Northern Tool + Equipment is a family-owned, company with retail, catalog and web channels. With 106 retail locations across 21 states and over 1,800 employees, Northern Tool serves serious DIYers, small-to-large businesses and other industries that rely on quality tools and services.
Printers & Multifunction Devices
Steve Spears Director of Retail Merchandising and Marketing, Northern Tool + EquipmentIt was taking eight to 12 hours to get signs put up for each ad. When we switched to the Lexmark solution, we reduced that to about two hours.
At Northern Tool, creating and maintaining in-store signing was an ongoing challenge for store personnel. Signage was sent to retail stores in about 30 random batches, and it would take a full day or more to sort the signing and set it in place. When the company increased its direct mail presence, there was even more pressure on employees to ensure signing was installed correctly to support its advertising efforts.
According to Steve Spears, Director of Retail Merchandising and Marketing at Northern Tool, the amount of time it took to install signage was burdensome for employees.
“It was taking a long time to set the signs, which was a big drain on productivity in the store,” says Spears. “It became a task that employees would dread, rather than being excited to promote items to our customers.”
Steve Spears Director of Retail Merchandising and Marketing, Northern Tool + EquipmentThe conversion metric in our stores continues to improve month over month, and I believe a big part of that is because our employees are more available for our customers.
The company knew the time had come to explore solutions that would ease the burden of signage installation. After researching options, Northern Tool chose Lexmark’s Print and Digital Signage solution. The main component of this solution is Lexmark’s Publishing Platform for Retail which includes Publishing Manager, In-Store Publisher, Designer and Business Intelligence.
“Every store had a different process of executing the process. On the average it was taking anywhere from eight to 12 hours just to get all the signs put up for each ad,” says Spears. “When we switched to the Lexmark solution, we reduced that to about two hours.”
Sign printing is initiated by users from a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) or mobile device. If an employee comes across an item that requires additional signage, they simply scan the item with their device and the sign immediately prints to the in-store printer without going to a computer and launching a separate application.
“They can print the signs quickly and get back to taking care of customers, which is where we want them spending most of their time,” says Spears.
In choosing Lexmark’s Print and Digital Signage solutions, the company has significantly reduced the time employees spend printing and sorting signage. Plus, the solution has made a measurable impact on the bottom line.
“The conversion metric in our stores continues to improve month over month, and I believe a big part of that is because our employees are more available for our customers,” says Spears.
While there are other signage platforms on the market, ease of use – along with flexibility, control and fast user adoption – sets Lexmark’s Print and Digital Signage solution apart.
“The sortation piece was for us, revolutionary,” says Spears. “It has saved us a tremendous amount of time. It also helps keep employees more involved with customers because they not spending so much time putting up signs.”