Giant Tiger Streamlines Operations And Automates Inventory Processes With An Aruba Mobile First Network

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — March 6, 2018 — Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, today announced that Giant Tiger, a leading Canadian discount chain with more than 240 locations and employing over 8,000 people, has deployed an Aruba Mobile First Network in multiple operations locations including its new 600,000 square foot distribution center, as part of the company’s expansion plans. The new distribution center will utilize the Aruba network to enable automated inventory operations and deliver secure and pervasive wireless connectivity.

Giant Tiger’s business philosophy is to keep operational costs low and sell a high volume of merchandise including apparel, grocery and home fashion at affordable price points. According to Eric Boudreau, Director of Network Engineering and Operations for Giant Tiger Stores Limited, implementing a mobile-first infrastructure is critical to meeting this fundamental business objective.

“Having a network that is always available and enables greater efficiencies is a huge priority for Giant Tiger,” Boudreau said. “Aruba’s mobile-first approach matched our organization’s need to streamline operations, improve inventory processes and move towards efficiencies and efficacy.”

With assistance from partner Mobia Technology, Giant Tiger deployed Aruba 300 Series indoor and outdoor access points, 7200 Series Mobility Controllers, 2920 Switches, AirWave network management and ClearPass Guest for authenticating visitors, in its headquarters and active distribution center in Ottawa, a freezer facility in Brockville, and new distribution center in Johnstown.

The ruggedized Aruba outdoor access points are ideal for Giant Tiger’s 200,000 square foot freezer facility, given the extreme temperatures in that location, and the Aruba indoor access points used in the two distribution — particularly the new facility — easily accommodated the connectivity challenges associated with ceiling heights of up to 60 feet.

For the new distribution center, in particular, wireless was the primary focus of the design. Using Aruba wireless access points, Giant Tiger could ensure pervasive coverage and full redundancy for 24×7 availability, and fast, reliable connectivity for workers, including forklift drivers who need to update the system using mobile computers while working – sometimes from 40 feet in the air.

The network enables the warehouse management system to increase both the speed and, more importantly, the accuracy of Giant Tiger’s supply picking. Increased picking accuracy results in a higher percentage of correct product on store shelves, improving the overall efficiency of Giant Tiger’s inventory process and ultimately, impacting sales positively.

“We have voice-picking RF devices and approximately 140 pickers between our Ottawa distribution facilities and the new center in Johnstown, who are picking goods conventionally, using voice pick technology through a Bluetooth headset,” explained John Hubbard, associate vice president, Warehousing, Giant Tiger Wholesale. “The pickers are directed to choose a location and are required to provide a check digit to confirm that they are at the correct pick location, and the system then tells them the quantity of units to pick. The entire picking process depends on the Wi-Fi. Without a high-performing, reliable wireless connection, our picking staff could not do their jobs as effectively.”

The network enables other mission-critical applications such as inventory control, allowing receiving dock associates to quickly scan inbound products via ruggedized handheld RF scanners while forklift operators can perform “put away” and replenishment functions using barcode scanners that are connected by USB to large screens tablets mounted on their forklifts for easy and safe viewing. In both situations, Giant Tiger team members can ensure products are tracked and correlated in the system for more efficient inventory control. The system is designed to assist staff by making their tasks easier, more efficient, and accurate.

Although Giant Tiger is currently using Aruba ClearPass primarily to deliver simplified guest access to vendors visiting the company’s home office or distribution center, the organization plans to pilot guest access in its stores in the near future. In addition, since Giant Tiger is using Aruba location-ready APs that contain built-in Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons, Jeff Scobie, Senior Vice President, Information Systems for Giant Tiger Stores Limited, says the organization will evaluate how they can leverage location services as they move forward with their digital transformation process.

“With the new, Aruba mobile-first foundation now in place, we’re confident that we can layer new applications and capabilities on top of the network as we need them. And by transforming and improving how we operate, we can continue to meet our company’s core objective of delivering valued products at low prices to our customers.”

Posted March 6, 2018

Source: Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company