Draeger’s Mobile Scanners Cut Inventory Times 90 Minutes Per Day

Draeger’s, a family-owned and operated grocery chain based in tech-savvy San Francisco, is constantly seeking ways to provide customer experiences that rival its larger, better-known competitors.

The four-store upscale grocery chain turned to mobile scanners from Janam to improve inventory management in its grocery and housewares departments. The Draeger’s team deployed XG3 rugged mobile computers to:

  • Improve its shelf replenishment processes to ensure customers have faster access to high-quality specialty and gourmet foods, produce, meat and home goods;

  • Reduce the time needed to complete in-store tasks; and


  • Provide mobile workers with access to applications residing on their host system.


“The speed of the 2D readers has decreased our daily inventory time on many items from two hours down to 30 minutes,” said Roger Marin, IT Director at Draeger’s Supermarkets in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “It saves an hour and a half in scanning time, which just means more people are on the floor, able to help customers, rather than taking care of back-office type tasks.”

The XG3 is designed to survive multiple six-foot drops on concrete, making it a durable tool for long-term use. Additionally, the platform is equipped with Zebra’s SE965 laser barcode scanning engine. When inventory comes into the store, users can scan the product and enter the information into the keyboard.

“The ability to do that when the product comes in is pivotal for us, as opposed to stacking it up and entering it manually into a computer with a full-sized keyboard, which was a pain,” Marin stated. “Now, it comes in, they scan the product right away, enter it, it’s in our system and it can hit the floor within minutes. They’re ready to put that up and sell it right away, instead of waiting to have a product sit a day or two before they’re ready to sit down and manually enter all this info in. It’s a big difference.”

Upgraded Hardware For In-House Inventory System

More than a decade had passed since Draeger’s first built an in-house inventory system to manage invoicing, product and purchase orders between locations. The retailer was seeking replacements for the old handheld gun-shaped scanners. Upon discovering that Janam offered support in addition to the platform, Draeger’s bought a dozen in its first order and implemented them into its stores.

“Right away, the improvement, performance-wise, was dramatic,” Marin said. “Janam figured out how to make a reasonably sized keyboard with every key in there. As long as we didn’t have to train our staff on how to find a key, that was huge for us. The layout is great, and it includes a screen that everyone can see clearly. The training was minimal-to-none.”

Draeger’s worked closely with mobile wireless and data collection solutions provider Straight-Line Solutions to select a device that could optimize its inventory of home goods, fresh and short-shelf-life products.

The Draeger’s team is devoted to improving the in-store experience. The grocery store launched Draeger’s Cooking School, including kitchens for the program, in three stores. The retailer releases a cooking catalog three times per year, and within its San Mateo Marketplace location, Draeger’s hosts its own eatery, Restaurant Viognier.

“We’re in the Bay Area; we’re competing with Whole Foods and Sprouts is coming in,” Marin said. “Everybody is chasing this upscale customer. We’ve been positioned as an upscale retailer for 90 years, so we know our business. If we weren’t continually improving in this environment, we wouldn’t be around another 90 years. What it means is, it’s finding the products that we need to do our business, do it better, do it more efficiently and cost effectively.”

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