Folkestone Fixings Case Study

The Problem

Folkestone Fixings (FFX) is one of the largest independent suppliers of power tools and powertools accessories, hand tools, fixings and fastenings. With a new distribution centre and massive stock holding, meeting the demands of its customers relies on maintaining efficient operations throughout its supply chain. Having received recent private equity investment from H2 Equity Partners and with a change in business leadership, FFX is tooled up for success and achieving its ambitious growth targets.

FFX has invested heavily in improving its warehousing and infrastructure. Spending 18 months designing and building their warehouse management software from the ground up, they have also implemented a new cutting-edge WiFi infrastructure to optimise operations. With an estate of legacy Honeywell EDA50 devices, FFX were ready to reap the rewards of their investment only to find that the performance was slow and suffering from serious lag. They had invested so much and yet they were unable to work at the speed hoped and this was hurting productivity.

Folkestone Fixings Case Study

The Solution

After extensive testing, the software was ruled out as the cause of the problem, but FFX still needed a resolution and fast. Coming to us for support, we were the partner of choice due to our ability to react with speed. We recognised the urgent need, quickly understood the problem and set to work on the solution.

We were already fairly confident that the root of the problem was the age of the mobile devices and compatibility with the new WiFi infrastructure but needed to confirm this. Initiating a wireless site survey to measure the signal, check access points, review channels and provide a heatmap of their coverage, we established that the WiFi was not causing the problems and shared some tips to optimise performance.

The Project

Device Testing & Selection

With the tight timescale in mind, we began to test replacement devices in parallel to the site survey while holding off on making the decision until it was complete. Reacting quickly, we were able to put the right choices in front of FFX based on our expertise and created a shortlist of devices from Honeywell and Zebra including the TC72, TC52ax and CT60. From initial engagement to testing all the devices took less than two weeks.

Advising FFX, we helped them to understand the differences between the shortlisted devices and outlined pricing. Quickly, the frontrunner was determined to be the Zebra TC52ax, providing the right balance of quality and performance and the right price. At the time of testing, it was also the only device to support WiFi 6 and offered the greatest compatibility with the new wireless infrastructure.

To support their future growth, FFX increased their total number of devices, investing in 100 Zebra TC52ax’s with exoskeletons supported by a Zebra OneCare service contract.

Protecting The Investment

This was a significant investment in hardware, and how the devices would be secured, protected and looked after was a key consideration. To house and secure the devices, FFX chose the winning combination of a Zebra Intelligent Cabinet and Waizu analytics software to protect their assets and prevent lost devices from eroding operational efficiency.

To manage the new devices, we recommended making the move to the Enterprise-grade MDM, 42Gears. From demo through to set up, we trained the FFX team to be self-sufficient, leaving them with enough knowledge to run the new MDM solution themselves.

A Seamless Deployment

Speed was the goal but there was no compromise on the quality of our deployment service. The devices rolled out first and, once available, we installed the Zebra Intelligent Cabinet and Waizu software on-site with our engineers meticulously managing device onboarding on the ground and providing in-person training for staff. From start to finish, the project was completed in just six weeks.


When we went into this, TPP Retail was our first and only choice of vendor. We have been dealing with TPP Retail for several years at this point and they already had our trust as a supplier. TPP Retail acted swiftly to get us some demonstration units on site and once a device had been selected, they were quick to quote, and once approved delivery was extremely quick.

The change of device from the Honeywell EDA devices to the Zebra TC52ax was a game changer. The pickers and packers no longer suffered the delays and constant dropouts that the old devices suffered from, giving a new confidence to our colleagues that ‘the tech’ worked. This also increased productivity significantly, allowing us to move orders through the warehouse a lot quicker.

Jim Reet
Network and Infrastructure Manager
Folkestone Fixings

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