Hovat Ltd., one of the UK’s largest producers of flexo-printed stationery and data labels, has acquired Wydata Ltd., an innovative producer of bar coded stationery and digital printing. The deal, which is worth around £5 million ($8.05 million) spread over five years, allows Hovat to develop bar coded label systems and point-of-sale material.
“Wydata has joined the Hovat family of businesses that already includes Ascom Addressing and will continue to grow aggressively in the next few years,” says managing director Bill Habergham. He described Fred de Wykerslooth, managing director of Wydata, as being a key player in establishing bar code technology in the 1980s, having worked with several supermarket groups and later assisting British Telecommunications and others in implementing bar code systems. He said the acquisition coincides with some interesting developments: “Wydata is one of a small number of companies that are pioneering revolutionary logistics tools based on PDF 417 computer files — the 2D Open Standard bar code — which already has international approval.”
Two-dimensional bar codes are considered more robust and have a higher date storage capacity compared with traditional bar codes. “They are sure to be adopted by the whole retail industry in the near future and eventually by many other markets including the medical sector,” adds de Wykerslooth. He cites their likely impact on supply chain, distribution and logistics, with the potential to improve accuracy, turnaround times and cash flow.
Wydata recently secured a three-year contract with B&Q, the UK’s leading chain of DIY stores, to supply bar code and logistics products, plus digitally printed point-of-sale literature. Hovat occupies an 85,000 square foot site near Maidstone in Kent.