Point of Sale Success – Part 1: Creating a POS Item File
- Tom Modeen
The Pathway to a Successful Point of Sale System Implementation
The most common reason for purchasing a POS system is to arrive at a fully functional inventory control system. This includes ordering, receiving, sales analysis and accurate retail pricing. Point of Sale can provide all those benefits. You just have to understand how to get there. The process is simple, yet methodical. In this, the first in a series of posts, you will begin to learn the ABCs of planning for success.
# 1: Construct a Comprehensive Point of Sale Item File
A robust POS item file is the foundation for a fully functional inventory control system. A point of sale item file includes a valid product UPC (Universal Product Code), vendor order number, department codes for sales reporting, your acquisition cost and retail price. The UPC is key as is scanned at the POS register for item identification and customer price. If the UPC of the item is not scanned at the POS register, you create no sales record you have no reference for future purchasing decisions. Without the vendor order number, you cannot automate product ordering.
Constructing the point of sale item file will require a multi-tier approach. Your larger, primary wholesalers adhere to standardized, electronic files: the “832” catalog. They can make this file available to your POS vendor which can be easily imported into a quality POS software system. The file will include item description, valid UPC, vendor order number, department code, your cost and desired retail price. The bulk of your task can be automated and simplified. Wholesalers would also provide electronic price updates, which can be automated for greater accuracy.
The next tier in item file creation would be to obtain a price catalog from your secondary suppliers. Often these suppliers lack sufficient IT resources to provide you with an electronic file. If the supplier can provide the needed information in an Excel compatible file, this can generally be directly imported. If not, it will require quite a bit of data entry work on the part of your POS staff. If a specific item has already been added electronically, by your primary wholesaler and POS vendor, then the only data entry required will be the vendor order number and acquisition cost for your secondary vendor. Look for shortcuts whenever you can.
Moving through the selection of items you might offer in your inventory will be the card and vitamin section, which you may purchase directly from those distributors. Generally, these vendors can supply an electronic catalog file. Consult with your POS vendor for a standard item file format so you can distribute it to those suppliers. This will make the task much simpler.
The last section of your inventory will be items that have no assigned UPC. This may include gift items which afford a higher markup and some imported ethnic products. These products will have to be entered, manually, in your POS item file. However, modern point of sale systems will “auto-assign” a valid UPC for these products which will allow them to be scanned at the POS register. This helps foster price uniformity and rapid checkout for customers.
Your end goal is to achieve a POS register scan rate of 80 to 90% of all of the items in your inventory. Meeting that goal will contribute greatly to moving from a simple cash register system to a managed inventory system.