Installing Your First POS System
- Tom Modeen
POS Planning Yields Great Results
It’s a big day today. You’ve made a decision to retire that old “cash box” and install a sophisticated POS System. The big picture view of Point of Sale is increased security, better inventory control, increased profits and better service to your customers. These are not lofty goals, but how do we get there? Answer: a great game plan. Here are some steps to consider:
Building Enthusiasm with Staff Will Help Make POS Successful
Without staff acceptance, the best laid plans are for mice and men! In POS implementation and management, your key employees will be your best asset. You will need assistance in gathering an accurate and complete POS item file, product ordering, inventory and generating key management reports. POS, in turn, will make their tasks more efficient, accurate and less prone to error. These goals are shared by all great employees. Everyone wins!
Plan for Your Individual POS Employee Security Task Privileges
One of the benefits of Point of Sale is the management of employee task privileges. Establishing the boundaries of employee permissions is the first step in reducing the potential for fraudulent actions. Transaction voids, price overrides, no sale/open drawer, check cashing, cash pickups are but a sampling of activities that can be assigned specifically to managers. Newer or lower level employees can be omitted from performing these functions unless a manager intervenes.
The register front end of POS and security access is a prospective first line defiance against employee theft. POS audit reports are retroactive tools that provide employee accountability for the number of instances of non-standard transactions (voids, over rings, etc.).
The prospective-retrospective security advantage is one of the key drivers for Point of Sale implementation.
Insist on Quality Electronic POS Item Files and Updates from Your Vendors
The POS item file is the engine that drives everything from your checkout process to inventory control. The first item of business will be to contact all major and secondary vendors and request an item file comprised of your purchase history in a system readable format. These files would be comprised of product UPC, vendor reorder number, item description, package size, department code, taxable/non-taxable item status, cost and retail price. Your POS vendor should assist you with a specified file format for vendor distribution.
Building an item file electronically is far faster and more accurate and nullifies manual entry of inventory items as a viable alternative. All vendors with a modicum of experience know that POS item file support is a necessary responsibility.
Coinciding with your new and robust POS item file are the vendor price update services. You should insist on receiving electronic price updates automatically reflecting items purchased and shipped. The standard for electronic price updates in the wholesale world is called the 832 record.
OTC items have standard identifying characteristics. US products are most commonly identified by a 12 digit UPC code. The 12 digit UPC will match products on the shelf and support rapid register checkout and accurate inventory information.
Finally, you may wish to reconsider ordering from vendors incapable of providing electronic item files, updates as well as 12 digit UPC information. This lack of investment and commitment to customers is a key indicator of a substandard vendor.
Commit to Ensuring Product Shelf Labels Are Current and Accurate
Adopting POS will provide greater accuracy and consistency in how your products are priced. With electronic price updates, the latest price is always what checks out at the register. This is not the case with the older, cash box technology. You also gain additional leverage in internally scheduling promotional sales with beginning-ending desired dates.
This enhanced pricing management comes with additional management responsibilities. The first order of business is ensuring that updated prices are completely synchronized with those prices listed on the product shelf label for each item. POS provides those tools. As soon as price changes are received, they are not automatically updated to your POS registers. The first step is to use POS to print new shelf labels for items effected by the updates. Employees then replace old shelf merchandise stickers with those updated. Once complete, the price changes can be dispatched to the POS registers. You now have arrived at a solid system that maintains discipline in executing your pricing strategies. Accurate and consistent pricing is a cornerstone of strong profitability.
Countdown to Implementing Advanced Features
Many retailers want a plug and play solution that will give them perfect inventory purchasing and accounting on day one. As you can see this can only be realized if your inventory items are loaded and priced properly at your POS registers. This takes time, wholesaler support and planning. The most important asset to the retailer is the customer. Assuring speed and accuracy in POS checkout will go a long way in preparing you for the final frontier: Inventory Management.
In subsequent posts, we begin with a fully operational POS register management system and expand those capabilities it to a fully enabled, “inventory ready” Point of Sale System.