IMPLEMENTING POS IN YOUR BUSINESS
10 Things to Consider before Installing a new POS System into your Business
by Helen Kitching
Before purchasing a POS system for your business, make sure you consider all the options and ask yourself the following questions.
1. How many cash registers/POS systems do I need?
When looking at the number of cash registers/POS systems to put in your establishment you will need to look at several things. The size of your establishment, do you serve food, do you want to expand your business in the future, are you considering opening more bars elsewhere, and so on?
Only by having a complete site survey from your POS supplier and discussing each of these points can you truly work out your needs.
2. Security Levels
What levels of security do you want to implement with your POS system? Do you want staff to sign on using ID codes, Dallas keys (magnetic keys assigned to each staff member), etc?
It is important that you know what levels of security you want from your POS system, from your part-time staff to the highest management levels. POS systems today allow you to set different access levels for different staff members, e.g maybe you only want senior management to be able to print off reports at the end of the day, and set other levels for bar staff so they are only given access to the cash register drawer to complete customer transactions, and nothing more.
3. Reporting Requirements.
What reports will you need at the end of the day, week or year?
You need to be aware that a basic POS/cash register system will limit you to printing off basic reports about that particular unit only.
A PC based POS system can allow you to see at any time of the day how your sales are performing, how much stock you have on hand, and so much more. Depending on what you want to find out, whether it be from one cash register, or from every POS system on your premises (if you choose to have them linked) you have complete control over your business.
4. Handhelds, cash registers, or both?
Handheld terminals are a wonderful invention, but you need to consider if you really need them. Handheld terminals are an expensive route to go down and you need to consider all options before deciding on this route. Most establishments are able to use just one cash register for food orders, sending the order direct to a printer in the kitchen, allocating table numbers. You also have the option of having your cash registers linked so you can float all sales between every cash register on your premises.
5. Control Levels
What level of control do you want over your stock & sales? The truth is you want the best controls possible. You can choose to operate your whole stock control from your POS system if you want to. Alternatively, you could outsource your Stock Control to an independent Stock Control Company.
By bringing in an independent Stock Controller you can save time, rather than counting all stock yourself, and you also have an independent report to compare with your own reports.
It is up to you to chose what levels of control you want. Make sure you discuss this with your POS company.
How much are you willing to spend or how much do you have to spend? A good POS company will provide you with the best system for your budget, not try to get you to spend more than you can afford.
Look at how much you are willing to spend and what you can allocate for the future should you need to upgrade your system.
7. Wireless systems or connected by wires.
Having a wireless system that is connected by WIFI (wireless connections) allows you to move cash registers around your establishment without the need for unplugging systems, etc. This may not be an option for you but this is excellent for bars that have a daytime carvery where they only need a POS system for a couple of hours in one part of the bar. A wireless POS system can be moved without hassle to another place in the bar and used for a certain time, and then moved back when lunch is complete.
Most establishments won’t have need for a WIFI system, but it’s another area to consider.
8. Installation & training.
It’s all very well having a fabulous new POS system installed, but if you don’t get good training on your system then what’s the point of having it in the first place? A good system should be user friendly and take no longer than 20 minutes to learn.
When your system is installed, the company providing the equipment should also provide adequate training, with the option to have someone come back into your premises to go through the basics again. We all know that when we are shown how to do something and then left to it we come up with all sorts of questions. Making sure your installation company come back for a recap on the training allows you to ask these questions and refresh your training.
9. Software & Hardware Support.
Very important. You need to know that you have excellent software and hardware support should anything go wrong.
Knowing that you have support at the end of a phone line is great but what if you can’t get hold of anyone. CBE, guarantee you will speak to someone within 20 minutes or they will have someone at your premises within 4 hours, anywhere in the country. Make sure you have this written into your agreement with your POS supplier.
James Connelly, from CBE, says “ensure you have a full agreement in place detailing all software and hardware support services included with your POS system. Both the company and the customer should keep a copy of this agreement, so you are covered from both angles. Invaluable.”
10. Additional elements – CCTV, Keg & Optic Monitoring
There are many additional elements you can install in your bar to increase the amounts of control you have in your business.
By installing CCTV you can keep an eye on all transactions taking place, your staff’s movements, and other things taking place on your premises. To be really effective, CCTV should be used in conjunction with a PC based POS system allowing real time dial in to all your cash registers. See article on ‘Does your POS system give you the control you need?’
Keg and Optic monitoring systems can be used in conjunction with your POS reporting system. These monitoring systems allow you to compare the number of pints of beer pulled as recorded on your keg monitoring system at a certain hour of the night, with the number of pints of beer recorded on the cash registers. Any discrepancies can then be investigated – whether down to wastage, simple error in inputting number of drinks on cash register or more serious, staff theft. The optic monitoring system works in the same way.
If you are considering replacing your current POS system or setting up a new bar, always make sure you get a full site survey before going ahead with any purchase. Putting in a whole POS system, although costing a significant amount, will be one of the most important purchases you can make for your control, saving you time and most importantly, money.
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