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A tale of two Epos systems (1)
Software expert Michael Bloom, of specialist stock management company Top To Toe, on Epos.



22 November 2012

Michael Bloom of Top To Toe, a specialist stock management company, looks at the difference technology can make to how you run your day to day business.

PART ONE.

Mr Look and Mr Leap are aware business on the internet is growing by more than 30 per cent a year. Since they have already done all the hard work of sourcing and purchasing their stock, they decide they want part of that year-on-year growth. Why limit yourself to just the local high street, they muse, when you could open a second ‘shop’ offering what you already have to a far wider audience?

MR LEAP'S STORY:

Mr Leap purchases a website to increase his turnover and profit. After a degree of to-ing and fro-ing the site is ready and Mr Leap starts to enter his stock onto the site.

This, however, turns out to be easier said than done. Initially he thinks about stock-taking all the shop but this would take too much time and be out of date by the time he had entered it all; so he stock checks just 10 products and enters these. But since most of them come in many sizes and many colours one product alone may need 30 or 40 different entries. With so many variations per product it takes from 20 to 60 minutes to enter each product, but after a day’s work all 10 items are on the site.

Two weeks of head-down work later and he has more than 100 products on the site. It all seems to have paid off when orders begin to trickle in via the web. Very soon, however, the stock availability he entered on his website is out of date and Mr Leap has made web sales for product he no longer has. Numerous web clients are very unhappy when he calls to apologise and many are lost, probably forever. Money has to be refunded; this hurts. He immediately stops creating new web products and starts stock-checking and then correcting the website.

A few days of work later Mr Leap discovers the more web products he enters the more work accumulates around stock-checking and website revision of stock availability. Mr Leap never manages to get more than 200 products onto the site and although makes some sales has ended up alienating quite a few clients.

It’s been loads of work and he doesn’t dare think about staring all over again when the new season’s stock arrives.

MR LOOK'S STORY:

Mr Look realises it’s far harder to keep a web site running than it is to initially build it. He decides the first stage of his web project is to ensure he knows his stock availability at any one moment in time, so he sources and installs a specialist stock management
system.

This makes it easy to track items by size and colour - and as it takes only a minute or two to enter each product (with all its sizes and colours) he very soon has a few hundred items in his system. He commissions his website and after a degree of to-ing and fro-ing the site is ready. It has been built to link with his stock management system.

By this stage - and with comparatively little effort - Mr Look has entered nearly ar thousand products onto his stock system. Some are marked for inclusion on the website and others for exclusion from the website; some readily available products instruct the website to always show as “in stock”, even if they are not immediately on hand at the shop.

Mr Look calls his stock management company at 10am one day and tells them to activate the web link. By 10.30am the link is active and 750 products are available on the site – they are always correct. When the stock system registers a change it is immediately reflected on the web system and new items entered into the stock system appear on his website, as if by magic.

Mr Look’s web customer base starts to grow and a fair number return frequently, as he is reliable and does not let them down. The shop also runs better, because he’s completely on top of his stock and sales position.

It’s all routine stuff for Mr Look now. New stock will go onto his stock system as it arrives and will automatically flow through to his website. As the new season begins he anticipates another increase in turnover and profit.

 
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