Manchester United scores with Toshiba and Quintek POS partnership

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Manchester United Football Club has improved customer service and its business management system at the clubs flagship Megastore, thanks to Toshiba point of sale hardware in partnership with Quintek Systems.

The Challenge
Following the partnership with Nike in August 2002. Manchester United Merchandising re -opened its flagship Megastore at the impressive Old Trafford stadium. As one of the largest UK premiership clubs with a seating capacity of 68 000, the new Megastore was designed to accommodate considerable footfall on match days.  With up to 11,000 people visiting the clubs shop on any one match day, building up to a peak period 2 / 3 hours before kick-off, Manchester United needed a PoS solution that could consistently cope with these extremely demanding, exceptionally busy retail periods to improve customer service, as well as manage the stock and reporting for this highly successful, fast moving, high turnover store.

The clubs expansion plans to increase the seating capacity by a further 7,500 seats ready for the start of the 2006 season, meant that the chosen solution had to be future proofed ready to cope with the anticipated increase in footfall.

An essential requirement was the need for a customised solution to deal with the personalised shirt printing service offered by Manchester United, which due to high demand was causing longer than acceptable customer queues and stock control problems for the store. Two years ago Manchester United Merchandising Ltd made the decision to upgrade their Epos System.

The Solution
Although several companies were evaluated, Giles Hall, Systems/IT Controller and the Retail Team selected Quintek Systems Retail Terminal Manager software installed on the two lanes of 10 Toshiba ST-60 touch screen terminals and five further terminals  based in the shirt printing, gallery and customer service departments, replacing the legacy Toshiba modular terminals, which had proved reliable.

As the existing PoS solution suppliers to the club prior to the joint venture with Nike, the Toshiba / Quintek partnership had demonstrated it could offer high quality robust hardware, providing a low cost of ownership and flexible software. This, combined with the commitment to work with the new venture to develop a customised solution, providing more functionality to meet the clubs increasing customer and business needs, formed the ideal solution.

The Benefits
The system installed by the Toshiba / Quintek partnership has given the Manchester United Megastore faster customer throughput, including a customised shirt printing PoS solution, improved stock management, as well as comprehensive reporting.

On match days with all 25 Toshiba tills in use, the reliability and robustness of the Toshiba hardware is critical to the Clubs ability to deal with the huge volume of traffic throughout the shop.  The queues prior to kick-off can be up to 20 people for each till and it is essential for customer throughput to be as quick as possible.

The ease and speed of use of the Toshiba touch screens with intuitive touch screen menu options has made the system simple and easy for staff to operate, enabling the club to quickly train new staff especially important in an industry employing a large number of part time staff, including students.

Commenting on the effect on throughput of the new solution, Margaret Thwaites, Megastore Team Leader said, The Toshiba ST-60 touch screens are quick and easy for our operators to use allowing us to speed up service from the old keyboard system, which is very important to us when dealing with such large volumes of traffic.

Customised Shirt Printing Service
The Toshiba touch screen technology formed the ideal platform for the RTM software developed by Quintek Systems to overcome the delays and stock control issues experienced with the shirt printing service.

Prior to the Quintek / Toshiba PoS solution, it had been necessary for customers to complete a hand written form specifying the number and name required on their shirt, before queuing to pay at the till and then waiting at the printing desk for their shirt to be completed. With the limited number of keys on the old modular system it was very difficult to control the stock with so many different name and number combinations, this sometimes led to expensive mistakes with some shirts being printed with incorrect details.

Stock was difficult to control, necessitating a physical stock check at the end of each month to accurately assess the stock of each players name patches, numbers and individual letters in all colours and sizes.

With the new shirt printing software developed by Quintek Systems in place, the club can now offer its fans an unlimited choice, with any permutation of shirt type, size, colour, number, players name, or a personalised name of the customers own choice, available.

The customer simply specifies their shirt requirement at the point of sale. The personalised multi level drop down menus on the Toshiba ST-60 touch screens, such as Home/Away Kit, Adults/Kids Size etc, guide the operator quickly and easily through the transaction, saving valuable time, vital at peak periods on busy match days. A receipt is then printed at the till detailing the customers exact requirement, enabling them to check that the information processed is correct before actual shirt printing, preventing costly mistakes and improving customer service.

Business Management Benefits
The new Quintek / Toshiba system installed has given the Manchester United Megastore complete and accurate visibility of stock at all times, allowing the club to manage stock more effectively.

With the interface between the Retail Management System and the Stock Control/Accounting System, Manchester United Merchandising Ltd can identify popular lines, allowing it to adjust stock as well as pricing, or assisting with product positioning within the store on a day to day basis.

Reporting is far simpler, with the facility to export reports directly into Microsoft Excel for quick and easy data manipulation. Commenting on this area, Giles Hall, Systems/IT Controller said Quintek Systems has worked closely in consultation with us to develop a reporting procedure that is far more manageable, with reports now being quickly available. The easy manipulation of data makes reporting very simple and easy to do and has provided us with improved presentation for management.

When asked about the overall Quintek / Toshiba solution, Giles said The personalised shirt printing solution developed by Quintek, has not only improved our customer service by offering more choice and speeding up the process, it has also allowed us to manage stock far more accurately and make invaluable business decisions on product positioning, helping us to increase sales.

He continued By linking in our ShopperTrak system to the Retail Management System we can see peaks and troughs, which is essential for managing staff and identifying trends and conversion rates.

The Future
Commenting on the future relationship, Giles said We will continue to work closely with Quintek to enhance the system for improved customer service and business management.

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