Boundary Mills adopts new technology for growth

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Boundary Mills selects Toshiba modular PoS on Quinteks Pro PoS software to improve management information, speed up customer service and provide ease of maintenance for a total low cost of ownership PoS solution.

Background

Boundary Mill Stores was founded in 1983 with the conversion from a former cotton mill to the first retail store in Colne, Lancashire. From its humble beginnings, the company has grown into a highly successful retailer currently operating from 5 sites, each running 300 different concessions selling heavily discounted end of line fashion and home shopping products from a multitude of well known brands.

The Challenge

In its infancy Boundary Mill Stores traded using proprietary cash registers but as the company expanded it became apparent that the tills were not providing the functionality required, prompting the company to upgrade to integrated PoS units. Whilst the new PoS units improved the level of management information available and facilitated credit card payments, reliability became an issue, with maintenance becoming both time consuming and costly, as Nigel Shuker, Boundary Mill Stores Finance Director explains, The integrated units were failing and becoming very expensive to maintain, our stores open seven days a week so reliability of the PoS is critical, both from a customer service and cost of ownership aspect.

The Solution

When Boundary Mill opened its Walsall store in 2003 Quintek Systems recommended and installed its Pro PoS software implemented on Toshibas ST-6500 modular PoS terminals, with proven quality and long term reliability, providing Boundary Mill Stores with a resilient and reliable solution. Robust yet compact, the Toshiba terminals proved far easier to maintain than the previous integrated tills; whilst the small unobtrusive footprint, with the base and drawer fitting neatly under the counter, maximised counter services.

Quintek Systems worked closely with Boundary Mill, adapting its software, to deliver a tailored solution to meet the unique requirements of its business operations. Unlike traditional retailers, Boundary Mill has to manage stock from over 300 different concessions, with the requirement to capture and report both sales and stock information for each individual concession.

In 2002 prior to opening its Newcastle store Boundary Mill &  Quintek developed a unique datacapture system requiring the till operator to scan two barcodes printed on each products ticket  one for Boundary Mills own sales information and one for stock information for the concession. Prior to this stock replenishment, for each concession, had been handled manually with staff having to verify tickets from garments and cross match these against sales information an extremely time consuming and labour intensive process, with the potential for many errors. Automation of this process has given Boundary Mill Stores complete visibility of stock and greatly speeded up the stock replenishment process from the companys numerous concessions.

Enhancements in the quality of reports has also brought improved operational benefits, for example ranking performance by brand and analysis of year on year sales has allowed Boundary Mills to identify which concessions are most successful -  providing invaluable information for planning concession space, and planning staffing levels during busy periods, such as Boxing Day.

Other PoS developments implemented by Quintek for Boundary Mills include a gift voucher system enabling all gift vouchers to be scanned through the tills allowing complete visibility of voucher redemption and eliminating the possibility of fraud, which had previously existed when gift vouchers were issued using a manual scheme.

Another area where Quintek have been able to improve operational efficiency throughout all Boundary Mill stores is through automated discounts for specific promotions, which can be set up from the back office.  The promotions can be timed for specific periods and the onus is removed from staff to remember what promotions are running with which concessions, allowing multiple promotions to run at any one time without confusion.

Automatic exports into bespoke packages, such as sales commissions has also greatly speeded up a previously lengthy and time consuming manual process.

Each of the Boundary Mill Store sites has a coffee shop, with the Store Manager being responsible for both the retail and hospitality operation. Due to the flexibility of the Quintek / Toshiba solution, it has been possible to utilise the same software and hardware, using a slightly different keyboard configuration, customised for a hospitality environment. All retail and hospitality information is linked into the Colne Head Office store, enabling Boundary Mill Stores to manage both the retail and hospitality side of the business using a single solution. The company has been able to use the PoS system to monitor the best selling lines in its cafeterias and plan menus etc.

Commenting on the relationship with Toshiba and Quintek Systems, Nigel Shuker said:

I am happy to recommend Quintek Systems, the company has adapted its software to meet our specific requirements, enabling us to improve customer service and to manage our business more efficiently.

 Talking about the Toshiba hardware, Nigel said The reliability and robustness of the Toshiba terminals is excellent, ensuring a low total cost of ownership. We wanted the back up of a major retail brand and the latest Toshiba ST-7000 model with its slide-out design allows us to protect our hardware investments, minimising downtime and allowing for cost-efficient maintenance and upgrades in the future.

Future Plans

Boundary Mill is in the process of upgrading all stores to Windows XP to ensure a common platform for Chip & Pin accreditation. With their confidence in the quality and performance of the Toshiba hardware they have decided to upgrade the whole estate onto Toshibas latest modular ST-7000 terminals. The simple to operate slide-out design of the ST-7000, allows key components such as the engine board and hard disk, to be swapped out, for quick and easy on-site maintenance, essential for future-proofing.

The company is currently considering the launch of a loyalty scheme linking into the PoS, allowing Boundary Mill Stores to capture data and target customers with special offers.

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