Software specialist Open Projects Ltd has developed a unique software solution designed for use in the retail sector to manage the distribution of newspapers and magazines.
Open Projects has worked in partnership with Rascal Solutions who have successfully sold the system into major retailers such as Tesco and Sainsburys.
Open Projects have extensive experience in designing software for a variety of industries and were approached to develop the Rascal system due to their expertise in integrating various technologies including: hand held mobile terminals, internet based database management, wireless networking, real-time information reporting etc
The Rascal System
The Rascal news and magazine management system is now used by some of the biggest retailers to manage processes such as stock returns, promotional activity, merchandising queries, claims for returns, credits etc.
Developing the Rascal system involved unique challenges; the retail newspaper and magazine industry has a very fast turn around of products and deals on a sale or return basis. Approximately one third of all UK magazines delivered to retail outlets have to be sent back to the supplier as returns unsold. This equates to around 800 million per year.
The Rascal system needed to include an accurate process to manage how much was being returned to each supplier and highlight whether the value has been invoiced or refunded. Unsold copies of newspapers and magazines need to be returned to suppliers within a strict timescale in order for the retailer to qualify for a credit. The Rascal system integrates mobile hand held terminals with a central database to create real-time accurate information with instant web-based access and alerts for all levels of the supply chain. This enables retailers to increase their efficiency, reduce wastage, create item-level management reports and issue automatic credits/invoices.
Many retailers using the Rascal system have reported major improvements in the transparency of the magazine management process, both at wholesale supplier level and in-store. They also report that they have been able to save time previously spent painstakingly checking stock returns. Staff, therefore have more time to ensure the shelves are well dressed and fully stocked and sales have increased. Those retailers using Rascals stock-take program and financial reporting have a clearer picture of their sales across all their stores, within this sector.
Peter Kemble from Rascal Solutions, Developing this system with Open Projects, we have been able to provide Tesco, Sainsburys and other major retailers with an exceptional management solution; delivering major improvements in efficiency. These retailers now have a state-of-the-art system that has enabled them to increase transparency, reduce shrinkage, increase efficiency, increase sales and ultimately improve the service to their customers.
Key Features and Benefits of the System
- The software integrates every stage of the supply chain for accurate, real-time information and reporting
- The system integrates state-of-the-art technologies wireless PDAs, Internet data management, GPRS, voice alerts
- A central database holds complete information on stock, range, pricing, vouchers and returns by store, region and supply chain
- PDA field units are used to scan barcodes on items allowing accurate management of expected deliveries, goods-in and returns.
- Staff or independent merchandisers can scan titles with a PDA which notifies them with audible and visual alerts when the title should be returned to the supplier for a refund. Out-of-stock items can be re-ordered automatically so no sales revenue is lost.
- Data is transferred between PDA field units and the central database using GPRS, landline or wireless technology allowing full flexibility anywhere in the world
- Discrepancies in deliveries, credits or stock are automatically highlighted and alerts sent to head office and supplier via email, text or XML file
- Returns and credits can be automatically managed by the system
Open Projects worked closely with Rascal Solutions to develop this unique system and provide ongoing technical support and maintenance services for Rascal and its end-users.
Open Projects work with a variety partners such as resellers, systems integrators, distribution companies etc, to develop bespoke software packages and services depending on individual customer requirements.
Richard Gutteridge, Managing Director at Open Projects, We work with a very flexible approach to our customers because everyones needs are different. For some customers we provide a complete solution software design, hardware set-up and installation, support and technical help desk services, server hosting etc; for other customers we may develop a one-off software package that is then installed and maintained by them. Whatever the requirement, we can help businesses that are looking for an experienced software partner.
About Open Projects Ltd
Open Projects was established in 1990 and has forged a reputation for innovative and state-of-the-art software development. With experience in the retail sector, distribution and a number of other industries, Open Projects offer flexible software solutions and bespoke systems for virtually any business requirement however large or small. Development projects can vary enormously and Open Projects can offer a variety of services including consultancy, IT problem solving, one-off development projects, web-based software systems, on-going management and support services, hardware sourcing and installation etc.
About Rascal Solutions
Rascal is a young company developed by two magazine wholesalers, seeing the need for some visibility and help in what is a tremendously complex category for many retailers. The Rascal system is a comprehensive, field based set up, that covers all aspect from range compliance to unsold goods return. Although developed for news and Magazine products, it can be adapted for any product that works on the sale or return principle and bring ease and visibility to the merchandising process. Rascal remains the leader in its field, worldwide.