The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation is the only charity in the UK wholly dedicated to defeating lung cancer. It works towards defeating lung cancer through research, campaigning and education. The foundation provides practical and emotional support for patients and all those affected by lung cancer and smoking. It also enables children and young people to make informed decisions about smoking and the tobacco industry.
The Foundation has nine stores in the UK run by volunteers and needed to grow its business, especially by developing its GiftAid package and stock control via its stores.
Pat Tisdale, Director of Retail manager at Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation said: We required a real leap forward in getting information to help us grow the business. This meant we had to change our old system to a new system that could access information easily and quickly.
The foundation looked at more than three other businesses, asking them to tender but decided on Maxa Solutions, charity software CHARiot.
The final decision was based on three main benefits of working with Maxa Solutions and the software. It was very user friendly and we liked the common sense, open approach that Maxa Solutions had to our questions and the ease of the installation. Importantly, they were flexible and listened to the needs of our particular business, added, Tisdale.
Essentially the foundation needs more accurate detailed information for its retail business to progress to the next level. The new system has the flexibility to deal with donated products and new giftware. It has the capacity Roy Castle needs from purchase order through to stock take and works with our current financial packages. The system has the ability to track products from source.
The charity shop volunteers who sometimes arent very computer savvy adapted very quickly to the pictorial, touch screen system and now find it very easy to use which make the sales transactions much smoother and faster.
All the volunteer teams who have had many years with RCF love the new system.
The Foundation can now look at its sales hourly and daily rather than two weeks later with the new CHARiot system. This allows the Foundation to make quicker decisions on what stock to replace and where and when to source it.
Pat Tisdale commented: Donated stock is our main bread and butter business so using CHARiot is a huge step forward in tracking the stock. We can already see the strengths of using the system in real-time. We can find out what product sells more quickly by tracking the goods. For example, we know that 163 books were sold so we know that we need to get more of them from that source and so we can track the most successful and concentrate on getting more and better quality donated stock
All nine Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation stores are now fully operational with the CHARiot system.
Maxa Solutions developed CHARiot specifically for the charity market to fulfil the growing need in charity shops to provide management and business information in a very easy to use format.
Andrea Percival, director of Maxa Solutions said; We have seen a real opportunity within this charity market segment. Charity organisations are realising the benefits of employing professional management from other retail sectors, and with these professional managers comes the requirement for management and business information.
Charity shops operate on very low budgets, and up until recently have not had professional management teams in place to encourage and push through EPOS systems to provide clear management data about business performance and trends. EPOS systems are mostly driven by inventory levels and Charity shops depend on donated goods to a greater extent which are not inventory controlled. It is mostly volunteers that run the shops and their demographics have been a barrier to the implementation of EPOS.
The CHARiot solution, developed in conjunction with specialist provider Nisyst, is a fully proven retail EPOS system with comprehensive, integrated, head-office facilities. The tiling screen is touch screen based and because of the graphical design of this screen, it is extremely simple to use, and actually quite difficult to make mistakes. If the keys are pressed in the wrong order, it will either not allow the function or it will advise what it thinks the user should be doing.
A sale is made either by touching the appropriate pictorial product / category hot-keys, scanning the product barcode, or using the product lookup (Magnifying glass). In this way, donated goods sales without barcodes or PLU, are recorded in detail and are reported on in the same manner as purchased / scanned items. Donations are catered for within the tilling function and the completion of Gift Aid details can either be prompted on screen, or a form can be printed on the receipt printer.
User Log-on ensures that management information can be related to the till operator at the time of the sale and secure functions can be enabled / disabled based on configurable user permissions. All payment types are catered for including vouchers and account. Cheque and Credit card payments have help screens to remind the cashier what to check for.
A single sale can be cashed off using multiple payment methods. If using integrated chip + pin, the till will have a pin pad and the process will be fully automated. The system is accredited by most major High Street banks - making the implementation of integrated chip + pin simple.
Charity shops are now the 5th largest presence in the high street by type of shop. According to Charity Finance annual survey*, almost 100 charitable organisations comprise more than 5,800 shops with annual turnover in excess of 468 million. This growth is set to continue as the sector develops in terms of expertise.
About Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation:
For more information, see website: www.roycastle.org.
About Maxa Solutions:
Maxa Solutions provide integrated business IT solutions for the retail market. It is providing a first of its kind solution to a sector that demands exclusive functionality in order to reap full benefits and return of investment from IT investments. Maxa Solutions has focused on an integrated solution for EPOS and Retail Management specifically for Charity Shops, since there were no generic systems offering anything bespoke for this market. CHARiots volunteer friendly EPOS covers both donated and purchased goods, time and attendance, petty cash and banking. Powerful retail management tools at Head Office provide real time visibility and control of critical shop activities and performance, whilst also managing purchased goods, suppliers and stock management. Interface at Head Office to accounts systems ensure that the data from retail operations is available to executive accounts reporting and fund raising marketing.