Morrisons fuels POS success with Toshiba

Morrisons, the UKs fourth largest supermarket chain, with an annual turnover of over 14 billion, has transformed the point of sale systems at its 300 petrol filling stations and customer cafs with a solution from Toshiba and HTEC.

The appointment of Phil Maud at Morrisons was the catalyst for a complete review of PoS requirements at their Petrol Filling Stations. Previously at Asda, Phil had been instrumental in developing a bespoke system in partnership with HTEC, a software solution provider, for Petrol forecourts.

The challenge

Morrisons existing proprietary system provided no integration of petrol pump sales into overall sales analysis, they needed a solution that would improve efficiency and productivity whilst at the same time integrate seamlessly into store sales activity. Prior to Phil Mauds appointment Morrisons had been trialing a new hardware and software solution, which they had planned to rollout across all existing Petrol Filling Stations.

Phil was concerned that the proposed solution was not bespoke enough for Morrisons requirements, and not adaptable for new innovations and ultimately future proofing. With Phils experience in the Petrol industry he proposed that Morrisons work closely with HTEC to tailor a system to their unique requirements.

The Solution

Morrisons had been using TOSHIBA hardware within their stores, and had been very impressed with the products, in particular the robustness, reliability and low maintenance costs. They were keen to continue to specify TOSHIBA hardware as the platform for the HTEC software solution, to roll-out across all the petrol forecourts. With the introduction of a new addition to its range the TOSHIBA TEC ST-6500, Morrisons were in no doubt of the superiority of the product in terms of features, performance and reliability against similar competitor offerings.

The new solution consisting of HTEC HydraPOS software and TOSHIBA ST-6500 modular terminals commenced roll-out in a Morrisons new build in Hull in June 2001, shortly followed by stores in South Yorkshire and all remaining 110 Morrisons sites. The installation process ran smoothly with staff trained in advance, all set-up on terminals taking place prior to installation and equipment being installed over night with no disruption to trading. Since the takeover of Safeway, the petrol forecourt system is being rolled out into all newly acquired sites and will be completed in the Summer of 2005.

The Benefits

As predicted by Phil, Petrol Managers benefited from immediate improvements to trading:

Improved speed of service, eliminating queues, improving customer service and ultimately increasing customer throughput.
Reliable and stable system, reduced faults and downtime.
System networked to head office, therefore daily sales update automated (had previously been a manual process).
Real time link to gauges, enabling any leakages to be reported directly, taking away operational responsibility and human error.
Daily sales added to store sales
Automatic end of day reconciliation, with no paper print-outs
Petrol Station sales reports to optimise mix of products for merchandising in store.
Simple and easy to use terminals, with small footprint to optimise counter space.

Aside from the initial immediate improvements to productivity and efficiency, the HTEC and TOSHIBA solution had the flexibility to develop with new innovations in technology, ensuring complete future proofing and lowering total cost of ownership. Particular innovations Morrisons have chosen to integrate include; electronic e-top-up; numberplate recognition; electronic LED pole signs, integrated CODAX carwash ticketing system and on-line customer loyalty schemes.

Number Plate Recognition

The system incorporates ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) to log license plates and video images of the vehicle and its owner, to reduce drive offs.

The data is captured on the PoS Systems and links directly to a National on-line database which can be shared by participating retailers. As the technology integrates easily into the existing HTEC and TOSHIBA solution there are no hefty software or hardware upgrade costs. Morrisons plan to roll-out this system across all sites, but at present are weighing up the additional hardware costs of installing cameras, against the cost of the fraud.

Electronic Pole Signs

Morrisons are always keen to try new innovations, and be first in rolling out new technology. They have recently introduced LED price signs on all their new petrol forecourts. These signs require zero maintenance and minimise pricing discrepancies and human errors. The Electronic Poles link to the PoS Software, by changing the petrol price on the PoS terminal, the price will automatically change on the LED sign and the pump. They have found this to be particularly useful for alternating prices at different times of day to match supply and demand, maximising margin and increasing profitability wherever possible.

Customer Loyalty

HydraPOS has its own integrated online loyalty system which eliminates the need for secondary hardware on the sales counter. Morrisons have the ability to plan targeted CRM activity for promotions and customer loyalty programmes. These promotions can be complex and instantaneous, reacting to the sales within a particular site.

The Future

The key for Morrisons is they have invested in a solid platform which meets the challenges of their petrol forecourts today and has the flexibility to be fine tuned at any time, to meet their ongoing business needs in the future.

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