Retailer Makes A Chain-Wide Switch To PC-Based POS Systems
Australian retailer, Coles Myer, Ltd., begins replacing proprietary systems in 1,800 stores with PC-based POS systems featuring touch screens.
Coles Myer, Ltd., Australia's largest retailer, recently adopted a program to improve customer service and cut transaction costs chain-wide. The company, headquartered in Melbourne, Victoria, operates more than 1,800 stores and generates over AUS$20 billion in annual gross sales.
Coles Myer's New Store Environment (NSE) program is a multi-year, $100 million project to replace various proprietary retail information systems with industry-standard systems. The industry-standard systems are based on Fujitsu ICL's GlobalStore and Microsoft ActiveStore enterprise platforms. More than 150 IT specialists from all areas of the Coles Myer group make up the NSE team. The team has developed its own graphical user interface (GUI), enabling Coles Myer cashiers to work more efficiently.
As part of the New Store initiative, Coles Myer is installing 4,000 MicroTouch displays in its 550 Coles and Bi-Lo supermarkets. The supermarkets employ more than 60,000 people and serve five million customers each week.
MicroTouch met all Coles Myer's technical requirements, according to Ian Goch, general manager of systems development at Coles Myer and director of the New Store Environment team. The flat-panel displays are based on state-of-the-art LCD (liquid crystal display) technology and sold under the TruePoint Profile brand name. All displays were assembled in MicroTouch's Australian headquarters and manufacturing facilities in Mulgrave, Victoria. The displays feature TouchTek, a proprietary, five-wire, resistive touch screen. It enables users to activate the touch screen using virtually any input device, including a finger, gloved hand, credit card or stylus.
The Benefits Of Touch
In each supermarket, two MicroTouch displays were configured at each checkout aisle. The touch screens are designed to save time, improve productivity and customer satisfaction, and reduce staff training costs.
In the sale of fresh produce, for example, conventional checkout systems required clerks to find four-digit product codes and prices from printed lists, then enter codes using keyboards. Identifying the correct produce had been a problem, since each store carries more than 500 fresh produce items. With the new system, clerks enter the same information simply by touching on-screen icons representing the various produce items. Fresh produce, and all other grocery items, are represented by color pictures or icons. New or seasonal items are updated in the networked system from a central location.
Payment options are also displayed by icons. An EFT (electronic funds transfer) pinpad is displayed on the operator screens. EFTPOS validation slips are produced automatically for credit cards. Detailed receipts are printed, which include full descriptions of products purchased as well as prices. Customers can set a spending limit using the system. Once the limit is reached, the system alerts the cashier.
New System Incorporates Handheld Devices
The Coles Myer PC-based, touch screen-integrated system features upgradeable software with perpetual inventory capacity. The system generates time-saving back- office reports, that run in a matter of minutes. These same reports took 1 to 1 1/2 hours to run using the store's previous system. Realtime sales/stock on-hand data is instantly generated to store distribution centers. Handheld radio frequency devices are used on the distribution shopfloor for direct communication with the in-store system for management and distribution of store inventory.