What a computer CAN do:
With the use of point-of-sale or business automation software to replace the cash register, the computer can simultaneously: print a complete invoice instantly, automatically reduce the stored inventory data, update a customer’s sales history, update a salesperson’s records, record a receivable, alert you if your inventory level is too low and many other things. Let us examine each of these in detail.
Replacing the cash register – with the use of a point-of-sale system (so called, because it is used at “the point of sale” ) the computer will print out a clean legible invoice showing what was purchased, how it was paid for, what the sales tax was, and even include an advertising message or coupon on the receipt if desired. The computer has intelligence that a cash register does not have. Say, for example, that you are using a system that keeps track of customer sales. You might have some special frequent customers that get a discount, like a hardware store does with building contractors. Wouldn’t it be great to know that the discounts are correctly applied, and not rely on a salesperson to have calculated that? Most point-of-sale systems are capable of doing that.
Tracking the Inventory – When you start using the system, you will enter all of your inventory levels in and the computer will automatically reduce the level each time an item is sold. For businesses with hundreds or thousands of items or SKUs (stock keeping units) this is a boon. Many systems can produce a “Reorder Report” on demand. Such a report will tell you which items need to be reordered.
Calculating reorders – Depending upon the industry, the proper computer software can suggest the correct amount of merchandise to reorder. Some computers systems track seasonality and can automatically adjust recommended purchase levels based on that.
Tracking sales by Customer – A point-of-sale system can track which customers purchase the most, and even which customers are the most profitable – two important details which are not the same. A Sales report showing Year to Date (YTD) purchases, or YTD profits are helpful to a business owner. Similarly, a report showing which customers have stopped making purchases, say a reduction of more than 30% from one quarter to the next, can signal a sharp business manager that something may have happened. Did the customer have a bad shopping experience? A good manager can pick up the phone and find out and perhaps get that customer back. A feature like this is especially good for keeping abreast of problems with customers who buy over the Internet, or for distributors who may be shipping goods to clients across the country or the world.
Updating a salesperson’s records – keeping track of how much each salesperson sells is an important management tool. Knowing just how much sales and profit each person generates is very useful data. Business owners I have helped are often surprised that the quiet salespeople frequently outsell the very verbal ones.
These are some of the key areas where a business owner can experience numerous benefits from implementing business automation software. This article is part of a series – be sure to read the other segments.