Work Tips

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Work Tips

Some tips to save costs on a computer repairs

POS SOFTWARE

Point of sale systems is excellent, till something goes wrong. Then for some reason, people seem to lose all sense of reason and proportion. The fact is that they are all mechanical devices and all of the parts will sooner or later fail and everything will be replaced. I know we run a comparatively big computer repair business.

If your computer or one its components are not working or acting very strange. Here is a simple checklist you should try before doing anything.

1) The first question to ask yourself, is it used to work, what has changed now? If you can think of that something, check that. 

2) Make sure that nothing is stuck down, and it looks like it should work, is the computer keyboard keys stuck, is the paper free on the printer if the printer is the problem, etc. Try to isolate the problem to find *the problem*.

3) Switch off the part and wait a minute, use the time to take some deep breaths. Now switch it on and test it. 

If that does not fix it, try switching off everything the computer and the part, wait a minute and then switch them on again and test it.  

4) If that does not fix it, check the cables from the part to the computer, check the cables to the part/computer, often the problem is a cable is not incorrectly. They are loose and then came out a bit.

Check the connections of the wires, if they are not firmly in, that may be the problem. Give them a push.

5) Even if you have not found anything here, I would suggest that you turn everything off and wait for a minute and try again, sometimes a miracle happens, and it works.

By now, I would say about 3/4 of all problems are solved but if you are now and it is still a problem, well the reality is that there are numerous ways that your system can break down and malfunction and it depends on your level of computer skill on how much you can fix.

If you have the time and you want to get hands dirty you can put the problem into Google, and ask for some troubleshooting assistance be careful even with an experienced technician, the challenge and expenses can quickly snowball. 

If the problem is still there, then its time to give us a call or your hardware supporter. If so note:

What exactly is the error
If possible write down the errors or take a photo of the error.

How do you get the error
The hardware engineer first instincts will be to try to reproduce the error in his mind. So how did it happen? Was there anything happening when the error appeared, does it come and go, etc 

Make sure you have a backup
 

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Auditing if something goes wrong

POS SOFTWARE

 

While doing your reports, a figure may appear that looks wrong, and you need to investigate. 

This happened to me, a while ago while investigating our GST on purchases.

The way, I recommend you approach it is to isolate the problem to as small an amount and time as possible.

So what I did was break the period of the purchases into months and investigate each month, then in a month that was wrong investigated each week and then I went day by day till I found the error in the day.

Then I looked through all the transactions for that day till I found it, an insurance claim that had no GST.  

This method always in my experience works.

Note the toughest errors to find in my experience are those that look right.

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Gap Analysis

POS SOFTWARE

Gap Analysis in easy steps

This is a formal process of comparing what you got with your budget and is designed to determine *why* it was right or wrong.

What you do is compare your budgeted figures to your actual numbers. You do not have to have a budget as such what you could use in a pinch, is a rough measure of what you think you should have had in this period, e.g. 5% up.

This gives you the answer to where are we now and what were we supposed to be at now. 

We now have measurable results.

Now one of the best and simplest methods to proceed is to use the “5 Whys.” approach, which was invented by Toyota. It is easy to do, grab a big sheet of paper and a couple of people together.

Now ask why our actual and projected figures are different?  

> Write the answers down. Draw pictures too.

> Put a star near the ones that you think are good.

Now look at your answers and say again, why are these answers.

> Again write the answers down. 

Now keep going with your whys until your answers become pointless. Generally, this takes about five attempts. 

For example 

Why did not sell much XYZ product?

Answer because we displayed prominently products that were not good sellers.

Why did we display these products that were not good sellers?

Answer because we went for the price rather than....

etc

 

Now use what you have learned.

 

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Two tips for scheduling using SMS

POS SOFTWARE

Today the best way of communicating with people if what you want instant communication is SMS. It tends to be read immediately. Often I find it takes up less time than a phone call. I saw a survey that showed that SMS tended to be read 98% of the time and almost all within seconds of being sent, in comparison emails gets about 22% reads and often not for days.

This in retail makes it invaluable for rostering. 

Here are two tips you can use.

1) People particularly if they are casuals tend to forget shift, you can use SMSs to remind them of shifts a short time before they are expected.

2)  One of my clients, when the shop gets busy and, needs someone immediately, what he does, is sent out a few SMSs to his causals. The first one that responds gets the job.  This he finds an efficient way of finding someone and takes only a few minutes to do.

 

I understand your point but I don't think the onus lies on the employer to remind the employees to make it for their shifts

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Setting your priorities right … P0, P1, P2, …

POS SOFTWARE

 

 

Every day we need to balance our priorities, this is the most popular system which is the most common in software, it is a combination of urgent and important.

  • P0. Your Mum dying, kids are in trouble, a guy just had a heart attack in the shop and now nothing else matters. This P0 just block everything else and stops all thought of scheduling. 

 

  • P1. The system is down and is needed now
  • P2. Some important function really needed now is not working but we can operate
  • P3. Some important function is required soon but it can wait
  • P4. A non-urgent question that can wait.

You may want to try it with your own scheduling as it does work, I use a combination of urgent, work time and important. I look at each task for today, and then set my tasks by the following formula in the following software. It can talk to our software.

Urgent tasks  Are they urgent or can they wait.

Workload Will they take a lot of time, preference to those that I can do quickly. Ideally, I want to get as many tasks off my lists ASAP

Important If they are more important I will do them first

It works for me. 

 

 

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Compare yourself

POS SOFTWARE

One successful and popular method of improving a business is called kaizen. It originated in Japan, and the word translates to mean change (kai) for good (zen). It works by using an approach of continuous, incremental improvement. 

The idea of kaizen is that you work on making small improvements. Every day you fine-tune your processes and practice. What you are working for is continuous improvement and that over time, all of these incremental changes will add up, and make a significant positive impact on your business.

 

Now people often tell me that for some reason their retail shop cannot do what someone else in a similar retail shop is doing. For some reason, they are different. Okay, what about doing what you have done in the past with just a little better. That person you were had with similar resources to you now, a similar shop and customers? Ask yourself, what did your past self do better? What about competing with that person? Interested, if so, you are looking at kaizen.

What you do is use your historical reports in stock, sales trends, promotions and customer sales and now compare it to what you are doing now?

It is easy to do look at the calendar last year and find a date comparable to yesterday and now check your performance compared to their performance.

Now look at their tomorrow and see what they did then and how your shop looks for your tomorrow? It will be a massive benefit to you to try to predict what items will sell well and which probably won’t. What you are trying to do is your stock, get your prices right and guide your promotions (Father's Day coming). This can add up to running a profitable and successful small business.

Here is a start

Go to Register reports

 

 

Now select "Top N Stock Sales for a Given Period"

 

 

Now the following popped up.

Put in *their* tomorrow

 

A report for the top sellers for today comes up.

Now, these need to be checked that you have enough stock because that is what they sold, why not you.

Also while you are at it, one point that comes up a lot in retail is a top seller today will be a good seller tomorrow. Technically its called the decay. Typically in retail, what you expect to see is that an item that sells 50 today will sell about 66% of 50 or about 30 tomorrow and day after that 66% of 30 and so on. What you need to do is identify today what is selling well to check you have adequate stock for tomorrow.

Gives there two tips a shot, I am sure you will pick up some business.

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Retail Inventory - Buying

POS SOFTWARE

Price changes history

 

One of the most time-consuming tasks and daunting tasks in retail is setting the right price, the next is trying to justify your prices to a customer who comes in and suddenly makes an issue as what the price of a product was and why now is it different. Another example would be a supplier rep who is now in the store or phone, and you need to check old costs.

So we have made a unique screen to help you so you can get the answer instantly. 

In the stock item, you will find a Price Change screen marked in green above. 

Now when you click that, you get another screen with the cost price shown in red and see the blue arrow, you have your retail price. 

Now you have a full history of the costs and retail prices, and you can go up and down by dates. This can help you determine your retail pricing strategy to use in determining the right price for your products.

Note: You also get a lot more information on the screen and on the bottom which I will discuss later.

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Cost of paper for your receipts

POS SOFTWARE

 

Today almost every one of our clients uses thermal receipt printers although there is a going trend by retailers to use electronic receipts. It is cheaper, many customers prefer it as it does not fade and it is easy to store when they need it, and it gives the retailer client information for their loyalty program. So I expect that soon the paper receipt will go partly because of the trees and the lack of use. Soon in the US, I expect in many places it will be mandatory that a retailer must be able to do electronic receipts are compulsory on all retailers with Australia then following.

However, currently, we all use paper receipts so now sometimes I get asked for how much does the paper cost for a thermal receipt printer as let's face it the purchase price of the printer is only one cost.

This is a hard question to answer as it depends on many factors.

* How many receipts do you print? If you use electronic receipts, it will be very low.

* Do you print extras, eg do you print advertisements on the receipt, do you print discount vouchers, do you print heading with logos, etc. All this will add up. I would not write this part off immediately as if you notice the major retailers e.g. supermarkets who have done the maths like to print long receipts with advertisements so it must pay them to do it.

* What is your buy price on receipt paper? 

* Wastage rate of receipt paper, I have seen people that buy a big lot of very cheap receipt printer, only to discover that when its time to use it, that many of rolls are useless as they are ruined. 

* What sort of image are you prepared to give your shop, a low-quality receipt paper looks cheap. You may want something better.

* How many are you willing to buy, I have noticed that receipt rolls are much less expensive if you are prepared to buy in bulk plus the delivery costs are much cheaper per roll if you buy in bulk. 

Firstly what you need is the number of receipts you print a day, if you do not know that you can use this calculation

How many transactions do you do in a period, your point of sale system should tell you this? 

As a guess what percentage of your transactions, do you need to print a receipt?     

Number of receipts a day = ( Transactions per period) x (Percentage of transactions where a receipt is printed) / (the number of days in a period)

The bigger the period you work with, the more accurate your figure will be.

Now you need an estimate of your receipt printer roll costs. I would expect that it would be somewhere between $2 to $10 a roll, so what are your rolls cost each?

How long are your rolls generally it is about 16 ft (for some reason it has not gone metric), but it works out to about 120 cm.

How big are your receipts? A typical figure is about 5 to 20 cm.

So your daily paper costs= (Number of receipts a day) x (Cost of your receipt roll) x  (Length of your receipt) /  (Length of receipt roll)

- It will add up say you do a hundred receipts a day

- Say you buy at $3.5 roll of 16 ft about 488 cm

- Say a receipt length is about 10 cm

 It works out to about $7.17 a day.

Over a year it is about $2,582

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A Sign to Speed up your Checkout

POS SOFTWARE

Cash only

 

All bags inspected

A quick way to often speed up and make rules in the shop is to put a sign-up. 

It can be very frustrating for you and your staff to keep answering questions. Often what you will find is common in-store questions can be answered quickly with a sign. It may give quite a relief from having to repeat the same answers over and over.

Not only that but it will save you a lot of time. 

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Melbourne Grand final day

POS SOFTWARE

Grand_final.jpg

 

Here is a tip.

Coming up is the Melbourne Grand Final. It will be a public holiday in Melbourne but a lot of retail intend to stay open on that day.

If you have a holiday like this and you are one of those that intends to be open, you may be losing customers because the members of the public may be confused and think that you are not open.

If you intend to be open, make sure that the public is aware of this.
 

I remember thinking it was over as it got to half time till Luke Shuey put in two goals and brought the Eagles back in the game. It was a tough match and a remarkable come from behind victory.

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