Work Tips

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Work Tips

Lowering labour requirements

POS SOFTWARE

 

Our POS System is great for lowering labour costs, but now in our current crisis, it has proven brilliant in reducing labour requirements.

Here are some points people have told me.

- Try working from home as much as possible, we do have a remote model that most of our users can switch too.

- I would really suggest that now you use its automatic ordering. One point that cannot be stressed too much, in a crisis situation gut feel and experience can actually work against you.

- Switch if possible to cashless model as besides avoiding the problems with handling cash now, it is faster and less labour intensive. There are other benefits too

 

- Integrate your accounting system into your point of sale software. It uses less labour. 

- Run your POS reports in particular stock, debtors and creditors on a timely basis.

 

 

 

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Speed up Windows 10

POS SOFTWARE

On most POS computers, Cortana is not required. Cortana is a virtual assistant created by Microsoft for Windows 10 Few use it, most in my experience that use a  virtual assistant prefer Google assistant or Amazon Alex. 

The big problem is that part of Cortana is SearchUI.exe. This piece of software will use a lot of your system resources and so can cause a significant speed loss on your computer. As such as a rule we turn it off but many other vendors leave it on. 

If you do not use Microsoft Cortana search assistant, I would suggest that you try turning it off too. Instructions are here.

 

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Some Energy Saving Tips

POS SOFTWARE

In these days where electricity is seen by the government as a great source of tax collection, so resulting in price rises, it is worthwhile looking at the power your computers are consuming.

As a first-level approximation assuming a reasonably typical cost of about 34.5 cents for 1 kWh as a computer typically uses about 250 Watts an hour, about  10 hours a day Mon to Sat and 4 hours on Sunday say 64 hours over a year,  we are looking at about $300/year just in electricity. Have a monitor, a few other devices and a printer, $1,000 a year is a reasonable estimate per computer per year.

To reduce the costs, you can turn off devices if possible that are not in use. If you are not using much the printer, ask yourself, why is it on?

Older computer equipment uses a lot more power than modern ones; for example, the old CRT monitors use several times as much energy as the modern flat-panel displays.

There are many energy setting on the computer which are worth looking into, one in particular I recommend is to stop people accidentally forgetting to turn off a computer at night change the setting so that the computer shuts down automatically say at 11 pm each night. 

Make a switch off button that turns everything off; it is much easier for someone to remember to turn off all the unrequired computer equipment.

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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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