The Spitfire and Hurricane Museum at Manston Airport, Ramsgate found themselves in need of a software solution that could simplify their till system, while linking and integrating with their existing Sage 50 Accounts programme. They had no stock control or till cashing up systems in place and sales figures were all being processed manually into the Sage Accounts, with all the delays and time spent that this lack of systems caused.

The project brief was to create a system for full stock control, in order to improve purchase decisions and margin setting. It was important that the new system featured ease of use at the till, to process transactions and because many users are elderly volunteers, the system should allow ease of training and easy daily procedures for till balancing.

Some of the features required, included items to be sold that did not have barcodes such as second-hand books and donations, or were to small to be barcoded. So, a touchscreen system with some items coded to buttons for ease of use was introduced, along with barcode label printing.

It was essential that the new system would stream-line the sales process, enabling fast turnover during peak times, such as Bank Holidays, coach trips and weekends. It was also important that the system supported VAT on a mix of non-vatable and vatable sales, as well as supporting Euro transactions. The new system would need to be expandable, to include additional tills for café sales, ticketing and chip and pin integration.

“The shop is crucial to our accounts and 60 per cent of total income. These systems benefit how we manage it more than on hearsay,” says museum manager, Matt Demedts. “While as a museum manager you may know about the heritage, it’s systems such as these that will help us sustain ourselves – it takes us from being a mum and pop store to a professional museum with accurate and robust cash-handling and cash management systems.”

The reason for introducing a new till system 10 years ago was the museum only had a till that existed out of a draw and projecting future sales was more difficult. Now with an integrated system this is all done automatically.

“While this till was helpful for fundraising it didn’t help the museum manage the stock or offer insights as to what was selling well and what had sold out. This was done purely on what people thought was popular or not.”

So the new system had to include a charity enabling accounts programme, in order to provide monthly and annual reports. “It does make a volunteer organisation’s life easier – for the volunteers it helps them put items through the till quicker without having to calculate the change,” says Demedts.

The perfect solution was found with Sage 50, integrated with a point of sale package, barcode scanner and touchscreen. This new system takes all the daily taking and stock sales, posts them to the Sage 50 back office, allowing information to be available for banking reconciliation and posted to the appropriate ledger accounts. Stock sold is adjusted on a daily basis, so, analysis of stock movement for the day, week or month can be reported upon, with product stocks/category levels and profitability analysed, in order to ensure that choices of future stock for resale offer the best return on investment. Another advantage to this Sage 50 solution is its simplicity and reliability; new user training can all be carried out in-house, with support undertaken remotely, keeping ongoing costs to a minimum.

“With budgets between £1,000 and £3,500 for a single till solution, dependent upon hardware/back office software requirements, CADS can offer a POS financial solution that is perfect for leisure and tourist attractions,” says CADS Ltd director, Martyn Robertson. “Due to our ability to function in a variety of different environments, including admissions, cafes, bars and gift shops, with development for integration into Digi tickets for online sales, Gift Aid and Booking Management, we can provide the perfect, one stop solution.”

Robertson also says that because the same system can be configured to work in any of these key areas, organisations can benefit from centralised reporting and management of a single system, without missing out on the key functionality required for each part of their business.

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