EPOS Multisite and Staff
EPOS multisite and staff management can appear at first like slightly messier groupings of functions than “inventory management” or “reporting”. But they’re not.
As your business grows, the questions, “how do I structure your EPOS?” and, “how do I structure my business?” quickly become the same question. As your store network grows, so does your responsibility as a manager; so does the number of people you have the duty to pay; their individual roles and sights; the requirement that you work hard to motivate them. Their jobs will become hard-coded into your EPOS system.
At this stage, stop thinking about the POS as a downloadable app with a web back-office web login; and start thinking about it as three or four tiers of different perspectives on your business. From the cashier on the shop floor; to the store manager; to your operations chief; to you.
Not only do you need to keep track of schedules and rotas, but you need to maintain military accuracy across your records. This is also a great example of how the benefits of cloud EPOS systems aggregate – as you’re keeping track of more data, it’s more important that everything syncronises at once.
Multi-site is really scoping out the different parts of your business you want your staff to access.
It will make everybody’s lives easier – your staff members included – if you keep the cashiers to the cashier screens, with limited permissions. For very junior staff, you can even limit things like ringing through discounts – whereby managers have to ring through discounts to ensure that the power is being used appropriately.
One useful function to empower your cashiers with in a multisite setting is the ability to stock check across stores. If a customer requests item X, but it’s at the other store, some systems will allow you to apply for a transfer, too.
At the very top end, we’d expect that you might choose to use the EPOS only for its core EPOS functions, and leave other vertical functions to different softwares.
For example, for inventory management (see more about inventory needs here), there’s a limit to what a POS system can provide. At some point, it may be worth investing in warehouse management software or logistics management software as an add-on to help out where your EPOS fails. StoreKit, for example, are an e-commerce operation with a warehouse ourselves. You may also decide to integrate with Xero software, for your more complex accounting needs.
Your operations manager will live and breathe this software. They need the keys to this, and some of the EPOS back-office functions around inventory management so that they can ensure everything is properly integrated.
General Manager (You)
One time-saver is that you should be able to make changes for multiple stores at once. If you have a breakfast, lunch, and evening menu across four locations – suddenly you have twelve menus, which is a huge undertaking to tweak. Products, prices, and menus, should be changeable from a central location.
Your reports will be centralised, too; and comparing store-by-store is one big lens which is popular among multiple store owners. If you have a mature ecosystem of different softwares, and you’ve successfully integrated them, you’re likely to want aggregated reporting in which you can access all the information on your company in one place.
Discrete Staff Features
In addition to the permissions features set above, there are some staff-based features which are great regardless of whether you have multiple sites:
1) Paying Staff the Correct Amount
EPOS functions which take the hassle out of calculating hours are useful even to smaller merchants. If you have a large number of part-time or temporary workers; a surge in Christmas temps; a high staff turnover as you rely on labour from students and teenagers – or if “hours worked” have a tendency to change on the fly, this is very important.
Clock-in, clock-out functions are the main tool offered by EPOS systems. Staff members can sign in using a code, card, or fob; depending on the system. “Hours worked” can usually be fed directly into your payroll system. The best EPOS systems can flag up a potential error if a staff member has forgotten to clock out overnight; more of them will require that you check your payroll report before approving them – watch out for this.
A payroll system – separate from your EPOS – would be responsible for calculating and deducting income tax, national insurance, and student debt; once the appropriate information has been logged into the system.
Some EPOS systems come with basic calendars on which staff members can log their prospective hours; however, if you want to enable shift-trading, a fantastic perk whereby staff members can swap shifts without having to hassle management, you’d usually have to look into specialised HR software, like Deputy.
2) Keeping Staff Accountable
EPOS systems offer two ways to keep staff accountable.
The first is monitoring staff performance, which is really a subcategory of an EPOS system’s reporting functions. We all have our hunches about which staff members are doing well or poorly; but it’s important to temper your instincts with hard data. That means that you’re ensuring that you reward the correct staff members; and any tough conversations can benefit from being specific.
Staff performance can be defined in totally different ways in different businesses. If you’re a tip-earning business like a restaurant and you’re using the tip management tools to register who earned which tips on which nights. It could measure things like upselling; which staff are successfully making sales and tempting customers to spend more?
The second is stock shrinkage measurement. Stock shrinkage is a fact of life, especially in hospitality businesses which involve alcohol – it refers to stock which disappears without explanation. For example; you buy two bottles of vodka, you sell one bottles’ worth of shots, you have half a bottle left. Where did the other half go?
We’d budget for as much as 30% stock shrinkage when you’re dealing with alcohol. But close measurement of your stock can enable you to identify if there’s any staff getting too boozy – and deal with cases of outright theft. Even knowledge of a detailed level of inventory reporting can be an effective deterrent for staff.
3) Training your Staff
It may be that there’s a star performer in your team. But, if you’ve got seven members to supervise, for example, it won’t always be easy for you to identify them. Without the use of up-to-date sales reporting (why is reporting important?), you won’t be able to pinpoint your most hard-working team members, or work out who are the weak links that need additional training.
Using the analytics data collected, you can get into the nitty gritty of staff performance. You can dig deep into what makes your employees perform better and test the effectiveness of your incentives or rewards schemes.
Watch out for the level of training that different systems provide, too. For most systems, there’s some free training; for others, you’d have to train in-house. Even the best systems won’t offer full free training for every extra person to join your team for free, forever. Ask what’s included when you buy; find out how good the support is; and look online to check whether there’s a library your staff can refer to to teach themselves.
Our recommendations? If you’re a multi-site retailer, check out Lightspeed Retail, which is among the best-integrated software systems on the market. With Vend too, you’ll be able to manage all of your locations and e-commerce from one platform.
If you’re a hospitality chain, Lightspeed Restaurant and TouchBistro are your best bets. On the other end of the scale, Myda Cloud are a cheaper (but still great) option for handling a large range of functions.
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