Wednesday, November 04, 2009

POS system or Cash Register?

So congratulations, you are about to open a new business and are facing hundreds if not thousands of decisions that need to be made quickly.

So let me help on this one. Should you use a cash register or POS system? Well lets get a few things out of the way first. Rather POS or Cash Register the first job of either of these is still security, second is efficiency.

Another big factor in this decision is whether your business will be owner operator or will you rely on managers and other employees? If owner operator a cash register will often make more sense then an expensive POS system. You are there all the time, you are running the cash register so why not use a simple register!

However owner operator or not, if you plan on keeping a real inventory, tracking in and out and what should be on the shelf, do not try and use a cash register. If someone tells you a cash register can do this, well technically they are correct, realistically they are DEAD WRONG! If they are telling you that, it is not real world, it is theory! How do I know, well it has been our family business for 30+ years! We have seen everything tried! And tried a few ourselves until we got tired of hitting our heads against the same brick wall. So to summarize YES a cash register and software combo is capable of inventory control, but would you choose a hot air balloon to travel across the country or a commercial Jumbo Jet? Both will get there, but only one is efficient!

Be real with yourself about keeping inventory or not. Yes it is possible, yes it is a good practice, yes it takes 10+ hours a week if not more for most small stores! We have had thousands of small stores as customers of the years and we have seen it all. Most of these thousands did not keep a live inventory, and a handful did! We have had successful customers from both schools of thought! Bottom line here is be real with yourself. PC based or Register Based inventory takes time each and every day or week, a computer does not equal magic!

Myself I would do an inventory system if possible but again IF POSSIBLE! If you decide on an inventory control system first buy a computer/software based POS/Inventory control system like Keystroke, or RMS for retail, or Digital Dining if a restaurant. Next step you will need to set aside 20 to 40 hours of your time to plan your work and work your plan. YOU WILL NOT INSTITUTE AN INVENTORY CONTROL PROGRAM DURING THE COURSE OF BUSINESS! Do yourself and your loved ones a favor and carve out the time to do it before you are in the trenches of the retail or restaurant battle!

OK inventory is not for you, you just want to ring up sales by category and have the register compute tax and change and a daily report of what you sold right. Should this be the case with you opt for a commercial grade cash register like those from Sharp or SAM4s. Using a cash register does not mean you can't have security or good record keeping because you can. Should you decide on going home or heaven forbid go on vacation make sure you are following some basic security principles found in all decent commercial grade cash registers. Please look for some of my other post on how to stay secure using a simple cash register.

So I hope this was of some help to you! Follow this link If you are looking for a Cash Register

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