Friday, September 21, 2012

Slecting the right cash register question number 4 out of 10

Number four on my list of top ten questions to answer when looking at your next cash register is "Do I need a bar code scanner?"

Of the  top ten questions this is one of the easiest to answer. If you run a C-Store or Grocery store it's a no brainer yes you want to bar code scan. If you don't need to bar code scan read no further and just skip to question number five. If you are going to employ bar code scanning pay attention to the following list of additional questions or concerns

  1. Make sure the register you are buying has enough standard memory or optional memory for your UPC file. Remember a UPC file can grow to 2000+ quickly. I have sent machines out the door with 20K UPC's so understand your needs and match it to the register plus an error factor.
  2. How many expansion ports does your new register need? A bar code scanner takes a port, a credit card interface takes a port as does a scale, PC interface, coin changer, DVR interface etc etc. Standard registers only have 1 to 2 ports. Again understand your needs and match to a register
  3. Do you plan to manage your UPC file directly on the register or via back office software. Hands down managing the UPC file from a PC in most every case is far easier than at the register. Some registers are easier than others but hard to compete with the PC interface. If PC interface what type? Directly via rs232? Ethernet? Internet? How many machines? This option opens the door to many challenges that must be overcome. Don't skip this over lightly and talk to someone about it that knows what they are doing.
  4. What type of scanner do you want? Single line laser, cheap CCD single line? Laser Omni Directional? Hand Held or In Counter. Take the time to look at the options and understand what will work for you.
  5. Back up plan. How will you back up your UPC file? If PC interface then that might be taken care of. What do you do if you manage UPC file directly on the register? Easy answer make sure you buy a register that has an on board port for backing up like SD card port or CF Port. All cash registers are not created equally.
  6. Will you have multiple cash registers in the same store with the same UPC file requirements? If so you will want a register system with IRC (inter-register communications) or at least a SD of CF port so you can transfer program if not interfacing to a PC.
  7. Remember if multiple registers and you interface to a PC the interface is between the PC and one register and the registers talk via IRC. It is rare that you would connect one PC directly to separate registers in the same store. Seek a pro here to make sure you get the right equipment.
OK the overall theme here, match your requirements to the equipment. Do not try to buy a tiny cheap register and want all the above requirements IT WON'T WORK!

You will find the higher end Sharp Cash Registers and many of the SAM4s Cash Registers will handle even the most challanging requirments.

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