Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Help me pick a cash register question number two

OK still going into more detail regarding the top ten questions you need to answer when you buy a new cash register. Today I'm addressing question #2 "How many departments do I need?"

I often find many people I'm speaking to about buying a cash register have no idea what a department is much less how many they need. So first I think we should talk about what a department is and how are they used.

The primary function of the department is sales reporting. Also we need to look at groups and for the sake of this blog Departments and Groups are the same thing. There are cases where they are not but in this case they are! Sharp cash registers still use the term Department however SAM4s refers to them as groups. Department is the older cash register term and is still used in our shop.

On smaller cash registers where the cashier enters the amount of the item and presses a button on the register to make that sale that is entering the sale directly into the department. All cash registers have to have at least 1 department period! So on the smaller cash register we normally have the department buttons on the keyboard and cashiers make sales directly into them. Lets look at a small c-store that does not use bar code scanning and their departments may be as simple as the following
  1. Taxable Grocery
  2. Non Taxable Grocery
  3. Cigs
  4. Milk
  5. Beer
  6. Wine
  7. Candy
  8. Deli
  9. Lotto
  10. Misc
That is an example we see all the time. The cashier enters the amount of each item and presses one of the buttons to register the sale. That is selling directly into what is known as "Open Departments" Most cash registers can have 10 to 20 departments and some are capable of 99. Not all departments need to be physical buttons on the keyboard but we will cover that in bit. Departments almost always can be programmed with the following:
  • Taxable or Non Taxable
  • Open, Pre-set or both
  • Name
  • Sale or non sale item (means counts towards toward sales not ON SALE.)
  • several other items not often used.
We also can use departments in more complex method which we normally run into when people are bar code scanning or a restaurant register with lots of pre-set menu items on the keyboard. Most people using their cash registers in any of these methods on a daily basis want to know their total sales per day, not that they sold 5 cheese burgers, 15 double cheese burgers etc etc. or for retail sold 25 snickers, 35 butter fingers etc etc what they want to see is how much Candy did they sell today, or how much in burgers did they sell. So in this case you will have menu items on the keyboard or PLU list or UPC's in the case of retail. Remember earlier I said every cash register must have at least one department? Here is where this all ties together. Every UPC or Menu item must be linked to a department. Yes even if you don't care about departments nor want them 99.9% of all cash registers require a department be linked to every UPC or menu item (PLU). In this case more often than not the department IS NOT ON THE KEYBOARD.

If we look a a fast food restaurant as an example. Lets say they have 120 menu items including burgers, sandwiches, drinks, ice cream etc. Lets say they have 12 different burgers but at the end of the day they don't want a report of 120 items. Each Burger PLU is linked to a department so in this example you may have the following departments
  1. Burgers
  2. Sandwiches
  3. Sides
  4. Drinks
  5. Desert
  6. Misc.
So every burger PLU is linked to the burger department and every time one is sold the burger department sales increase by that amount and quantity. Example today we sold 55 Hamburgers at $2.00 each,  75 cheese burgers for $3.00 each, 50 double cheese burgers for $4.00 each. Our sales report at the end of the day for burgers would be Quantity of 180 sales for $535.00 So see how that works? That is not to say you can't find out how many individual menu items were sold as you can but that is a different report and most places want that info once a week or month and some never!

So that is what a department is and yes you must have one. Sometimes people tell me I don't need any departments I only need a taxable button and a non-taxable button! What they need is two departments one taxable open, one non-taxable open!

Hope that helps!

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