SM Group invests in a new front-end to prepare for expansion.
SM Prime Holdings (SMPH) is part of the SM Group, a Philippine conglomerate with more than 50 years of experience in the retail industry. The SM Department Stores, SM Supermarkets, and more recently, SM Hypermarkets are 20 units strong and anchor tenants of every SM Supermall. Plans call for opening two or three additional supermalls each year through 2008.
To help prepare for and compete with other large retailers entering the country the retailer looked to strengthen operations. "In order for the business to prosper, we had to expand front-end systems," says Al Pile, senior assistant vice president of data processing for SMPH.
Most of the software SM looked at was proprietary to the vendor and only worked with particular brands of hardware. The retailer selected JPMA's PoS Designer because it provides a development environment that enables the retailer to create its own extensions and custom functionality.
"The software had the stability and flexibility we were looking for," says Terasita Sy-Coson, president SM Department Stores. PoS Designer is written in C and C++ for Windows environments. Selectable parameters permit the retailer to define core system functionality in a well-defined and supportable package.
The retailer deployed the software to 1,800 IBM and Wincor Nixdorf terminals throughout the supermalls, including more than 200 systems within SM Department Stores.
The set-up provides flexibility to keep up with changing hardware platforms. "We don't know which machines we'll deploy in the future," says Sy-Coson. "We need to be able to keep up with new technology." SMPH's back-office operates on JDA MMS software. Management takes item-level information from MMS and connects it to PoS Designer through an interface application. SM integrates the information to better manage inventory levels.
In the past, it took the retailer eight days to train new employees on the POS. Now training is completed in five days. "The system has reduced our training costs while employees enjoy a simplified POS set-up," says Jorge Mendiola, vice president of operations at SMPH.
In addition to allowing offline operation, users can also do credit authorizations in one step. Previously, employees had to manually enter transactions into the credit card machine as well as the POS."The old method left so much room for error," concludes Pile. The new POS system affords the retailer more stability than it had before.