You’re a grocery chain, not a technology integrator, right? But this isn’t the 1980s, back when a POS system rarely needed to communicate to any other retail system at all. Two decades into a new century, retail technologies are evolving faster than ever, and they’re involved in most every aspect of running a modern grocery store from front to back.
Obviously, there’s no such thing as a pre-integrated, out-of-the-box solution that covers every single aspect of retail operations, from headquarters to warehouses to every store location. There are separate systems and vendors for point of sale, order and inventory management, labor management, payroll, data security, eCommerce, loyalty programs, and the list goes on. That’s a lot of systems from a lot of vendors to integrate, with new ones appearing all the time.
Today grocers desperately need to integrate all these systems in order to optimize their operations. But let’s face it, systems integration expertise isn’t something most retailers have in-house. So, the options are clear: either find an experienced retail technology integrator to do the job properly, or miss out on the opportunities such integration can deliver.
Lack of system integration means lost opportunities
A retailer’s goal in upgrading one, two, or even all their systems is to improve operational efficiency, profit margins, and customer satisfaction. The idea is that by breaking down the siloes and allowing data to flow between the different systems, you can reduce manual processes and become more efficient. However, if a new system doesn’t integrate with existing systems—or if the retailer defers such integrations “until the next phase of the project”—all those intended improvements are diminished or disappear altogether.
Here are just a few examples of missed opportunities that stem from inadequate integration between retail systems:
- Perpetual inventory – End-to-end tracking of every item from the time it enters the back door until the time it leaves the front is the ultimate aspiration for many retailers—but it’s impossible without integrated systems.
- Efficient staff scheduling – If your labor scheduling tools can’t access your POS to assess and predict traffic patterns, scheduling the right number of people for the right tasks at the right time of day is just a guessing game.
- Better stock (and out-of-stock) management – Integration between point of sale, warehouse and inventory management, and individual stores’ ordering systems can ensure you order more of the items that move, while reducing overstocking of those that don’t.
- Waste management in fresh and prepared foods – Integrating order, inventory, and scale management can reduce loss caused by ordering too many fresh items or preparing too many deli and bakery items.
There are many more examples available, but the point is that proper integration of your new and existing systems is critical to efficiency, profit, and savings throughout your retail operation.
Integration is the key to optimizing your whole store
Sadly, without proper integration, your staff will become accustomed to filling the gaps with manual processes. This includes manual data entry from one system to another, duplicate efforts, and a whole lot of educated guess work. Eventually, those manual, error-prone inefficiencies become “all part of a day’s work,” and further integration efforts are postponed or forgotten.
Perhaps the worst part of all this is the inability to analyze data holistically, at the whole-store level. Your individual retail systems each collect a massive amount of data every day. The inability to correlate all that data—from the front of the store to the warehouse to the back office—makes it nearly impossible to optimize your overall operations.
Whether you’re building out a new store, replacing a few of your retail systems, or just needing better integration of your existing systems, the TRUNO Systems Integration team can help get your new and existing systems better integrated for a more seamless solution.
Ready for your retail systems integration to catch up with the 21st century. Learn more about how our team can help.