The new IT system is part of an overall modernisation and refit of the shop which supplies a comprehensive range of food and non food items to the 1,400 personnel on board.
BCP took full responsibility for implementation of the new retail system organising comprehensive training dock side and at NAAFI HQ prior to installation. This proved invaluable as modernisation was completed only at the beginning of March with the ship scheduled to leave port on 3rd March, leaving BCP less than two days to install the system. The BCP team pulled out all the stops, working closely with naval contractors and shop fitters to ensure the system was implemented and fully operational before departure.
The new system, which comprises two points of sale linked to a back office, operates as a completely self-contained unit. The checkouts use modern Epson IR scanning tills running Accord – Pos (Accord – Retailer’s point of sale module) to provide faster customer service, cash control and opportunities for in-store marketing and advertising. The tills network to an NT Server in the back office running Accord – Link, the Accord – Retailer back office system, for product and price maintenance.
Comprehensive sales figures generated by the system will facilitate restocking when HMS Invincible is in port, ensuring stocks are streamlined and product ranges tailored to meet customer preference, thereby helping the shop to improve efficiency and provide customers on board with a better customer service.
NAAFI chose BCP and Epson because of the improvements in customer service achieved in other markets. Since HMS Invincible will spend long periods incommunicado at sea BCP have taken special care over support issues. On the hardware side enough spares and replacement parts have been supplied to ensure continued service, resilience being provided with Symbol hand held units which can be used as standby scanners. In the unlikely event of problems on the software side support will be provided via ship-shore communications although this will not be possible during naval exercises when all communications are disallowed.
Early feedback from HMS Invincible reports that the new shop is exceptionally busy and that Accord – Retailer is running extremely well, handling the high volume of sales very successfully.
NAAFI’s investment in Accord – Retailer for HMS Invincible complements BCP’s previous supplies of systems to NAAFI. Accord – Retailer is now in use at over 400 checkouts in 230 NAAFI stores throughout the UK, Germany and Cyprus.
NAAFI’s finance director, Robin Moulson, says “We are using the opportunity provided by the refit of one of the Royal Navy’s premier vessels to assess the impact which Accord – Retailer can make in improving levels of customer service and effectiveness of managing the facility. Robustness and serviceability will clearly be key issues. Early indications are very positive and our staff have adopted the equipment with enthusiasm.”