Capper & Co benefits from AIMS

Retail Distribution Company, Capper & Co. Ltd., is reporting significant cost savings and substantial improvements in its information flow as a result of implementing BCP’s new Accord Internet Messaging Service – AIMS – across its entire estate of company owned stores.

Based in Pontyclun, near Cardiff, with a second distribution centre in Hastings, Capper & Co. Ltd. is the SPAR wholesaler for parts of Wales and Southern England. With annual turnover in excess of £200m it services 94 company owned stores, 300 Independent SPAR stores and 41 NAAFI stores across a geographical area spreading from St. David’s in the West to Ramsgate in the East and Aberaeron in the North to Brighton in the South.

Part of the ongoing administration and management of company owned stores has always been the exchange of information and EPOS data on a weekly basis. The downloading of product and price files to the stores and the uploading of sales data and wages information, for example. This has always been a time consuming and difficult task relying on the use of modems and special remote software to dial into each store’s system. Beset with problems involving retries, broken transmissions, incomplete and duplicate data this has typically taken a team of up to 4 staff as long as 3 days to collect and send all the relevant data.

Always keen to benefit from new technology, Capper & Co. Ltd. were quick to identify the potential of AIMS as a solution to this head office/stores communications problem. An innovative Internet messaging service offering fast, efficient, cost effective communications, AIMS utilises a dedicated hub messaging system set up at BCP’s premises. To make use of the system clients require only a Windows pc with an Internet connection which gives the added advantage of local call rates.

As a trial Cappers installed AIMS at Pontyclun and a pilot store in Beddau, quickly rolling it out to a further six stores. With results living up to AIMS’ promises, this was followed by a roll out to the remaining 87 company owned stores over a period of 5 – 6 weeks. As Julian Jones, Retail Computer Services Manager at Capper & Co. Ltd., reports: “Implementation and roll out were simple. BCP helped set up the system at Pontyclun and Beddau and provided us with the necessary software to set up all the other stores in our own time. We did it all remotely, without any need to visit the stores. It was very easy.”

The implementation of AIMS has totally transformed the whole R.D.C./store communications process at Capper & Co. Ltd. It’s now being used to upload up to 8 files (4 sales data, 2 wages and 2 VAT information) weekly from each store and to download product and price changes, GRN’s and Deals information. As such all EPOS data transmissions are now carried out via AIMS.

Julian Jones sums up: “AIMS is so much faster and more reliable than our old polling method. We can now be absolutely certain that by Monday afternoon we will have the preceding week’s sales and wages information from all 94 stores. And there’s no manual intervention. It’s all automated. So the manpower savings are substantial. I reckon we’ve saved employing up to two more members of staff, as we continue to expand our operations, quite apart from the savings from local call rates and the obvious benefits from having the information faster and being certain of its accuracy and completeness”.

Benefits from AIMS have been so impressive that Capper & Co. Ltd are now considering the possibility of a future project to implement it in some of the independent stores in their estate.