Arch Retail is an integrated in-store management solution widely used in the Southern African supermarket, wholesaler, liquor, butchery, bakery, convenience and fresh produce retail verticals. Functionality developed to address requirements in these verticals includes:
- Plan based stock replenishment scheduler;
- Parameterised & formula based ordering;
- Pro-active product price maintenance;
- Goods receiving with automated supplier claims;
- Production module (recipes, bulk breaking) providing inventory tracking, product costing and pricing;
- Trading redundancy to ensure uninterrupted trading in the event of server and/or network failure (safe mode);
- Swift and accurate cash-up procedures;
- Integrated value-added services at POS, e.g. Card Payment, Loyalty, Pre-paid Airtime and Automated Cash Handling;
- Security measures using user authorities and biometrics;
- Comprehensive reporting capabilities;
- Arch mobile functionality for real time on-the-floor management information, goods receiving and security checking;
- Real-time profitability management.
In addition to the generally used functionalities above, the solution has also seen development to address challenges in a particular vertical. This article deals with Arch functionality developed to address major challenges specific to and the general application of Arch in the Fresh Retail vertical.
The high frequency of price changes, and failure to synchronise these changes accurately and timeously across all scales and systems can not only lead to significant losses, but also disgruntled customers and loss of trust. Arch has in conjunction with leading South African scale suppliers developed a fully automated solutions where scales, without user intervention, automatically update price changes once effected in Arch Retail. This also applies to promotional price changes, when scales automatically update upon commencement and termination of promotions.
Keeping track of inventory, costing and pricing when reprocessing produce into other saleable products (prepacked vegetables, mixed vegetable punnets etc.). The Arch integrated production module enables inventory tracking and consumption, accurate product costing and pricing of inventory processed into other saleable products, thereby reducing product losses, increasing profitability, but also granting an end-to-end view of profitability.
The legacy 13-digit EAN barcode has limited application to contribute to inventory accuracy and control, while causing stock discrepancies when prices are changed and pre-packed items are sold on labels with the previous selling price. Arch now uses the latest barcode technology that allows for embedding weight or quantity and sell-by date in the barcode, which improves accuracy and control of inventory, but also preventing sale of items past their sell-by dates at point of sale. This builds consumer trust and enhances their shopping experience.
In addition Arch also features a bulk sales and quoting function with customer specific pricing options, a feature particularly useful when dealing with bulk customers such as restaurants, B&B’s, hotels etc.
Arch’s Fresh functionalities are currently used by 62 fresh focussed stores, but also in the fresh division of OK Franchisees, Cambridge Foods, Metro Food Market, President Hyper, Saverite Franchisees, Uitkyk Foods, Oxford Fresh Market, Macksons and selected Foodlovers Market Franchisees. In an ongoing effort to improve the Arch product and service offering, regular interviews are conducted with Arch Users. Recent Arch Retail User comments with regard to the Arch Fresh value proposition are:
- Metro Food Market – “We have a hybrid store and Arch caters very well for both our retail and wholesale sections of the business”;
- Square Mart – “We’ve been running on Arch for 10 years and did not think twice to also implement Arch in our new store” and “Arch is powerful when it comes to stock management, something which is critical in a fresh produce store with perishables”;
- Rebel Fruit & Veg – “Combo functionality is useful – is a customer draw-card and allows us to manage slow moving product lines”;
- Impala Fruit & Flowers – “Recipes functionality in Arch allows us to re-work products, thus optimising returns from our product range”;
- Africa Fruit & Veg – “Suggested ordering schedule in Arch is great, since it pro-actively alerts us what to order, when to order and at what price;
- Foodlovers Market, Talatona – “Live operational data which means I can make accurate timely decisions to optimise store performance” and “Arch as a solution gave us the confidence to open a second store in Luanda”.