Forest Lodge Centre

Introduction

Forest Lodge Garden Centre was opened in 1981 by Denys E. Head Limited (DEH) and it signalled their development from a horticultural background into the garden centre industry. The centre has continued to grow and has held the coveted Garden Centre of the Year Award.

When Denys E. Head (DEH) decided to introduce a new integrated EPOS computer system into Forest Lodge it turned to RCS a leading supplier of retail systems to provide a solution to address their retail business needs.

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About The Business and Their Background

DEH moved into the leisure industry in 1996 with the acquisition of Birdworld, a bird park and children’s farm, which welcomes 175,000 visitors a year. Both Forest Lodge and Birdworld operate retail businesses. The operations are run as distinct divisions from their 35-acre Holt Pound site on the outskirts of Farnham, Surrey.

The combined divisions have many diverse computer system requirements and DEH wanted to establish a relationship with a supplier that could provide a “one stop” solution to the total needs of the business. With high quality customer service and a wide variety of products to choose from DEH strive to ensure that each business operates efficiently and provides good value to its customers.

When DEH looked at improvements in its retail processes it turned to RCS to implement back office and RCS EPoS solutions.

DEH have invested in a new IT infrastructure based on RCS’s packaged software and RCS EPoS. The RCS solution is a feature rich Head Office, Warehouse and Merchandise Management package that is integrated to RCS EPoS, a flexible electronic point-of-sale application that is configurable to meet customers specific needs.

Discover The Solution Below

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The Solution

The solution provides central functions to control the following business processes:
Purchasing & Receipt of Stock
Stock Management (Retail & Catering)
Customer Enquiry & Ordering
Route Planning
Admissions (Birdworld)
EPoS Control
Budgeting & Forecasting
Integration to Financial Ledger
Customer Enquiry

Sales assistants have the ability to enquire on products and check stock availability including future deliveries, either on the EPoS system or at Customer Order Points. The enquiry looks at stock in the business and also at stock on order (details of stock expected delivery dates are also displayed).

The Customer Enquiry can automatically create a Customer Order (see below).

Customer Orders (Normally Bulk or Heavy Products e.g. Furniture etc)

For customers wishing to purchase products that are either bulky/heavy or, wanting to have products delivered or, want to order products that are out of stock; there are separate PC’s at the Customer Service Point(s) where a sales assistant has the ability to create a Customer Order. Post Code software is used to speed up the process of capturing the customers name and address details.

There are 3 types of Customer Orders at the garden centre:

1. Delivery of products from stock (Home Delivery – Ex Stock).

2. Delivery via purchase order (Home Delivery – Ex Purchase Order).

3. Taken by the customer (Pay and Carry).

Forest Lodge believes there is a benefit to the business of capturing the customer’s names and address. This valuable information can be used in marketing the company’s products and services directly to customers.

EPOS

RCS-EPoS is installed in 14 retail points at Forest Lodge and in 13 retail points at Birdworld, providing a fast and easy to use method of serving customers. The EPoS system supports 100,000 different product look-ups. The EPoS units are connected to the back office and sales can be viewed centrally as they occur. RCS-EPoS manages a variety of different types of promotions at the point-of-sale including Multi Buys, Mix & Match, Fixed Percentage by hierarchy etc.

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Stock Takes

Stock Takes are simplified with the use of an HHT. Stock can be counted either in total or, on a perpetual basis. After the product stock count details are entered onto the HHT they are loaded automatically into the RCS software where discrepancies are highlighted and valuations are produced.

Gift Vouchers

The Forest Lodge EPoS system is configured to accept National Garden Centre vouchers and also Forest Lodge own vouchers. The system tracks the serial numbers of the vouchers for reporting purposes.

Labels

There are 16 different types of labels that are produced on the system. These vary is size dependent upon the product and the amount of information to be displayed on the label.

Price Checking

Prices are checked on a regular basis using Hand Held Terminals (HHT). The operator scans a product and is then requested to enter the price onto the HHT. At the end of the cycle, the price data captured on the HHT is loaded into the software where the price entered onto the HHT is compared to the price on the central product database. An audit report is produced showing any discrepancies.

The reports can used as part of a discipline to ensure the company meets with trading standards requirements.

Supplier Orders & Receipt of Stock

The system provides the flexibility to automatically generate recommended purchase orders based on a previous set of criteria. Alternatively supplier orders can be raised by either entering the order manually onto the system or, scanning the product or, scanning the bar code on the shelf edge label and entering the quantity.

The RCS solution is providing management with a clearer position on sales and stock. This in turn results in improved levels of customer satisfaction and service.

Catering

The restaurant provides freshly made food and beverages. Orders are taken on Touch Screen EPoS units and then transmitted to the kitchen where the food is prepared. The customers pay for the food, which is then delivered to their table after it is prepared.

Pre-prepared food, i.e. sandwiches, cakes, drinks etc, customers collect the items and pay for them in the normal manner at the EPoS.

The catering EPoS units are also connected to RCS software where catering sales can be viewed centrally as they occur.

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