The new stock control system keeps track of stock and exactly where it is – useful if items are stored in a separate warehouse or storage facility. Ms Knight continues: “We have so many aspects

to our business – electricals, appliances, repairs and spares – all this can be included in the system but linked together. And it gives us costings as well, which is really useful. “There are many more aspects to the system than


Taking stock

Running a retail store at the moment can be tough enough, without using old fashioned, time-consuming stock management systems. That is why a modern digital solution could be a much better fi t, as Jack Cheeseman fi nds out…

started selling fully-fitted kitchens. In order to continue growing and keep up with demand, Owner and Director of Abbey Appliances, Lyn Knight, moved from a paper-based stock control system to the NCompass Advanced Retail digital software from Calculus Software Solutions around two years ago. “We just had paper and memory before installing the system,” Ms Knight (pictured below) tells ERT, “which is brilliant if it’s just one or two members of staff, or you’re a bit younger than I am! But with more people selling products and dealing with customers, it works so much better

A to

have this central system from Calculus that everyone can refer to.

“For example, when an engineer comes back from

bbey Appliances in Evesham is a growing retail business, not just selling appliances but offering repairs, installation and servicing too. The retailer also recently

a job, he can complete his notes or check product stock levels and everyone knows what’s going on. Any information can then be fed back to the customer from any one of us and that’s much more professional and efficient!”

Especially designed for electrical retailers of any size, NCompass Advanced Retail is a powerful software package that transforms a standard computer into an easy-to-use system to help retailers run all aspects of their business. The flexibility of NCompass is reflected in the features, ease-of-use and pricing of the system; it will keep track of stock and customers, and link this information through to other facilities; the sales system generates and tracks invoices, and produces end-of-day reports too.


This new system gives Abbey Appliances complete control over every item in the shop: Smaller items are scanned in and out at the till using the manufacturer barcodes. This makes keeping track of stock levels really simple as the computerised stock system is updated automatically. When stock starts to run low, Ms Knight can

reorder more items without walking around the shop manually looking for things that may be running out. Larger items are also labelled up with Abbey Appliances’ own unique yellow barcode label. Scanning this barcode can then give the complete history of that particular piece of stock, starting from when it was ordered and received, the exact price paid for that item, plus anything else that is relevant.

we realise, but for our small business it’s perfect.” Around 18 months ago, there was a break-in at Abbey Appliances and a hoard of high-end products was stolen, including vacuum cleaners and toasters. However, thanks to her NCompass stock control system, Ms Knight knew exactly what items were taken and the invoice and pricing details for those items for the insurance claim. When the police later recovered some similar stolen items, she was able to prove they were hers because they were all properly labelled and corresponded with her digital records, as she explains: “Every single item had a yellow sticker containing the unique product barcodes. “It’s just a jumble of numbers on the sticker, it wouldn’t mean anything to anyone else, but of course those numbers link to our system and that was crucial in this situation.

“It took a long time to sort everything out,” Ms Knight continues, “and I did most of the detective work myself! When the policeman contacted me about some stolen appliances they had; I asked if there were any yellow stickers on them, so he read out the stock number and I told him exactly what product it was. And they all matched up! “Had we not adopted the Calculus ticket system linked with our stock software, this whole process would have been a lot more complicated. And I probably would have lost of lot of stuff. It’s quite a small change but can make a really big difference.”

Keeping track

In addition to this, during the year, the NCompass Advanced Retail system keeps track of orders from suppliers, so as well as knowing what items are available for sale, Ms Knight can quickly see what else is due in and when. Her system integrates with various suppliers, which allows her to place orders directly from the EPOS system, without need ing to duplicate the order on the supplier website.

Where specific products are ordered for a customer, as soon as they arrive in store, the customer receives an automated text message to let them know it is ready for delivery or collection. At the end of the year, running a stock report to get a stock valuation takes seconds. Stock takes can be carried out at any time and are as simple as walking around the shop scanning barcodes. Adds Ms Knight: “Calculus has always been there to support us – the team is just a phone call away – which is really great.

“With this digital system, it’s like employing a very clever stock control person, that’s how I value our system. It can do so many things that all the pieces of paper we had before definitely could not!”

February 2020

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