When we took over the store 2 years ago it was operating totally on paper.

  • Each register transaction was hand-written and hand-calculated. (You can just imagine the difficulty of reconciling the daily transactions).
  • There was no purchase order system to see what was on order.
  • There was no inventory system
  • There was no way to run reports to find the winners and the dogs.
  • Special order requests were on scraps of paper

There was no way that we could step into the management role of this operation without computerized control and reporting. But moving from the paper-based system we inherited to a computerized one would be torturous.

But we bit the bullet and made the move. And thank goodness we did. As I sit here and run detailed reports on the performance over the last year in an effort to improve the operation I am reminded, again, what an important step that was.

The thing that made me think of this move was a conversation I had with a fellow retailer yesterday. She was in the midst of doing a year-end inventory count. This consisted of hand-building a spreadsheet to use for counting. Some of the counts were Categories-only, e.g. Small Gift Items. The spreadsheet had a formula for translating selling price into an approximate cost.

Now, to be fair, they have far less SKUs than we do. But still, when we get around to our annual inventory count we will take our iPads out onto the floor, along with our portable scan guns, and zap-and-count our way to an accurate inventory count.

Yes, it was a painful transition to put in the computerized point-of-sale system, but sometimes Rookies can make the right play.