Pepkor subsidiary Pep has spent R36-million rolling out a new point of sale (POS) and payroll system, including the installation of more than 3 800 Proline PCs, from Pinnacle Micro.
The roll-out, which took place across 1 130 Pep stores in SA and neighbouring countries including Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, took a record five months to complete.
Frank Bravenboer, financial manager of Pep’s sales department, says the roll-out is one of the "fastest and most efficient in the retail sector during the past five years".
"This was a mammoth task," he says. "During April and May we installed an average of 22 stores per day. Besides rolling out a new POS system, we also developed an in-house payroll system, which was implemented during the POS roll-out. While in the past we used to pay our staff at store level, we have now centralised our payroll system – and we are currently paying out 8 000 salaries each month from our new centralised payroll system."
A total of 3 800 Proline PCs were installed during the process, including at 150 stores outside of South Africa. "So far the failure rate has been absolutely minimal, which is very promising," says Bravenboer.
He says Pep’s legacy IT system was "seriously running out of steam".
"We could have managed for another two years, but there is only one person in the country who can offer us proper technical support services," he says. "This was an invidious position to be in, so we brought the roll-out forward. It was a logical discussion. But moving to a Windows-based solution – as we did – as well as upgrading all our hardware and changing our payroll system was quite a task. But we are very satisfied with the results."
Bravenboer says a total of 22 technical consultants from Bytes Technologies handled the installation at each store.
"They did a stalwart job," he says. "Together with Pep’s internal field management team – which handled the training – the rapid-fire roll-out went tremendously well."
Bravenboer says the new POS system was developed by Pep’s in-house development team using the Delphi development language.
"Retail software development house, IQRetail, assisted us in our development work and I believe we have come up with a very stable POS system," he says. "And it integrates very comfortably with our new centralised payroll system – which was also developed and implemented by our in-house software development team."