Alko’s 353 stores are aiming for superior customer service with new in store POS solution
Alko wanted to replace a total of 864 POS systems that handle the customers’ purchase transactions in its 353 stores. The G.O.L.D. POS and store system provided and maintained by Solteq was updated at the same time to accelerate and improve customer service. Customer service and creating a superior customer experience are at the heart of Alko’s operations.
Alko also sought significant improvements in operational efficiency by centralizing its delivery, support and maintenance functions. In the future, Alko will receive all software and hardware that is related to store operations as well as support and maintenance services from Solteq, from one central location.
The world’s first full-scale HP RP2000 delivery was made in record time
All Alko’s stores from Hanko to Nuorgam got the new software and hardware installed in less than 10 weeks. Deliveries were made up to 3 weeks ahead of time.
Alko wanted to renew its existing POS software on a new operating system platform and reform the cash register equipment and related support and maintenance services. In the project, Alko also centralized its hardware acquisitions to Solteq, its store and POS system partner of many years.
Alko’s choice for the POS terminal was HP RP2000, which was the most suitable device for its store environment in terms of size. The HP RP2000s were pre-installed with the new operating system and Solteq’s G.O.L.D. store solution and were installed in the stores.
The roll-out was completed on a tight schedule and within the set targets in two months. The performance was first class. The installations were carried out fast, and they did not cause any harm to the everyday life of the stores or to customer service. The new devices have been operating very well since the beginning.
“The delivery to Alko is the first in the world for this equipment. The newest member of the HP RP family is also suitable for small spaces without compromising performance. Similar devices are not to be found on the market.”, says HP’s Product Marketing Manager Jari Hämäläinen.
Solteq was responsible for managing the overall project. The project was implemented in cooperation with selected partners. The HP cash registers and peripherals were supplied by Pro Component. The receipt printers and scanners were supplied by Senseware, and Fix-Forum was responsible for the installation of the equipment and maintenance services.
“The timetable set for the project by Alko was very challenging, and recognized risks at the beginning of the deployment project included a tight schedule and the dependency of the POS project on the workstation and organizational changes taking place at Alko at the same time”, explains Kari Korhonen, Solteq’s Account Manager responsible for liaison with Alko. In addition, the selected cash register HP RP2 was new. Its production line had been established only recently at HP, and there were practically no references available concerning the device”, Korhonen continues.
The good relationship between Solteq and the system suppliers and Solteq’s long-term personal relationship with Fix-Forum, made it possible to respond to challenges quickly. In this project, creativity and problem-solving ability was top-notch. When it seemed that the deliveries would be delayed, they were split into smaller lots, ensuring that the devices that were needed at a certain stage of the project arrived on time.
The fast progressing project was supported by carefully designed training provided by Solteq to Fix-Forum’s technicians in several sessions. Solteq also prepared detailed installation instructions to ensure that the installations would be performed without problems. The carefully selected experienced Fix-Forum technicians were committed, proactive and competent. Solteq’s competent and motivated installation support team also played a significant role in the success of the project. The team worked in the background and ensured the operations of the stores.
“The pace was fast. At best, we installed the system in 19 stores in one day. Finland is culturally a vast country, and where Southern Finland sweats in the rush hour in order to be at customer service on time, at Utsjoki they just state on the phone; ” Don’t you worry, I’m just getting ready for work here”, says Fix-Forums CEO Samuli Salminen. “Good relations with different operators were the key component”, continues Salminen.
Special attention was paid to workplace ergonomics
Solteq’s G.O.L.D. cash register and store system uses touch screens. “We wanted an ergonomic, easy to use device that would be suitable for a variety of cash counters and serve the stores for years to come”, says Hokkanen.
“According to occupational healthcare professionals, a touch screen is ergonomically much better than a mouse and keyboard controlled device. It was already during the piloting period that the HP RP2000 terminals proved to be the most suitable alternative for Alko’s needs. The touch screen can be used wearing gloves, which was also a benefit”, explains Hokkanen
Customer service efficiency is gained by centralizing maintenance and support operations
Operational reliability is important in customer service situations with regard to service fluency. If the POS terminals do not work, there will soon be lines and disappointed customers. Functional reliability was an important consideration in both device and software purchases and the support services provided to the sales personnel. Solteq offers Alko a comprehensive overall service in which all Alko’s store software solutions are supported by Solteq’s customer support operating in Finland. In connection with the renovation project, the support and maintenance services for all the POS systems and their peripheral devices were transferred to Solteq.