Have you ever gone to a restaurant and after ordering your food saw your waiter/waitress punch it into a touch screen terminal? Of course you have. 9 out of 10 times that system and terminal are known as a Micros POS system. POS, which stands for Point of Sale software, is any location where a sale occurs. A POS system/terminal refers to the hardware and software which allow for the sale to take place. Most people watching their waiter/waitress using the terminal probably assume that after placing an order into the system the kitchen in the back knows what to make and that’s basically it. The truth is that POS terminals and systems are complex management information systems which can be crucial to the success of companies who use them. According to a recent article in Entrepreneur magazine POS programs “let you track usage, monitor changes in unit dollar costs, calculate when you need to reorder, and analyze inventory levels on an item-by-item basis.” In addition “you can even control inventory right at the cash register with point-of-sale (POS) software systems. POS software records each sale when it happens, so your inventory records are always up-to-date” (“Point of sale,” Entrepreneur, 2011). Since you can obtain more information than would be possible with a normal system, POS systems allow you to run reports based on a company’s selling history which in turn allows business owners to make better ordering and merchandising decisions. With POS systems you can study sales data and track how well specific items of your shelves sell, allowing you to order inventory more accurately. This is key in a restaurant situation where inventory is perishable and can expire if too much is ordered and not used in a timely fashion. For other companies who sell non perishable inventory a POS system will help increase cash flow by allowing purchasers to order just what is necessary on the shelves. The systems are also convenient for managers because bar codes can be used to track inventory and consumers can pay easily because the POS terminals can accept credit cards. Although POS systems clearly have their benefits there are a few cons that business owners should consider. First implementing a brand new POS system can be a costly expense up front. In the long run it should pay for itself but many restaurant owners have limited cash flows to work with. Secondly a new system will take time to train employees and input all of the information needed to run successfully. Teaching employees a whole new system can be difficult and hard to accomplish while a business’s doors are open serving customers. Lastly many POS systems require internet connections (which can crash occasionally) and cost a monthly fee (“Pros and cons,” 2010).
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Micros Company overview
The Micros Company has been the leader in the POS software and terminal markets for nearly a decade. The company’s headquarters is in Columbia, Maryland where they manufacture POS hardware, software, and services for restaurants, hotels, hospitality venues (arenas, ball parks, and amusement parks) and other similar markets. The company employs over 4,600 people and has an impressive client list including Hilton Hotels, La Madeline, MGM Mirage, and Marriot International (“Micros systems inc.,” 2011). As of 2003 the Micros Company controlled about 35% of the market share, a number which has dramatically increased over the last 8 years (“Hospitality management systems,” 2010). Since 2006 the company’s stock prices has climbed from $15 to $51 and experts predict even further growth (“Micros systems inc.,” 2011). Micros’ is loved by restaurant owners and everyone who works in the industry. According to an interview with Desera DeMarie (a long time server in NYC) “Micros is easy to use and useful because everyone who uses it. Basically when you work for one restaurant and move to another you can easily switch jobs because you already know how everything works”. In another interview with restaurant owner Nick Santoro he saw his profits increase after implementing Micros into his restaurant, “I don’t know how I lived without it. Everyone, my waiters, my chefs, and my managers are now able to handle customers and run the whole place smoother than before. We are making more money now than we used to and I can keep track of everything”.
Micros Product Line
The Micros Company offers a wide selection of products and services to businesses in need of POS systems. According to the Company’s web site there are over 10 different types of solutions Micros can offer.
MICROS 9700 HMS
This is the most widely used (and most often recognized) POS system Micros sells. The entire product is “technology independent, running on MS SQL, Oracle, and Multiple Windows platforms” (“Micros products,” 2011) and can handle both single store operations as well multiple (even hundreds) of locations. The package also allows auditing and informational analysis to be sent right to business owners computers for easy data management. This is the system which is most often found at bars and restaurants when servers place orders and print checks for customers.
Figure 1 MICROS 9700
This is Micros’ first SOA software. SOA which stands for Service Oriented Architecture is basically a collection of services which operate and communicate with each other (“Service-oriented architecture (soa),” 2009). This POS package integrates all aspects of a business including business functions, “property management systems, paperless kitchen display systems, credit card interfaces, and reporting at the individual property or revenue center to ensure continuous system operation” (“Micros products,” 2011). This is basically a way for a business with multiple locations to run the whole company on one system but at the same time keeps track of each individual location.
Figure 2 MICROS Simphony
The best option to ensure customer service and table turnover. This system has tools for the back office, helps to manage restaurant operations and includes methods to track and ensure the highest levels of guest services (“Micros products,” 2011).
Allows users to store data and business information online so it can be retrieved anywhere at any time.
Micros Rating Scale
When considering a POS system there are a few features to consider. First the most important is system “ease of use”. If the POS software is not user friendly it is not really worth implementing into a business. It takes time to train new employees how to use a system and that time costs money. Next is “input of sales information”. A good POS system will allow for inventory codes to be entered manually or automatically (by using bar codes). Once the code has been entered the sales price can be computed “at multiple quantities and provide a running total. Many systems make it easy to enter sales manually when needed by letting you search for inventory codes based on a partial merchandise number, description, manufacturing code or vendor” (“Point of sale,” Entrepreneur, 2011). Next is “available training”, which means how easy it is to train someone on the system. Another important feature is “cost effectiveness”. This is extremely important because its what every business owner needs. A quality POS system should in the long run generate more income for a business than a business without a POS system. Other points to consider include: “availability of customer service”,” security”, “and updating product information”. The table below shows how the Micros family of products ranks out of a score of 100. Each of the 7 categories has their own weighted value. Overall Micros systems achieve a total score of 96/100. The systems work great, are easy to use, offer good customers support, safely store customer data, and although might be initially expensive to implement will pay for themselves in the long run.
Weighted Percentage out of 100
Ease of use
Input of Sales Info
Availability of Customer Service
Updating Product Info
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