Friday, 10 January 2014
"rascal is really good at keeping an eye on trends and patterns and picking up issues with store compliance through data."
Stan Allsop - Supply Analyst, Tobacco, Newspapers and Magazines, Sainsbury’s

The newspaper and magazine industry is facing a tough time from falling advertising revenues, increasing cover prices, and the growing trend in e-zines and online newspapers. Now, more than ever, it’s important retailers closely watch the cost base through effective and efficient management and control of stock and returns, while looking at new ways to boost sales.

Here, Jonty Edwards, rascal systems’ Sales Director explains how their advanced, automated mobile-based technology is helping retailers improve profitability, minimise losses and achieve retail excellence in store by greatly improving compliance.

"When we originally designed rascal, we had three core principles. Firstly, simplicity: the solution had to be simple and easy to use for store colleagues. It’s a standalone system requiring no systems integration so simple for a retailer to implement.

Secondly, visibility: it had to provide clear and easy-to-understand Management Information about inbound and outbound stock flows, as well as claiming/crediting activity. Intelligent, flexible reporting via rascal insight provides ‘at a glance’ or detailed information on both store and supplier process compliance.

Thirdly, control: the solution had to give greater power to the retailer in the supply chain where, unusually for Grocery retail, control lies further upstream with the suppliers and distributors.

To date, the results have been impressive. By replacing the traditional, onerous, paper-based category processes with rascal's advanced mobile solution, rascal systems is helping more than 5,000 stores across many of the UK’s major retailers to save millions of pounds each year.

So what is it that enables rascal's retail customers to achieve such huge savings? Jonty believes it has a lot to do with the vast quantities of high quality and commercially sensitive data the system captures, processes and collates every day.

rascal's team of experienced analysts and data experts are constantly looking into new ways to evaluate the comprehensive commercial and compliance data sets, identifying trends and patterns and providing valuable insight to the retailers’ category, operations and loss prevention teams. This insight is proving highly effective in helping our retail partners spot potential commercial risk areas or store operational issues."

Jonty continues,"The rascal account management team will then put forward an action plan to remedy any problems, working closely with the retailer’s teams to implement that plan. It’s this combination of business intelligence and human analytics that has made us the market leader in this field, helping retailers such as Sainsbury’s reduce losses on the category by up to 65%."

And what about Category Managers? How can rascal help them? Jonty believes, "rascal simply provides the category teams with a far higher level of confidence. Confidence that processes are easy to follow and standardised across the estate; confidence that compliance to category disciplines is high; confidence the right range is on display at the right time, achieving a better presentation on the fixture and an enhanced shopper experience. Finally, confidence to stock growth sub-categories, such as Collectables and Bookazines, that may be considered high risk due to potential stock losses.

What does the future plans for rascal? "Without revealing too much, our R&D teams are working on ways to integrate EPOS sales data into the system", explains Jonty. "This will provide a whole new level of granularity and detail, from identifying missed sales opportunities and sell-outs, to managing stock-balances more efficiently, and claims management more intelligently."

"As always" Jonty adds, "we’ll stick to our core principles to give retailers simplicity, visibility and control to help boost sales, reduce shrinkage and tighten up compliance. Watch this space!"