Wednesday, 5 March 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 for retailers to pay close attention to the cost base through effective and efficient management and control of stock and returns, whilst 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 deliver retail excellence in store by driving high levels of compliance.

“When we originally designed rascal, we had three core principles: simplicity, visibility and control. Firstly, 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, it had to provide clear and easy to understand Management Information regarding inbound and outbound stock flows as well as claiming/crediting activity. Intelligent, flexible reporting driven via rascal insight provides ‘at a glance’ or detailed information on both store and supplier compliance to processes. Thirdly, the solution had to deliver greater control to the retailer in a supply chain framework where, unusually for Grocery retail, the balance of power sits further upstream with the suppliers and distributors.

To date, the results of this approach 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. This work is driven by a motivation to identify trends and patterns and provide valuable insight to the retailers’ category, operations and loss prevention teams. This insight is proving highly effective in helping rascal’s retail partners to identify potential commercial risk areas or store operational issues.

The rascal account management team will then create and propose an action plan to remedy problems that have been identified, working in close partnership with the retailer’s teams to implement that plan. It’s this combination of business intelligence and human analytics that has made rascal systems the market leader in this field, and helped our retail partners, such as Sainsbury’s, reduce losses on the category by as much as 65%.”

And what about Category Managers? How can Rascal help them? Jonty believes that “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 that the right range is on display at the right time - delivering a better presentation on the fixture and an enhanced shopper experience; confidence to stock growth sub-categories that may otherwise be viewed as high risk due to potential stock losses - Collectables and Bookazines.

And what about 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!”

reducing shrink