Improvements at the Point of Sale

Retail SoftwareToday’s retail environment is more challenging than ever, with tighter competition, both locally as well as internationally through online shopping, alongside customer expectations that are greater than ever.

Retailers need to focus on enhancing customer experience to attract and retain customers and improving efficiencies, most of which culminate at the point-of-sale.

In our 30+ years helping retail business owners, small and large, as well as franchises, we’ve come to learn a thing or two about running a successful point-of-sale.

  1. Be practical. Timing at the point of sale is crucial, and any system you deploy, whether manual or electronic, should be able to be carried out within the least amount of steps, by staff that require minimal training to do so.
  2. Training. Ensure new staff are provided with adequate training to be able to run the POS prior to attending to customers. Rushed clients don’t want to have to deal with new POS staff who are trying to manoeuvre their way around the system.
  3. Information. In today’s knowledge based society, information is critical and you need it most at the point of sale. Customer information should be available at the click of a button including fancy stuff such as birthdays, anniversaries and other information that may be significant to your business for marketing purposes. In multi-store environments, it shouldn’t matter which store the customer goes to – all the information should be available at all stores.
  4. Reporting. Ensure you are using a system that allows you to generate all the necessary reports required to run your business, such as end of day Z readings as well as sales statistics and more.
  5. Inventory control. Mechanisms should be in place to ensure the POS terminals update your inventory with every sale or return. Provide the point of sale with real time inventory knowledge, so that your staff can answer to customer requests about real-time stock item availability, including those available in other shops, next orders, location of an item and more.
  6. Loyalty. Deploy a loyalty system that is fast and easy to use, ideally integrated with your point-of-sale. It’s no use creating a loyalty system if you’re going to keep a customer waiting at the till for extra minutes in order to process their purchase. With one simple click or barcode scan, you should be able to identify the customer, view their history, record this purchase and provide the value added, whether in the form of a discount, free gift, or points accumulation amongst others.
  7. eCommerce. Ensure your POS can be eCommerce integrated. Consider whether you already have or may want to extend to an online shop, so that you can ensure that whatever system you choose works for both, and stock inventories are maintained in real-time across all platforms.
  8. Automation. Save time on those many little tasks that otherwise require manual input, like change calculations, foreign currency calculations, lay-aways of products for processing later, and more.
  9. Software. Invest in a good point of sale solution. This is the backbone to your business as a retailer, and it should enable your staff to be efficient and flexible to customer requirements in order to maintain a positive customer shopping experience. You might need it to cater for refunds, returns, reservations, gift receipts and gift cards, and you may also require to work with different currencies and languages.
  10. Support. If using a software solution, ensure the vendor has reputable support services. If your busiest days
    are Saturdays and holidays like Boxing Day, you want to ensure that your vendor can be instantly reachable if something goes wrong. Most top vendors offer packages for support services, even after regular office hours. Failure to do this can be detrimental to your sales for that day.

At Shireburn we have over 30 years of experience in business software solutions, specialising in multi-channel solutions for retail, catering, distributors and more. The Shireburn POS is the leading solution deployed in Malta with clients who are single-traders, all the way to many of Malta’s largest retailers. You can count on Shireburn to guide you through a number of point-of-sale and inventory management options to suit your particular business requirements. Get in touch with us for a proposal and demonstration.


Inventory Do’s and Don’ts

Shireburn Inventory Management SystemInventory management is the process through which you oversee the flow of products in and out of your organisation. Whether you’re in retail, distribution, wholesale or catering, inventory management is the backbone to your business, and if not managed properly, it can all too soon come crumbling down.

We’ve worked with countless local business owners and with more than 30 years’ experience, we’ve put together some basic inventory do’s and don’ts that can hopefully save you a lot of strife!


  1. Do establish lead times for each product to understand how long it takes to replenish your inventory once an order is placed.
  2. Do monitor inventory levels. Having high levels of inventory adds to expenses and increases overhead costs. Limit seasonal inventory and cut back on inventory that does not sell as fast.
  3. Do identify your best sellers, ensure stock is always available and determine a desirable reorder point. You never want these items to be out of stock! Focus on the items that matter most and keep in mind that generally 80% of demand will be generated by 20% of your items.
  4. Do base your decisions on information, past trends and projections.
  5. Do consider seasonality and month-end spikes.
  6. Do set clear internal policies for adjustments and returns amongst other functions.
  7. Do track your inventory in various locations from warehouse or stores to outlet. Use electronic data interchange (EDI) and bar code scanning to help with stock takes.
  8. Do track work in progress materials. Track units as they move through different operational stages. Many businesses utilise some inventory to create other products so it is important for them to establish a system to track “work-in-progress” materials allowing them to adjust order amounts before inventory gets too low and slows production.
  9. Do look into inventory management software that can help organise your business and make your life so much simpler. Make a list of your business requirements (E.g.: Reporting, redemption of gift vouchers, returns) and ensure that the system works for you. Support for tracking batches, serial numbers and expiry dates are all functions that are critical for certain sectors such as Food and Pharmaceuticals, so you definitely want to ensure your software solution will support these too.
  10. Do invest in theft control. Without a good inventory system, it’s impossible to know if you’re being subject to theft by customers or employees until it’s too late.


  1. Don’t guess. You’re jeopardising customer satisfaction by guessing when you may next have an item in stock, or if it is available at another store.
  2. Don’t just give the job to anyone. Hire the right people to manage your inventory – it may cost you if you don’t. You’ll have thousands of euros tied up in stock and you should hire professionals with experience to do the job. Ensure that your software vendor conducts training for your employees in order for you to get the most out of your inventory solution.
  3. Don’t over stock for fear of being caught short. Base your decisions on information and reports on past trends as well as some decent projections. Storage is expensive and products that sit on shelves are subject to damage, depreciation and obsolescence, and you may end up having to reduce its selling price to sell it.
  4. Don’t depend on spreadsheets. You’re asking for trouble if you do. Spreadsheets can be very easily accidentally deleted, and files can be subject to data loss or corruption especially as the volume of data increases. It’s also not the most ideal platform for multiple users to be working on the same document at the same time. Be smarter with your inventory.
  5. Don’t slack on your back up plan. You’ve got all your inventory consolidated into a fancy software system, but what happens if there’s a fire or theft at your office? Your back up plan can range from saving critical data to a removable USB drive (which you take with you out of the office), to storing back ups in the cloud or on an additional offsite server.

At Shireburn we have over 30 years of experience in business software solutions, specialising in multi-channel solutions for retail, catering, distributors and more. You can count on Shireburn to guide you through a number of inventory management options to suit your particular business requirements. Get in touch with us for a proposal and demonstration.


10 Tips to Manage Employee Leave

Shireburn Indigo PayrollManaging your employees’ leave, however large or small your organisation, can be stressful. From vacation leave to sick leave, study leave, bereavement leave, and maternity leave, keeping track of employees’ different leave requests call on a manager’s planning skills to take action.

It can all become an administrative nightmare! But here are some simple tips that could help you successfully manage leave policies and maintain a productive workplace, all while staying in compliance with laws and employment regulations.

  1. Keep up to date with legislation and be clear on both employer and employee rights.
  2. Outline clear leave policies for everyone to adhere to. This also helps ensure uniform treatment across the board.
  3. Set a clear leave notice period whereby employees are expected to give proper notice when applying for vacation time. Of course, exceptions will occur and management should be flexible according to the employee’s situation. Setting a notice period such as a week in advance, helps management to coordinate resources better.
  4. Network within the HR community. This will help you keep up to date, so becoming a member of associations such as the Foundation for Human Resources Development (FHRD) might help keep yourself informed.
  5. Automate the process of importing leave data into your payroll. Administering leave can already burden HR and management, and a software solution can help relieve much of this work.
  6. Simplify your vacation leave application process. Some software solutions offer an employee portal that allows staff to apply for leave online and enables managers to approve or reject this accordingly. This streamlines the process, reduces paperwork, and eliminates disputes over applications and resources.
  7. Provide tools for management to see their resources available at any one given moment, so that they can swiftly approve or reject leave requests based on resource availability. This ensures that your company can continue to operate smoothly, every day.
  8. Provide staff with a leave planner so that they can also view resources on any given day and will be more reluctant to apply for leave on a day when several of their colleagues are already absent. Some software solutions provide this through an online portal, but you can also keep a physical planner in a common area such as your staff room – you just need to be prepared to regularly update it since it will not update automatically as in the case of an online portal.
  9. Ensure managers/HR have access to updated and correct employee leave balances so that they may quickly determine whether an employee is eligible to pay while on the requested leave.
  10. Encourage management to be empathetic towards employees who are requesting leave due to difficult personal issues. If handled wrongly, this can cause workplace morale problems both for the employee in question and those around them. Demonstrating a proper balance between employee and company interests, will pay dividends on your team’s productivity, morale and retention.

At Shireburn we have over 30 years of experience in business software solutions, and are leaders in the local payroll and leave management market with more than 50,000 employees being paid using our software and just over 8,000 having their leave managed by our systems.

You can count on Shireburn to guide you through a number of leave management options to suit your particular business requirements, from a cloud solution accessible from anywhere, to an on site option.

Get in touch with us for a proposal and demonstration.


10 Handy Payroll Tips

Shireburn Indigo PayrollWhether you are running a 5 person business, or a large corporation with 100’s of employees, payroll is a priority.  Staff must be paid on time, every time, and be paid correctly. It is the responsibility of every employer to ensure that they are.

Some processes can be daunting, but here are 10 tips that should help make your payroll plain sailing!

  1. Beware of complex payroll calculations including different fringe benefit taxation and maternity leave trust fund contribution categories, end-of-year procedures and government budget updates. Failure to comply with laws and regulations can have serious repercussions.
  2. Automate tax and NI calculation. Find out if your payroll software automatically takes care of taxes for you. This can ensure the payroll process is completed in a timely and correct matter. Out of sight, out of mind (and in compliance)!
  3. When it’s time to give raises, consider providing them in the form of tax-free fringe benefits such as health insurance, a mobile phone or a retirement plan.
  4. Before taking on new staff, particularly foreigners (non-EU nationals), ensure that all permits are in order. It is the legal responsibility of every employer to ensure that all employees are legally allowed to work for the business.
  5. Properly classify your workers. It may not be legal to for example classify a worker as an independent contractor. Each classification may have a direct effect on your payroll process.
  6. Clearly identify your payroll schedules. You may choose to pay your employees monthly, 4-weekly, fortnightly or weekly.
  7. When investing in software, select the best platform for your business. If you are experiencing growth, or you are always on the go try selecting an option that’s hosted in the cloud. This will make it easier to access all of your payroll information in one place, whenever you need it.
  8. Always think about automating as many payroll and leave processes as possible, leaving you to work on the more important matters of your job.
  9. Get good support for your payroll software. If you use a software or online package, and a technical glitch is preventing staff from being paid, you’ll want help at hand to save stress and liability. Always check that online or telephone support is part of the deal and easily available. Research the provider’s reputation. Ask other similar businesses what they use.
  10. Consider having an integrated leave management system that pushes all leave data into your payroll. This makes things so much easier especially with variables such as vacation leave, sick leave, bereavement leave, maternity leave and more!

You can count on Shireburn Software to guide you through a number of payroll options to suit your particular business requirements, from a cloud solution accessible from anywhere, to an on site option.

Get in touch with us for a proposal and demonstration.


The Retail Advantage

The year was 1900. Two salesmen set off looking for opportunities to sell shoes in the far reaches of the world. After a few weeks that they’d been gone, the first salesman sends a telegram back; “Situation is hopeless! Nobody wears shoes here”. The second salesman, however, wrote quite a different message – “Glorious opportunity! They don’t yet have any shoes here”.

Making the most out of market opportunities requires the right perception – a product of both knowledge and creativity. Knowledge, in an ever-changing world, is one of the most valued assets sought by businesses in any market. It allows for measured risks and informed decisions – two of the most important ingredients in a successful business.

Cracking the Maze Code

Data has changed the face of how businesses operate in any given market. Acquiring and using data is the holy-grail for businesses where competition for the customer’s attention is stronger than ever. Having operational data gives businesses the competitive advantage needed to learn and adapt to the changing needs of the market, iterate and succeed.

Business software can allow a wealth of data to be gathered and processed, providing businesses with the automation and opportunities to expand in a digitized world. Through different software and hardware components, the entire process can be automated and optimized saving the business money and increasing market accessibility.

Much like a team’s effectiveness can be measured by their ability to communicate with each other without bureaucracy, software and data should be able to communicate with each other flawlessly in a way that only systems built to work with each other can.

Many systems are localised for the Maltese market as an after-thought, leading to expansion restrictions, bugs and compatibility issues.

A Local Solution built for the Local Market

In the retail sector, Shireburn Software has made great strides in both the local and international markets when it comes to offering a modular, end-to-end solution. From single-location stores, through chains and franchises, shopping malls and airports with hundreds of stores, Shireburn caters for every commercial setup at the right price point with all of the required options to expand operations when needed.

Shireburn’s POS is the front-end component of the retail solution, providing a configurable Point-of-Sale solution with an easy-to-use interface optimised for touch screens and bar coded products. It offers all of the functions required to run and promote your business including a built-in punch clock for recording staff attendance, promotional and discount schemes. It is also internet-ready allowing you to check stock levels for an item across multiple stores in real-time.

Complementing the POS solution, Shireburn also offers a stock management solution that has been designed from the ground up to work seamlessly with the rest of the Shireburn Business Suite. With sales, purchasing, distribution and inventory modules available as required, it offers complete control over the entire process whilst remaining cost-effective and modular enough to grow with your business. Since it is designed for the Maltese market it is also fully compatible with local laws including tax, shipping and other reporting requirements and is supported by our local team.

As your business expands online, Shireburn’s eStore provides real-time connection to Shireburn’s Inventory Management system ensuring you never miss a sale whilst developing your customer’s trust in your business as a dependable and trust-worthy choice. This greatly reduces your workload allowing you to focus on running your business.

Tying it all together is Shireburn Business Intelligence that runs ad-hoc and pre-set reports and graphical dashboards on real-time data giving you the insight and information required to make decisions right when it matters most.

Shireburn’s retail solution offers a true 360 degree, multi-channel solution ensuring that the entire process is catered for without hindering the data process flow or profit whilst supporting you in boosting your business’s performance.

Contact us if you’re looking to improve your retail revenues.

As first published in Money Magazine May 2015 issue 30. Click here to view e-mag.


Holiday Season in Retail

The holiday season is a time for family, good food and showing your appreciation to loved ones and friends with gifts and cheer.

Online retail is fast becoming an important and essential source of revenue, generating high sales figures year over year.

Our team looked at the figures to see what opportunities are available to businesses looking at making the investment and joining the eCommerce world.

Holiday Retail