Posted by: Brian Hibbs on August 8, 2007
So, the Point of Sale has now been live for a week, as of today, and I have to say I’m in love.
There have been issues, of course — the primary one being me trusting the Barcodes that were already in the system thinking “well, they must have scanned clearly at Starclipper, so they must all be 100% right!” Well… no. Nice idea in theory, but pretty crap in practice. I’m not 100% clear on why the differences exist — perhaps they’re from Diamond-provided codes that hadn’t actually ARRIVED at SC for confirmation when they sent me the database, or something along those line — but either way the problems are easy enough to fix, even in the middle of a transaction, and looking up books is as fast as your typing skills will allow. (So… slow for most of us Comix Experiencer types!)
I’m pretty comfortable with the gun-gun-gun nature of transactions now — in fact, I sorta doubt I can get much faster because there’s a small but crucial lag (a quarter second? Less?) between gunning an item, and the system recognizing it, but there’s NO DOUBT that scanning in a stack of comics takes a whole lot longer than typing “7×299[category]” does on a cash register.
Where I can improve my time is in learning the shortcuts built in the system — some of which are intuitive, and a few that aren’t.
MOBY is the only POS system I’ve ever used, but, even with only a week of being live and using it, I can pretty unreservedly recommend it. The small quirks of “well, that’s not how *I* would have implemented such-and-such” are often down to me just retraining my mind to HOW to do something. Everything I do and think about comics retail is very much defined by having done it in certain ways for EIGHTEEN YEARS, so challenging my preconceptions is always a decent thing.
I’ll give you an example: order check-in. MOBY has a check-in procedure that I, personally, find overly-pedantic. You have to scan every bar-code in TWICE, you have to manually confirm the pricing on an item, you have to positively tell it that there are no damages.
I understand these choices — and if I was trying to “idiot proof” a system myself, I’d probably make very similar ones. Thing is, I’ve got a damage rate of like .001%. Prices don’t change from solicitation on 99.989% of all comics, and, so far, the barcodes for the Marvel and DC books that show up with your weekly invoice (if you’ve asked them for “extended format”) look to be similarly accurate. I’m hoping to convince them to build me a feature that allows me to just say “YES! The invoice is fine, just import it as is”, and then fix the 2-5 mistakes “in post”
(I always tend to believe that “as long as you have enough ‘coverage’, you can *always* ‘fix it in post'” — and doing so is usually faster than being a total fuckin’ anal pendent about getting it 100% correct upfront)
Anyway, my part of check in took me an hour last week, and only 40 minutes this week. I bet I can get it down to 20 minutes or so eventually…. but I’d rather it be, y’know, 30 seconds of “Yeah yeah, it is all good”, followed by 5 minutes of fixing mistakes…
One thing I LOVE about MOBY is that I can make a suggestion, and then Mark will actually work on it — now that’s customer fuckin’ service!!
We’ve still got some minor problems and things to work out and around, but the overwhelming bulk of the work is now done, and the ability to reorder with the push of a single (series of) button (s) is… OMG! I used to spend 3 hours walking the floor every week reordering stuff, and now its going to be an approximately 10 minute process.
What you do, see, is tell it what your “minimum copies on hand” should be — “I *always* want to have at least 3 copies of WATCHMEN on hand” or whatever — then when you do the reorder process, if you have less than 3, it does all of the math to tell you how many you should be ordering, and spits it out in a format that Diamond understands. All I have to do now is CONFIRM the data I’ve been given, and maybe massage a book here or there, or look for things that maybe I didn’t want to commit to a specific number until I actually saw the final product. Roolage!
My efficiency is going to double (at least)
Ultimately, if you’re an existing comics shop: bite the bullet, and Just Do It — I’m going to get back all kind of time that I used to use doing rote scut work, that can now be used more productively. If you’re a NEW store, then don’t even THINK about opening without POS in place.
FOr myself, I can definitely recommend MOBY to you. I may be screaming about it in a few weeks when I have to do my first order form with it, and have to beat the learning curve, but I can most certainly tell I’m going to save buckets of time in the long run by computerizing this stuff; I’m not going to sell out as easily of stuff I “forget”; and I’m NOT going to double-order stuff because I’m a doofus. Those two alone will probably pay for the cost of the system and the software in six months!
So yeah, fourteen flavors of sheer awesome, and it’s going to make a damn fine comics shop way way better.
Now that we’re on the downslope of the data entry that needs to be done, I’ll also be making a return to reviewing. Graeme, monster that he is, wants me to review the porn, but that might be too much of a Big Boy move after not reviewing jack or shit in like six weeks or something.
So, reviews from me again starting (probably) tomorrow, yay!
In the meantime: Here’s what arrived this week at CE:
AMAZING SPIDER-GIRL #11
ANNIHILATION CONQUEST WRAITH #2 (OF 4)
ARMY OF DARKNESS FROM ASHES #1
ARSENIC LULLABY PULP EDITION #1
AVENGERS CLASSIC #3
BAD PLANET #2 (OF 6) (RES)
BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL #8
BATMAN STRIKES #36
BLACK ADAM THE DARK AGE #1 (OF 6)
BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL #128
BOYS #9 (RES)
BPRD KILLING GROUND #1 (OF 5)
CARTOON NETWORK ACTION PACK #16
COVER GIRL #4 (OF 5)
DARK TOWER GUNSLINGERS GUIDEBOOK
DYNAMO 5 #6
FANTASTIC FIVE #3 (OF 5)
FANTASTIC FOUR AND POWER PACK #2 (OF 4)
GEN 13 #11
GHOST RIDER #14
GREEN ARROW YEAR ONE #3 (OF 6)
GREEN LANTERN #22
GRIMM FAIRY TALES #16 (RES)
GRIMM FAIRY TALES RETURN TO WONDERLAND #2 (OF 7)
HEDGE KNIGHT 2 SWORN SWORD #3 (OF 6)
INCREDIBLE HULK #109 WWH
INDIA AUTHENTIC UMA #4
IRREDEEMABLE ANT-MAN #11
JACK OF FABLES #13
JLA CLASSIFIED #41
MARVEL ADVENTURES SPIDER-MAN #30
MARVEL ILLUSTRATED LAST OF THE MOHICANS #3 (OF 6)
MARVEL ILLUSTRATED MAN IN THE IRON MASK #2 (OF 6)
NEW AVENGERS #33
NEW AVENGERS TRANSFORMERS #2 (OF 4)
NEW EXCALIBUR #22
NICOLAS CAGES VOODOO CHILD TEMPLESMITH COVER #2
OMEGA FLIGHT #5 (OF 5) CWI
OUTSIDERS FIVE OF A KIND WEEK 2 KATANA SHAZAM
PHANTOM CVR A #18
PUBLIC ENEMY #4
PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL #10 CWI
RED SONJA #25
SADHU THE SILENT ONES #1
SPIDER-MAN FANTASTIC FOUR #4 (OF 4)
STAR WARS LEGACY #15
STAR WARS REBELLION #9
STORMWATCH PHD #10
ULTIMATE X-MEN #85
UNCLE SCROOGE #368
WALT DISNEYS COMICS & STORIES #683
WORLD WAR HULK FRONT LINE #3 (OF 6)
ZOMBIE PROJECT #1
Books / Etc.
100 BULLETS VOL 11 ONCE UPON A CRIME TP
ALAN MOORE THE COMPLETE WILDCATS TP
BLACK METAL VOL 1 GN
CLIVE BARKERS GREAT & SECRET SHOW VOL 2 TP
COMPLETE JON SABLE FREELANCE VOL 7 TP
DUMMYS GUIDE TO DANGER VOL 1 TP
EC ARCHIVES TWO-FISTED TALES VOL 2 HC
ESSENTIAL DAZZLER VOL 1 TP
FEMME FATALES SEPT 2007 VOL 16 #4
FORGOTTEN REALMS VOL 5 STREAMS SILVER TP
GHOST RIDER VOL 2 LIFE & DEATH OF JOHNNY BLAZE TP
HEAVY METAL SEPTEMBER 2007 #112
LAST CALL VOL 1 GN
LEES TOY REVIEW AUG 2007 #178
LORI LOVECRAFT VOL 2 MY BLACK PAGES TP
MARVEL ADVENTURES FANTASTIC FOUR VOL 6 DIGEST TP
PIRATES VS NINJAS POCKET MANGA VOL 1
SHOWCASE PRESENTS ADAM STRANGE VOL 1 TP
STYLE SCHOOL VOL 1 TP
SUPERMAN CHRONICLES VOL 3 TP
TOYFARE 10TH ANNIVERSARY ED CVR #122
VAULT OF MICHAEL ALLRED LTD ED HC
VIDEO WATCHDOG #133
WOMEN OF MARVEL VOL 2 TP
ZOMBIE TALES VOL 1 TP
What, as they say, looks good to YOU?