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Retail Technology, Retail technology News

GO Outdoors leaves costly cheques behind

Monday February 14 2011

Bacs payment and document management solution streamlines retailer’s supplier business

Bacs payment and document management solution streamlines retailer’s supplier business


Outdoor equipment retailer GO Outdoors has selected an automated payments solution and electronic document management system from pioneering developer of electronic payment software solutions, Albany Software.


The solutions will enable GO Outdoors to automate supplier payments and phase out cheques, saving the company approximately £9,000 annually in stationery, postage and resource. Automating this process will help the retailer better manage relationships with its suppliers as well as reduce needless paper waste in the finance department.


GO Outdoors stocks more than 47,000 products for the outdoors for activities such as camping, climbing, cycling, fishing, horse riding, running and walking. It has more than 27 superstores across the UK.


The Sheffield-based company is currently enjoying significant growth and it has opened seven new stores in 2010.


Scaling systems with growth


Roger Woods, financial controller at GO Outdoors, commented: “When it comes to making payments, business expansion has made a considerable difference to both us and our suppliers. As orders increase so do the magnitudes of payments and it has become ever more important to clear payments promptly in order to keep supplies flowing.”


Woods continued: “As we become a more sizable customer to our suppliers, the implications of potentially receiving a cheque late through postal delays, plus having to wait three days for clearance, become greater in terms of their cash flow and business processes, as well as our receipt of goods in a timely fashion. Internally, handing such a high volume of cheques is both time-consuming and resource-hungry. I personally sign each cheque, which collectively takes an hour or so of my time and is the most tedious part of my week.”


The cost associated with processing and posting cheques was also a key driver behind the purchase of the Bacs solution. Woods added: “We have estimated that it costs GO Outdoors about £1.50 to post something to a supplier, including stationery, postage and resources. When we are sending over 100 cheques a week, this cost becomes significant, totalling around £9,000 annually. The investment in Albany Software’s solution will therefore provide a return within a very short period of time.”


Automating key finance function


A key benefit for GO Outdoors is the complementary document management solution, eCONNECT, which allows the retailer to send remittance advice documents electronically. “If we adopted Bacs for supplier payments but then chose to continue posting remittances, any cost savings would be considerably diluted by the process. I wanted to implement a solution whereby the entire process could be managed electronically. This also allows us to reduce paper consumption and needless waste within the finance department, something which is important as companies become more environmentally sensitive,” said Wood.


Woods also acknowledged the impact the solution will have upon supplier relationships: “Part of our company ethos is that we strive to pay suppliers on time wherever possible. External circumstances such as postal strikes can affect our ability to achieve this, which was a definite trigger point to leave cheques behind and gain more control over the way we pay our suppliers. As a growing company, image is important to us. I believe that electronic payments project a far more professional approach and that cheques are becoming increasingly unacceptable in a business capacity. Quite simply, cheques are becoming a thing of the past and we needed to catch up,” he concluded.