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Hong Kong Maxim's Group maximises savings, efficiency with IBM point-of-sale solution

Customer: Hong Kong Maxim's Group

Overview

The Challenge
The Hong Kong Maxim’s Group wanted to upgrade their POS systems for better reliability and scalability, while streamlining total cost of ownership.

The Solution
The Group bought into more than 300 IBM SurePOS TM 500 series and replaced the older systems at over 200 stores of Maxim’s Fast Food and Maxim’s Cakes in Hong Kong.

The Benefits
The new POS systems improved reliability with robust and water-proof features that saved Hong Kong Maxim’s Group in terms of reduced maintenance costs, and far less man hours spent on resolving hardware problems.

When it comes to mouth-watering success, Hong Kong Maxim's Group is right at the top of the international menu.

Since its establishment in 1956, the Group has grown to become the largest caterer in Hong Kong, served by a dedicated team of up to 12,000 professionals, operating over 350 restaurants with 60 brands in Hong Kong, attending the palates of more than 430,000 people a day. Hong Kong Maxim's Group today owns a string of restaurants, serving regional and local cuisines, and provides professional catering services to business-to-business sectors.

Catering to demanding appetites

One critical component of fast food and cakes chains is the point of sales (POS) systems. This is where cash transactions occur, orders are taken and money is exchanged.

Hong Kong Maxim's Group realised early that POS systems served as mission-critical components. They needed to be robust and scalable, while being user-friendly at the same time.

So when, the Group upgraded its internally-developed POS software two and half years ago, they wanted newer robust systems that were scalable to meet growing needs of the Group.

"At that time we needed to upgrade the operating system for our POS systems. Some of them were too old to accommodate the change, so we needed to upgrade our hardware," said Alfred Kam Tze Ming, senior manager, IT department, Hong Kong Maxim's Caterers Ltd.

At the same time, Mr Kam wanted to ease the headache of failure rates of POS systems. "The failure rate of the old systems was high. We were looking for a more reliable solution," he added.

Size also mattered for Mr Kam. With real-estate precious in our outlets, he wanted POS systems that were not bulky and did not get in the way of business.

"Furthermore, we have already built fixtures for the older POS systems at our outlets and we did not want to re-build them. So we wanted the new POS systems to be of the same size as the older ones or smaller," explained Mr Kam.

When Mr Kam and his team came across the IBM SurePOS 500 series, they got more appetising benefits then they bargained for.

Right solution for the right palate

Choosing the right POS system was not a simple task and involved an exhaustive selection process.

"We looked into most of the famous brands for POS, as it was crucial to our business that we got the best one," said Mr Kam.

However, IBM surprised Hong Kong Maxim's Group by offering not only an advanced POS solution, but one that was more lucrative than the current brand they were using. "We had a cost-and-benefit study and we found that IBM is the most price competitive in terms of performance," said Mr Kam.

"With the IBM SurePOS 500 series machines, we found that we can get immediate savings ¡V they were a few thousand dollars less than the other brands," he added.

Mr Kam was also pleased with IBM services. "IBM technical support behind the system is much stronger than the competitors," he said. When the IT department needed some POS systems for application testing purposes, IBM lent some machines ¡V a move that impressed Mr Kam.

Pleased with the solution and services, Hong Kong Maxim's Group bought into 300 IBM SurePOS 500 series systems for their fast-food and cakes outlets. "There will be more as it depends on the frequency of store openings and how durable our old systems are," said Mr Kam.

Although the initial roll-out was carried out in Hong Kong , the Group now uses the same systems in its China and Macau outlets.

Numerous benefits provide much-needed icing

One immediate benefit the new systems gave Hong Kong Maxim's Group is the sturdy and secure built-in cash drawers.

Previous systems did not have this value-adding feature. That made Mr Kam and his team purchase third-party ones and install them separately. Over time, through wear and tear, these drawers posed reliability problems.

"IBM POS systems had built-in cash drawers that were very durable. In the old days, we had to replace the cash drawer every nine months. For the IBM drawer, we have not replaced one in these 2 years." said Mr Kam.

The diminutive size of IBM POS systems also provided Mr Kam another advantage:

"The IBM POS systems were very compact and slim, and it was easy to install them in our fixtures," he said.

The waterproof feature of IBM POS systems was another welcome surprise for Mr Kam. "This is good for the restaurant environment, as we did not have to worry about spills on the POS systems," he said.

Overall, the durable and thoughtful features of IBM POS systems meant lesser downtime and greater efficiency.

"Two and a half years ago, we received over 200 service calls per day from our stores but now it is less than 50, with most of them related to software and settings. Hardware reliability has certainly improved," said Mr Kam.

Better reliability also meant that Mr Kam and his team saved on precious man hours that would have been wasted on resolving hardware issues onsite. At the same time, it gave the IT department more time for value-adding projects.

Conclusion

Standardising on IBM POS systems allowed the Hong Kong Maxim's Group to keep its cost down.

"We like to standardise as much as possible as it lowers our total cost of ownership and streamlines our maintenance costs. The IBM SurePOS 500 series systems with its improved reliability not only met these needs but also reduced maintenance costs drastically," said Mr Kam.

He was also happy with the overall service provided by IBM.

"The sales and marketing team was attentive and cared about their customers, while the technical team was very professional and responsive, and solved any technical issues that arose immediately," said Mr Kam.

In the end, it gave the Group the much needed peace of mind to concentrate on improving the business and worry less about the IT behind it.

"IBM gives businesses like us a peace of mind," concluded Mr Kam.