Industry Insight

IT Hardware Solutions

Part 2 ……..Why the purchase price of a car (or till) shouldn’t be the deal breaker

Tills like cars vary in price; we all accept that car prices vary according to perceived quality, reliability, and performance not to mention all the added bells and whistles. Ultimately, a till is also the sum of its parts where processor, screen and overall construction will dictate its cost of manufacture. Efficient manufacturers will build cheaper units than inefficient ones for sure, but ultimately the adage you get what you pay for carries some truth here.

While tills are like cars they do vary one key respect, namely brand. While Ford make their own cars almost all POS till brands don’t, they are in fact mostly made by a few large Chinese and Taiwanese factories. Once we accept that Brand here in fact means little in terms of manufacturing then it becomes easier to consider the wider considerations around the cost of purchase and ownership.

Let’s look at the key areas and costs you are likely to incur.

Options

When is a £25,000 car not a £25,000 car? It takes an iron will power not to add a host of expensive options when buying a new car, all too soon £25,000 is £30,000. A till doesn’t have quite have the range of options, no sat-nav or heated seats as yet, but consider SSD vs HDD, what capacity, how much Memory, touchscreen variants, all the processor upgrades and so it goes. Comparing apples with apples isn’t so easy after all and that’s before adding peripherals to the equation. Here getting your required spec right and sticking with it is key, accepting no compromises or “valuable” upgrades along the way keeps it simple and locks in that quoted price.

Warranty

In many ways, the world of POS mirrors the world of cars. Expect to see 1 to 5 years being offered with the 3-year warranty gaining ground as the standard. What price a warranty? It’s akin to taking contents insurance, if you’re never robbed then it’s just a cost however if you are unlucky enough to suffer the unthinkable that premium will be money well very well spent. There is also the implication that offering 5-years cover means that the seller is confident that they won’t be picking up too many repair bills. Most would consider the peace of mind and cost limiting nature that a warranty offers to be critical, so the longer the better here and personally I’d avoid anyone who offers less than 3 years.

Life Cycle and Support

While that shiny new car is new but for 1 day we all expect it to last and be supported by the manufacturers service centres for many years to come. When it comes to cars, a thriving industry of none franchised agents and motor factors also continue to supply a myriad of parts for cars that your grandparents would have considered classics even back in their day. Sadly, but somewhat understandably tills elicit less nostalgia; the secondary market is fledgling and predominately geared towards recycling for repair. This creates a bit of a ticking bomb for retailers who may be unwittingly sitting on potentially millions of pounds’ worth of obsolete hardware. Always ask about the lifecycle and how its covered beyond the warranty period otherwise you may be left with an unrepairable old banger!

Running Costs and Dieselgate

Running costs anyone? I’ve had a fair few cars and in all of them the manufactures stated MPG would have been more at home in Alice in Wonderland. Even the most cautious Miss Daisy driver would fall someway short of the official stated figures; and spirited driving could leave you wondering if a larger engine had been slipped in without your prior knowledge.

A healthy scepticism is of value here. Even after allowing for the inflated claims you must beware. I had a Diesel company car affected by the scandal and chose the make and model mostly due to its low tax band based on CO2 emissions. If the real figures had been used I would have suffered a hefty tax bill on top of the elevated fuel costs, amounting to a considerable sum over 5 years.

 Tills (luckily) don’t run on Diesel but they do consume electric and the amount they use varies so always consider wider running costs. They also break out of warranty so think and ask about the spare parts availability and pricing which can be eye wateringly high.

Cost of Purchase

New car sales mechanisms have become increasingly sophisticated and to be honest bewildering, it goes way beyond straight purchase or HP. The prospective buyer is now confronted by an array of options such as Lease Hire and PCP, these tempt with low monthly headline costs that are palatable but not always cost effective overall. Luckily till sales are a bit behind here with up front purchase still the norm albeit with a liberal sprinkling of financing involved. As always consider the cost of purchase together with deployment, support and none warranty repair costs as a whole over your chosen lifespan to arrive a true cost of hardware ownership.

In conclusion make sure you know what you want and more importantly need and if you aren’t up to speed in the world of POS hardware canvass and research the market. Alternatively utilise an experienced agnostic supplier who has wide industry experience and no axe to grind like BMC Equip.

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