as EPoS revolutionised Siân Harrington Somerfield has invested £8m in creating a single EPoS platform across the entire 1,321 strong Somerfield and Kwik Save estate. The move marks the first major investment in Kwik Save's store systems for about 10 years. It is designed to remove significant cost from the group's EPoS operation as well as providing efficiency, functionality and ease of management. IT is one of the areas in which Somerfield chief executive Alan Smith believes he can achieve greater synergy between the two retail businesses (The Grocer, February 9, p6). Somerfield has worked with IBM to upgrade tills in 715 Kwik Save stores. The company's 606 Somerfield stores already use two types of IBM point of sale terminal as well as its supermarket software package. Back office systems have been upgraded while the scanning systems and price-checking guns have been replaced by solutions from IBM business partner PSC. "In a competitive environment it is essential for us to maintain a competitive edge and improve return on investment," said Somerfield store systems executive Darrell Maton. "Our PoS and inventory systems are central to our business and for this reason we saw the need to implement a single, cost effective and efficient system across our large estate." According to IBM retail executive Glynn Catterall, the standardisation will eliminate about 80% of support issues as well as providing a foundation on which advanced customer relationship management applications could be built. Over the coming year, all stores will have the most up-to-date till hardware as Somerfield builds on its relationship with IBM. {{NEWS }}