P&O smooths sales reporting

Tired of transferring data from its cruise ships' onboard retail operations to its Sydney head office via a floppy disk, P&O Cruises Australia has replaced its legacy software.

P&O's cruise business in the Asia-Pacific region is run independently of its US head office so software needed to meet Australian tax law requirements and prices, according to the company's Australian finance director Neil Linwood.

The new software replaces four systems that could not provide real-time data.

Charles Fox, CEO of Australian-owned Century Software, which provided the Reveal System software, said data couldn't be communicated to head office to ensure replacement stock was ready to go on board during the tight, nine-hour turn-around period a ship was in port.

Instead, the entire voyage's data was transferred via floppy disk so stock could be taken on board while in port.

"The company's legacy systems also required an inordinate degree of manual intervention to ensure the integrity of data in transfers between systems; this meant that any missed step had a significant impact on the various upline systems' accuracy," he said.

Fox said that stocktaking, previously a limited, once-a-year process that took several days, has been replaced by a handheld barcode scanner.

The system uses a satellite intermediated Internet connection and has tools to accurately predict revenue and operating performance, which also allows stock to be ordered while ships are at sea.

Linwood said the project has removed ongoing stockkeeping discrepancies associated with the previous legacy systems, increased sales by 10 per cent and improved gross profit by up to 12.5 per cent simply by optimising stock purchasing.

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