NAAFI now has a Retail Management System that can meet the ever changing needs of the British Forces personnel based around the world, thanks to ECR Retail Systems.

NAAFI provides community support to members of the British Forces and their families. The organisation manages Retail and Leisure services throughout the world wherever the Navy, Army or Air Force are situated. Run as a ‘not for profit’ association, their annual turnover is £120m in 7 currencies, and the organisation employs over 2000 people in the UK, Germany, Afghanistan, Gibraltar, Brunei and the South Atlantic as well as on board ships for the Royal Navy.

The relationship between ECR and NAAFI started in Iraq in 2003, where NAAFI operated from four bases and managed three stores as well as four bars and numerous vending facilities at the two main UK bases. Into this environment ECR were invited to offer an EpoS system that had to be highly flexible. In addition, the forward location circumstances meant that the system had to be
implemented via the MOD supply chain and under hostile conditions.

In 2009 it was recognised that NAAFI needed a similar system for the rest of the world, they approached ECR with a view to extending a single system, running from Darlington Head Office to control nearly 70 branches covering forward locations globally. Their simple trading model been replaced by a highly complex set of business rules that encompassed both multi-currency transactions, different tax regimes, and anything up to a 3 month lead time.

Following a lengthy assessment period, ECR and NAAFI conducted several workshops and vendor open days to identify the exact and specific needs of NAAFI, ECR were commissioned to supply not only the state of the art Advanced Retail Management System (ARMS™) but also additional banking and mobile terminal modules.

The first five sites went live in September 2010 in Gibraltar. The system was put under extreme scrutiny and working closely with NAFFI to deadlines that involved complex issues such as foreign tax regimes and purchasing from throughout Europe. Central ordering was key to this requirement and part of this was achieved by what ARMS™ brought to the organisation. The new modules
were developed seamlessly to allow both head office and back office users to track all monies, transactions and stock.

Further enhancements to the system were made in this phase and once the system was signed off, a rapid deployment of the next branches ensued, with both the South Atlantic weather and Afghan politics playing its part. The second phase included the ship transit stores, quickly followed by 14 Northern Ireland convenience stores. The system was then placed into the Ascension Islands serving American and UK personnel and visiting cruise ship tourists. This was followed by the Falkland Islands .

Completed rapidly before the South Atlantic Winter cut in, the lead time for products to arrive upon the islands is sometimes up to three months via surface craft so the system needed a complex set of logarithms as well as an advanced method of stock reconciliation and valuation.

The most complex part of the roll out started in January 2012 in Afghanistan. The system had to cater for when sales and product data could not be transmitted due to communications failure. These 11 sites with 28 tills and addition peripheral equipment , were installed in under two weeks and linked back to the UK and Germany without hitch. Brunei was completed in February 2012
and also had a number of local issues , not least that customer orders went elsewhere for processing.

The ARMS™ solution has given NAAFI complete and detailed management information critical to the business decision making process. The stock control facility made possible the complete management of supply chain into Iraq from a number of suppliers and local wholesalers. Detailed reporting on sales and stock levels has been made available locally and centrally.

ECR provides a dedicated helpdesk to support NAAFI’s offices in Germany, Amesbury and Darlington and has a team of engineers based throughout Europe who were able to help NAAFI’s own personnel with on-site installations in Iraq and the setup of the Head Office solution within the UK.

“To provide the right level of support to the armed services in Iraq our systems must ensure that our team has timely and accurate information. Moving data between Iraq and our head office is a critical component of this. Together with ECR, we have created an efficient and flexible solution.”
Andrew Roocroft – IS Director