WHAT’S YOUR CRASH PLAN?
How to Be Well-Prepare for a POS System Crash
Sometimes systems crash. It is what it is. We can stack the deck by selecting a point-of-sale provider with a respectable uptime record–99.8% or better is preferable–but sooner or later, the law of averages takes over. Equipment fails, networks go down, thing just happen. And when they do, will the ticketing operation be prepared with a solid backup plan or will they be dead in the water?
Having a manual backup plan in place is not rocket science but it does require advanced planning and preparation. There are three key components of a successful Crash Plan for point-of-sale ticketing operations:
* Precounted Emergency Stock (E-Stock) tickets.
* Crash Kits (inclusive of a calculator, pens, receipt pads, a manual credit slip machine, and credit card carbons).
* A Written Procedure on how E-Stock is to be prepare, distributed, sold, tracked, tallied at cash out, and replenished.
E-Stock is at the heart of a reliable and secure Crash Plan. Below, we have provided additional details on how to prepare in advance for system downtime:
* Determine your most popular selling products that you cannot live without and the number that should be included within each E-Stock pack.
* Build a new series of tickets within the system inclusive of all tickets that you want to sell in your E-Stock packs. Mimic the standard ticket design including barcode/Access Control capabilies but label them both electronically within the system and on the ticket facing as ‘E-Stock.’
* Using a two-person verification system, print and count the precise number of each ticket type that should be included within each E-Stock pack. Double-count and sign (two signatures required). Then, shrink wrap and prepare E-Stock packs for each station. Each E-Stock pack should contain the identical number of tickets.
* Prepare crash kits as specified above.
* Secure all E-Stock packs and crash kits in a centralized cabinet.
* The cabinet should be locked at all times. We recommend a tamper-proof zip tie in addition to the locking mechanism (but be sure that the cabinet is always accessible by authorized individuals in the event of a downtime).
* Schedule periodic audits of the E-Stock as a security measure.
* In the event that the system goes down, the Manager on Duty typically makes the call to deploy E-Stock. This should not be a flip decision-it requires deliberate forethought.
* For credit cards, the MOD establishes a predetermined ‘floor limit’ which is the top amount that can be charged within a single transaction without calling the bank for preauthorization.
* The MOD oversees the entire process including cash out. E-Stock tickets are audited and manually added to the amount of cash that a Sales Associate is required to have on hand.
Replenishment and Audit.
* Follow up with the accounting team to ensure at they have completed their audit of each Sales Associate who used E-Stock on the day in question.
* In the days following a system crash, bring each E-Stock pack back up to the proper level using the same two-person verification process.
* Resecure the E-Stock cabinet.
It’s always better to be prepared. With adequate planning, training, and the proper audit controls in place, any point-of-sale operation can be well-prepared for an unexpected downtime. A comprehensive Crash Plan should always include having adequate E-Stock and crash kits ready as well as the proper training. Advance planning could avert significant monetary loss. It may also have the added benefit of casting the admissions leadership team as heroes in the eyes of the organization.