Image - Hillier Nurseries

Having chosen a new EPOS till system, Hillier Garden Centres needed someone to run the project to roll it out across all 15 centres. Thinkers designed a rapid pilot and roll-out plan and led the ambitious project.

Garden Centres are much more complex retail businesses than first meets the eye because they carry such a wide range of stock, much of which is seasonal, and have so many different suppliers, many of whom do not have sophisticated systems. Hillier first engaged Thinkers to help them choose an EPOS till system vendor.

The rigorous selection process gave us the confidence to use Thinkers for the implementation

Mark Pitman, Operations Manager, Hillier Garden Centres

The EPOS deployment project became known as Project Hercules. It involved:

  • Designing the overall project to achieve maximum business benefit in short timescales
    • The key to this was inventing a suitable way phase the introduction of the system so that we could go live in all stores during the winter, in time for the key busy period in the spring. Phase 1 comprised sales and stock control operations only.
  • Developing a good relationship with the vendor
  • Configuring the system so that it was as simple as possible for the till operators
  • Carefully designing training programs for the staff, and writing operators manuals that were rooted in Hillier’s business processes, not system functionality
  • Inspiring and promoting great teamwork across the group
  • Piloting till operation in 2 stores before rolling out to the remaining stores
  • Progressing in phase 2 to supplier purchase ordering

Thinkers designed a program that focussed on realistic but tight deadlines which helped us to achieve our aim within a very short space of time. This implementation is regarded by many of our peers within the industry as a great achievement, I firmly believe it would not have been possible without the drive, enthusiasm and engagement of the Thinkers team.
Mark Pitman