When Motor Fuel Group (MFG) acquired MRH in 2018, it became the UK’s largest petrol station and convenience retailer with more than 900 sites, managed by individual CMs (Contract Managers).
Around half the estate operated Oracle’s legacy EPOS and back office supported by TLM, while the other half used an alternative EPOS solution.
MFG was looking for a technology partner that could drive their business forward. That could innovate their systems to create new revenue streams, drive operational efficiency and deliver great customer service. To begin this journey, they needed to streamline the technology for their entire estate, with a common POS and back-office solution. Their current solutions were not flexible or open to third-party integrations, meaning MFG could not react quickly to market changes and implement new ideas. Furthermore, they couldn’t aggregate their data from their 900+ sites, so didn’t have the control or visibility over their estate that they wanted.
evoPOS and evoHeadOffice
The first step in the journey was to streamline MFG’s EPOS solution across their estate so we gave them a demo of our next-generation evoPOS. Convinced it was the right fit to drive their business forward, MFG chose evoPOS as their estate EPOS solution.
Paresh Patel, MFG’s IT Director commented: “What sets evoPOS apart from other solutions on the market is TLM constantly evolving the product to match our needs. evoPOS is a modern well-architected solution which allows flexibility to quickly interface to third-party apps and MFG systems. Its main benefits are its rich features, flexibility, future-proofing and ease of use.”
Starting in October 2019, the first phase of the project converted 473 sites to evoPOS, followed by phase 2 – the install of evoPOS to MFG’s existing Iridium 2 estate – a further 445 sites.
All sites were linked to TLM’s evoHeadOffice solution – allowing real-time information to flow up to and down from MFG’s head office. This data flow enables MFG to easily control aspects, such as product ranging, pricing and promotions across their estate and have visibility of business critical data, such as margins across their estate, areas and individual stores for department, sub-department and individual items.
Working with our partners, Oxhoo, Celestra, PLM Global and MDT, the project was completed in May 2021 and saw 918 sites upgraded and linked to evoHeadOffice, 1604 evoPOS installed. Plus, to make ready for remote deployment of a back-office upgrade in the future, hardware for 918 back offices was installed.
The average store closure time was around two hours, so there was minimal disturbance to trading. The project was a resounding success which we are proud of, even more so because it was not without its challenges from unforeseeable external forces!
Bob Laidlaw, Operations Director at TLM Technologies said:
“We learnt many lessons on the journey, not least how to cope with two national lockdowns, critical stock being delayed by congestion at Felixstowe container port, new import restrictions as a result of Brexit, a global shortage of semiconductors and to top it all – the equipment earmarked for the final tranche of sites being marooned on the Ever Given in the Suez Canal! We are therefore extremely proud that we still delivered this project ahead of time and exceeded customer expectations.”
evoPOS for Pret A Manger
In 2021 MFG partnered with Pret A Manger, installing Pret concessions on their sites. We enabled evoPOS for Pret – allowing data feeds to MFG’s head office and keeping the customer journey consistent across the store; one EPOS solution for fuel, c-store goods and Pret take away.
Auto DRS (Daily Reconciliation System)
Throughout our partnership with MFG we are in regular communication – discussing ways in which we can innovate to ease pain points and drive efficiencies. DRS was identified as an area that we thought we could help with.MFG has a separate DRS where their CMs manually enter information from the POS Day End report into the DRS. This was time consuming and open to human error. Why not automate this process we thought, so we passed it over to our highly experienced UK Development team. Within weeks they had developed and tested auto DRS – automatically posting Day End information to the DRS as part of the day-end process. By Autumn 2020 we had completed the roll out of auto DRS to the entire MFG estate.
Paresh Patel, MFG’s IT Director commented:
“Auto DRS has been transformational for us. The previous laborious and time-consuming task of entering day end data manually has been fully automated. Saving at least 15 days a year per store and head office accounts 52 days. Auto DRS has also been great for removing human error and giving MFG and managers a snapshot of the previous business day within minutes of day end.”
MFG’s existing back-office solution, Prism, was a legacy product. No longer being developed and a locally installed application. This didn’t suit MFG’s business plans to enhance the customer journey and evolve their business with new integration partners.
We had recently launched evoBackOffice. A modern browser-based solution developed on open architecture – allowing easy connections to third-party apps and services that open up new revenue streams, such as Deliverect. evoBackOffice was presented to MFG and a selection of their CMs in 2020 – they quickly saw how this solution was a great fit for their business goals.
Additional requirements were outlined in a TLM/MFG workshop and developed by our skilled in-house Development team. evoBackOffice was ready to pilot on MFG sites in early 2021. Due to the success of the pilot phase and the enthusiastic feedback from MFG’s CMs on the benefits of evoBackOffice, who began asking to be converted, the pilot scheme was accelerated.
Vasanthakumar Benet, CM at MFG Hatton Cross commented:
“evoBackOffice is a great tool that allows us to see everything in one convenient place and instantly tells me the things I need to know. Our retail team enjoy using it – it’s user friendly and takes no time to train new colleagues. The reporting capability is impressive with great filtering options and easy to export formats that we use every day for analysis. TLM have an active customer support team that consistently announces new updates and helps with existing issues. The support I have received is phenomenal. It’s a pleasure to be part of this pilot. I never want to go back to Prism!”
Other tangible evoBackOffice benefits include giving MFG the central control they wanted, real-time updates to their stores and helping CMs with their margin management, visibility of promotions and ease of ordering directly from suppliers.
Ahead of schedule, by June 2022 we had completed the roll out of evoBackOffice to the MFG estate of 900+ stores, over 16 months, converting up to 12 sites a day and keeping on track with deployment, training and support. All aspects of the project were delivered remotely. The roll out programme consisted of group and one-to-one training sessions, site software deployment, configuration and support of testing and go live. With an average time across the deployment of under two hours per site for conversion. This meant minimal impact to store operations.
Paresh Patel, MFG’s IT Director commented: “Migrating to evoBackoffice has been another highly successful TLM/MFG project, with both parties being supportive and engaged throughout. That the project has been so successful is testament to the strength of our partnership. We now have the full suite of evolution applications – evoPOS, evoBackoffice and evoHeadOffice – and the appetite to continue to develop our retail technology in partnership with TLM is huge. We know and trust that their expertise in the areas of technology, development, deployment, training and support will keep us ahead of retail trends and maximise our operational efficiency.”
The MFG/evoBackOffice project was shortlisted for the RTIH Technology Implementation of the Year award 2022.