Branch clusters now have even more flexibility, giving businesses greater control over how they maintain and report data.
The branch cluster functionality enables companies to define clusters and to group their branches according to their business structure.
The use of clusters is a solution for companies with:
- multiple brands or business units
- franchise or multi-ownership structure
- decentralised regional control
Clusters are set up to group organisations into separate regions, with one or more sub regions. In the configuration, there is no limitation to the number of (sub-)clusters which can be defined.
Permissions and security
The introduction of clusters comes with a new layer of permissions. HOS users can be assigned to clusters, allowing them to access and review configuration and data limited to that cluster.
In the example where an organisation has one person managing multiple branches or franchises, permissions can be set so they only have access to their own cluster’s data.
This guarantees sensitive information is not shared with other parts of the business.
A big advantage of clusters is that companies can have one Head Office facilitating their master item control, but also let clusters maintain their own items.
Items can be owned at cluster level, which means that these items will only be available for the stores that belong to that cluster and won’t be exposed to the other stores. This limits the number of items available for stores and prevents the mix up of irrelevant items across the business.
The decentralized item maintenance is very valuable for organisations with multiple brands, or differences in the product catalogue between regions. Items can exist at the master level and will be available for all stores, while other items exist at cluster level and will only be available for that particular cluster.
Another feature which comes with the subdivision of the organisation into clusters is the ability to report on any inventory, sales or financial data specific to that cluster.
A cluster manager or accountant can conduct sales and financial reporting at the cluster level, instead of running the reports per branch. Performance comparisons are easily made between branches and any discrepancies are quickly discovered.
Cluster owners now have the flexibility to run and maintain promotions for their own cluster. Promotions can be set up at master level and apply to the whole organisation, or each cluster can set up promotions which apply only to their clusters and sub-clusters.
This function is useful for targeted promotions, or for stores wanting to run local promotions.