Integration with point of sale systems (POS)
Point of Sale (POS) system integration is becoming increasingly important within the enterprise. POS systems allow retailers, restaurants, and other similar organizations effectively manage operating tasks and in-store sales and purchases––from scanning product data and printing receipts to swiping a credit/debit card and entering credentials on a pinpad.
In order to be effective, POS systems must be integrated with other applications within an organization’s technology stack. Failure to integrate the POS system with existing technology — like an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system — can lead to time consuming, inefficient processes as well as create inaccurate results due to error-prone manual inputs.
Take, for example, a supermarket that has POS system that all of its chains use. The supermarket also has a separate ERP system to manage accounting, procurement and other processes. if the POS system holds data on recent purchases at the supermarket, then in order to transfer that data to ERP, the employee will have to input that information again in the ERP system in order to ensure proper accounting of the supermarket’s cash flow.
This not only improves the customer experience, but enhances the efficiency of operations. By fully integrating the POS system with the ERP system, however, this supermarket can ensure accurate, error-free reporting of their data. In addition, they can also save time by eliminating the need to enter data manually, as the integration will automatically surface data in real-time in both systems.
The above example shows the benefits that a supermarket can witness by simply integrating a POS system with their ERP. As you may imagine, if the supermarket integrates the POS system with other applications within their technology stack, they may also achieve other business benefits.
One of our customers, Buffalo Wild Wings, realized numerous benefits from integrating their POS systems with the rest of their technology stack.
How Buffalo Wild Wings integrates POS systems using MuleSoft
Buffalo Wild Wings turned to MuleSoft to implement an IoT solution, which gathers data from their POS system and multiple other systems, in order to accurately predict consumer tastes and optimize inventory planning. The systems involved included:
The POS database, which contains sales data.
The flow sensor, which is responsible for measuring the flow of beer. There are multiple remote sensors on the taps at Buffalo Wild Wings outlets
Beerboard, the beer management system that monitors and captures pour data
MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform, the integration platform enabling real-time inventory data
So how did Buffalo Wild Wings integrate three applications with their POS system? APIs. These connections are enabled by API-led connectivity, an integration approach that connects these systems through modern, managed APIs by exposing the underlying data.
Some of the APIs that Buffalo Wild Wings created include:
SalesData API – Allows external parties (restaurant managers, for example) to request beer sales for a specific location over a specified period of time
CreateItem API – Automatically creates a new item record in the company’s master data management system. In this request, required item information such as a PLU number, an item name, and item descriptors are passed as a JSON message
CreateTicket API – Allows external parties (such as the manager of a restaurant) to request a new ServiceNow ticket be generated for a new beer request. In this request, information such as the brewery, beer name, style of beer and the restaurant requesting the beer are passed as a JSON message.
MuleSoft underpins Buffalo Wild Wings’ integration strategy that connects the flow sensors, Beerboard, and the POS database through the above web services APIs. By using an API-led approach to connectivity, Buffalo Wild Wings was able to integrate their POS system to not one, but three systems-–creating a unique solution that provides their restaurant chains with unprecedented visibility into their beer inventory. Data that used to take the general manager days to report on, can now be seen within hours due to the elimination of manual inputs.
POS system integration is no longer a “nice to have;” rather, it is necessary for every successful business to ensure that relevant applications within their technology stack are integrated with their POS system. As the story of Buffalo Wild Wings demonstrates, this not only creates more efficiency, but can also lead to better visibility and eliminate the possibility of error-prone data.