Canterbury Christ Church University started out as a teacher training college in the 1960s in response to a national shortage of teachers. In 2022, Canterbury Christ Church will celebrate their Diamond Jubilee, marking 60 years of education and research. The University has 15,000 students and 1,800 staff over 3 sites – Canterbury, Medway and Tunbridge Wells.
Business Challenges & Requirements
The University used another EPoS and cashless system for over 16 years. While the system seemed fit for purpose in the early days, as the University grew, it became evident that the system was unable to support the university’s more sophisticated business processes.
Having carried out an analysis of the “As is” business processes, Gaurav Kathuria, Process Manager at Canterbury Christ Church identified that many manual processes had been created over the years to work around the shortcomings of the previous system. In addition, a substantial amount of time was being spent on producing basic financial reports manually, as the legacy reporting capabilities of the previous EPoS system was not fit for purpose.
A system upgrade also caused a large number of issues including multiple hardware failures, loss of connectivity with card machines and performance related issues. In addition, the cashless payment solution offered by the provider was not user friendly, as a result the University was unable to convince students to use it.
It was concluded that the University needed a new, more robust and reliable EPoS system that can also be expanded to suit its growing needs not only for catering, but also in integrating with other systems they use.
The University undertook a market research exercise by issuing a Request for Quotation (RFQ) to all suppliers on the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO) framework with a view to understanding if any of the suppliers could meet their requirements. Out of the suppliers that were able to meet the University’s requirements, it was Uniware Systems that stood out as the most suitable viable solution, due to our ability to comply with the requirements and our experience in the higher education sector.
The Solution – Why Uniware?
The solution consisted of 13 tills integrated with Canterbury Christ Church’s current card machines and peripherals. What made Uniware stand out was that unlike other competitors, Uniware were willing to support the University in using all their existing peripherals including cash drawers, smartcard readers and barcode scanners, and went out of the way to ensure some of the University’s legacy peripherals worked with the new Uniware tills.
The solution also enabled the University to integrate with their stock control system and another EPoS provider that offers a specialist solution to the university bookshop. This enabled automated stock control and a seamless experience for students using their university smartcard to pay for both catering services as well as books and merchandise in the university bookshop.
The University offers students a variety of bursaries funded by both internal and external sources in the form of vouchers that can be used for university services. Uniware enabled them to deliver these vouchers via the University Smartcard, QR Code vouchers and via Upay, allowing greater choices for students.
The University also recently piloted issuing over 1,000 vouchers to students visiting campus on an open day. This allowed them to deliver a speedy service and improved the experience of prospective students.
Upay was viewed by the University as a USP offered by Uniware, as it enables their students to pay using their phone, whilst also using a variety of vouchers. Order Ahead delivered via Upay was an added bonus that allowed the University to serve students in accommodation during the period of lockdown. At the time this case study is created, Canterbury Christ Church is in the process of delivering their internal hospitality via Order Ahead. This approach will not only improve the experience of staff, but also reduce the cost of employing a member of staff, whose role it was to administer this function.
Uniware’s robust EPoS systems as well as a comprehensive network of modular solutions and features have helped deliver a smooth operation across Canterbury Christ Church campuses, not only in catering but also in other integrated areas such as stock control, various services for staff, students and prospects.
The comprehensive Uniware voucher functionality alongside a customised gift card report created for the University has enabled the university to streamline their voucher management process centrally, eliminating the need for paper vouchers to be issued on an ad-hoc basis.
With Uniware Cloud, enhanced reporting could be easily customised and scheduled. The system now delivers 19 reports to key stakeholders across the university and has enabled the university in “Making Tax Digital for VAT”.
The reporting available through Uniware has also allowed the university to use hourly, weekly and monthly transaction data as a basis to create staff Rota’s, thus maximising staff utilisation.
"Working with the Uniware team was a breath of fresh air, especially Paul Whitcombe, our Account Manager and James Smith, our Project Manager. Paul’s proactiveness in helping clients has been crucial in developing the strong relationship between the University and Uniware. In addition, James and the rest of the Uniware teams seamlessly integrated into our scrum team, to deliver this agile project in a truly collaborative manner.”
Gaurav Kathuria – Process Manager at Canterbury Christ Church University