SCL travel money system integrated across 860 TUI UK branches

11 December 2008

SCL, the world’s leading foreign exchange and prepaid point of sale systems provider has implemented a single unified travel money system across TUI UK’s 860 retail branches. SCL’s UltraPos system has replaced the existing legacy structure provided by each organisation’s previous foreign exchange (FX) suppliers.

SCL were brought in by TUI UK following the merger of Thomson and First Choice Holidays. The successful integration project was shortlisted in the Partnership Award category at the recent 2008 Corporate IT Forum ‘Real IT’ awards.

The joint project team integrated SCL’s UltraPoS, a flexible and proven prepaid and travel money system that delivers significant cost savings and efficiencies across a user’s network. In doing so, the merged businesses benefited from a fully integrated travel money point of sale (POS) system, linked to TUI UK’s existing management information, financial systems and general ledger. It was rolled out to 860 locations and 4,500 users and no sales were lost during the transition from the old system.

A currency supplier-independent system, UltraPoS enabled TUI to separate IT and FX supply negotiations, ensuring that the competing FX suppliers provided their best possible deals on price and service, with no hidden costs.

The project faced numerous challenges, not least of which was timescale. Once the decision was taken to replace the existing POS system, the incumbent supplier imposed a strict contractual deadline for the removal of their POS system. Additional complexities occurred well into the project when the rollout timetable was shortened by two weeks for business reasons. This required a complete re-working of the schedule and resulted in significant parallel team work between SCL and TUI UK.

Ray Stanton, Managing Director SCL picks up the story: “We’re delighted that this project has been recognised by the Corporate IT Forum. System development, configuration, documentation, testing, and training necessitated an almost permanent use of conference calling between all internal and external parties, including late into the night and all weekends! It was a real team effort and we could not have asked for better partners than the TUI UK integration team.”

Lynne Boardman, Project Manager, TUI comments: “This achievement is a testament to the joined-up thinking that characterised this project. SCL were the most accommodating, positive and ‘can do’ supplier I have worked with. Without a genuine partnership and trust, the risks of failure would have been significantly higher, as would the cost. Parallel workflows at each organisation meant both parties were relying upon the assurances of progress given by the other.
SCL had an excellent knowledge of our business and that of our major business partners, which enabled them to be very proactive in problem solving.”

Now that the project is complete, the deployment of a single, centralised travel money software system gives TUI UK increased control in managing the enlarged branch network, driving efficiency and avoiding work duplication. UltraPoS’s real time updates have greatly improved the visibility of stock positions and FX exposure, enabling staff to evaluate and modify pricing and margins on an ad hoc basis.

The integration with internal and external systems, including general ledger, data warehouse, reconciliation, ordering, settlement and exchange rate distribution has removed many paper or labour intensive and error-prone processes, creating a truly joined-up ecosystem.
TUI UK can also now add or modify products centrally, increasing agility in terms of market changes and the introduction of entirely new business processes and product lines.

Lynne Boardman continues: “Our staff have been extremely positive about the new system, and it has reinforced their belief that the organisation is up-to-date and innovative and capable of delivering complex new products. The ease of use has given employees increased confidence in the FX, and helped them to increase sales.”

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