Four Ways to Revamp IT Rollout Efficiency for Retail

The process of rolling out new technology into your stores. It’s a flawless and simple joy, right? It starts as a clear and easy plan on a spreadsheet but ends up a messy series of poorly timed shipments and badly configured devices, leading to a lot of emails creating inefficiency and frustration. Ever found yourself marveling at how your best laid plans are dashed against reality? Or how your implementation partners vanish into thin air during deployments? Or perhaps you’ve witnessed the “budget bloat” that happens when inefficiency in your rollout creates delays and re-work that are blamed on ‘supply chain issues’. Fear not, weary retailers, there exists a better way to manage this process.

Bringing Order to the Chaos

Retailers, in their steadfast effort to modernize, encounter a formidable challenge. Implementing new technology across numerous stores is comparable to managing a complex array of IT equipment, each with unique configuration requirements. The hurdles are abundant, much like the frequent issues with point-of-sale systems or wifi. These include discrepancies in deployment times, lost shipments, and the perennial “it worked fine in testing” dilemma.

We believe that an integrated approach that links inventory management, asset management, remote management & monitoring and shipping logistics, into a single platform is the only way to maximize the efficient management of IT assets in a dispersed environment like retail.

This enables retailers to pull four important factors into control in the management of their IT rollouts:

1. Track Procurement and Warehousing

Before any rollout begins, it’s crucial to efficiently catalog and organize all your devices. You may be doing this in a spreadsheet or maybe an asset manager, but you need to manage the workflow also. Even a small rollout can become overwhelming without proper organization, and many devices need to be ordered in advance to ensure availability when needed. Without systematic tracking, finding everything during the shipping phase can be time-consuming.

Montra’s device lifecycle platform, Via, addresses these challenges effortlessly. Designed specifically for IT, Via enables seamless tracking from procurement to deployment. It keeps tabs on software revisions, warranty dates, and service ticket history. By integrating with your ordering and shipping processes, Via simplifies procurement and warehousing complexities, ensuring every device is accounted for and ready for use.

For warehousing, Via allows you to track devices down to the pallet or individual shelf location. You can even track devices by serial number and manage IT asset details like software versions and hardware warranties. The platform also supports creating bundles and setting kitting requirements for interdependent devices. Any rollout process can be initiated within Via or through service management platforms like Salesforce Service or ServiceNow.

2. Monitor Shipping Centrally

Once devices are ready to go, the shipping process often turns into a disorganized mess of tracking numbers across multiple carriers. Whether you are shipping a bundle of devices to a single store, or a fleet of devices across multiple stores, using spreadsheets to track all your shipments can quickly get out of control.

With Via you can initiate and track all shipments from one location. You can ship bundles of devices with the same ease as a single unit. You can also specify requirements for pre-configuration or kitting prior to shipment, and you can even indicate whether an installer is needed on site to meet the devices.

Once devices are shipped, they can be tracked directly in Via with real-time updates from UPS or FedEx fed directly into the system – even across multiple accounts numbers. No more tracking packages across multiple carriers and various carrier accounts.

3. Monitor Devices in the Stores

Ensuring ongoing performance and swiftly addressing failures are critical aspects of IT efficiency in retail. Once devices are deployed, they should be continuously monitored for security and availability. Real-time surveillance allows for the immediate detection of security issues or system failures, ensuring that any problems can be addressed before they escalate.

Via integrates device monitoring with logistics and asset management to greatly improves response efficiency. Knowing the origin, duration, imaging history, and spare inventory of each device throughout its lifecycle streamlines issue resolution.

This integrated approach not only reduces resolution and response times but also minimizes downtime and employee time spent on technology issues rather than customer service. This leads to an enhanced customer experience, increasing sales and promoting repeat visits. A single, system of record for devices, like Via, also eliminates the need to maintain multiple databases of devices for warehousing, for device monitoring and for asset management.

4. Manage Returns and Spares

Furthermore, when it comes to the inevitable hiccups that require a system to be returned or replaced, Montra Via also streamlines this process. The platform’s efficient returns processing mechanism simplifies the logistics of initiating the return of a failed device and ordering a replacement from the spares inventory with minimal disruption. Designed for standard returns or cross-shipped ones, Via reduces downtime, ensuring stores quickly receive the correct equipment with an accurate configuration. By making returns processing seamless, Montra Via protects retailers from the potential chaos caused by device malfunctions, thus maintaining high operational standards and customer satisfaction.

Montra Via also helps you manage your spares inventory with a separate inventory account for spares systems and parts. Importantly you can see set reorder alerts, see versions and updates, as well as warranty dates. This help makes certain that your spares are up to date and ready if a return is required.

As retail continues to get more tech-enabled, implementing Montra Via for your IT logistics is akin to upgrading from a cash register to a modern POS system. Cost efficiency, faster deployment, better uptime, streamlined cybersecurity, efficient inventory management, and improved spare device storage aren’t just aspirations; they are your new reality.

Retailers, elevate your tech rollout game now. Life is too short for inefficient IT deployments. Join those who refuse to accept the status quo, empowered by the revolutionary capabilities of Montra Via. Your future self—and your bottom line—will thank you.

Mastering IT Logistics Management: 5 Things Retailers’ IT Asset Tracking System Should Deliver

IT asset management for the retail industry allows for tighter security and gives retailers a comprehensive understanding of their assets to make informed decisions. Scott Ryan presents several requirements that must be met when considering a tracking solution for your business. Read this article published on Retail Info Systems’ News site – Mastering IT Logistics Management: 5 Things Retailers’ IT Asset Tracking System Should Deliver.

Cyber-readiness Strategy 11: Reduce Supply Chain Vulnerabilities

Nearly two-thirds of firms (65%) have experienced cyber-related issues in their supply chain in the past year. As a part of your cyber readiness plan, you must deploy protocols to evaluate and monitor the security of your supplier networks and third-party vendors.

The supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and with the increasing complexity of global supply chains, that weak link is becoming increasingly difficult to find and fix. Cybersecurity threats can come from anywhere in the world, and they can have a devastating impact on businesses of all sizes. That’s why it’s so important to include reducing supply chain vulnerabilities into your cyber-readiness plan. By taking steps to secure your supply chain, you can help protect your business from the devastating effects of a cyberattack.

Here are 7 ways to reduce your supply chain cybersecurity vulnerabilities:

1.     Understand Your Supply Chain

To reduce supply chain cybersecurity vulnerabilities, it is important to first understand your supply chain fully. By understanding the different components of your supply chain, you can better identify potential cyber risks and take steps to mitigate them. Make sure to conduct a thorough analysis of your supply chain including all your upstream and downstream partners, so that you can identify any potential weak points throughout the chain.

2.     Train Your Employees

This first place to start reducing your supply chain cybersecurity vulnerabilities is to train your employees. Employees should be trained on how to identify potential risks and how to mitigate them. They should also be aware of the different security controls that you have in place. By educating your employees, you can help reduce the risk of supply chain disruptions and keep your business running smoothly. If you are not comfortable doing this in-house, look for a third-party that has expertise in cyber-security training especially with supply chain in mind.

3.     Educate Your Suppliers

Another important step in reducing supply chain cybersecurity vulnerabilities is to educate your suppliers. Suppliers should be made aware of the different security controls that you have in place. They should also be trained on how to identify potential risks and how to mitigate them. You should look at cyber-security standards like NIST 800-161 and ISO 28000:2022, so that you have a common language and set of standards to use in your discussions with your suppliers.

By educating your suppliers, you can help reduce the risk of supply chain disruptions and keep your business running smoothly.

4.     Conduct Risk Assessments

Another important step in reducing supply chain cybersecurity vulnerabilities is to conduct risk assessments. By identifying potential risks, you can take steps to mitigate them. Risk assessments should be conducted on a regular basis – usually annually or semi-annually – so that you can keep up-to-date on the latest threats even as your supply chain changes. Risk assessments can be conducted with in-house personnel, but third-parties are often used to make certain that ‘new eyes’ a looking at the supply chain systems periodically.

5.     Implement Security Controls

Once you have identified potential risks, you can then take steps to mitigate them by implementing security controls. There are a variety of different security controls that you can implement, depending on the specific needs of your organization’s supply chain.

For instance, if you are moving computers or other smart devices through your supply chain, you need to take into consideration the patching and updating of those systems if they have been sitting in inventory for a long time. You should also consider the proper handling of those systems if they are returned for repairs. The systems should be air-locked until it is determined that they are not a risk to your organization.

6.     Have an Incident Response Plan

In the event of a supply chain disruption, it is important to have an incident response plan in place. This plan should include steps that you will take to mitigate the impact of the disruption. It should also include a list of contacts that you will need to contact in the event of a disruption. A complete Incident Response Plan will cover all aspects of your operation, not just your supply chain, but the supply chain has historically been left out of security planning. As modern supply chains become heavily digitized and as the items in the supply chain increasingly have software components to them, the Incident Response Plan needs to take the supply chain into account.

7.     Use a Cyber-aware Third Party Logistics Provider

If you are not sure how to reduce supply chain cybersecurity vulnerabilities, you may want to consider getting help from a third party logistics provider. A third party logistics provider can help you with a variety of different aspects of your supply chain. They can help you conduct risk assessments, implement security controls, and train your employees. By getting help from a third party logistics provider, you can effectively reduce supply chain cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

Now that you know more about how to reduce supply chain cybersecurity vulnerabilities, you can take steps to protect your business. By taking these steps, you can help reduce the impact of a supply chain disruption and keep your business running smoothly. Cybersecurity is an important issue in the supply chain that should be given the attention it needs. By taking a proactive approach, you can help reduce the risk of supply chain disruptions and keep your business running smoothly.

If you are not sure how to start assessing or remediating your supply chain cybersecurity vulnerabilities, you may want to consider getting help from a security-aware third party logistics provider. By working with a third-party logistics provider that has strong cyber-security skills, you can have confidence that you can effectively reduce your supply chain cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

If you have any questions or would like more information about reducing supply chain cybersecurity vulnerabilities, please contact us. We would be happy to help you protect your business from the many threats that exist in today’s digitized supply chain. If you would like more information or have questions about how strong your cyber-readiness is, please contact Montra at