Read Brothers Hardware - Logo

Historic hardware retailer finds solution
to manage over 40,000 stock points


Read Brothers Hardware is a fifth generation family business that’s been operating in Thames since 1867. With a staff of ten and over 36,000 stock points to manage, Read Brothers is one of the larger independent hardware stores in NZ. The company depends on superior inventory control to satisfy customer needs. 

Since implementation in 2004, Read Brothers have been using MYOB EXO (EXO) to manage their mammoth product range. With EXO installed and supported by Speciffix Solutions Ltd, an Enterprise Solutions Partner, they found the perfect match for the size and complexities of their business. 

"We’re confident we chose the right system, and because Speciffix Solutions can access our system remotely most requests for assistance don’t even require a site visit.” says Stuart Read, who runs the business with his wife, Jocelyn and son, John.

 Read Brothers Store Front

Managing more than just nuts and bolts

With an extensive product range to manage,inventory control is paramount for Read Brothers.

EXO is renowned for its excellent inventory control,especially in the procurement cycle. Offering real time processing for easy stock identification, ETA of fresh stock, current cost and sell pricing, and all product attributes, searching for stock is fast with the intuitive EXO screen presentation and barcode support.

Stuart explains “We can easily search for stock items, even for alternatives, by keying one or more space separated strings. The system allows us to define where to search, even in custom fields that we have defined ourselves.”

 Managing more than just nuts and bolts

Pricing is a breeze

For the Read brother’s team, EXO handles promotional pricing for supply chain and over the counter. Pricing at point of sale is automatic, with optional date ranges and is pre-loaded to the system weeks ahead of the promotion. “We can specify an unlimited number of pricing policies containing multiple levels such as customer and stock groups or individual customers and SKUs,” explains Stuart.

EXO’s forecast based purchase orders make maintaining stock levels easy, especially for promotions. All purchases and sales are traced to a promotion code so the promotion’s success can be measured.

 Pricing is a breeze

Inwards goods made easy

“The Inwards Goods function is most important to ensuring business profitability. MYOB EXO’s procedures provide the correct data for us to make critical business decisions.Using EXO purchase prices and discounts per suppler/stock item/pack size are stored in the system to automate purchase order pricing. Receiving stock is easy with EXO’s Inwards Goods module. Up-to-date information on outstanding orders and ‘goods received not invoiced’ is just a few mouse clicks away. 

For John, it makes his day run smoothly. “We carry a large range of products, many not found in other hardware stores. Some items are sourced from multiple suppliers and we can buy in different purchase pack sizes,” explains John. “For each of our stock points we can set up multiple-supplier info and even different supplier stock codes from the same supplier when they offer multiple pack sizes. Quantity conversion on stock receipt is automatic.”

 Inwards goods made easy

Friendly POS

Read Brothers operate four POS lanes. These can be secured by password as staff are often assisting customers at the shelves. To start a new transaction, staff simply scan their barcode. All transactions are traceable, even if the tills are shared. 

EXO Point of Sale application allows data to be updated in real time and on-account sales can be checked. As well as cash/charge and carry, the POS interface raises sales orders when stock is unavailable (or if customised stock must be sourced). Impressed with this functionality, Stuart says, “We find the POS transaction parking feature particularly useful, it enables us to suspend multiple transactions and even recall them on a different lane workstation.”

EFTPOS is a given in today’s retail space. ReadB rothers operate an integrated EFT solution from PaymentExpress (DPS). Integration ensures accuracy and speed since no rekeying on the EFTPOS terminal is necessary. EFT processing is visible on the POS screen.


Behind the scenes

With six workstations, the administration staff handles the usual debtors, creditors and general ledger processing and reporting, along with inquiries and mail orders.

Other terminals are used for inwards goods processing and typical stock management functions. Jocelyn explains “EXO allows us to do a soft end of month rollover. This is great for us as, after we close the shift on the last day of the month, we can immediately roll to the new period ready for the next day’s trading and then go home. On the following days we can key final transactions {into the prior period}, such as cheques in the mail, and then produce all our end of month reporting, statements etc. We do it in our own time withoutholding things up at the counter.”

An inbuilt Contacts system provides Read Brothers with CRM information to maintain communication with regular customers, including those with frequentcustomer buying privileges.

 Behind the scenes

Stable and flexible

“With EXO, there has been no downtime on our workstations and EFTPOS,” says Stuart cheerily. ReadBrother’s data is stored on an MSSQL server and EXO data structures are open and easy to understand. 

EXO has a very powerful report writer (Clarity) used to customise business forms. Typically report design is done by the EXO Channel Partner, however, after the initial implementation; Stuart opted to learn the Clarity tool and now alters or writes reports, including business form design, himself.

The open nature of the MSSQL data structure allows for experienced channel partners, such as Speciffix Solutions Ltd, to customise procedures as required. “At times,” explains Stuart, “we get Speciffix to build us custom solutions to meet our unique needs.”

Speciffix have even employed MYOB’s custom database extension facility to implement extra fields that allow Read Bros to tag Dangerous Goods items and through the Clarity reporting tool manage stock holding and store placement of these items. We report on this using the MYOB EXO Clarity reporting tool. “This, with all the other benefits of MYOB EXO, has made us so much more productive.” says Stuart

 Stable and flexible

Speciffix encourage you to visit the Read Brothers Hardware Ltd web site