Video firm relies on computer wizardry
By BILLY ADAMS
TECHNOLOGY has played its part in putting the home entertainment market firmly on the map.
Good quality information systems are a godsend for companies wanting to give their customers the best flexibility and choice.
Asia's largest video rental chain, KPS Video Express, said its advanced system allowed more than half a million customers to rent movies. During the IT Week Roadshow, KPS will demonstrate its Master Information System.
KPS has been using the system since the first of its mega-stores opened in 1987.
Now, there are 18 outlets dotted around Hong Kong with plans for another six to come on stream before the end of the year.
KPS specialises in providing a wide range of movie titles - both on laser disc and video - for hire and to buy. There are also compact discs on sale in some shops.
It also deals in a variety of computer software packages, both educational and entertainment.
The company sees this as a market, which is going to grow rapidly in the future.
All multimedia products are bar coded and scanned in every sale.
A spokesman said: ''Bar coding is an invaluable tool in helping the company to track every activity in its daily business.
''Transactions are logged and comprehensive databases are built for the company's inventory and membership system.'' The computerisation and centralisation of the membership procedure meant customers could take out movies at one store and return them to another.
Information on the latest home entertainment software packages, such as films, computer software and audio products, is networked and shared among different stores on Hong Kong island, in Kowloon and the New Territories.
The inventory files kept tabs on where particular items were, who had them and when they were due to be returned.
KPS tried to stock the widest possible range of material. Up to 50 copies of some of the most popular films would be bought but only a few of the more obscure titles would arrive in stores to meet specific needs.
The databases stored more than one million items and this gave the firm a better idea of what should be bought, the amount and where they should be stocked.
The spokesman added: ''Information Technology is undoubtedly invaluable in helping KPS to keep prices low and provide quality customer service.''