Grocery Store Chain Cashes In On POS Upgrade
Remke Markets replaces point of sale (POS) systems at its
seven Save-A-Lot stores enhancing back-office reporting and decreasing support costs.
Save-A-Lot operates more than 500 discount, off-brand grocery stores in the United States. The seven Save-A-Lot stores operated by Remke Markets are located in northern Kentucky and southeastern Ohio. Remke Markets, which has operated its own independent grocery stores for 102 years, operates five Remke Markets in the Covington area. "The Save-A-Lot corporation recommends a preferred POS system," says Edwards. "However, we found that particular system lacking."
Specifically, the recommended system lacked the reporting capabilities Remke Markets needed. "We also wanted more vendor support and a lower priced, open architecture system," says Edwards. "We wanted a unified platform between our conventional format grocery stores (Remke Markets) and our private label (Save-A-Lot) stores. A unified platform would allow us to better host the POS systems and provide in-depth corporate reporting. Overall support by our in-house information technology (IT) department would also be easier to manage."
Trade Show Meeting Seals The Deal
"When Remke Markets started looking for a solution for its Save-A-Lot stores, our ACR1000 POS software was still in the development stage," says ACR's Director of Major Accounts, Ed Oertli. "We had a demo of the software at this year's Marketechnics trade show. The software didn't have all the features Remke Markets needed. But, after meeting with Edwards and other Remke Markets representatives at the show, we added the features they we were looking for particularly an ODBC (open database connectivity) database." Oertli says this is a slight departure from a typical sales cycle. "Because Remke Markets was an early adopter of our previous POS software (ACR 2000), we valued its input in the development of the new version," says Oertli. ACR won the Remke Markets account with the lowest bid and an offer to incorporate Remke Markets' needs in its newest software release (ACR1000).
New POS System Features "Clean" Receipts
Oertli replaced all the POS systems in Remke Markets' seven Save-A-Lot stores. The systems included ACR1000 POS software, Axiohm A756 thermal receipt printers, Magellan scanners, Preh keyboards, APG cash drawers, Dell computers, POWERVAR and APC power protection devices, and PowerEdge 1300 servers. "Configuration of the ACR1000 software took only 30 minutes," says Oertli. "Installation took about 45 minutes for each lane."
Printing clean receipts those that print at the end of a transaction instead of during the sale was important to Edwards, so Oertli chose Axiohm A756 receipt printers. "Items are grouped by price," he explains. "For example, six items priced at six for $1 are scanned at the checkout. With the fast end of order printing, only two lines of print are needed to summarize what would have been twelve lines of print on a conventional POS system with a dot-matrix printer. The compressed print from the Axiohm A756 is easier to read than that of dot-matrix units. Although thermal paper is more expensive than impact paper, the Save-A-Lot stores are reducing costs by using 40% less paper and limiting the use of ink ribbons and cartridges (check endorsement only)." The printers' clamshell design allows for drop-in paper loading, reducing customer delays at the checkout.
Because the ACR1000 POS software is Windows-based, training time is decreased by up to 50%, says Oertli. Save-A-Lot employees were trained on the new system prior to the installation. "We used a ‘train-the-trainer' approach," explains Oertli. "It takes approximately four hours to train store cashiers. Store managers receive an additional two hours of training. Bookkeepers and price administrators receive an additional three hours of training on top of that." In addition to the installation and training, ACR will supply Remke Markets and Save-A-Lot with 24/7 help desk support as needed, to augment the corporation's in-house IT capabilities.
Save-A-Lot Saves A Lot
Edwards is pleased with the new POS system software and components. "The new system cost 50% less than the system we used previously," says Edwards. "The maintenance contract is 30% less. Along with the cost savings, we have the detailed reporting we need to operate both Remke Markets and Save-A-Lot stores. We are able to share POS system parts and support personnel between the two chains (Remke Markets and Save-A-Lot), cutting our overall in-house support costs and parts inventories." Oertli is hopeful that the successful installation at these seven stores will lead to more business with the Save-A-Lot chain nationwide.