Offer Improved Efficiencies Via POS Upgrades
A VAR replaced outdated, DOS-based POS (point of sale) equipment with a new comprehensive POS solution at 11 locations of a pet center client.
For 20 years, Advanced Business Solutions (ABS), a VAR located in Worcester, MA, has counted New England Pet Centers as a client. ABS specializes in cash registers and POS systems, and New England Pet Centers is a chain of 11 pet stores that sells a variety of animals and pet supplies. The pet center wanted to continue to expand, but to do so, it had to bring its POS equipment into the 21st century. So, in 2007, the store called on ABS for help.
New England Pet Centers realized that its DOS-based POS system had to be replaced. Cash register failures and frequent manual retrieval of sales data from stores became burdens on the business.
"The POS terminal [cash register] that the company used was the IBM SureOne, which is a reliable terminal," explains ABS Owner Dana Crosby, "but there were problems with the receipt printer. It was a dot-matrix printer, and over the years the CRT monitors in the printer got dimmer, and finding replacement parts for them was very costly. It was also difficult to get replacement internal modems, which were required for remote polling of sales data from all 11 stores. With the modems the company was using, it often took several attempts to establish a connection to poll the data."
New England Pet Centers looked to ABS to install a new POS system that offered multistore back office inventory control; remote polling of stores via the Internet; high-speed, integrated credit/debit/gift card processing; and ease of operation and reliability of equipment at the point of sale.
ABS responded by providing a complete solution — hardware, software, and on-site support — based on the Datasym XR650 terminal and Datasym Symfinite and Comm 2000 software.
The XR650 terminal has an Ethernet connection that allows the stores to send and receive data quickly and securely through LANs or via the Internet. The terminal's integrated, high-speed credit/debit capability reduces transaction times to seconds, and the adjustable color LCD display has a 5.7-inch screen. The unit has 4 MB of memory and can produce a 'clean receipt' through its thermal printer.
Datasym Symfinite software enables the pet store chain to improve customer service by lowering transaction times and creating loyalty programs. Comm 2000 software, which can use dial-up, TCP/IP (an open computer communications language), or LAN connections, provides the flexibility to customize the system. "Each store in the chain now has a Datasym XR650 terminal," says Crosby. "The XR650 is networked to a Touch Dynamic Global PC which runs the Symfinite software for credit, debit, and gift card processing. The equipment is networked through a router to a Verizon broadband connection for high-speed payment processing and remote polling of sales data from the home office. The home office runs Comm 2000 software for data retrieval and backOffice Multistore Inventory Control Suite from Insight Retail Software for inventory management and sales reporting."
Utilize Proven POS Technology
Crosby chose the Datasym hardware and software because he wanted to offer a solution from the product line he was currently selling rather than taking on a new line and the learning curve that comes with it. Datasym, which had developed partnerships with companies such as Insight Retail Software, was able to give the pet store chain the products and support it needed.
The new POS solution saves New England Pet Centers time every day. "The old system required the home office to manually poll the stores for sales data every Monday morning, which took about three hours," says Crosby. "After the polling was done, two more hours were spent importing the information to another software application to update the inventory. The next day, several hours were spent generating the orders to be sent to the supplier."
With the new system, stores are polled automatically every night, and with a few mouse clicks in the morning, the inventory and daily sales are updated. On Monday each week, in one hour orders are generated and sent to the supplier for delivery. All of these tasks used to take New England Pet Centers eight to ten hours; now the company completes them in less than two hours.
In 2007, ABS installed the new system in the pet store chain's eleventh store. Crosby expects to do more installations in the future because New England Pet Centers is always looking for opportunities to expand the chain.