Offering A Diverse Mix Of Products & Services
To meet the needs of its retail customers, Systech Retail Systems often combines a mix of new and remanufactured products. The company also custom designs services programs for retailers. The result is a sustained annual growth rate of 40%.
Systech Retail Systems knows retail technology inside and out. That's because this systems integration company began by remanufacturing electronic cash registers in 1981. In the early 1990's, the company added both new and remanufactured PC-based POS systems to the line of products it sells and installs. Today, the Dallas-based company has gross sales of $58 million dollars and an average annual compounded growth rate of 40%. In addition to its Dallas location, Systech maintains a Canadian headquarters in Toronto. Other offices are located in Boston, MA; Los Angeles, CA; Montreal, PQ; and Vancouver, BC. According to Reg Thomas, Systech's v.p. of operations, one key to the company's success is that it has adapted to changes in the POS industry. He also credits Systech's employees for remaining committed to the company and its goals. "It's a challenge to manage growth and stay focused on the company's original goals," say Thomas.
The Market For Remanufactured POS Hardware
"There is still a large market for remanufactured POS hardware," says Thomas. And although Systech's reseller business has grown rapidly since 1986, it has retained this original portion of its business. Systech's Wholesale Group, based in Toronto, distributes remanufactured POS equipment to other resellers, OEMs and third-party service organizations in 40 countries. The company also works with end users to purchase hardware being replaced in new installations.
Many of Systech's retail customers, especially chain stores, realize a large cost savings by buying remanufactured products. "There is still a significant install base of older POS equipment that makes remanufacturing hardware profitable for Systech," says Deborah Simurda, Systech's director of marketing and corporate development. "Some equipment may be 20 years old, but it can be repaired or even, in some cases, made Year 2000-compliant," she says. Simurda says the "buy and sell" component of Systech's business fits its all-encompassing customer service approach. The goal is to build long-term customer relationships.
Keeping Customers Through Service
Systech also builds strong customer relationships through service. "We take our customers' business as seriously as they do," Thomas says. Service technicians, for example, service the same accounts, enabling them to become familiar with a store and its operations. Because of this, when problems occur, the technicians act almost as a dedicated store employee.
To meet its various customers' needs, Systech takes an unusual approach to services programs. Simurda refers to this approach as open service. "It's essentially taking a blank piece of paper and including the individual customer's service requirements. Each customer's needs are different," she says. For example, one retailer may require on-site service for its terminals, but not its receipt printers. A grocery store, on the other hand, may require depot maintenance for its receipt printers and on-site service for its scanners.
Systech's range of services include a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week multilingual dispatch service for on-site service anywhere in North America. Other services include project management, depot maintenance, leasing, training and support, and help desk. The cost varies depending upon what the customer wants, Simurda explains. "We take into account the customers' needs for response time during their peak days and times," she says. A retailer's needs for service on a Sunday at 5 p.m. are different from those on the day after Thanksgiving at 12 noon, for example.
Adopting A Project Management Approach
Building on the strength of its remanufacturing and service departments, Systech is moving towards a project management approach to installations. One example of this approach is the company's recent rollout of retail technology for a leading specialty retailer. It operates more than 490 stores in 33 states. The installation includes a total of 2,084 POS terminals, 576 servers, and a variety of peripheral hardware devices. Each system consists of two to eight open system check-out lanes with back-room processors, printers and wireless inventory management devices.
"Systech managed the production schedules with the hardware manufacturers and the software developer for the six-month rollout. We also oversaw the staging of equipment and the logistics of shipping all the systems," explains Thomas. The company was also responsible for the communications and network management of the installation. Store employees were able to basically open boxes and plug in the fully-configured systems. "This rollout, because of its size and scope, is one of the most significant events to affect our company," says Thomas.