By Cindy Dubin, Business Solutions magazine.
A presale solution configuration helped this systems integrator land a bar code printer/scanner sale at some Verizon Wireless retail locations.
To paraphrase Mick Jagger, you can’t always get what you want, but you might just get what you need. This is basically the motto Scott Steiner and his team at All Barcode Systems (ABS) live by when it comes to customer service. And that is how ABS has landed contracts with several Fortune 500 companies, which include the likes of Coca- Cola, Goodyear Tires, AT&T, and Verizon Wireless.
All Barcode Systems is a systems integrator and value-added distributor of data collection and mobility equipment and services. The company was founded in 2007, realizes annual sales of $750,000, and has boosted revenue 1,000% since its inception.
“My goal is to give information to potential customers without giving away the farm so that they can make intelligent decisions,” says Steiner. “Customers like that we are willing to help, and they wind up purchasing their equipment needs from us.”
VAR Talks Customer
Out Of $9K Purchase
That's what happened with Verizon Wireless. A purchasing manager for one of Verizon's national territories had been interested in purchasing a $1,500 mobile bar code label printer and a $2,500 data collection device from another VAR, but approached ABS to write a program that would enable the two systems to speak to one another. That program would have cost Verizon another $5,000. "When I probed a little deeper, I convinced Verizon that I could provide the printer, scanner, and program for around $1,000," explains Steiner.
Verizon Wireless divides its retail stores into territories, and each is responsible for making its own purchasing decisions. At the point of sale, Verizon store employees manually input a bar code number found on each phone's outside packaging. This manual process was prone to transposed numbers, omitted digits, and sometimes busy stores would forget to write down the numbers completely. These numbers were maintained internally to make it easier to trace the phone to its user in the event of activation issues or product recalls.
One of the territory purchasing managers decided it would be more productive to scan the bar code labels on the packaging. Beyond that, the purchasing manager wanted to buy a mobile bar code printer that could print a duplicate of the bar code label upon scanning that could be placed on the paperwork associated with each sales transaction.
Presale Work Pays Off
When ABS learned of Verizon's needs, Steiner wanted to sell the telecom a TSC M23 portable printer and a TSC, cabled, bar code laser scanner configured as a combo unit that would be programmed for Verizon's specific task. But, before he made the hardware recommendations to Verizon, he did some presale work of his own to make sure the scanner and printer could get the 14-digit Verizon bar code number to fit on a 2" x 1" label. "The existing bar code measured 3 inches, so we had to reduce its size by 50%," says Steiner. "We were faced with the challenge of getting the symbol to fit on a smaller label, but still be decoded by the TSC scanner." This turned out to be a simple process for TSC.
The printer/scanner combo from TSC scans a bar code that identifies a particular phone and SIM (subscriber identification module) card inside the phone. A label is then produced and applied to internal paperwork as a way to keep track of the information without having to manually write that number onto the contract.
From the time Verizon approached ABS, it took less than one week to place the order for the combo unit. To date, Steiner says the retail store's errors have dropped to zero. He expects that 12 to 18 combo units will be purchased for that entire territory after testing, which is about halfway completed. "We do plan on approaching Verizon Corp. to see if other territories would be interested in the combo unit, and hopefully this can become something the company implements nationwide," he concludes.