University Upgrades To AutomatedInventory Management
The Southern Utah University bookstore eliminates manual inventory and replaces electronic cash registers with a new point of sale system.
Managing Inventory At Three Locations
Southern Utah University is a public, state-assisted university with more than 5,700 students on its 130-acre main campus. "The bookstore had been using a manual inventory system for textbook management," says Bill Carter, director of sales, store systems group, for BUDGETexT Corp. "Electronic cash registers were used at the point of sale. There was no computer-driven inventory system in place to manage thousands of books and other items, such as sweatshirts, paper, and pens."
The bookstore also operates a nearby convenience store. During the summer, an off-site bookstore location sells merchandise related to the school's three-month Shakespearean festival.
Southern Utah University had made the decision to automate and requested proposals for a POS/inventory system from several vendors, including BUDGETexT. "Our competition included other textbook wholesalers and more general POS VARs," says Carter, who had started building a relationship with the school in 1996. BUDGETexT was chosen to provide the POS hardware, ComTEXT, and SellMate POS software. Hardware components for 10 POS lanes included EMAX pole displays, ADDS terminals, Worthington decoders and card readers, Symbol scanners, Epson receipt printers, and APG cash drawers.
"We chose the EMAX pole display because of its custom interface," says Carter. The pole displays are configured to work with BUDGETexT's software and system peripherals. "The 2 line by 20 character display accommodates data, such as the book title, author, and price during the sale," says Carter. "It also displays the sale total, amount tendered, and change due."
Other components included two Windows NT servers, MultiTech modems, Prodigy bar code printers, Epson impact report printers, and APC power protection devices. The new system also integrates with credit card and debit card transaction processors. Carter says typical college bookstore inventory and POS systems with similar components cost between $50,000 and $500,000, depending upon the size of the school. BUDGETexT offers 24/7 support and will regularly upgrade the textbook management software.
The installation took less than two weeks. Staff training took an additional three days at BUDGETexT's office, followed by a week of training at the store. Bookstore staff entered the thousands of inventory items into the new POS system's database. "One last manual inventory was taken, and then the BUDGETexT system began keeping a perpetual inventory," explains Carter. All items sold now include bar codes. They are scanned and removed from inventory at the point of sale.
"With the new system, store receipts now list books by title and cost," says Dennis Ohms, the bookstore manager. "In the past, receipts simply listed ‘book' and the cost. We've also been able to list book information on the university's Web site. In the future, students will be able to order their textbooks online." With the success of the new system, it appears Southern Utah University's bookstore passed the adoption of new technology with flying colors.