Thursday April 18, 2019Article courtesy of: The Shelby Report
Value Center Marketplace’s efforts to improve efficiency storewide have been effective with new point-of-sale (POS) technology.
In 2015, Value Center focused on ways to customize its POS systems to be more comprehensive, open and flexible. This included adopting new technology that could integrate everything from the time clock to new product pricing into a single platform.
Value Center’s managers worked with reseller Great Lakes Data Systems to find a solution that provided role-driven applications capable of serving stores, web and mobile, while unifying front end, back office, headquarters, personnel and customers. Together, the partners found the SMS Suite from LOC Software, technology that is designed to make transactions more manageable, profitable and frequent. The SMS Suite architecture ensures reliability, a fully configurable feature set and speed, and is fully customizable.
For Value Center, this means easily managing 300 or more price changes per week, having live inventory for fresh foods, and being able to pull invoices and match them at the receiving dock. Equally important, the retailer’s loyalty program is now easier for both the customer and the staff.
“The new technology has made our processes a lot more efficient,” said Tommy Farida, general manager and operations manager. “For instance, we used to have to set our scales separately from the POS system, and now we can just do it once with the SMS platform.”
Value Center, LOC and Great Lakes worked together to set up a test station to help determine the level of customization required—a configuration that also enabled the retailer to avoid issues when the actual implementation started. Among these challenges included issues regarding data management.
“A lot of the issues we faced were things on our side, but the SMS platform is pretty simple to use and we are now able to do a lot more in terms of customized engagement than we had been before,” Farida said. “For instance, we have been able to move away from a card-based system to a cardless loyalty system that uses the customers’ telephone numbers.”
The company is able to control the scales from the server, a configuration that “is going to save all of the department managers from having to change pricing in each store in each department,” he continued. “Now one person is going to input all pricing and automatically send it down to all scales at the store level.”
Farida said much of the savings from the new system are coming from more accurate receiving, improvement in the loyalty program and increased efficiencies in the payroll application.
The system enabled Value Center to streamline training. Using a “train-the-trainer” approach, the company’s internal information technology staff worked with Great Lakes and LOC to learn the system. Then the IT team was tasked with teaching all store personnel on how to use the solution.
By moving from a card-based loyalty program to one that uses a telephone number, the retailer continues to save approximately $200 per week by eliminating physical cards, envelopes and postage. It was also well-received by shoppers because it is one less card on their keychain. Perhaps most impactful for Farida is the efficiency improvement in payroll, which is saving the company between 5 percent and 10 percent.
Value Center is now starting to integrate its digital commerce offering, real-time inventory and new scale software to address not-on-file items quickly and accurately. The retailer also plans to use the SMS software to manage signage and pricing.
“The software has so many capabilities, we just need to implement them,” Farida said.
Value Center Marketplace is a family-owned grocery marketer in southeast Michigan. Its five locations are stocked with locally-sourced goods, much of it straight from farmers at the Eastern Market in Detroit.