Magazine Article | September 1, 1998

Supermarket Chain Saves 400 Hours Per Week In Labor Costs With New POS System

Source: Field Technologies Magazine

Super H Food Stores had six different point of sale (POS) systems in nine stores. This lack of uniformity was making the chain's maintenance contracts expensive
and communications among stores impossible.
Here's how the chain solved the problem.

Integrated Solutions, September-October 1998
Super H Food Stores are all located outside Tulsa, OK, within 100 miles of the city. The chain consisted of nine stores. Unfortunately, within those nine stores were six different point of sale (POS) systems. According to Steve Burrows, director of corporate retail operations at Super H, this led to two major problems. Only a few stores used the same POS systems and even those that did were geographically separated by 50 to 100 miles. Therefore, Burrows found it impossible to arrange any volume discounts and ended up paying expensive maintenance bills. The other major problem involved the lack of a host system for the chain's head office, again due to the lack of uniformity among the chain's POS systems. This lack of centralized information about the stores made managing the growing chain more difficult.

Finding A POS Solution
Fortunately, Burrows knew what had to be done - he had to standardize the POS systems for Super H. He and Marie Lewis, head of policies, procedures and new program development for Super H, began to investigate companies that resell these systems. They reviewed four value added resellers (VARs) in the Tulsa area before selecting Tulsa Cash Register to upgrade all the Super H stores. They chose Tulsa Cash Register (TCR) for two reasons. The TCR-supplied Casio POS systems in two Super H stores were the most user friendly of all the systems. Additionally, TCR always responded within 15 minutes whenever Super H had a problem.

Burrows and Lewis decided to build the host system in Super H's home office first because Lewis wanted to test the new system thoroughly. Accordingly, TCR installed a Casio SA-3000 POS terminal and the associated WinScan POS software. The VAR then added a PSC Magellan scanner/scale, a Windows NT server, and PC Anywhere software for connecting the head office to the stores. All this equipment was necessary because employee training was accomplished at the head office. Once the head office installation had been completed and checked out, the VAR began installing the system into the stores.

By this time, the Super H chain had grown from nine stores to 15. The stores ranged from small, with only four checkout lanes to large, with 15 lanes. TCR installed the Casio SA-3000 with WinScan software, until the newer SA-5100 became available. TCR also put in Magellan scanner/scales from PSC, Windows NT servers and PC Anywhere software.

POS System Tracks Customer Loyalty
Once the system was in place in the home office and all 15 stores, many applications became possible. For one thing, the head office and the stores can now communicate sales information regularly with each other. And, it's possible to key in a price change on the WinScan software at the head office and relay it to every store via PC Anywhere software. Burrows estimates that this ability alone saves the chain some 400 hours of labor every week. There is also a frequent shopper feature built into the system. This allows the system to track sales to individual customers and to apply "preferred pricing" to identified "frequent shoppers."

Frequent shopper data files are electronically sent from Tulsa to DCI, Super H's card marketing service bureau in New Jersey. DCI then produces reports detailing the shopping habits of these customers. These in turn allow Super H to target and tailor promotions directly to these shoppers. Super H is able to track frequent shopper transactions by the use of special loyalty cards which are imprinted with a bar code and a customer number. When shoppers present this loyalty card at the checkout counter, they are automatically given the lower prices which they have earned. Burrows considers these loyalty cards to be a big reason for the current success of Super H Food Stores.