Boosting Sales Efficiency

With the rapid expansion of the chain, Super Plus Food Stores needed to consolidate sales and purchase information. "This information would enhance our ability to buy right and take advantage of our buying power," says Richard Chen, co-owner. Currently operating 36 stores and nearly 2,500 employees, Super Plus Food Stores is Jamaica's largest retailer, measured by gross revenues. Founders Vincent and Gloria Chen opened the first Super Plus Store more than 40 years ago and the family continues to operate the chain, which has its own distribution center, a fleet of trucks, a line of Super Plus-branded products and an e-commerce Web site. "With revenue of $177 million in 2004, we outflank our largest competitor three fold," Chen says.

In order to increase customer throughput, efficiency in sales, and purchasing and inventory control, the grocer decided that a Windows-based operating system would be the best for a growing SMB. Super Plus Foods selected ECRS' Catapult POS solution for this reason, along with its unlimited discounting ability. "The endless permissions it affords us has helped us solve our challenge of "three for" pricing," says Chen.

The price of the new system also was right. "The original estimate we got from other vendors was between $100,000 and $150,000 just for the programming change. The ECRS solution was able to accommodate our needs off of the shelf."

Implementation began in April 2002 with a pilot at one store. The pilot was so successful that no changes were required before the 1,000-terminal rollout. Depending on the expansion rate, the rollout is expecgted to be complete during 2007.

The Catapult retail platform is designed to meet the needs of the high-volume operation, which handles more than 180,000 customer transactions each week. The system offers options such as centralized pricing and promotions, storewide and centralized reporting, POS, price checker, DSD and self-checkout. The combined Epson/ECRS POS solution allows the retailer to scale up quickly while lowering total cost of ownership. Epson's IM-320 is completely integrated with Catapult and includes the cashier and customer display, CPU, credit card swipe and printer, all provided in one small footprint. With the new system, Super Plus is able to use its replication capabilities to merge store data automatically and if DSL is not available the system can use dial-up. Up to the challenge, the retailer has been able to keep the backward implementation process going at the same time new stores are being built and opened with the software.

"The ROI of the solution was projected at 24 months, mainly due to the cost of the scanning equipment," says Chen. "But it is now at 18 months because of our decision to use Epson POS terminals." With the new system in place, Chen plans on implementing a customer loyalty program and using the solution to enhance credit card authorization at the register.

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