Business can get complex. Learn how retailers are using the secure end-to-end retail solutions from Petrosoft to simplify their operations.
Number of Locations: 16
Goal: Streamline and Automate Store Operations
Key Solution Benefit: User-Friendliness
Saneholtz-McKarns, Inc. of Montpelier, Ohio is a petroleum marketer and convenience store operator serving northwestern Ohio and southern Michigan. The company owns and operates 16 retail locations. Jeff Erb, General Manager, wanted to streamline and automate his store operations, but his past experience with back-office systems made him very cautious about selecting a vendor.
“We did a very thorough search and looked at a number of back-office systems,” says Erb. “We wanted to begin keeping our inventory at item level and were also looking for a system that would give us a complete suite of reports on all aspects of the business.”
Past experience had taught Erb to be careful about which software package he chose. “We had used another software product in the past,” he noted, “but it was so complicated that it ended up costing us more time than our manual operations. It had all the features we wanted, but it was just too difficult to work with.”
Erb spent many months researching back office systems, including C-Store Office. After viewing the demos, he found that many of the software solutions met his features but not his usability requirements.
“In the end, after doing all of our research, we just kept coming back to C-Store Office,” says Erb. “We liked it the best because it was so user-friendly. It had all the features we were looking for but it also had a really teachable interface. I was confident my managers would be able to learn C-Store Office quickly and that they would use it. That was the key thing — we had to make sure our managers would use it effectively.”
Erb is pleased with the level of acceptance C-Store Office has gained from employees and they are seeing the results they anticipated. “C-Store Office makes it possible and practical for us to reach the goal of managing our inventory at item level. The managers can use it and they can get the work we want them to do completed in a reasonable amount of time.”
There were a few pleasant surprises as they began to phase in C-Store Office at their retail locations. “One thing we didn’t expect was how much increased oversight we’d have over our vendors,” Erb noted. “Because of the way C-Store Office handles invoices, we are able to catch vendor errors easily. We are a margin-driven company, and C-Store Office displays the margin on every item in every invoice so we can spot errors right away.”
Going forward, Saneholtz-McKarns’ strategy is to automate the business as much as possible and use C-Store Office to continuously streamline the operation. “I can see where C-Store Office can play a role in improving our operations in other areas, too,” He offered. “The next step will be to interface between C-Store Office and QuickBooks, so we can begin to get our accounting automated as well. There are a lot of opportunities here for increased efficiency and we plan to use them all.”
Number of Locations: 70
Goal: Automate Data Collection
Key Solution Benefit: Flexibility
When Ejaz Rahim, Director of Operations at Waseem Petroleum, began to search for a new technology solution he knew the key to achieving his business goals included a flexible solution. The company’s business is diverse. Waseem Petroleum owns and operates convenience stores, a number of gas stations and it also has a co-branding relationship with 7-Eleven in its North Jersey region. The Madison, New Jersey Shell and BP-branded distributor wanted to automate the data collection from the different technology that was being used at its locations. The company has networked ATG’s, non-networked ATG’s, a mix of POS systems and, in the case of the 7-Eleven locations, proprietary POS systems. In all, Waseem Petroleum services over 70 locations in New Jersey and New York.
“We just grew too big to monitor gas sales and inventories manually” says Rahim, “but trying to find an electronic solution that could pull all of these various types of businesses together was a real challenge. We really needed to automate data collection, but there just did not seem to be one solution out there that could fit. We did not know our true pool margins at various locations and we were having trouble getting timely inventory data to base delivery schedules.”
That is when Rahim discovered Petrosoft and contacted the company. Petrosoft can address the need for a flexible solution since the company offers a number of software and hardware products to the different sectors of the retail petroleum industry. It is because of this flexibility that Waseem Petroleum can now use the web-based i49 fuel sales reporting application to collect and report fuel sales, costs, prices, and margin data and can also project delivery schedules. The company can also use the statistical inventory reconciliation reporting (SIR) capability. Tying the whole system together is the Petrosoft Direct Connect DC 101 unit, the smart and fast proprietary hardware that connects the PCs, Ethernet and internet networks at the 70 locations to Waseem Petroleum corporate office.
“Petrosoft can pull data from registers and networked Veeder-Root gauges or allow manual entry through a PC,” says Rahim, “and we get all the data we require online at an extremely low price.”
All Petrosoft products are compatible so, as they move forward, Waseem petroleum is thinking about expanding the sophistication of its Petrosoft applications where appropriate.
“These units can all be combined together like building blocks,” he noted. “In the convenience stores, we are planning to upgrade to the full back office and it will work perfectly with the gear and software we already have for those locations. It gives us a clear path forward.”
Handy Mart Stores
Number of Locations: 43
Goal: Optimized inventory cuts costs and raises profits
Key Solution Benefit: Item-level inventory
Handy Mart Stores operates 43 convenience stores in Eastern North Carolina, where they truly are “the local store” for much of the State. A division of large petroleum marketer E. J. Pope and Son, Inc., the company made a strategic move to expand their retail technology infrastructure in 2009 and 2010.
For Director of Marketing Tony Noonan, improving inventory control was the goal. “The most important thing about using C-Store Office for me is that we went from not scanning at all to doing item-level inventory in our forty-three store chain in a very short period of time,” says Noonan. “The amount of knowledge and control we have gained over our inventory is just amazing. And C-Store Office is so well-suited to the C-Store environment that our IT people, accounting and store-level staff were all able to learn it and start using it quickly.”
C-Store Office delivers item level information that updates on every shift, so managers, purchasers and corporate staff always have detailed information on overstocked and understocked items. They can also see reports on fast moving, slow moving and dead items, too. In a very short time, managers learn to work with inventory to achieve optimum stocking levels to ensure fast moving items are in adequate supply and dead items are weeded out of inventory.
C-Store Office can also do automatic ordering, using the item-level information in the system to create orders for each supplier that are based on current actual inventory levels and historical item velocity.
LPT Retail Management Services, LLC
Goal: Flexible and fast deployment
Key Solution Benefit: Web-based system
Headquartered in Temple, Texas, LPT Retail Management Services, LLC offers an alternative retail management service to its clients. The company manages convenience stores, car washes, truck stops, and quick service restaurants (QSR) for financial institutions, oil companies, local & national wholesalers, and receiverships nationwide.
LPT President Kevin Gandy knows the ability to react swiftly is a key advantage for his business. “We step in when the business owner must remove a failing operator and keep the business running until a new operator can be found,” Gandy states. “Often, we’ve got to be ready to take over a failing store in a matter of hours.”
That’s why C-Store Office became an important tool in LPT’s service offering. The 100% internet-based service can be installed in as little as two hours and requires no special equipment. A standard PC running Windows and an internet connection are all that is required.
“The Petrosoft people can install it quickly and train the store managers online,” Gandy observes, “so they can be up and running fast. Plus, the system is so easy to learn that it doesn’t take a store manager weeks to get up to speed. Using C-Store Office, we have literally cut training time by 75% percent. This has driven our training expenses way down. And daily reconciliation is now so automated that we’ve managed to cut the manager’s paperwork time by about 75% too. That gets that manager back out on the floor where he or she can be working with customers and employees, rather than doing paperwork in the back.”
Speedway Convenience Store
Goal: Cost effective solution
Key Solution Benefit: Web-based system
Jason Hoxie is the operations manager at Speedway Convenience Store in Hogansburg, NY. Hoxie is well aware of the many challenges single store operators face and the difficulty of finding resources that that are realistically priced for a small business like his.
“C-Store Office is great!” Hoxie says. “It gives a single store operator like me the advantage of being able to get the same level of data about my business as large chains can get, but at a cost that’s practical for a single-store operation. It helps us save an enormous amount of time on paperwork and managing inventory, and supports scanning really well.”
Hoxie is able to get back office work done faster and manage his inventory more efficiently using the flexible powerful management tools that C-Store Office provides. For businesses of any size, C-Store Office delivers the data that allows managers to make better business decisions and increase their profits.