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.”
“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.”
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.”
“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.”
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.”