By The Business Solutions Network
An ISV’s successful inventory management solution leads to installs for 15 additional client properties.
The easiest IT solutions to sell are those with a clear ROI and tangible benefits. A good example of this can be seen in a project completed by VAR and software developer Yellow Dog Software for one of the most prestigious resorts in Miami. As Jay Livingood, president of Yellow Dog Software, recalls, back in 2012, the resort was transitioning from one owner to another. As part of the transition, the resort needed to replace and/or update a number of its information systems, including its inventory management solution. The inventory management system was needed to facilitate physical inventory of tens of thousands of items sold across the resort’s five stores (gift shop, three pro shops, and an apparel boutique). After an extensive selection process, the new management ultimately decided on Yellow Dog.
For its solution, Yellow Dog installed its own Yellow Dog Inventory software running on a local server. Yellow Dog does offer a cloud version of its software, which clients can purchase on a traditional license model or via a 36-month installment package. Support is an additional monthly fee.
Twenty Unitech PA520 handheld mobile computers are used for the in-store inventory process. Spare batteries were also purchased, as well as Zebra GC420 desktop bar code printers. Livingood says his company recommends Unitech rugged mobile computers because, despite the classy resort environment, the devices will be dropped and abused over time. “We wanted to ensure the client had devices they could use for a long time,” he says. “Also, Unitech keeps its products consistent so we can develop for the hardware once and know that things will work for years without us having to make changes to our code.”
A key aspect of the software is the addition of Yellow Dog’s Point of Sale System Sync Module, which integrates the inventory software with the resort’s POS system — Oracle/Micros POS. This integration enables merchandisers to create items, place orders, and receive inventory within Yellow Dog. The Yellow Dog software then pushes the data into the POS back end and later retrieves sales data back into the inventory software. “This integration allows our clients to have a small team that only has to worry about the data in our software because it will take care of the POS as well,” explains Livingood.
The initial migration for this resort was straightforward. Livingood says his team obtained an item export from the old system, which they then imported into their software. All told, the install took about six man-days on-site, which included training on the software and use of the new hardware.
Yellow Dog charges $1,000 per bundle, which includes its software, the Unitech handheld, and training. “We make it simple with our bundle pricing because otherwise we’re adding complexity to the sale,” says Livingood. “Also, it reduces the amount of negotiating customers can do. When customers price shop and come back to us, we bring up the bundled cost of our software, training, shipping, et cetera, which has a value that far exceeds whatever price they could find online for the hardware alone.”
Address Inventory Management Benefits
Livingood says there are two primary benefits to this resort now that the install is completed. First, he points out that it’s a payroll drain to do a physical inventory so it’s very important to do it as efficiently as possible. “On average, if going from a manual paper-based process to our solution, the amount of time it takes is one-third to half as long,” he says. “Some customers pay for the entire solution in a few months.” The ability to use the Unitech mobile computers helps the resort take physical inventory as fast as possible. In fact, the Unitech PA520 handhelds were initially docked at the end of the day for a batch sync, but today the process is accomplished in real time over Wi-Fi, further speeding up the process and giving the resort a more accurate count.
Second, Livingood says his software was designed to be prepopulated with all inventory items including their item numbers and any attached UPC codes. The moment a product is scanned, details are presented to the employee for verification. “If the scanned item isn’t in the system, we alert them and give them the option to get the correct price information into the database,” he says. “When counting with our solution, they can’t miss anything. They have to address it the moment it pops up. What other systems do is just collect data but never confirm it. It happens that updating inventory isn’t always perfect and mistakes can get through. We reduce the fallout of bad scans, which can prevent a significant P&L hit.” In the case of the resort, once using Yellow Dog, they were able to eliminate overbuying and subsequent markdowns, resulting in a swing of more than $100,000 a year.
Livingood says the retail manager at this resort, based on their success, was given authority over all their other locations. Since Yellow Dog was a huge part of this success, Livingood says his company is now in the process of rolling out its solution to 15 other locations for this client.