POMPANO BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 20, 2000)—Tire Kingdom Inc. has completed a major replacement of its point-of-sale computer system that will allow executives to monitor any transaction in the 165-store tire dealership as it happens.
"With the cost reduction as a result of it (the new computer system)," said Tom Garvey, chief financial officer of the Pompano Beach-based firm, "we´re a lot more efficient now."
In addition to improved efficiency, he said, the new system will enhance Tire Kingdom´s bottom line and help the company avoid Y2K computer problems.
The new system was designed by Pompano Beach-based Dynamic Systems Solutions Inc. over the course of about a year, Mr. Garvey said.
Tire Kingdom began to consider the renovation of its computer system about four years ago as part of its planning process.
Mr. Garvey said the advent of the year 2000 put added time pressure on Tire Kingdom and DSS to complete the installation before the end of 1999. The new system went into operation Nov. 1.
"If we didn´t have this completed by Jan. 1, we would have had bad problems," Mr. Garvey said. He declined to give an exact cost of the system, but did say the cost was "in the millions."
The new "front-end" system is capable of collecting data from each store continuously during the day. In the previous system there were 18 "clusters" of 10 to 12 stores each on separate computers, he said, and individual store data had to be downloaded to the corporate office overnight and combined the next day.
Also, there were several different types of software at different clusters, he said, that made combining data more difficult and costly.
Software on the new system is "fully integrated" which allows executives at Tire Kingdom headquarters to monitor functions such as payroll, inventory and store traffic and interact with each store manager in real time.
"DSS built a front end to the JD Edwards software," said Mr. Garvey.
Tire Kingdom picked DSS to develop the new system, he said, because DSS had experience with the JD Edwards-brand software which Tire Kingdom was using for functions such as ledger, payroll, inventory and human resources at the corporate office.
JD Edwards software is widely-used by a variety of businesses, Mr. Garvey said.
At each store, Tire Kingdom sales and service personnel will be able to develop a history for customers to track reservations, work done, parts used and make future appointments.
The new system is flexible, Mr. Garvey said, so store managers can assemble data in numerous ways to easily create reports.
While primarily designed for company and store management, Mr. Garvey said store personnel may use the system to show customers their own vehicle service history or available inventory.
"It´s not a windows-based point and click system," Mr. Garvey said. "We don´t want them (store employees) looking like they´re at McDonald´s where you´re fixing a hamburger." For example, the new system won´t show customers pictures of tires or custom wheels.
Tire Kingdom would rather have sales people talk with the customers about what they need, he said. He added buying tires isn´t like picking out consumer goods. "I think when a customer comes to you looking for tires," he said, "they really need help."