AKRON-Just as surely as motorists need to change their oil and have regular maintenance performed on their cars, computer users should periodically take stock of their equipment and consider upgrades to the latest and improved software offerings on the market.
Tire Business contacted several industry software companies to see what's new and what's improved. Many of the products being offered are for inventory management, tracking and point-of-sale (POS) integration. One firm, OpenWebs Inc., has developed a trading network for tire dealers that operates in concert with a POS system.
The following is a synopsis of those products.
ASA Tire Systems
Nashua, N.H.-based ASA Tire Systems has released ``VisionPro,'' a complete POS integration with Wrenchead Inc.'s ``Vision Estimator'' software product.
The partnership with Wrenchead, announced Sept. 10, means that users of ASA Tire's TireMax and TirePro products will be able to ``quickly and accurately'' estimate the cost and labor of all components and parts for a particular auto service job, ASA said. Tire dealers will have pricing information from Wrenchead's catalog database available on their POS application, eliminating the extra step of re-entering a service job into the POS, according to ASA Tire President Wayne Croswell.
For more information, call ASA Tire at (603) 889-8700, or visit its Web site at www.asatire.com.
Columbia, Md.-based Compu-Power launched Sales Power-software that allows commercial tire salespeople with handheld computers to import data from corporate mainframes while out in the field.
The company said that instead of reviewing piles of printed reports about a customer's buying habits, a salesperson instantly can view customer information on the screen and save information on the sales call for later analysis.
Compu-Power also introduced self-service kiosks that function in either informational or transactional modes. Informational kiosks display tires in stock; links to the tire makers' Web sites for specifications; recommendations for tires and services; promotional information for the dealership and printed price quotes.
A transactional kiosk includes the ability to convert a quote to a work order and print that order out for a customer.
For more information, contact Compu-Power at (410) 964-0333, or visit the company's Web site at www.compu-powr.com.
Rather than develop new software packages for dealers to upgrade to, MaddenCo has been busy connecting customers to its computers in Evansville, Ind., where its application service provider (ASP) is based, according to Marketing Manager Tom Yeager.
Dealers wanting to run MaddenCo software log on to the ASP via the Internet and access the software remotely. MaddenCo, in a sense, leases its software through this connection.
The software runs the gamut from accounts payable/receivable to POS, to vehicle service history, to inventory management, Mr. Yeager said. Hardware also can be leased from MaddenCo.
Within the past year, the company has developed the ASP to be compatible with a regular, analog phone line, a personal computer or a terminal, he said.
MaddenCo can be reached at (812) 474-6245, or visit www.maddenco.com.
Open Road Technologies
Columbia, Md.-based Open Road Technologies is offering the SPT 1700, a handheld computer that tracks retread work order entries, new-tire order entries and service order entries for commercial tire sales and service people.
For more information, contact the company at (410) 707-2900, or visit www.openroadtech.com.
In Pittsburgh, OpenWebs, a spin-off from Signal Software, has developed a trading network for tire dealers who can electronically transact with each other through the POS system.
The firm said its tradingNetwork system allows retailers and distributors to manage all their POS and back office functions, with access to many inventories in the distribution channel.
A dealership's salesperson can enter the make and model of a car, search for the needed tires within the store's inventory or send a purchase request to another dealership or distributor that has the tires in stock.
The searches are done at Internet speed without logging on to a browser-based Web site, according to OpenWebs.
For more information, contact OpenWebs at (412) 395-2852, or visit the company's Web site at www.openwebs.com.
QBC Systems Inc.
QBC has upgraded its CAPS Wholesale/Retail Distribution Management Systems software to include Internet capability, said Patrick McGovern Jr., QBC's sales and marketing manager.
In addition to Internet capability, Amherst, N.Y.-based QBC has enhanced CAPS to feature automatic price updating, purchase order transmission, an application service provider, tracking of vehicle identification numbers and a vehicle history purge function, to name a few.
The company can be reached at (716) 691-5201, and at www.qbc.com/caps, for more information.
TCS Software L.L.C.
TCS Software, based in Cookeville, Tenn., recently released version 5.10 of its Tire Company Solution software for tire and automotive centers.
The company said this latest version of its Windows-based, point-of-sale and accounting software is faster, easier to use and provides better tools for analyzing sales and purchasing information than the previous version.
The software tracks purchasing, customer invoicing, vehicle service history and prints reports. It also allows for quoting and accounts receivables and payables.
For more information, contact TCS at (888) 449-8473, or visit its site, www.tcstire.com.