Paper Source Sales Up by 28% with SalesFocus

 

 

PRODUCT MANUFACTURER:  Relational Solutions, Inc.  24601 Center Ridge Rd., Suite 110, Westlake, OH  44145

Phone:  440-899-3296    Fax :  440-808-0645     www.relationalsolutions.com

 

PRODUCT NAME:  “Sales Focus”

 

REVIEWER:  Sue Lindstrom, President, Paper Source, Inc.

 

BACKGROUND:  Paper Source, Inc. is an upscale specialty paper and stationery retailer headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.

 

HARDWARE PLATFORMS:  Intel server running SQL Server and Windows 2000 Server.

 

PROBLEM SOLVED: 

 

Inventory & Sales Management:

One of the key uses of Sales Focus is for inventory management. We now have daily big picture snapshots of inventory by product category at each of our stores, all on one report.  We have specific benchmarks for inventory value for product category at each store. Not all stores sell items from product categories equally and now we can optimize that by store. This report helps me to find gaps in inventory first at the product category level. We can then quickly drill down to specific items within product categories or vendors. Specifically, Sales Focus has helped us to pinpoint where our growth was coming from and once we knew that, it created even more growth in those product categories.

 

Servicing Our Customers:

Our customer’s are very demanding and expect a high level of service and product availability.  Even before Sales Focus, we knew the value of good data.  We would spend hours upon hours gathering data to make purchasing decisions and not covering enough ground because we have 8,000 active SKUs at any one time. As we continued opening new stores, we were constantly falling behind in purchasing and feeling more and more overwhelmed.  We contemplated hiring more people to help in purchasing, but we knew what we really needed was analytical assistance to make smarter, more accurate decisions, not more people making more decisions. Sales Focus provided the intelligence and data we sought. We would ask the questions that we knew were critical for our growth and would get answers. From these answers, we were able to make smart, informed purchasing decisions which supported growth. And this is what has accelerated our top line growth from 15% per year before Sales Focus to nearly 50% per year after implementing the system (same store sales growth of 30%!). Equally important, we have happier customers who can find any product they need – in stock.  We no longer feel overwhelmed and with Sales Focus we can do the work of an entire buying team, without losing any decision-making control.

 

New Stores:

Sales Focus has helped us tremendously with opening new stores. With Sales Focus, we can examine the most successful vendors for each product category and target the best selling and most profitable SKU’s.

 

Timely Decision Making:

With our old system, we spent far too much of our time gathering data and as a result not having enough time to do all the analysis necessary. With Sales Focus, we can ask questions and get answers in minutes, not hours or days. Reports are quickly configured and can easily be changed, although we work with a few key reports on a daily basis. The information is timely, accurate and very easy to access.

 

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY:  SalesFocus integrated fully with our current point of sale system which collects all the transactional information. Relational Solutions modified Sales Focus for our business rules and data moves seamlessly from our POS system to Sales Focus each and every night. And of course everything is automated. The data is consistent and reliable, which is critical for accurate analysis. There is never a question about the quality of the information from SalesFocus.

 

In addition, SalesFocus requires almost no maintenance.  It’s a good thing because IT staff is understaffed.  From the reporting side, within minutes of asking a business question we are able to access information not only from a high level, bird’s eye view,  but we are also able to “drill” to the lowest level of detail.  Everything is point-and-click.  SalesFocus also provides exceptional Excel integration.  It is very, very easy to use.

 

STRENGTHS: 

  1. Consistent and reliable information
  2. Easy-to-use browser interface.
  3. Required very little training.
  4. Fast implementation and easy to manage.
  5. Seamless Microsoft Excel integration.
  6. Strong reporting options.
  7. Built-in source data extracts and data validation processes.
  8. Automated daily updates.
  9. Excellent customer support from Relational Solutions, Inc.
  10. Runs well on Win2000 and SQL Server – very cost effective.

 

WEAKNESSES: 

  1. Would like a more robust document search capability.  The current one is good but does not search the text within each document. 

 

SELECTION CRITERIA:  Ease of use, ROI, built-in cleansing and validations, integrated solution, flexible reporting capabilities. 

 

DELIVERABLES:  We were impressed with the speed in which Relational Solutions was able to get the system up and running.  Relational Solutions installed the application in less than one month, modifying it for our business model.  They are professionals and know what to do and how to get it done.  The application works great.  We made a couple minor changes when our business lines changed and RSI helped us make the necessary changes over the phone. We were impressed. Within the next 6 months, we plan on analyzing our customers purchasing habits, and then creating targeted marketing programs.

 

VENDOR SUPPORT:  The few times we needed it, the support has been wonderful.  It’s obvious this is a company that has been doing business intelligence for a long time.

 

DOCUMENTATION:  Documentation was satisfactory.