Auto supplier gears up for expansion

Investment in a new retail management system was "critical" for the continued growth of automotive parts, tools and accessories retailer Super Cheap Auto.

The Brisbane-based company of 1000 employees has 54 stores throughout Queensland, NSW, ACT and Victoria, with plans to open another 11 stores before the end of the year. It also plans further expansion into the regional areas of eastern Australia.

Bob Thorn, managing director of Super Cheap Auto, said: "Our business is growing quite substantially and we decided to go to the market to find something to meet our needs for the next five years at least, but there weren't too many products out there."

Thorn said due to the centralised nature of the business, the integration aspect of Retail One from Technology One and the vendor's "willingness to work with us to finesse the product to meet our requirements", were factors in its selection.

The system was implemented across all Super Cheap Auto stores in January this year and cost "many hundreds of thousands of dollars; it was a substantial investment of both software and hardware", Thorn said.

The system offers integration of point of sale, stock replenishment, purchasing, pricing, retail management and administration, sales analysis and financial management functions.

It was a staged implementation. "We brought the Finance One product on first, then the inventory management package, and then the inventory assessment and sales analysis in stage two, which is going on right at the moment."

Thorn said they had few "hiccups" during the implementation, but ‘managed to continue ordering all our products and transacting all our sales.'However, in hindsight, the company would have changed its decision to stagger the implementation of the product and the timing of some of the different stages.

"I think that staging [the current implementation] was correct; it's just a matter of whether we gave ourselves enough time."

He said they were yet to see the full benefits of the project, especially from the sales analysis side, and were only now coming to grips with all the system could offer.

Retail One is targeted to the medium to large retailer with between 20 and 500-plus outlets, and is an e-business enabled retail merchandising software system. It is based on open industry standards and can run on major database platforms including SQL Server, Oracle and Informix, as well as popular operating system platforms.

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