Chain Store System Provider

There’s more to being independent than a tagline or splash page. Being independent means staying independent by buying independent whenever possible. Sometimes we have no choice and have to do business with companies that are not independent. How do you answer the question: “What is independent?”

Independent can mean different things to different people, but over the years I have settled on independent means independently owned. Another way to say that is privately held, not a publicly traded company. I think it is important to have a clear definition of what independent means before you attempt to apply independent thinking in your business. Not that you have to agree with my definition, but you should have your own clearly defined definition of what independent means.

Again, sometimes we don’t have a choice and have to do business with companies that are not independent. It is important to note that independent status alone does not a good or bad company make.

What is typically good about dealing with an independent company is that you have access to fully engaged owners that care about your business. They can make decisions without board meetings, without having to convince or obtain approval from distant and often aloof owners, and can address issues quicker than most public companies. This is likely the major advantage of independence that has kept many of you in business against the chain stores.

So why do so many independents put one of the most critical functions of their business in the hands of what is essentially a “Chain Store System Provider”? I am of course talking about Carlyle Group and its ownership of ECI.

I understand that changing systems is hard and that some of you feel trapped with nowhere to go. Is that really the case? Have you seriously looked at what is available from the many truly independent system providers?

I talk to dealers all the time who think no other system could ever meet their needs, but I wonder how much effort have they really put into verifying this claim? A lot has changed in the OP system provider space in the last few years. As ECI continued their drive to control through monopolization of the office products computer system market, the remaining independent system providers grew more savvy in terms of features, conversion capabilities, and return on investment.

You owe it to yourself and your business to fully understand exactly what your options are and what new possibilities are available. You may be surprised to learn that not only has a lot changed in the independent computer system provider business, but your own business has likely changed as well. Those functions you thought you once could not do without, may not be as relevant in today’s market.

The best approach is to start from scratch and evaluate exactly what you need from a computer system, both front end and back end. Only when you have a complete understanding of your needs will you be able to choose a business computer system appropriate for your business.

One of the worst mistakes you can make is to assume that because a particular computer system appears to work for another dealer that it is right for you.

Perform an honest and thorough evaluation of your business requirements and then check out one or all of the many independently owned computer system providers I list below!

Sorry, my list is limited to independent US system providers. If you are an independent system provider in the UK or Ireland please provide sales contact info and I will make a follow up post. Email me at rick@rickmarlette.com with your contact info.

List below is alphabetic by system provider name.

AOS Ware
Sonny Arora
Managing Partner
Main: 888.310.9964×225
Direct: 732.719.3021
Cell: 732.489.6199
sonny@aosware.com
www.aosware.com

BMI
Craig D. Greitzer
Vice President – Sales
Business Management International
215-443-5877 X206
cgreitzer@bmiusa.com
www.bmiusa.com/

 

eQuality
Gilbert Walter
eQuality Internet Services
303-289-3010 (Direct)
800-798-5612 – Service Department
gwalter@equalityis.com
www.equalityis.com

Evolution
Philip Wood
Evolution Software
321 North Clark Street
5th Floor
Chicago IL 60654
(T) 312.445.6415 (C) 312.714.6824 (S) philip.evolutionecommerce
pw@evolution-software.net
www.evolution-software.co.uk

Logicblock
Alexander Nicolaides
President
Logicblock Inc.
(800) 808-2660
asn@logicblock.com
www.logicblock.com

SSI
John Evans
Vice President
System Solution Limited
Phone # (905) 939 1080 C (416) 318 4607
john.evans@ssiop.com
www.ssiop.com

 

One thought on “Chain Store System Provider

  1. Kenneth Henderson

    Rick When are you going to get off your ass and become the independent system provider for the independent? What have you done for us lately? All your stuff is on autopilot, time to build something for us so that dealers can be in business another 25 years! I can tell you why none of these companies are a good fit for our company or most others. AOS Ware – Sonny is s fruit cake. He asked me to do beta testing even sign a confidentiality agreement. After the first 2 hours with the system I gave him a long list of must haves that are fairly common things an independent needed. He said he would get his guys working on it and that was the last I ever heard from him. BMI – Too fricking expensive! Nobody but a big dealer has 200K to plunk down for a system. eQuality – How many installations and how many support people and developers do they have? I only know what I heard from a friend that was on the system that would not do it again. Evoulution – Very complex web storefront with no back end system. There is no way a decent size stocking dealer can run Quick books as a back end solution. I just bought a dealer on Red Cheetah, and believe me the back end has to do a lot more than just do invoices and g/l. Logicblock – great looking web store front – reasonably priced – however – you either have to use quick books or DDMS as the backend with a telnet poster. No integration with customer files and inventory, Either option sucks! SSI – Let’s call these guys O’ promise Me! – They promise that their system will do anything and everything that DDMS or any other system does. We both know this is a bald faced lie. No system does everything and anybody that promises that to you is a con man. Charles, taught them well how to over sell and under perform. Jeez, these guys can’t eve do a Constant Contact e blast that doesn’t look like it was done by a first grader! No way, no how! OPSoftware – Not listed here, but the obvious choice for a company that has the knowhow, experience and expertise to write a system that would fully integrate with Logicblock front end. Two guys that could be the savior for the small to mid size dealer segment. Priced by what modules you need. Stockless dealer – go the gopd route – stocking dealer needing robust history, inventory and reporting ability – inventory control and wholesaler communications with multiple vendors – go to the pro system. Offer hosted and cloud based system options. I think as you get older, a challenge like this is something that you and Terry should really consider. You know the brightest and best independents – we could work as a team to figure out what a dealer in this day and age really needs for a system and cut out all the bullshit that is no longer relevant. There are no real options out there and I really think you could capture a nice size market and build a great nest egg for you and Terry. Come on dude! Ken Kenneth Henderson, President Chicago Office Products Co. 9710 Industrial Dr. – Bridgeview, IL 60455 P: 800-934-2276 F: 708-430-2440 E: ken@chicago-op.com http://www.shopcopco.com

    Reply

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