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Opinions Wanted Why do I need a POS?

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Grey Owl, Jan 3, 2010.

  1. DanGray

    DanGray MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I have been useing Specialty Soft for over 6 years now. I cant say anything bad about it. There were some specialty charges I felt were too low so I was able to go in and change them to get the mark-up I wanted.

    It works great with the scrapbook items and keeping the inventory. and love how it works with my Valiani. I used to have a Fletcher 6100 and it wirked great with that as well.
  2. janetj1968

    janetj1968 PFG, Picture Framing God

    Not sure myself, although I'm guessing this is what Wizard's IF offers especially since they call it "seamless" integration.... correct me, people...if I'm wrong.... if it doesn't due this then its not fully (or truly) integrated... There are multiple levels of integration but to me, this would be most ideal.

    My experience with truly integrated software comes from working closely with a programmer on an accounting package which was modified to integrate with add-ons for the framing industry...modules such as inventory, billing and receivables management. In other words, the programmer is licensed to make changes in the original software in order to allow the flow of data back and forth. As long as he didn't modify the "core" he was licensed to do whatever he needed.

    This is a lot different than simple import/export functions which is what I'm finding most places offering "integration" with CMC's are actually using. In my experience, this type of integration is pretty useless as it doesn't really solve many problems. Most of the time, corrections to sizes are made at the cutter and not at the POS. However, Kirstie...if you're in a habit of correcting your POS workorders, it would be easy for you to export correct files regardless of your POS vendor. Simply correct then export then cut...and to many people doing it this way is no big deal.

    The complication for POS software makers is that they don't own rights to the original software (except Wizard). The only thing they can actually do is "mimick" the cut file's format so that it can be imported. (For example, DXF format is not owned by Fletcher's F-6100 machine, but it is a format its able to read...)

    It's illegal to dissect software programs, so this is their only choice if they don't want to buy the rights to it.

    However, any time the programmers create all modules of the program (such as Wizard's IF Retail/Visualization/Cut Program) then the ability for true integration is certainly there and in that way they have an advantage that other POS makers that don't.

    That being said, I'm a Lifesaver girl when it comes to my POS. Integrating with my old F6100 isn't a priority for me....and I really love their program. But if I had a Wizard, perhaps I'd take a harder look at the IF package.
  3. troyveluz

    troyveluz MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    My opinion below is just speaking from my experience, others my have a different one.
    When I bought my POS (SpecialtySoft) I was told by SS that their POS will integrate with Wizard CMC. I also verified it with Wizard that it is true when I talked to them in WCAF in Vegas.
    When I was trying to integrate the CMC software and POS ( in a networked environment), I could not get the 2 softwares to talk to each other. I called SS tech support and they told me I needed a software from Wizard that lets the 2 software to to each other. SS tech support gave me the name of the software but I can't remember the name now (it was more than 2 yrs ago).
    I called Wizard tech support and they told me they never heard of the software. I called SS tech support again to confirm the name of the software and they gave me the same name and I told them Wizard never heard of the software. I tried to get SS and Wizard tech support to talk to each other but they both declined.
    So now I am stuck with a POS that does not talk to my CMC.

    Lesson learned:
    Make sure you let the software maker demo or show you the integration with another software, specially if they did not build the other software, before you buy it. Also if there are features that are important to you, let them show you how it is done in their software. If they can't show it to you, most likely the software can not do it or you have to pay extra for that feature.

    Hope this helps.
  4. janetj1968

    janetj1968 PFG, Picture Framing God

    Excellent advice, important post.
  5. John Ranes II CPF GCF

    John Ranes II CPF GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Integration... Really that important?

    We've really drifting away from the original question that Russ aka Grey Owl asked about pricing length moulding in various ways using one POS system.

    Integration would probably be less important to his one man shop than larger framing operations, and in truth although I understand the efficiency, I still dont' see it's advantages even in a business the size of ours.

    We currently use SpecialtySoft for our POS and felt that it's strengths best suited our needs (Reports, Retail Diversification), while we use a Valiani CMC and although it is integrated, we don't use that feature. We opted to work with an entirely different third company, LifeSaver for our visualization software, FrameVue as it had the strongest features and ease of use, imho.

    We selected each of these important tools based on how they performed individually. Russ is pretty much looking at POS Software and how it handles his pricing models (comfort level).

    Well, Russ.... you've got 6 pages of information and opinions here. Did you end up examining any of the POS vendors while you were at the WCAF Show?

  6. Grey Owl

    Grey Owl SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Yes, John, I did talk to the POS vendors while at the show. As you mentioned I'm a one person show, so I'm in a slightly different position than most.

    Based on my discussions with them, and with Mike (at the grumble dinner) I have decided to hold off for now.

    I do have the historical information of all of my orders in my computer system (an Access database) so I can pull them up, sort them anyway I want, etc. which is also one of the benefits of POS. But for pricing, which was one of my primary concerns, it looks like I would have to go in and make some manual adjustments for the way I do it.

    The pricing downloads would be helpful, and as Mike said, the data from the moulding companies is often really messy, [especially one of mine, according to Mike] but I can generally clean it up. [or I have been able to up to this point].

    I am now getting computer product price files from my 3 primary moulding suppliers, which account for 95% of my moulding sales. About the only ones I have not asked is Picture Woods, and Vermont Hardwoods, but I have purchased very little from them and I only buy raw moulding and finish myself, so a slight price change in my cost would not effect my selling price that much.

    I have modified my database, and I now have a factor by supplier and order method in my database and I have my database give a preliminary price, which I can accept or change.
  7. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    Several years ago we used to export the cut files from our LifeSaver setup to a shared drive on the Wizard machine (via the network), and then open them in the Wizard mat designer. (I don't believe the current version of the Wiz s/w opens these files today, but I could be wrong)

    That lasted less than a week, and I think we were probably the only shop to use the feature. Andy quickly put a stop to it because mats were being wasted. He prefers to re-measure, at the CMC, in case the original rushed/quick measurements were not correct. It takes only a few seconds to verify and pop in the mat/opening sizes.

    If we were 'Michaels' or a large multi store operation that used a central production facility, I would have a different opinion. There are definite advantages, but I'm sure our business is large enough to benefit from them.

    As far as the POS and Visualization systems integrating, I DO see a huge time saving benefit there. It saves duplicate entry of item #s, measurements, and brings the image over to be attached to the workorder. This reduces the time spent at the design counter, and reduces errors. Most POS systems integrate only with their sister visualization products, with one exception.

    A lot of great stuff was shared in this thread. We're fortunate to be in an industry where there are SO MANY options in POS software. In most other industries, software like this would be about $15,000 and then a thousand or more per year for updates/support. Yet because of healthy competition, our industry is doing the same for a lot less ($0 to $2000, with yearly fees under $400).

    Russ, hopefully you'll consider them again as you expand and add more lines. There are numerous advantages beyond price updates, IMO.

    Best regards,

    GUMBY GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Green message:
    keep doing it by hand it gives me a huge advantage over a shop that does not use POS/Vizualisation/CMC intergration.....
  9. Tex

    Tex True Grumbler

    Lesson learned:
    Make sure you let the software maker demo or show you the integration with another software, specially if they did not build the other software, before you buy it. Also if there are features that are important to you, let them show you how it is done in their software. If they can't show it to you, most likely the software can not do it or you have to pay extra for that feature.

    Hope this helps.

    I agree this is very good information. It seems the "used car salesman" approach is alive and well off of the car lot. Thanks for this piece of info.
  10. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    It is unlikely that any of the popular POS software companies would purposely mislead anyone, but their answers might have to be as vague as the questions. The software in this discussion is all proprietary, so cross-brand integration issues may be complex.

    If integration is important to you, Wizard is the only company that has actually come up with what they call "seamless" integration of POS, CMC, and Visualization software.

    That said, how important is integration? If you do not already have the equipment, maybe seamless integration would attract you to buy all three of their products for POS, CMC, and visualization. Or maybe not -- depending on how well their products fit your needs.

    If you already have a CMC, POS, or visualization product you like, then you probably would not want to scrap it for the purpose of integration. I guess most of us are in that scenario, and we really can not rely on integration of mixed brands.

    Another consideration is the longevity of the equipment you already have. For example, your F-6100 is at least 8 years old. If you buy a POS program compatible with that machine, would it also be compatible with whatever new CMC might replace your obsolete F-6100? Also, if you decide to keep that older CMC and buy the CMC Doctor's upgrade for it, would the new software still be compatible?
  11. troyveluz

    troyveluz MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Just to clarify, I did not ask vague questions and did not get vague answers. I ask very specific questions and got very specific answers.
    Just to give you a little background about myself:
    I have a bachelors degree in computer science, worked as a software engineer, written countless technical documents, gathered user requirements and translated them to software requirements and developed software. My specialty is in Electronic Data Interchange and Document Imaging capture.

    I did all that for 20 years before deciding to open up my own framing business. So suggesting that I have asked vague questions regarding integration or data transfer between two software products is just plain wrong.

  12. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Troy, it's good that you have the knowledge to ask the right questions, and unfortunate that the answers were misleading. I'm sorry to have hit your nerve, but most framers are not computer-knowledgeable enough to ask those 'very specific' questions. Usually when we are misled, it's because our questions were not specific enough.

    Anyway, your search for cross-brand integration seems fruitless. Only one company promises seamless integration and, to my knowledge, none of them have succeeded with cross-brand integration.
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