On September 15, 2008, STCR Business Systems was recognized in their local
newspaper, The Press & Sun Bulletin. The Press and Sun Bulletin came to STCR's corporate location in Endwell, NY for the interview. To read the story click here.
Standing next to one of IBM's latest self-checkout registers are STCR Business Systems Inc. leaders clockwise from right front: President Brian Tuberman, Vice President Ed Sepelak, Director of Technical Services Leon Decker, and Support Center Manager Jason Townsend.
FSA (FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNT)
A FSA or Flexible Spending Account is an employee benefit program that allows participants to pay for health care expenses through pre-tax payroll deductions. When enrolling, participants determine how much money they want to contribute to their account for the year; the money is withheld from their pay checks before taxes. With a FSA debit card participants can be reimbursed from the account as they incur expenses or they can submit a claim for the expenses.
The FSA debit card withdraws money directly from the flexible spending account, eliminating the need to file a paper claim for reimbursement. The use of these pre-tax benefit cards is becoming wide spread. Grocers can participate in the FSA debit card program and reap the benefits of consumers with FSA accounts.
If you are currently running IBM ACE Version 6.2 or the IBM/SMS system you have the ability to accept FSA debits cards. Once you decide to accept FSA debit cards you need to contact your processor to be sure they are a participant in the SIGIS (Special Interest Group for IIAS Standards). This group governs the rules and regulations set by the IRS for FSA.
After you contact your processor and receive the list of eligible FSA items you then mark these items in your POS file maintenance. When the eligible items are scanned during the checkout process they are segregated for tender with the FSA debit card. This process is very similar to the EBT card process. One important thing to remember when a customer is paying for FSA items with the FSA debit card, the FSA items must be tendered first.
If you are interested in accepting the FSA debit cards in your store, please contact your STCR representative at (607) 757-0181.
ZABAR'S AND STCR
In 1934 Louis and Lillian Zabar started Zabar's by renting an Appetizing Counter in Daitch Market. Louis’s philosophy was to sell only the highest quality items at a fair price. Over the years Lillian and Louis took over the Daitch Market and Zabar's was born. When Louis past away in 1950; Saul and Stanley Zabar took over running the store. In the mid 1970's Zabar's opened The Mezzanine which offers kitchen appliances and gadgets from all over the world. Today the store is over 20,000 square feet with over 250 employees.
Zabar’s has been a customer of STCR Business Systems’ for over a decade. They are currently running the latest version of the IBM/ACE system in their store. “We have been using IBM equipment and software for our point of sale for over 10 years and have been very pleased with the system's quality and reliability, and with the excellent support provided by STCR.” Larry Zilko, IT Director.
Zabar's is open 365 days a year and there is always a Zabar in the store. To see more about Zabar’s please visit their web sit at www.zabars.com.
SCANNER/SCALE OPERATION & CARE
Scanner/scales are a crucial part of your POS system. Every item is passed across them for the system to identify and make an entry in the transaction. Weighable items are placed on the scanner/scale for the system to register the weight. Today's scanner/scales are designed to handle high volume and throughput. They are engineered to continuously operate under the environmental and operational stress in the typical supermarket. Regular maintenance practices will keep your scanner/scales functioning at their optimal condition and thus improve your bottom-line.
STCR sells and supports the Magellan line of scanner/scales manufactured by DataLogic Corporation. Here are some operational features and tips to keep these scanner/scales operating at top condition:
The SurroundScan feature can read bar codes on all 6 sides of the item, including the top, as long as the bar code is below the top of the vertical scanning window. The items should be passed across the middle of the horizontal window at the arrows. There is no need to turn and position the item in favor of either scanning window. This practice will increase the scanning speed and avoid stress on the cashiers' hands. Because of this scanning capability, it is also a good practice to pass the items through in one direction only and then move the scanned items away from the scanner/scale to avoid double scans. A good maintenance practice is to keep all the surfaces of the scanning windows clean. This includes the windows under the weighing platter. To clean the glass surfaces use a damp cloth with non-abrasive cleaning solution and wipe off the excess with a dry cloth.
The Magellan line of scanner/scale has the only patented L-shaped All-Weighs platter that allows for larger items to lean from the top of the vertical window down to the horizontal window to achieve accurate weighing. The newer Magellan models have a raised Produce Rail at the end of the horizontal weighing surface to ensure larger items do not rest on surfaces outside of the weighing platter which reduces the weight read by the scale. Also, it is important that the weighing surface is slightly higher than the surfaces surrounding the scale. This prevents larger items from resting on the non-weighing surfaces and thus reduces the weight and the selling price of such items. A good maintenance practice is to keep the edges of the weighing platter and the area under the weighing platter clean of debris and dirt built-up. Debris and dirt build-up along the platter edges could cause friction between the weighing platter and the vertical surfaces surrounding the platter. This could reduce the accuracy of the scale. This debris should be cleaned up by vacuum cleaner periodically to ensure proper weighing.
When you reset the weighing platter, check to make sure the scale display reads zero. If the scale display does not read zero press the “zero” button on the scanner/scale to reset.
If you have any question or concern about your scanner/scale, please contact our Support Center at (607) 757-0181.
LOYALTY CARDS & CUSTOMER PROMOTIONS
Many retailers have discovered the value of loyalty card programs and customer promotions to differentiate and bring customers back to their stores in the hyper competitive supermarket industry. The idea of getting supermarket customers to sign up for a ‘loyalty card’ in exchange for discounts and other incentives started back in the 90’s. The airlines recognized the marketing potential long before with frequent flyer programs.
The ability to identify a customer at the POS and target them has revolutionized the customer experience, allowing the grocer to build a loyal customer base that enjoys these types of inducements. STCR offers services to our customers to help rollout a full blown loyalty card program. These programs typically follow the crawl, walk, run deployment approach, offering an immediate attraction for signing up to get a card and subsequent savings on items if the card is used in the order. However, these programs can develop into sophisticated marketing tools that require a significant level of planning and administration. Other grocers want to advertise a promotion to all customers in an effort to bring more in the door but are unsure how to set it up in their system.
If you are unsure how to proceed with your loyalty program, please call the STCR Support Center at (607) 757-0181 to request assistance. If your question is a “how to” we would be glad to assist you. If your question requires a more involved setup, testing, and implementation, we can assist you with getting quotes on services needed to accomplish the desired promotion. Let us help you take full advantage of your systems ability to promote and bring more customers back to your store.
Datalogic Scanning Again Leads the Worldwide AIDC Industry in Bar Code ScanningAccording to ranking by Venture Development Corporation
Eugene, Oregon, August 12, 2008- According to the latest report from marketing research firm Venture Development Corporation (VDC), Datalogic Scanning again leads the global AIDC Industry, with both its stationary and its handheld scanner product lines. Datalogic Scanning has been ranked #1 in worldwide point-of-sale (POS) stationary bar code scanner shipments and #1 in the EMEA region for handheld readers for the last several years in a row. Note: Venture Development Corporation is an independent technology market research and consulting firm, recognized as the leading source of information for this market sector.
With over 30 years of knowledge, experience and expertise within the automatic identification and data capture industry, Datalogic Scanning offers the most innovative portfolio of in-counter and on-counter POS scanners and scanner/scales for retail applications, as well as the broadest range of handheld bar code readers available today.
The world’s top ten retailers use the Magellan® line of high-performance retail POS scanners and scanner/scales, which are designed to enhance checkout productivity in medium-to-high volume retail environments. In fact, customers who use the Magellan brand report: “we know that when we install a Magellan scanner, we can forget about it”.
“The VDC report confirms that the future is bright for the AIDC industry and that execution of our strategic plan has been effective in bolstering our global leadership position in this industry”, remarked Bill Parnell, President and CEO. “We have an extensive and dedicated worldwide channel network which consistently delivers superior sales results. We will continue to focus our energies on keeping that network strong so that Datalogic Scanning can remain the global leader in this market”.
Over 35,000 customers worldwide have chosen Datalogic Scanning handheld readers during the past 10 years which translates into an exceptional >30% market presence in the EMEA Region. Datalogic scanners have established the rules of the game in the very competitive handheld scanner area, offering the broadest choices of technology and connectivity features.
Datalogic Scanning in numbers
● Datalogic Scanning made history with the first retail bar code scan in 1974.
● A Datalogic Scanning bar code reader is installed every 36 seconds.
● Over 3,500 customers have chosen Magellan® retail POS scanners.
● Over 5 million Datalogic stationary and handheld scanners have been installed since 1994.
STCR Business Systems, Inc. sells and supports Magellan scanner/scales and handheld scanners and has done so since the 1980’s. If you are interested in learning more about these products, please contact our office at (607) 757-0181.
Magellan is a registered trademark of Datalogic Scanning. Datalogic is a registered trademark of Datalogic S/p/A. This information in this article is reprinted from a Datalogic Press Release dated August 12, 2008
Retail Hardened is hardware that is proven to be strong, reliable and consistent. IBM has been the leader in POS technology for 30 years with over three million point-of-sale systems installed world wide. How can IBM deliver such quality systems to so many customers? IBM believes in using the highest quality materials to make their systems. IBM also puts their systems through a battery of tests for all types of conditions.
Some of the tests IBM performs on their systems include: Board Flex Testing, Power Cycling and Extended burn-in. These are just a few of the tests IBM performs on each of the systems they produce. The Extended Burn-in is a test in which the systems are powered up and run for 12 hours at an elevated temperature. By running these tests IBM can reduce the number of out of box failures.
Once the systems have passed the hardware function tests they are put through another round of testing that helps IBM understand the effects different environments can have on the systems. One test is the Electrostatic discharge test. Electrostatic discharge is the transfer of static electricity from one person or object to another. Another test is Thermal Dynamics. During this test the systems are run for long periods of time at varying temperatures from very hot to very cold.
One IBM test that is important to the independent grocer is the Spills and Drips test. During this test various liquids are dripped on the system for a period of time and various liquids are dumped directly on the systems. The Spills and Drips test prompted IBM to create special features on the POS system, keyboards and printers to reroute the liquids away from the internal parts of the hardware.
The tests listed above are only a small portion of the tests performed by IBM to ensure the delivery of the top of the line products to their customers. To learn more about the IBM Retail Hardened systems offered by STCR, please contact us at (607) 757-0181. To read more about Retail Hardened from IBM click here.
USDA SETS INTERIM RULES FOR (COOL)
The United States Department of Agriculture has released a new interim rule for mandatory COOL, Country Of Origin Labeling, that will take affect September 30, 2008. The labeling will be required for beef, lamb, pork, chicken, goat meat, perishable agricultural commodities (fresh & frozen fruits and vegetables), ginseng, pecans, macadamia nuts and peanuts.
You can e-mail the USDA to verify if a product is considered a covered commodity or is labeled accurately under this regulation at firstname.lastname@example.org
The rules involved both labeling and record keeping for these un-processed products that are sold in stores. These rules originated in 2002 to provide the consumer with information regarding where the products they purchase originate from. The rules have been amended by the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bill. Beginning in September 2008 they will be enforced at the state and county level.
Are you protecting your customers' credit card information? There is a lot of talk about PCI compliance these days, but how many retailers know the rules about the credit card receipts they give their consumers?
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) is a set of laws for retailers to protect credit card information on consumers' receipts. These FACTA laws were originally created in December of 2003. As of December of 2006 all businesses were to be in compliance with these laws.
FACTA makes it illegal for a retailer to print the credit cards expiration date on the receipt given to the consumer. It also makes it illegal for the retailer to print more than the last 5 digits of the credit card number. Here is an example of what the customer’s credit card receipt must look like:
If a business is found to be in non-compliance with the FACTA laws there could be severe fines and even class-action lawsuits. The business could even lose the privilege of accepting card cards. If you are unsure of your compliance with these laws please call our Support Center at (607) 757-0181.
STCR'S E-NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE
If you have missed any of STCR's past E-Newsletters, we have created an archive for you. To read our previous E-Newsletters just click here.
1958 The aluminum can, which has been looming on the packaging horizon for years, makes its debut as a food container. The can is used for parmesan cheese. Source: Supermarket News, December 28, 1992, pg. 9.
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