Switching your retail management system isn’t done on a whim. A lot of research goes into making sure that the new system will continue to be the right fit as your store and the retail industry evolve. However, while there are numerous benefits to upgrading your system, implementation can still seem like a daunting task. That’s why we recently sat down with Senior Systems Consultant Angela Gray to discuss how she helps ensure a streamlined implementation process for our partner stores.
What is the typical implementation process for a store switching to MBS Store Technology Solutions?
Customers begin their switch by working with their MBS Store Technology Solutions Representative. During those initial discussions, they will let our rep know what they need or don’t need from their system. The rep will put together a tailored package for them, and once that is finalized, it gets sent to implementation. We work closely with each store to implement what they purchased in the timeline the store wants.
What is the most common hurdle when implementing?
Resource availability within the ideal timeline. Like with anything, you want to get something done, but sometimes things come up that might take precedence over the project. When we talk about a system implementation, there are a lot of moving parts. It potentially includes an inventory management system, a point of sale and an eCommerce site. You might also have to set up accounting applications.
Our solutions are designed for your store, so each implementation is pretty dynamic based on what the store selects. It makes each customer pretty unique. However, we know what each customer will need to do based on what products they get. So to begin with, we have a conversation and explain exactly how the project will come together and what resources the store will need to accomplish their goals. Throughout the implementation process, we communicate with the store to keep everything on track.
What else does MBS do to ensure the transition goes well?
Other than being as upfront as possible with customers about what to expect, we also let them know what we will need to make necessary campus integrations. As implementation starts, you can make all the necessary requests at once. It helps keep the process organized and ensure that the resources are available. We also work with you on filling out the forms packet.
Depending on the system we are implementing, we might also bring in some additional MBS product experts to discuss with you how you currently do things and how you want to do those things in the future. It helps us assess strengths and weakness while making a plan to get you where you want to be. We also have training packages. Stores can start training right away to build a knowledge base with their new system.
We work with stores of all sizes. Sometimes we have very large university stores and other times it’s very small stores. We are flexible because every store’s needs are very different. We are with our customers every step of the way. We help them keep tabs on the progress and ensure they have what they need.
What is the best advice you can give people who are going to switch to an MBS system?
My advice would be to ask a lot of questions. The more communicative you are with us the better. For example, if there is something you feel is critical to your business needs, share that early on in the process. During implementation, we ask if there is anything that you sell on consignment. Like do you sell consignment artwork, bulk candy, ice cream by the scoop, etc. Don’t be shy. The more you can tell us about your business process, the more we can help you get where you want to be.
I know college stores are extremely busy and fitting in a new project like this can be hard. A lot of stores look at how they can squeeze in time with you. We set up regular weekly calls to ensure all these different pieces continue to move forward. If something doesn’t quite make sense to you, ask. That’s why we are here. That’s definitely my best advice. Ask questions.
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of implementation is that I like meeting the stores and talking to them, whether on the phone or in person. The majority of our implementations are unique, so I like to hear what your store is doing now and what you want to be doing. Then I can figure out how to make that happen. I like that. I think it’s interesting.