Case Study: Optical Retailer Switches Focus from Paper to Cloud
At the beginning of 2012, central Pennsylvania’s Wise Eyes Optical (WEO) was primarily a paper-based organization with credit card processing hardware at each of their seven retail stores, but none of the business-related information from the individual clinics was integrated or readily available to central management. With the continuing growth of its retail outlets, WEO management, headquartered in State College, sought a better way to manage their customers, sales and product assembly.
Ralph Hinson, WEO General Manager, acknowledged that the company’s historical approach to overseeing the stores’ activities was not working. “We were always piecing together different types of programs to run the dispensaries and connect with the lab. Faxing orders, writing things down and keeping notes – it was all was so redundant,” he said. “But most of the solutions we looked at were either inadequate or, quite frankly, out of our budget.”
WEO then contacted For Your Information Technologies (FYIT), an Altoona, Pennsylvania, IT consulting firm that specializes in web-based software solutions. The WEO management team was initially hesitant about implementing a web-based solution, afraid of losing access to the system because of Internet outages. But the need to connect multiple locations on one system requires a network of some kind, so using their existing Internet access just made sense.
“A major problem and expense for companies with multiple locations is building and maintaining a wide area network so their client/server apps can run uninterrupted,” explained Tony Matous, CTO of FYIT. “With cloud-based software, this concern is no longer an issue.”
WEO’s goal was to connect all of their retail stores and their lab to a single database. After years of using paper-based systems and localized spreadsheets, it was eye-opening to discover that all of their stores could be connected and utilize a single, shared data point without having to upgrade their entire network.
Over the next six months, FYIT worked directly with WEO to design a complete Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) package with an integrated appointment book, Point of Sale (POS), inventory and order processing solution that met all of their needs. The result was fySales.
To maximize productivity and user efficiency, fySales integrated with all of the standard POS hardware, including credit card swipe, bar code readers and standard as well as receipt/thermal printers. New orders can be generated for existing customers in seconds without even touching the keyboard through use of barcode readers and standard UPCs. Inventory management is also aided with the use of integrated barcodes, allowing the lab to restock inventory quickly and easily.
The results have been extremely positive throughout the optical retail chain. The optical manager at WEO in Altoona, PA, notes, “The program is easy to use and understand. Information is easy to input and easy to retrieve. Once a patient is entered into the system, we can track all aspects of service for them from exams to finished product.”
The fySales solution has streamlined the entire process of customer interaction and sales at Wise Eyes Optical. From the initial appointment scheduled until full payment is made by the customer, all aspects of sales, order processing and accounts receivable are centrally managed by the fySales solution.
Hinson is pleased with the process and the results. “FYIT provided us with a total optical package that solved all of our issues. Our locations are all now connected and the work flow is seamless and accurate. The Optics System has provided us with faster and more accurate service to our patients as well as all offices being more organized.”
Expanded Retail Applications
While fySales Optical was specifically designed for an optical retail chain, Jason McCombie, CEO of FYIT, saw that a lot of the process flow being designed was appropriate for other vertical retail markets as well: “When designing the optical solution for WEO, we saw that their needs were consistent with the needs in general retail sales environments. So we designed the application to be modular and adaptable from the ground up. This allows us customize our solution for specific industries as needed.”
The full suite of market-scalable products includes fySales Lite, fySales, and fySales Optical. fySales Lite is a basic CRM with integrated POS and inventory. fySales standard version includes advanced order processing capabilities and customizable workflows.
FYIT offers fully featured point of sale solutions at strongly competitive pricing with a Software as a Solution (SaaS) pricing model based on usage and a “meet or beat” pricing policy.
Article by Suzi Harkola
For Your Information Technologies, LLC (FYIT) is a privately owned, US based software solutions provider located in Altoona, Pennsylvania, specializing in creating web applications and custom software solutions. Originally founded in 2002, the company provided general website design and consumer applications. The company is currently focused on commercial grade web applications designed to run “in the cloud” (using the SaaS model).
The company’s co-owners, who also serve as the lead application architects, have a combined 35 years of professional application development experience and have designed, developed and deployed software solutions in multiple industries, including Financial, Education and Medical.
About Wise Eyes Optical Centers of Pennsylvania:
Wise Eyes Optical provides eye care throughout central Pennsylvania, with offices located in State College, Philipsburg, Altoona, Bedford, Burnham, Clearfield and Huntingdon.