Case Study: POS Hardware for Auto Business


Flexibility and responsiveness are two of the benefits that a leading specialist retailer of all things automotive has enjoyed, thanks to a vendor relationship fostered over many years.

A long history

The roots of O’Reilly Auto Parts go back to 1957, when a father and son team already experienced in the automotive industry, decided the time was right to commence their own venture with one store employing thirteen workers.

Fast forward to the present day and the company can be found in 39 states, with total store numbers approaching 4000, along with a 23-strong network of distribution centers. This footprint has established the company in the top 3 of U.S. auto parts distributors, with its stock traded publically.

 The 1950s philosophy of the founders remains. Ultimately it is based on growth and progress, both for the company as a whole and each team member.

 The challenge

 The scale of O’Reilly Auto Parts’ retail presence, along with plans for further store expansion, means that the IT and technical teams have an important responsibility to assist colleagues, and ultimately customers, effectively. Thus reliable and functional point of sale hardware is crucial. Thanks to a longstanding relationship with a repair depot Mercom, they are safe in the knowledge that a trusted vendor is on hand to complement them when it comes to supporting an in-house team of POS repair techs. This team requires precise, timely, and cost-effective repairs on the hardware sent out, along with a degree of flexibility to match the level of support to the business needs of the time.

 The solution

The relationship between O’Reilly Auto Parts and Mercom has evolved over time into a working arrangement that functions seamlessly. The standard process has the first line support team at O’Reilly Auto Parts examine and test the hardware indicated as being faulty by a store and sent in. That store receives a replacement device in return, and those that need to be shipped to Mercom are stored until there is sufficient bulk quantity.

 As the customer-vendor relationship now stretches well in excess of ten years, the specific devices that have been sent out have varied thanks to hardware refreshes and the expiry of the existing manufacturer warranties. The previous legacy equipment that Mercom has serviced for O’Reilly Auto Parts has included dedicated POS keyboards, monitors, and receipt printers. At present, repair work is being carried out on barcode scanners and check readers.

 The relationship has stood the test of time thanks to Mercom’s flexibility. As the O’Reilly Auto Parts technical team coordinates a precise logistical operation, Mercom tags alongside. So when there is a bulk quantity of POS hardware ready to be sent out, O’Reilly Auto Parts will utilize their distribution expertise so that it safely arrives at a center that is near Mercom’s headquarters in Sugar Land, TX. From here, Mercom takes over with a prompt collection with team members who are in the field locally.

 On receipt at Mercom’s repair depot, each piece of hardware is individually logged onto the company’s management system so that tracking and status updates are available at every stage of the repair cycle. Mercom’s repair technicians then get to work, and on completion, the devices are packages securely and returned to the local O’Reilly Auto Parts distribution center where they are held until future deployment.

 The benefits of POS hardware depot repair for O’Reilly Auto Parts

There is continuity in place for O’Reilly Auto Parts and reassurance that they have an established vendor in place, ready to ably assist when needed. As the southern division PC co-ordinator for O’Reilly Auto Parts, Richard Bell confirms that “From small to large repair quantities, Mercom is always there for us. They provide a solid service that I’m really happy with, and repair work is carried out in a timely manner.”

 Mercom’s flexibility was no better demonstrated with a recent batch of repairs. As Richard Bell explains, Mercom “… recently completed in excess of 2000 check reader repairs and this quantity was handled extremely well.”

 The ability for Mercom’s depot repair to provide a cost-effective option for hardware maintenance is explicitly highlighted with the O’Reilly Auto Parts example. The larger quantities of repair work can also trigger discounts based on volume, so further savings are available.  It helps the company extend the return on investment of expensive hardware for many years and well beyond the expiry of initial manufacturer warranties.

 This is also reflected with the provision of Mercom’s own warranty on completed repair work. This all-inclusive coverage applies to both the original fault, and anything else that may occur with the hardware for a six-month period. Mercom’s precise tracking of equipment on arrival helps here, as if a piece of hardware comes back under warranty, it is flagged on the system and further work is completed without charge.

 Having Mercom available when needed also applies to the day-to-day management of the account. It is handled by industry veteran Tony Alcock, who oversees all operations at the company. Tony is the first point of contact for O’Reilly Auto Parts and their team. There is a further personal element to the account management, as Tony schedules regular service review meetings to ensure that O’Reilly Auto Parts continue to benefit from a stellar repair service.

 The outlook

 The relationship between O’Reilly Auto Parts and Mercom has existed for many years. Richard Bell from the company explains that “I’ve been in this role for 12 years, and I know Mercom were assisting us even before this time.” Through quality workmanship delivered promptly and seamlessly, Mercom will constantly look to maintain high standards as a repair vendor to O’Reilly Auto Parts for many more years to come.


 About Mercom

 Mercom  has being supplying POS and store system repair services to some of the America’s leading retailers and restaurant chains since 1994. Many have retained Mercom for the bulk of this time thanks to the value provided by its depot model. When added to the repair quality, subsequent warranty and overall personal service, IT hardware managers and their technical staff have a valuable resource to utilize.



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