Thanks, Lifesaver and Mike L@GTP

Bob Carter

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We have struggled with getting new POS systems for quite a while. We have labored through our old system that is renowned for their less than spectacular customer service.

We narrowed our choices down to two and struggled with the decision. Both were more than acceptable and had wonderfully talented people, but we pulled the trigger and went with Lifesaver.

And here is why

We always include the staff's in these decisions-they use the systems more than I and they are all infinitely more qualified than I to make those decisions. They downloaded the demos and played with them, and for every benefit favoring one was an offsetting benefit for the other

Right up until they factored in the Picture it First option, then the tipping point went big time.

So, the staff says "Do it" and I do

And, here is the Congrats to Paul and Mike. I simply said "Guys, help me make this as turnkey as possible"

I got notification that Dell shipped new systems to Lifesaver, we sent the necessary files and we expect a delivery next week.

They both took the guessing out and made it as effortlessly as possible. I have a staff that is completely comfortable with their recommendation and is now developing some marketing strategies to maximize this new Picture it First option. One idea included installing a 52" Plasma Flat screen to give that "Steven Spielberg" effect-yeah, like that's gonna happen. Nothing creates excitement more than letting them "run with the ball"

All in all, it could not have been more easy for me and soon I will look like I made another "genuis" decision.

Actually, they made it so easy that the toughest decision I had to make was to determine whether it went on my Southwest Visa or AMEX

Thanks to both for their help

Now, the next help will be from my young and talented staff teaching this "old dog" a few new tricks
 

Emibub

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Bob, where does one go to send a resume, you would be great to work for.......
 

Mike LeCompte CPF

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Bob: one thing you forgot to mention: some of the Lifesaver gang used to themselves be gallery owners. So they know what we face, the challenges, etc.

I know it's not much factoring in other itemsin the equation, but it's also nice to know your bckup folk on the POS know gallery and framing challenges
 

Paul N

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Originally posted by Mike LeCompte CPF:
Bob: one thing you forgot to mention: some of the Lifesaver gang used to themselves be gallery owners. So they know what we face, the challenges, etc.

I know it's not much factoring in other itemsin the equation, but it's also nice to know your bckup folk on the POS know gallery and framing challenges
That what differentiates companies making user- friendly software and those making duds!

Eons ago and in a planet far away, I once worked for a very large software company who had a software engineer design a hotel check-ion system. That guy knew nothing about hotels except that they had rooms with a bath!

You could guess the outcome of that masterpiece.
 

Art On Canvas

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"I got notification that Dell shipped new systems to Lifesaver, we sent the necessary files and we expect a delivery next week."--

What's up with that Bob? All the Lifesaver I have to start up is a LS CDROM and a Dell laptop.

Thank heavens for Mike@GTP.
 

Maryann

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What's up with that Bob?
It is a good program but I feel like I've spent a bazillion hours (that might be a slight exageration) tweeking prices. How did you get around that, Bob? I know you didn't accept the recommended markups.

...and yes, the support has been good for the questions that I've had.
 

Bob Carter

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Hi Maryann-That did come up and it was explained satisfactorily. And, yes, I do expect complete control over all my pricing options

This week I wil riding Pirates of the Caribbean with my grandkids, so it will be next week before we fire these babies up

From all independent sources as well as Paul, the answers have always been "We can do that"

This race will continue and I am comfortable with everything so far. These guys won't let me down

So, how about it Lifesaver users? Will Maryann and I spend a gajillion hours doing what we want?
 

Mike Labbe

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Bob

Helping you find the hardware was a pleasure and i'm sure you'll be happy with your choices.

>This race will continue and I am comfortable with everything so far. These guys won't let me down
>So, how about it Lifesaver users? Will Maryann and I spend a gajillion hours doing what we want?

Hopefully not a GAJILLION,
but it will certainly take some time to research and execute an appropriate pricing structure for your market. (at least an evening or two?) Personally, we are always making small adjustments to pricing and feel that it's not a "set it and forget it" type thing.

The system is very flexible, and allows you to price mouldings by chop, length, or a mixture of both in the same order. The price per foot for each moulding can be set manually to its fixed market value, or you can have some of that combined with multipliers to calculate the retail price. The multipliers can be unique for each vendor, for chop or length, and can be based on the wholesale value range of the mat or moulding. (for example, a wholesale chop costing 0.50-0.75 per foot may have a 8x markup, but one costing 0.76-0.85 may have a 6.8x markup.) (please dont use those, just an example) What most folks do is define the multipliers as a minimum starting point, and then go through manually to make small adjustments for particular mouldings and mats that carry a greater market value.

There's a QUICK START guide if you click the HELP pulldown, which walks you through.
Here's a "QUICKER START" reader's digest version:


For Misc initial configuration:
Click CONFIGURE from main menu
Set your tax rates for labor and materials (up to 4 taxes can be defined)
Select what days your shop and production facility are open, and daily work limit. (for scheduling)
Set printer to GENERIC, which causes it to use the Windows driver.
Select your backup drive letter and type.
Select any other desired items. (We use 1 pg receipt, calc labor, art copy, mat markup table, prompt for promo, min footage 4 ft, Invoice 2, receipt 1, workorder 1, quicksale 2, auto invoice: none)
(optional) Select your CMC type, if you have one
(optional) Click DISCLAIMER to define/modify what prints on receipts
(optional) Click EMAIL to define automatic email upon order completion.
(optional) Set your mat reveal defaults
click SAVE

For initial setup of moulding vendors:
Click MOULDING from main menu -> then click ADD/PRICE VENDORS
Click on DEFAULT PRICING. Establish markups based on wholesale cost. (can be adjusted by vendor later)
Click ADD VENDOR TO LIST. Double click on each line you carry, and it will be added. If you have a house brand, you can pick "add your own vendor" Click EXIT when done selecting vendors.
Click on each vendor and establish optional base pricing formula, based on wholesale cost range.
Click INSTALL UPDATE FROM WEB. Enter password and it will import the vendors with calculated pricing.
Click Exit

Note: You can return to the MOULDING menu item any time, to manually adjust each moulding's price individually, if desired.

For initial setup of mat vendors:
Click MATS from main menu -> then click ADD/PRICE VENDORS
See above. It works exactly the same way as mouldings.

For initial setup of glazing, mounting, stretching, specials, and labor:
Click PRICE from main menu
You will be presented with a NAMES column where you define the types, and a PRICE column to define each.
These are presented in a flexible 'price card' format, which varies based on the size of the piece.
Left and right arrows on screen will cycle through the defined names/items.
Please note that the example prices must be changed/adjusted for YOUR market.

One click Updates:
These will grab new and discontinued mats/mouldings for the vendors you carry, as well as software enhancements. I suggest clicking UPDATE once per week.

When new mats or mouldings become available, the system will notify you and print a list showing the description, wholesale cost, and (multiplier based) retail price. You can use these lists to go in and (optionally) adjust as necessary.

When mats or mouldings become discontinued, it works the same way and presents a report - so your staff can pull the samples. You have the option of deleting the items from the database or leaving them in, if you still have stock.


Pick Lists:
When it's time to order, you can have the system print out a Pick List/Shopping List of what was sold for the previous period. It can print by customer, by materials vendor, or both. This is a very handy feature.

In any case, you do have some work ahead of you. If I can answer any questions, don't hesitate to email or visit the live chat system any time.

I hope you have fun with the grandkids. Say hi to Mickey for us!

Best regards,
Mike

[ 10-10-2005, 07:08 PM: Message edited by: Mike-L@GTP ]
 

Bob Carter

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Thanks, Mike I appreciate your help

My grandson is almost 4 and this will be his second trip. He has been telling me all about his favorite "Pirate ride" and has been teaching me the song. You know the one "Yo Ho, Yo Ho A pirate's life for me". He is convinced that he will introduce me for th efirst time to the joys of Disney. And, I'm not about to tell him otherwise (even though my first trip was 47 yrs ago)

We do have our pricing strategy pretty well defined and for the initial, I'm sure it will be extensive. Never thought otherwise,though

I do remember Paul indicating that we had manual overrides and I suspect that first attempts will be "by the book"

We are anxiously awaiting the change over.

I know some folks simply hate change; we change often on things that need to be changed

And this change was needed

Thanks again for the "extra" help-it's all about helping where we can, isn't it?
 

JRB

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We just received our Lifesaver software. I have been agonizing about even using it. I am curious to know how you meshed Dell Computers and Lifesaver together. Is this something Lifesaver is doing? I have a few shares of Dell, so naturally that is where I purchase my hardware. They make a great machine for the money.

I have never have had ANY luck with Dell's tech support over in India. Every time I have tried, it has been hours (literally) on the phone and NEVER a satisfactory conclusion. I just call my local computer geek to tweak things for me, much faster and cheaper.

As far as I am concerned, Dell does not have any technical support, even though they will sell you the package. Anyway, please let us know how it works for you.

Thanks,

John
 

Mike Labbe

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Hi John

I haven't had any problems - but I generally use their website for tech support and drivers. The partial outsourcing to India was rough around the edges at first, but I think they have their act together now.

For the price and reliability, you can't beat a Dell. They usually offer deals where the computer is almost free, if you consider the value of the monitor and included software. When I see a fantastic deal, I often share it in the computer forum.

Let me know if you have any questions about the software. I have been supporting local shops as a computer consultant for about 9 years, and I'm very familiar with it. Every shop in this area is using LifeSaver. We also use it at our 4 year old shop.

Mike
 

Bob Carter

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Hi John-When I was contemplating our change, one of the "aces in the hole" was played when Paul reminded me of their relationship with Mike L and his willingness to help

John, you and I are so similar in so many areas and our "expertise" in matters of technology mandated that we get someone competent in the wings

Let's just say that Mike was another "tipping point" advantage

We would be lost without help like his
 

JRB

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Mike, or Bob, what hardware from Dell would you guys recommend? I need something for my sales counter that I can expand to the other two counters if I decide to keep the system. Or would it be less expensive and simpler just to use separate computers and software?

I don't want this to turn into a many thousand dollar, time consuming project,which explains my agonizing over it.

It sounded like you had the computers shipped to Lifesaver and they are doing all the tweaking and such, is that the case? Also, I think I want the computer to be a dedicated to this program only system. I do not want games or any of the other unnecessary stuff loaded, much like our CMC computer.

I will be gone all day today, taking my flying lessons, so I won't be back on until tonight.

John
 

Mike Labbe

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Bob

Thanks again, but that works both ways.

The Grumble has been an invaluable source of industry related information. Many of our policies, procedures, and pricing methods were inspired by your posts and those of others.

We're all here to help each other out.

Mike
 

Mike Labbe

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John

The $499 system youll see mentioned in the computer forum is more than sufficient to run the POS. If you're running both the POS and the visualization product, then you'll want to upgrade the memory to at least 512, maybe even 1GB.

When your business grows and you find that you need a second PC at the front counter, the POS can grow with it. You simply add a second low cost machine, plug them into a common router or hub ($40), and the computers will be able to share a common database. The initial machine will be your "Server", and the additional workstation(s) will be called "Clients". The POS vendor charges a one time fee of $245 for each additional license, and the machines will simutaneously share the same live database. The yearly support fee does not go up because of this.

Here is a rather crude diagram of the wiring in our shop:
gtpnetwork.gif


Mike
 
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