RockSolid MAX® POS Software for Hardware Stores Keeps Independents Competitive with the Big Box Stores
Ask Kurt Miller about the impact RockSolid MAX® hardware software has had on his store, Miller’s, an Ace Hardware® in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the answer you get might well surprise you.
Kurt is a huge fan of the RockSolid MAX point of sale software but what he has to say about the program’s key benefits has very little to do with any of the technology bells and whistles it might offer. For Kurt, it’s all about the changes it made for him and his people, as they made the transition from pen and paper to the cloud-based ERP solution built specifically for the hardware industry.
Miller’s is an outstanding example of the independently owned and operated hardware store’s continuing ability to compete against the toughest big box competition. The company is more than 130 years old; Kurt represents the fifth generation of the Miller family to work in the store, which today is co-owned by his father, Steve, and uncle, John.
Business has been good for the Millers of late. While there’s The Home Depot®, as well as Lowe’s® and Busy Beaver Building Center® all just a 20-minute drive away, Miller’s has been growing nicely thanks to the support of a loyal customer base that values its “whatever it takes” attitude to service. Also helping to drive top-line sales, Miller’s closest competitor, a local True Value® store, closed its doors two years ago. This makes Miller’s, Kurt claims proudly, the only real hardware store in Pittsburgh today.
But growth is something no business can ever take for granted. Kurt recognized that if Miller’s was to make the most of its current opportunities and position itself for continued prosperity, it was time—indeed, it was long past time—to bid farewell to pen and paper and move management of the company into the 21st century.
Miller’s Ace chose affordable RockSolid MAX POS software
Kurt spent about three months carefully researching the various software options available to Miller’s and one program, he says, came out a clear winner: RockSolid MAX, a POS system for small businesses, from ECi Software Solutions.
The program’s low price was a major factor in that decision, he says candidly. But that was just one of the reasons for choosing the RockSolid MAX hardware store POS system.
“Our top priorities were point of sale, inventory management and a direct interface with Ace,” Kurt reports. ”RockSolid MAX performed great in each of those areas.” Also a big plus, he points out: the program’s cloud-based platform meant Kurt and his team wouldn’t have to worry about maintenance on a store-based server or managing backups.
Even though Kurt himself had no specialized computer training, responsibility for a successful implementation was in his hands. “I knew I had a lot to learn, not just about the program itself but even the basics—how a point of sale system works, and so on,” he recalls.
It was a situation that potentially could have been disastrous. Only it wasn’t. “We got excellent support from RockSolid on the implementation,” he reports. “Our situation was a little different from most of the conversions they worked with since we were automating the business totally from ground zero but they were very willing to accommodate our situation and adjust to any special requirements we might have. And even after we went live, the implementation specialist we worked with would call me in his free time to see how we were doing and answer any questions I might have. RockSolid MAX provided a level of support that was very much above and beyond what I expected.”
The hardware-store-specific software delivered benefits immediately
Once the program was up and running, the benefits started showing up almost immediately.
“Our people really took to RockSolid MAX very well,” Kurt reports. “It’s a Windows® based system that’s very simple and logical. If you can read what’s on the screen, you can run it!”
RockSolid MAX, Kurt says, brought new empowerment to his people within the first two months of going live. “Instead of my attention being required almost 24/7, people are problem-solving and running the system on their own,” he says. “Our whole operation is becoming simpler and more streamlined with RockSolid MAX. The interface with Ace is seamless and extremely fast and our general ledger, which used to take hours, now takes just a couple of keystrokes.”
Even better, he reports, RockSolid MAX has made it possible for the Miller team to focus more on what’s really important for the business. “With RockSolid MAX, our people are now able to spend more time working with customers and that’s really what we’re all about,” he says.
Plus, Kurt adds, he and his team have so much more insight into how the business is doing. “There was so much that was happening with the business before that we just didn’t know about before we switched to RockSolid MAX. Information is power and RockSolid MAX is giving us plenty of it!” he reports happily.
Switching to new software can be a daunting task for just about any business. For the Miller team—which was moving from a manual, paper-based system and had only limited IT resources within the company itself—the stakes were particularly high. But, says Kurt Miller, RockSolid MAX has more than lived up to expectations.
“RockSolid MAX defines its target demographic as smaller hardware stores and retail chains doing less than $12 million in annual revenue and they’ve really got it nailed down,” he contends. “If you fall within the parameters of their target group, I have no hesitation in recommending that you go with them. The software does everything they say it does and the RockSolid MAX technical support and customer service people are great!”