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Lexington Habitat for Humanity

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Automating retail processes resulting in real-time visibility into key financial and operational metrics
LEXINGTON HABITAT FOR HUMANITY

Challenge

Unable to support exponential business growth with existing manual-based processes for managing donations and retail store operations.

Solution

Implemented the UnifyPOS Point of Sale solution based on Progress OpenEdge to automate retail processes and provide real-time visibility into key financial and operational metrics.

Result

Operations can now easily scale to support continued growth: managing 30% more donors and sold 250,000 items last year alone; beat sales projections in December 2014 by 50% and expects to realize year-over-year sales growth throughout 2015; anticipates 100% ROI in 18 months providing both increased security and Disaster Recovery resources.

Story

Lexington Habitat for Humanity

Lexington Habitat for Humanity ReStore Builds a Stronger Business with UnifyPOS and Progress OpenEdge. Habitat for Humanity International’s vision is a world in which everyone has a safe place to live. With more than 1,400 local affiliates in the United States, and more than 70 national organizations around the world, Habitat for Humanity has helped build or repair more than 800,000 houses and serve more than four million people worldwide.

Challenge

One way Habitat for Humanity is helping to support its mission is through its ReStore improvement stores and donation centers. These facilities sell new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials and appliances to the public, at a fraction of the retail price. ReStores are owned and operated by local Habitat for Humanity affiliates, with proceeds used to build homes and communities, locally and worldwide.

The Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Lexington, KY recently looked to technology to optimize its ReStore operations by improving productivity to support exponential growth and, most importantly, maximize its contributions to support the organization’s mission. The team in Lexington was struggling to keep up with the volume of donations coming into its store. “We have an incredibly generous donor base, and they were bringing us more items than we could process, price and get out on the floor in a timely manner. Consequently, we were experiencing a big backlog in our receiving areas,” said Jim Kreiner, ReStore Director for Lexington Habitat for Humanity. “In addition, it was difficult to standardize processes across all of our volunteers when it came to evaluating products, establishing a price, discounting and so on. We needed a more sophisticated approach to running our business.”

Solution

After evaluating systems other Habitat ReStores use, as well as systems used by other non-profit leaders in the retail space, such as Goodwill Industries, Lexington Habitat decided on the UnifyPOS Point of Sale solution from Progress application partner Osprey Retail Systems Inc. Based on the Progress OpenEdge platform, UnifyPOS provides Lexington Habitat a completely automated approach to retail management, including pricing, discounting and sales, as well as real-time visibility into key business metrics.

“The Progress OpenEdge-based UnifyPOS system had a proven track record with impressive organizations within our industry, and the application has a reputation for being very reliable,” said Kreiner. “There was no doubt in our minds that this was the platform for us.”

According to Kreiner, implementation went smoothly. “We were able to get the system into production a couple of days ahead of schedule, because it was just such a seamless transition,” he said.

Results

After using UnifyPOS and Progress OpenEdge for just over a year, Kreiner said the changes to the business have been dramatic. Last year alone, the Lexington Habitat ReStore sold 250,000 items.

“We’ve gone from being swamped to having a defined process,” said Kreiner. “Our business has continued to grow and we are now able to keep up with ease with UnifyPOS and Progress OpenEdge. In fact, we shattered our previous record for drop-off donations in a single day, and we had no problem processing those items.”

Kreiner continued, “We are handling about 30 percent more donors, and doing so far more quickly and efficiently. We beat our net sales projection for December 2014 by 50 percent and expect to continue to see year-over-year sales growth in 2015.”

Real-Time Access to Metrics and Alerts Reduces Risk, Improves Decision Making

Lexington Habitat now has real-time access to key performance metrics. “I used to have to ask our financial department to go through paper financial records to provide us with information such as year-over-year sales, number of donors, number of items sold, loss prevention metrics and so on. It could take literally months to get the information,” said Kreiner. “Now, with the push of a button, I can view the data I need in order to make more informed business decisions and make adjustments to optimize our business thanks to UnifyPOS and Progress OpenEdge.”

These capabilities have led to a dramatic improvement in loss prevention. “It is important that we are able to respect our donors’ intent,” said Kreiner. “Being able to configure rules for voids, returns, discounts, markdowns and so on has improved loss prevention tremendously. For example, if a cashier breaks any of the defined rules, the system alerts management immediately. In the near future, we plan to implement Osprey’s mobile application, built with Progress Mobile, which will enable us to push an alert to a manager’s mobile device in real time.”

Solution Boosts Employee Productivity and Donations

Employee productivity has increased significantly now that the team can eliminate manual tasks such as tagging items and completing sales transactions. For example, where cashiers once had to figure out discounts based on tag color, the system now scans a tag and calculates the correct price automatically. The solution empowers employees and reduces confusion, enabling managers to focus less on answering questions and more on managing the store and staff.

Lexington Habitat plans to expand the store in the near future, and at that time, Kreiner will take advantage of the UnifyPOS mobile application. “Like anybody else in the non-profit world, we handle a lot of different jobs and responsibilities,” he said. “I’m really supposed to be out, trying to get more donations in and building alliances in the community. It’s tough to do that if I’m at the store. Having access to mobile data will enable me to manage the store from the field.”

Additionally, Lexington Habitat has found the round-up feature in UnifyPOS particularly beneficial. This feature enables cashiers to ask customers if they would like to round up their purchase to the nearest whole dollar, during the transaction. Lexington Habitat also has sponsors willing to match customer round-up donations. “We have already raised almost $9,000 with the round-up feature in just one year, and we expect this feature alone to account for a 100 percent ROI on our UnifyPOS and Progress OpenEdge investment,” said Kreiner.

Terminals Connect Employees to Technology

In addition to the software, Kreiner says, the EverServ 500 Terminals, from PAR Technology Corp., that employees use to interface with UnifyPOS have performed exceptionally well. Used by industry-leading organizations such as McDonald’s, YUM! Brands, Baskin Robbins and Subway, PAR’s terminals have a reputation for being durable, reliable and easy to use. “We chose PAR because of their reputation for being a rugged and reliable terminal. We have a very dusty environment, and I know what dust can do to PCs. We realized that if PAR terminals could survive a demanding environment like McDonald’s, they could survive ours, and that has turned out to be the case. We’ve had essentially zero downtime on all four of our PAR terminals this year,” said Kreiner. “They are incredibly volunteer-friendly, as well, which reduces errors and further improves productivity.”

Ongoing innovation with Progress OpenEdge

For more than 20 years, Osprey has relied on the Progress OpenEdge platform to power its industry-leading applications based on the OpenEdge database and Advanced Business Language.

“Compared to other platforms on the market, Progress OpenEdge is quicker, faster, more reliable and supports cross-platform development,” said Robert Bauer, Co-owner of Osprey Retail Systems and President of Business Machines Company, the reseller of the Osprey UnifyPOS system. “The Progress OpenEdge database is rock solid. It just runs. And Progress continues to invest in OpenEdge, which has enabled us to continuously modernize our application over the years and remain competitive.”

Osprey Retail Systems has developed a modern interface to meet customer expectations for an intuitive user experience. And with the move to OpenEdge 11.4, it just launched a new mobile application. Now, UnifyPOS customers can receive push alerts and access key business and financial metrics such as reporting of loss prevention, right on their mobile devices. “We have shown the functionality to a number of customers and prospects, and they are just blown away at what they can do,” said Bauer.

In addition to offering competitive technology, Bauer said, Progress Software’s Partner+ Program has also provided them with excellent training to help the company optimize its business strategy. “We have taken advantage of courses focused on business planning and growth,” he said. “Next to training we received at the Wharton Business School, Progress has the best Executive and Empowerment programs that I have ever seen.”

About Habitat for Humanity International

Habitat for Humanity International has helped more than 4 million people construct, rehabilitate or preserve homes since 1976. Habitat also advocates to improve access to decent and affordable shelter and supports a variety of funding models that enable families with limited resources to make needed improvements on their homes as their time and resources allow. As a nonprofit Christian housing organization, Habitat works in more than 70 countries and welcomes people of all races, religions and nationalities to partner in its mission. www.habitat.org

For more information about the Lexington ReStore, please visit www.LexingtonReStore.com

About Osprey Retail Systems Inc.

Osprey Retail Systems Inc. provides complete Point of Sales (POS) solutions for single to multi-store operators with host using standard Microsoft operating systems. The company deploys its application across a number of industries, including liquor, smoke, pet, non-profit, grocery, health, c-store and specialty gift. www.ospreyretailsystems.com

About Business Machines Company

For more than 50 years, BMC has provided in-store technology in the segments of: grocery, hospitality, specialty and thrift. A full service integrator providing: sales, support, service and SaaS. We currently support a nation-wide installed base of over 5,000 locations from our eight mid-western offices. “Technology with know-how for your success.” www.bmc-pos.com

About PAR Technology Corp.

For more than 30 years, PAR has developed hospitality solutions: restaurant point of sale, hotel management software, spa, retail POS and cruise ship point of sale. The company is committed to delivering innovative solutions that optimize the guest experience. www.partech.com

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