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Author Topic: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems  (Read 2299 times)

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Offline YellowHammer

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Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« on: August 14, 2018, 11:09:52 PM »
Have any of you folks gone to a computerized point of sale system?  The ones where you tally up the wood on an IPhone, Desktop, or Cash Register like used in a true retail store or restaurant, then swipe cards?

Iíve used Square for cards but their retail POS system is very weak and doesnít do decimals, so I canít sell a board at 4.6 bdft, I have to round down or up to whole numbers.

Iíve used Vantiv, one of the big commercial credit card merchant services, but they were too heavy in the fees.

Iíve also used Heartland, another major merchant service, but their true fees were higher and they wanted between $2,000 and $4,000 for a true counter top retail POS system.

So we still do everything with paper tally sheets, add everything up with a calculator, then swipe customers cards.  Dealing with so many customers, and selling by the board, that is a total pain.  We donít really want to go to barcodes on each board, either.  

Iím looking for a good alternative, does anybody have any ideas?
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Offline btulloh

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2018, 11:25:47 PM »
I don't have a current recommendation for specific sytems but I would think about two system. One to tally, total, track and then just run the result throyh your square or whatever. Divide and conquer .
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Offline btulloh

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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2018, 10:18:59 PM »
There were some on the list I hadnít looked at.  Iím going through them, seeing what their limitations are on sale and item screens.  Oddly enough, lumberyard calculations for a POS system are quite difficult, with many not equipped to do real number calculations for multiple items in different categories.  Much more difficult system them selling hats, or shirts. 
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Offline btulloh

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2018, 08:32:31 AM »
It's an interesting problem.  Everything seems to be geared to restaurants or t-shirts.

An open-source POS could be made to do anything, but that's a project.  It's hard to evaluate at a glance, but most of the things I looked at seem much more complex than needed, which could be harder to beat into shape for a lumber business.  And it's a project.

Is the unit size and lack of partial units the big issue with what you're using?  Perhaps a unit size of >1 bd ft would solve the problem. ??  1 unit = 0.25 bd ft, or 0.125 bd ft, or whatever.  

Maybe a tally sheet app based on a database could produce a final dollar amount and provide inventory control.  That part is a typical database problem.  Does it need to run on a phone, tablet, or laptop, or desktop?

Being in a niche business is tough because the market is not big enough for someone to provide off-the-shelf solutions.  Custom solutions get to be expensive real fast.

From the lack of replies, it doesn't seem like anybody has solved this yet.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2018, 09:28:24 AM »
I know its pretty archaic but a microsoft excel spreadsheet with every size piece of lumber you have could be created, and formulas to simply add up the quantities you punch in.  Itll do decimals. 

 So you could have a row for 4/4 by 6" wide boards and then use the columns to note length.. 4s, 6s, 8s, 10s.  You just put in 3 for quantity if the customer gets 3 of the 6 footers.  The formula is whatever you punch in.  Itll multiply that cell times the price you want.  The chart could be organized by species and or grade so that it can calculate all the prices for you and spit them out in cells for totalling.  You could screenshot and print for receipts and records.  Now the customer has a record not only of what they bought, but what you sell.  Youll have a real good record of whats selling and when at a glance through the chart too.  Excel is just a wide open calculator that can be anything you can draw up.  

Use your existing card swiper
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2018, 11:47:58 PM »
At this point I use a hybrid system of master calculation spreadsheet on ICloud, available on my IPhone and Ipad, as I or my wife is walking and initially tallying customers orders on paper receipts which are then used at the main register where people get checked out.  

We have multiple customers at a time, and have sometimes up to about 20 species of products and about 9 variations of each, so about 180 possible different specific items, incudng one off slabs and stuff.   Variations would include, for example, 4/4 FAS red oak, 4/4 No. 1 Common red oak, 6/4 FAS red oak, 6/4 No. 1 Common, 8/4 FAS red oak, and so on.  Different species, different thickness, different grades, before long itís quite a selection and we keep track on the spreadsheet.  Each of our boards are numbered by the bdft and we write a list of what a customer is buying, itemized, board by board, on a paper receipt, then multiplied by the bdft foot price of that particular product. So after trying ďcannedĒ POS systems, we keep going back to a paper, a pen, and an IPhone.  Very Stone Age.  

Ideally, the system would keep up with individual customers totals, and handle multiple open customers at one time.  When the customer has what they want, we add up all the totals of the boards they have bought, by species and grade, listed by individual board (some boards may cost a pretty penny and the customers always like to check the receipt list to make sure things are accurate) and then we charge it to their card.  

Most POS systems are geared toward whole number quantities, like 1 shirt, or 1 drink, and not bdft in decimal, except some systems that sell by weight, like yogurt shops or produce section of food stores.  Then they have difficulty doing repetive additions and multiplications without having to step back through menus.  Who buys twenty scoops of yogurt, all different weights, at one time?  Then twenty or thirty scoops of a different flavor, and then want to see how much each scoop weighs and costs when they checkout?  We talked to POS programmers and say we are similar to a bar where a table of customers orders different drink sizes, sold by the oz weight of alcohol, of different brands.  Then at the end of the night, each individual drink must be listed in some readable order so the customers can figure how to divvy up the tab, then totals given.  Since people spread their drinking out over time, itís important to have open tabs, and multiple tables going on at the same time.  We have the same problem where people want to check a running total on their tab to see where they are aginst the money they have budgeted.  So we may have a half dozen open tabs at once as people ask ďWhat am I up to?Ē  To make it worse, it would have to operate on my IPhone while I set up the initial checkouts on the showroom floor, and then also operate at the main regsiter when people decide to checkout for real, and pay.  When we are slammed we have two checkout lines working at once.  Itís not a difficult task for a professional restaurant or bar POS system, but they want many thousands of dollars to program it and for the hardware.  So far, NCR, one of the oldest cash register companies out there, who does a lot of lumberyards and retails wood stores, say ďno problem, but itís gonna cost ya.Ē

Or I just stick with pen and paper receipt book.  When a customer is ďreadyĒ we itemize and add and tally what they have at that time, while they are on the showroom floor, and the paper tally sheet carried with them in their physical shopping cart and is easily adjusted as they add or change pieces of wood.  So we are essentially keeping a paper bar tab on them until they are ready to pay, sometimes minutes, sometimes hours later.  Problem is, we may do 50 to 100 customers in a 7 hour period, so it has to be fast and efficient.  

Iím pretty good with data bases and Excel macros, even a few high level languages, but although macros run on my laptops, they wonít run on my Iphones. And as Btullah says, I could do it, but I donít really have time for another project.  

Another problem is that at this time, with our current customer base who uses rewards cards or corporate business cards, Square is still the cheapest credit card system out there as opposed to a true Merchant Service, like Vantiv and Hearland.  However, their POS system is a very rudimentary one, and they respond succinctly back to my inquiries with ďOh we donít do thatĒ, or ďThatís not how our system worksĒ.  

Much like the Porta Patti I never dreamed we would need to rent to keep our customers happy, I never figured I would need this.  


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Offline btulloh

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2018, 08:18:17 AM »
Sounds like you're doing all you can with the ad hoc solutions.  

I see Square does have an API that can be fed from an outside application.  Not sure that solves anything, but it is a thing.  Someone somewhere out there is doing this kind of work and knows the territory.  They could be pretty efficient doing a project like this, but it still adds up pretty quick.  That kind of work usually bills out at $100 plus per hour.  Maybe less, but you get what you pay for.  If you could get a group or 3, 5, 8 people together that all wanted the same solution then everybody gets a solution at a better price.  (Just thinking out loud.)

https://www.upwork.com/o/profiles/browse/?q=pos-application-development


Paladin offers a lumber yard POS solution.  

Lumber Point of Sale - Paladin Point of Sale  

There's no indication of pricing, which means it's not cheap.  


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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2018, 01:49:04 PM »
Im trying to visualize your situation and step in your shoes here to be of some sorta help.  Im not any sort of authority here, no credentials at all just trying to help you brainstorm through the problem with a shallow outside perspective.  Disregard any and all of it as worthless free advice, cuz it may very well be just that.

I see 3 issues that are maintaining your problem.  

1. The insistence that it works for iphone.  Until someone with deeper pockets comes along and gets apple to play ball you may just be dreaming.  If there was something great that worked for iphone cheap or free youd have found it by now because it would dominate the market.

2.  The insistence that your program continues dealing with board feet well after the material has left your sawmill business and entered your retail business.  Your retail store isnt a sawmill.  It is retail.  Retail buys from wholesale in singular units with individualized skew numbers, asigns a price to that skew and tallies the quantity of each skew times price of each unit equals pay up sucker.  It is irrelevant that you are also the sawyer, kiln operator and wholesaler.  Trying to have one cheap, iphone compatible and dependable accounting system for both businesses in one step is giving you a lot of grief because well, no one else is likely doing this. The program doesnt exist because the demand for this very powerful program isnt there.

3. You want it to be cheap (i dont blame you, id want it free) and cheap doesnt command much influence over software developers.  Expensive does.


If you remove any of these 3 requirements youd probably find something that could work.  But i personally think your sawmill business should account for its own operation, and your retail business should buy wholesale from your sawmill business.  This gives you simpler accounting operations on each end, and a good bit more flexibility to place income and expenses in different places for tax advantages.  Having your home, your land, your sawmill and your retail store plus support equipment all in one legal structure is a big easy target for some personal injury lawyer to liquidate when mrs robinson takes a dirt nap over her shoelace in your parking lot.  Breaking this business up into smaller LLC, S or C corporation units is to limit what can be gone after in one fell swoop.  If people arent allowed near your sawmill, the likelyhood of a personal injury there is much smaller.  It would be wise to move the bulk of capital and assets into it.  The retail business could be leasing the land and store from you or the sawmill business or a land holding company etc.  Whichever has the lowest tax rate on income.  All stuff for a pro tax lawyer ofcoarse as its different everywhere and always changing.. But theres a reason why the rich have all sorts of structure built around their assets. To generate deductions, convert income to lesser tax brackets and create layers of legal protection that are difficult for a raider to unravel.

sidenote- If there are any business programs at nearby colleges i would make contact with the faculty and see if you can be involved with an internship situation, especially for business and accounting students or software developers.  Theyd be free senior level student employees to help out around your place, and theyre likely pretty sharp, pretty in tune with the newest most expensive software that the college licenses.  

You may recruit some good management talent early on this way.  I was interned to an older senior pictures photographer.  He was good at photography but no online presence, wasnt social media savvy.  It was myspace back then, didnt cost him a penny, i tripled his revenue in one semester.  He went from worried about money to overwhelmed with bookings.
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2018, 06:12:24 PM »
I appreciate the help and excellent suggestions. We certainly have an unusual situation.
We tried selling by price but bdft has distinct advantages for marketing. We may convert back over but with thousands of boards we have to renumber if we adjust prices, which we do quarterly.  We have found that itís a lot easier to sell boards by the bdft as it avoids sticker shock.  Not that people canít do math but lower numbers sell easier. Also, selling by the bdft makes projects easier to estimate and run trades on different species for comparison shopping. For example is someone needs a 3 foot by 8 foot table, itís 24 bdft of 4/4 and 48 bdft of 8/4. If they want it out of rock maple itís 24x$5 per bdft so $120 for the top, irregardless of board width, and if they want it out of ash itís 24 x $4 so $96.  If a cabinet maker wants an 8 foot tall wall of cabinets 10 feet long, then thatís 80 bdft minimum coverage, add some overage call it 100 bdft and then they price it by different species very fast. Maybe we can do labeling by bdft and price but carrying bdft is very useful.  

We are kind of a mix of small retail quantities and wholesale quantities based on grades or types off wood.  For examaple, we sell bulk poplar and oak, by the pallet or by the aggregate board foot but sell little pieces by marked price.  So table legs, $20 each, but a pallet of common redoak by bdft.  

iPhones or Androids or other handhelds seem to be a common capability with the higher end systems. When we got the basic Heartland merchant system, they gave us one desktop system and two handheld mobile devices all paired to our phones. So weíve been spoiled.

I agree, free isnít cheap in the long run and you get what you pay for.  

Our two lawyers and CPA firm are looking at ways we can be organized with a smaller business structure. A trucking company, a logging company, a sawmill, primary processing and then retail. Taxes are huge with us, and we are definitely looking into legal alternatives.

Currently we have physically separated the retail and manufacturing areas.  We donít allow customers in the production area.  Itís required by our insurance, and we separated and deeded the 5 acres for our business separate from our farm. Surveys, legal fees, years of procedures with spot inspections from all who have an emblem on the side of their car door.

Iím usually able to do my own software, but Iím just not feeling this one.  The days are getting shorter so I may need to spend some time in front of the computer.

This seemed so easy when I started but like many things, it gets complicated real fast and your point if changing the way we do things to simplify other process is certainly worthy of contemplation.  Heres a picture of just one of the walls of our retail storefront, and a gentleman buying just a handful of boards by marked price.  On the backside of the camera are a few folks buying units of wood by the pallet and bdft.

I think this is what is commonly referred to as "growing pains" and definitely is a pain.


 

 


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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2018, 09:40:09 PM »
Well youre definitely ontop of your game and again from here i cant see the whole peripheral picture how you can.  Im kinda looking through a rifle scope at the image as you paint it out.  Every post broadens the view a bit.  

One thing id never do is any format where every individual piece needs to get touched for a price change.  Id insist on a system whereby one entry in a program or one label on a shelf updates the price of that entire lot, whether 10 pieces or 5000 that fit in that category.   Id rather put a week into a monster excel program once than an inventory update every quarter, me personally.  

Something that always stuck with me is equilibrium pricing. In economics, there are two curves that cross (price/demand and cost/volume maybe? I dont recall) and that intersect is called equilibrium, the sweet spot where you are making the most money with the least pain.  The cheaper you make a widgit the more its demanded so the more volume you must produce. That means more hours, more wages, utilities, fuel etc.  You sold more but worked a ton.  Flip side is raise price too high and demand drops off.  You make a fatter margin per unit but your income gets sporadic.  Sporadic employment cant retain good help.  Equilibrium is that price right below the volume drop off where you are making the most margin per unit while maintaining full employment at straight rate, not overtime.  Demand for commodities naturally bounces around so you have to keep juggling price to stay in the equilibrium target.  Youll see it with car dealers and retail flyers, especially harbor freight. Prices are never really rigid, the catalog has the printed high price.  But some bean counter is always looking at inventory vs volume to figure out what isnt moving this month, to put in the parking lot blowout presidents day sale flyer which is the real moment to moment spot pricer.. Also as a lure into the store to oggle the full price shelves.  Anyhow the point is prices have to be as fluid as demand to maintain equilibrium.  If youre working too hard raise your price.  If you cant keep product X on the shelf, raise its price.  You are below equilibrium at this current demand. If it aint moving, sale.  But you already know this just by feel im sure.

I can understand wanting to stay with board foot out of comfort with it, out of habit and out of making the product feel cheaper, tho it appears that convenience is coming at the expense of being hard to account for electronically.  Youll have to figure out for yourself which means more to you if a suitable solution cant be found within the budget you can tolerate throwing at this problem.  Im guessing the volume of slab sales is a lot smaller than the 3 dimensional lumber in pieces, right?  Maybe keep the slab stuff as a bd ft manual receipt and move the piece stuff to a price figure?   Id be pretty aggravated if lowes had only a bd/ft price on their 2x3s and i had to figure it out.  I walk in knowing how many pieces i need, not how many bd ft.

What about giving the customer a clipboard with a printed inventory roster of product and pricing when they walk in?   Chain a pencil and cheap calculator to a few for the non smart phone crowd, then they can walk around and keep tabs on their own "bar tab."  It would free up your cashier and put that burden on the customers time at their expense rather than yours.  You could put formulas on the bottom or leave blanks like on hardware store fastener bags so they can scribble in the quantity x price per bd/ft or unit.. Then a subtotal and X tax rate line then total so they know when they hit their debit limit.   Making a price change only requires you to update the file and print a master copy then xerox it.  
Just be sure to put expiration date on top so no one comes in with last months sheet demanding you honor it. Keep current master over the register.  

All i can think of for now, hopefully something in there that fits.  Theres no easy money except in the media, its all an illusion.  Honest money is hard to get no matter what line of work youre in, and it should be.  Easy money just creates excess inflation.

And hey.. Maybe the system you have now is just fine, but you need an afternoon out in the kayak or tree stand to get away from it. Burnout is always a factor that software cant solve.  Its like a trucker going for that 4th coffee when what he really needs is a day to sleep.



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Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2018, 08:54:33 AM »
The sweet spot on lumber prices can be a challenge.
I do everything on paper too.

Offline Southside logger

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2018, 09:29:29 AM »
What if you did something along the lines of how the big box stores sell items like rebar, loose nuts and bolts, etc.  The individual item is not barcoded given the complexity of doing so, but the cashier has a book with photos of the items and the assigned barcode.  Simply match up what the customer has in their hand with the correct barcode in the book and scan the code - enter the volume and you have an instant price along with inventory reduction automatically.  When re-stocking do the same only add into inventory.  

You would need to assign a barcode for each categeory / price point, but even if that were 100 codes set the book, or even a poster on the wall up in a way that made it very fast to find the codes, alphabetically by species per column and then increasing thickness per row within the column, would only take a few moments to find the right code and scan it.  

I don't know about I phone but my several year old, somewhat slow - but completely waterproof without any additional case I may add - Android has a QR reader so I am guessing Apple can do the same.   

A customer of mine builds and writes apps for Capital One, I can put you in touch if you would like, he may be willing to do some horse trading for lumber given his interests.    
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Offline PA_Walnut

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2018, 01:03:17 PM »
Check out EPOSNOW. Although I have literally owned almost every Apple device ever invented (currently use 9) they are too worried about keeping users in their iBubble. Android is much more inclined to work for you.

Take a look at EPOSNOW system with handheld retail tablet. You and your team can use it as you work with customers, to keep inventory and sales tally, then beam is to the checkout base for final checkout and pay. It will go standalone and work with WiFi or cellular also, in case your main checkout is jammed with too many wood hoarders waiting to fill your coffers!!  :D
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Offline Brucer

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2018, 11:59:09 PM »
This isn't a solution to your problem ... it's a kind of a push that might get you looking at the problem from a different angle.

Most online sales websites have a shopping cart that the customers add things to until they are ready to check out. Any number of customers can be shopping at once. So what if you had an on-line shopping site (maybe you already do) that's optimized for smartphone based shopping? Those of your customers that happen to have smart phones could "shop" on your website as they walk around the physical premises and add things to their electronic shopping cart as they add them to the physical cart.

You yourself could use the same system when helping a customer that doesn't have a smartphone.

The underlying principle is that your customers keep track of stuff themselves until they get to the physical checkout, instead of you doing it for them.

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2018, 07:38:08 AM »
99 outta 100 people shopping for lumber don't/won't wanna mess with an electronic device to do so. Its the antithesis to the reason.

Customers also are likely to measure wrong, have the inability to modify pricing for defects allowances and/or discounts, etc

I believe that the burden of process is on Robert and he'll figure out something simple, elegant and effective. Once he does, I know it'll be my future path! ;D :D
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2018, 10:04:43 AM »
Thanks for the vote of confidence, I haven't had the "Eureka" moment yet, but it will come when it comes.  Maybe. :D :D

This is one one those problems that vexes me, aggravates me and keeps grinding in the back of my mind.

Lets see, we've sent men to the moon (supposedly :D), hybrid cars, machines that talk to us, drones that deliver packages, computerized refrigerators that know what's inside them like from the Jetsons, and yet when I sell wood the steps are:

1.  Measure the board with $2 tape measure
2.  Hand calculate the board footage with my $800 iPhone, using a spreadsheet I bought and developed on my $3,000 MacBook.
3.  Use a 50 cent Sharpie and write the board footage or price or both on the end of the board for the customer to see, or on a 5 cent piece of duct tape and stick it to a $350 walnut slab.
4.  When the customer picks out boards or slabs, I put on my $2 Amazon Prime reading glasses, use my 10 cent ball point pen and manually write the board footage on a 1960's era reciept book held in a clipboard.
5.  When the customer is finished shopping, I open the free calculator app on my $800 iPhone, and add up the numbers I'd written on the piece of paper, much like I was taking a 2nd grade math test in elementary school (wow, sure glad I got an engineering degree and a minor in Math.  That semester of Differential Equations is really paying off).  Of course, the customer is talking to me during the whole time, yakking in my ear.
6.  I then walk toward the checkout desk to get my iPhone or even more expensive and technologically advanced iPad within range of my advanced wireless technology Bluetooth Card Reader, and hand type in the totals from my sheet of paper.  Then I retype them in because I hit the wrong key, oops, because the customer is still yakking in my ear. :D :D :D
7.  After I chip scan the credit card, or just tap their iPhone against my iPhone (kind of creepy) the equally advanced credit card system contacts home base, runs an approval check on the customer, determines if their credit account legit, and then hopefully, approves the purchase using the high tech Wifi system installed in our building.  Probably the only "barn" in New Market, Alabama with a dedicated Wifi System, because we're "high tech".   :D  If the customer hands me cash, I put my thumb on the fingerprint reader on the cash register and it opens up so I can make change.  Pretty cool, always good for a few comments from the customers on the incredible advancements in technology.
8.  Once approved, the customer signs the iPhone or iPad in the signature box using a special stylus pen, or their finger, on the touchscreen.  I then send them their receipt digitally in a half second to the personal phone, and their pocket beeps and I know they have the digital summary receipt.  The customer then loads the wood into their computerized car or truck, and I can hear their dashboard heads up display GPS that they forgot to turn off saying "You have arrived at your destination."  then the customer hits another key and I hear "Calculating route Home."
9. Since the high tech, digitally emailed receipt only gives them the overall total, I then tear off the top paper copy of the receipt book and hand it to them, and I keep the other copy and put it on the stack.
10. Then I say "Who's next in line?"

What could possibly be easier and more streamlined than this? :D :D :D

The irony and contrast of using the kind of advanced technology not yet imagined in "2001, A Space Odyssey"






and old school, manual methods, like used in "Green Acres" is not lost on me.





I've been taking B12 vitamins, it supposedly helps brain function, I need it.  Here are a few months of hand written receipts. below.  Makes my head hurt, just thinking about it. ;D  What fun, I just wanna saw wood.

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Offline PA_Walnut

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2018, 10:14:23 AM »
4.  When the customer picks out boards or slabs, I put on my $2 Amazon Prime reading glasses, use my 10 cent ball point pen and manually write the board footage on a 1960's era reciept book held in a clipboard.


So long as you have 2 pens available, this will never fail you. 8)
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2018, 02:34:29 PM »
I was gonna say, the problem is clearly those cheap pens. 

:D
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Offline WDH

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2018, 08:15:39 PM »
And I bet that you still use Mr. Haney as a crop Consultant :D

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Offline scsmith42

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2018, 11:12:47 AM »
Robert, this is a very good discussion topic and I have enjoyed reading this thread.

Thinking out loud, I'm wondering if it would be worthwhile to calculate board footage by weight instead of physically measuring.  Presumably all of your lumber is dried to a similar MC%, and there is information available per species that list the weight per bd ft based upon MC%.  Board footage could be automatically calculated relatively simply by weight if you input the species and MC%.

If you had a POS with an electronic scale (like the grocery store) that you could lay a board on, select the species and thickness from a screen it could tally as you go.

Alternatively you could pre-weigh all of the boards and bar code them with the species, thickness and calculated board footage so that you could later use a bar code scanner to tally them up at check out.

The advantage of the former system is that you don't have to go back and inventory all of your existing lumber - simply scan it as people check out.  Your check out person would need to be able to determine species though.

The advantage of the pre-weigh system is that you could have a complete inventory of the total board footage that you have in stock, broken out by species and thickness, but you'd have to take the time to inventory the entire store and then keep it current as you added more material.

Just something to think about.  I look forward to learning from what you come up with.

Scott

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2018, 11:56:27 AM »
I do not sell wood, but I sell a lot of other stuff, online, over the phone, in person.  Not that this is an endorsement at all, but we use QuickBooks Pro, 18 yrs now.  Need to buy new once in a while, but currently using 2014 version. It allows for as many SKU numbers you want to dream up, both alpha and numeric, separate or in combos. I.E.: DFK 1x8S4S12 (doug-fir kiln dry 1x8 sanded 4 sides 12' long)or DFG 2x6R10(doug-fir green 2x6 rough sawn 10' long). Not that this would be the code, just showing what can be done. And they can be changed if needed. Goes to 5 decimal points, allows fractions (in decimals) of whole selling units, can set pricing levels for specific customers or quantity discounts. It does a good job of invoicing, inventory control, and purchase orders. I would say average to poor on accounting, and we really don't use those functions, except sales numbers and cost of goods.  You can track sales by sku, customer name or type, zip code, or any number of classifications you might have. Same thing with purchases. Has sales tax functions if you need it.  And can certainly be wireless, probably not to a smart phone. And really not too expensive.  It is just one system, I'm sure there are others

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2018, 10:47:28 PM »
I hadnít thought about using weight.  Use Unfortunately, the system we already use, and always fall back on, is Square, and they donít do decimal quantities, believe it or not.  So they canít do weights or fractions.  Some of the other systems can, but itís a common weakness of several POS systems in that they only do quantity in whole numbers.  Itís a major gripe I have with Square, and because of it, they have contacted me to be a Beta Tester for their new software upgrades that will include this capability, but it wonít be for several months.  We will see.  

I havenít really dug deep into Quickbooks, it seems capable, I need to look at it more closely.

Mr Haney was a hoot.  



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Offline bigtrees

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #23 on: August 23, 2018, 12:39:48 AM »
I haven't read all of the responses, but have a suggestion.

It sounds like you are having an issue selling 2.4 bd ft at $8 per bd ft.

Could you simply sell 24 units at $0.80 per unit, where 1 unit is 0.1 bd ft?

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #24 on: August 23, 2018, 03:34:17 AM »
Then he will need a better cleaning system for all the customer heads that explode!

:D
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Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #25 on: August 23, 2018, 06:48:53 AM »
Can't you keep all the price the same in a rack of lumber? Like I sell 1x6x8 for x
Or is every piece not the same size?

Offline Southside logger

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #26 on: August 23, 2018, 09:42:30 AM »
Lets see, we've sent men to the moon (supposedly )


The moon, why is it always the moon?  Every society shortcoming is compared to "sending men to the moon".  Why can't it be something like "We can saw and dry Sycamore so it will stay flat, but can't fix....."  or "We can make the hydraulics on a Woodmizer work when the head is in any position on the mill, bus still have not figured out how to......" but oh no - the poor guys who had to drink dehydrated water for two weeks and poop into a vacuum cleaner while camping out in a camera studio at Area 51 are forever the butt of our jokes.  Talk about a legacy.  :D      
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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #27 on: August 23, 2018, 10:47:31 AM »
I think bigtrees is onto something. 

I would still be looking into using Excel. But I know my way around Excel very well. Would not be very challenging to have a master DB file with all the pricing that can be changed. The more challenging part would be customer file access. You cannot have 2 ppl working on a file at the same time.

Hmmm, maybe that is the answer? 

My wife uses Google sheets. that solves the problem of multiple ppl editing at same time. She uses it mostly for department scheduling. Wonder if it may have potential to work for you? They even have an invoice template.
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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #28 on: August 23, 2018, 08:03:40 PM »
" but oh no - the poor guys who had to drink dehydrated water for two weeks and poop into a vacuum cleaner while camping out in a camera studio at Area 51 are forever the butt of our jokes.  Talk about a legacy.  :D      
:D :D :D
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #29 on: August 23, 2018, 09:31:31 PM »
You had me at poop in a vacuum. 
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #30 on: August 24, 2018, 07:44:40 AM »
Southside, that was good.   :D  Remember the movie "Capricorn 1", filmed in 1977?  Seems I can't believe anything these days except what on this Forum. :D :D

Peter, unfortunately lots of our stuff is different sizes.  Most of the smaller stuff is edged to a fixed dimension, and those we put prices on, but not the bigger ones.  We do thickness to fixed dimension, either 4/4, 6/4, 8/4 etc.  However the hardwood is sold RWRL (Random Width Random Length).  We may have to move than direction, standardizing width, but if we edge trim high dollar wood to bring to standard size, we are losing percentages, and as you know, percentages add up.

Bigtrees, thats a good idea, and is actually what Square and some other POS systems have suggested.  They want businesses to sell by the lowest unit.  So if a butcher shop sells by pound, they suggest to change that and start selling by the ounce.  The problem is people are used to certain units and changing it does "make their head explode."  Probably the same reason we are still not using the metric system.  Selling wood by the deciboardfoot does take some explaining to customers.

I've got a very nice Excel file, but what started this whole thing was trying to save money for simply changing credit card accounts, move to a more commercial approach, as well as making things easier.  Well, one out of three ain't bad.

Ideally, I'd lik to have a true POS with little icons on the screen, so tap, tap the product is entered, then taxes and stuff are automatically calculated, (believe it or not, some of the biggest names in hardware (Ingenico) calculates tips but doesn't calculate taxes.  I'd like to eventually have the capability to go to a system with automatic inventory, (some do), auto export to our business analysis software, (most do) and lower fees than Square (depends on the types of cards used).

There are basically three? so far types of credit card accounts out there.  The Square system with a fixed percentage at 2.75%, with minimum customer help, minimum POS, and somewhat pain in the rear connections and startups (Bluetooth not always connecting).

The second type is a true Merchant Account with a local rep (who takes a cut), they come in and set everything up, they plug in the machines, and use the little brown machines you see in every gas station, Quickeee Mart, etc.  There are basis points assigned to each card and card type, (business cards, rewards card, corporate cards, etc have different rates) and the monthly bill fluctuates depending on what cards are used.  We get a high percentage of business cards and even a few world cards, so those are charged at a higher rate, higher than Square.

The third type is a true Merchant account without a local rep, where the do an analysis of your monthly card types and amounts and write a fixed contract about what they would charge.  They fine tune things so that the monthly fee will be less that Square, and since there is no local rep, they can save us about a $150 a month, which is not insignificant.  They would provide the traditional free brown box gas station machine, but no true POS system.  In order to do that its necessary to team with a secondary company, like Clover, or NCR who provides free hardware, but charges a monthly fee which deducts some form the savings they offer.

I have talked to Square so much about their system they have said they will make me a "Beta Tester" on their new software versions.  The ability to do decimals is one of their most requested features and they say they will roll it out in 6 months or so.  Its still leaves issues with they not so good POS system, but I'm providing input there (I always "provide input :D" on stuff I don't like, free of charge.) 

I've used several of the professional merchant accounts, some good, some bad, and am continuing to do so.  I have become accustomed to their rock solid reliability.  The machines work, they always work and require no tuning on or pairing.  The little machines just sit there at idle and do their job, no fuss.

I keep looking at third party touch screen POS systems, some have hardware costs, some have monthly license fees.

So thanks for the input, this has been a learning experience for me.  The bottom line, if I can save money for nothing, maybe a hundred bucks or two a month, then I will keep on plugging along. Maybe reading this mess Ive gotten myself into can save other Forum members money and headache.  

 



       
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Offline RPowers

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #31 on: August 24, 2018, 04:20:05 PM »
YH, I am curious as to why you can't just round up or down to the nearest full board foot. Over time the ups and downs will create an even profit line for you, and even with an expensive wood species .4bdft isn't going to amount to much for the consumer when you round up. I'd just state that at the entrance to the sales area and stick with it. If they don't like that the free .4bdft they got when the Hard maple rounded down was offset by the .4bdft of walnut that rounded up, they'll go to Lowes which sells neither. 
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Offline WDH

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #32 on: August 24, 2018, 08:26:39 PM »
Maybe reading this mess Ive gotten myself into can save other Forum members money and headache.      
My head is aching :).  I am still just cash and checks.  Dark ages.  Cash and checks are going extinct, like spalted, curly, quilted, walnut :)
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Offline PA_Walnut

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #33 on: August 25, 2018, 07:22:40 AM »
like spalted, curly, quilted, walnut .


Not here...its what I do! ;D
How much you need?
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Offline WDH

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #34 on: August 25, 2018, 07:37:00 AM »
'Bout a whack.
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Offline PA_Walnut

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #35 on: August 27, 2018, 07:56:10 AM »
Start talking SGU's and I'll load up the wagons!  :D
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Online Hilltop366

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #36 on: August 27, 2018, 09:17:10 AM »
deciboardfoot? do you mean deciboardmeter?    ;D

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #37 on: August 27, 2018, 09:57:59 AM »
As much as it would be a drag to bar code every board I figure that is what will simplify everything on "sale day" by doing the grunt work by calculating the board ft when the store is not busy ( I know, that is when you are doing other things). By simplifying calculating board foot and price during a sale it will speed up customer processing time and it won't matter if the costumer is yacking in your ear.

My initial thought is to have a barcode tag or those square things that also says the dimensions, board foot and species on the tag so you and the customer know what it is at a glance then a separate barcode on the rack that has the price. A quick scan of the board and the price will give a running total for the customer. any change in price will only need to be made on the entire rack all info stays the same for every board. Once the customer is done picking the sheet is sent to a wireless printer at the checkout for payment.  Much the same flow as your current system only streamlined.

Kind of like this.

Barcode     White Oak 1" X 6" X 8'
 or Square    Total 4 Board feet




Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #38 on: August 27, 2018, 09:23:30 PM »
I think at some point we may go to barcodes, if I could generate them as fast as I  can mark boards with pens.  I really don't know that much about them, how they are generated and added to the database.  I never thought much about them until now.  Thing is, ultimately the system, whatever we go to, if anything, is supposed to be easier and also save me money.  I'm not sure thats possible, now..

RPowers, several years ago we did just as you suggest, it seemed a logical thing to do.  However, it didn't take log for the customers to start to ask questions if front of all the other customers, like "How come this board costs the same as that one, they aren't the same size."  So they we would have to explain it to them, and then they would whip out their tape measures and recalculate the bdftage and then one thing led to another and we just called it quits and mark actual size on the boards to avert that again.  We even hang tape measures everywhere so the customers can c heck if they want.  It adds a lot of confidence to the customers knowing exactly that they are buying actual size, but it certainly complicates things for us.  

At some point, it seems that if I had a laser measuring device that magically measures the length and width of a board, and poops out a barcode that I can stick to the end of the board, I'd have something that would be super fast.  

Barcodes seem to be the way of the future, there is a mill down the road who has 2,000,000 bdft on the yard at any time and they track every single pack of wood.  They even have a laser device that measures by scanning the end of the pack of wood and scans every boards, recording the widest, the narrowest, and the average width.  Its amazing technology.

A couple weeks ago we decided to edge to whole numbers, in an attempt to standardize widths.  We did it for the packs of wood we anticipated selling that week, and the edging waste was stomach churning.  It  seemed like a good idea at the time, but we ended up with maybe a ton, literally, of little bitty 1/2' and 3/4" wide edging strips.  I didn't take a picture, but it was amazing how much its was.  

WDH, my head is aching too.    
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Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #39 on: August 28, 2018, 06:37:57 AM »
The time to size your lumber is on the mill. A little fat,[1/4] dry then rip, edge to the size.

Offline WDH

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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #40 on: August 28, 2018, 07:39:08 AM »
I have thought about cutting all boards to a standard width, but I decided that I an just not going to do that.  I am not a box store or conventional lumberyard.  I don't want to be, either.  I have customers call and say that they need so many 1x6's and so many 1x8's.  I always tell them that I do not cut to standard lumberyard size and they can come pick out what they want....
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Re: Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
« Reply #41 on: August 28, 2018, 10:13:18 AM »
YH if you get serious about bar codes, be aware that there are multiple standards for bar codes, not necessarily compatible. One system to print the codes and another for reading may not work..
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