Making big decisions in tough market conditions takes in-depth information. Understanding the complexities of purchasing a state-of-the-art metal buying software system is something that yard owners cannot take lightly anymore, thanks in large part to overbearing compliance laws and sophisticated hardware communication requirements in modern network environments.
When making a decision to upgrade to a new Point of Purchase (POP) software system one can quickly find its much more complex than just replacing an old clunky PC and pen and paper system. Finding a provider that offers an affordable system that takes full responsibility for network connections, hardware sales and technical support is also a must find.
Most owners fail to understand just how many people are affected when the scrap yard owner decides buys a new POP software system.
When deciding to make a significant investment and joining the 21 century scrap yard business owner, the following should be considered.
The Scale Environment
The overall scale environment is what the scrappers will notice first and this experience will determine future visits and whether or not they recommend the yard to other scrappers.
So how does a Point of Purchase software system fit into this?
Scale operators: efficient scrap yards employ friendly yet firm buyers. They need to have the ability to grade metals in such a way to make the owner money and yet keep the scrapper happy. The more educated the scrappers get, the more the scale operators need the advance tools to keep the metals moving across the scale both accurately and profitably. If the operator fails to produce a fun fast environment the scale area can easily turn nasty and the scrappers get anxious and feisty and people stop coming back.
As yards get busy on Saturday morning the overall speed and reliability of the POP system is paramount. Gathering compliance images and information is a must and can cost the owner thousands and possibly land the owner and scale operator in jail if compliance is not met on every single ticket.
Scale operators using a tablet POP system to buy metals have several advantages. It lets operators buy and grade on the spot, know their price positioning, apply shrinkage for contamination and or give customer bonuses on the fly with full visibility for the scrapper and the scrap yard owner.
With the combination of the on board cameras and touch screens the operator can easily gather images and signatures at the point of purchase. The overall cost of tablets is less than half the cost of purchasing a PC, a touch screen, a camera and a signature pad and has several bonus features such as onboard internet services and back up battery, so if the yard loses its primary internet service and or power is out, ticket can continue without pause or stress.
Offering the scrapper full on screen visibility during the selling/grading process allows the scrapper and the operator to have the much needed conversations about grade and price before the scrapper causes a massive scene at the cashier booth. This is a common issue at most unprepared and ill-equipped scrap yards.
So what should one consider when choosing a POP that will best assist the scale operator?
- How simple and user friendly is the software interface?
- How easy was it for the scale operator to learn?
- How many workstation PC's or tablets will be needed?
- How easy is it to lock down the costly hardware investment?
- How fast can the operator split line items into two material descriptions?
- How easy is it for the operator to take away for contamination?
- How easy is it for the operator to add to the price for bonuses?
- How fast does the software gather compliance images?
The Cashier Booth
For cashiers and managers, the top priority is ensuring that line at the cashier area does not start backing up, compliance is met and scrapper’s payments are accurate. Getting images of the scrappers ID, fingerprint, signature and face shot are paramount to staying in compliance with the law.
Speed of data entry is the number one concern for cashiers, secondly having super large touch screen button interface that forces full compliance rules and will not allow a ticket to be completed unless all compliance rules are met. At the end of the day the cashier and manager need a POP system that is accurate for payment options, they must split payments, delay payments, pay part cash, pay part check and then have everything detailed in the daily report.
Cash balance levels are the heart and soul of the industry. Having a cloud based POP system allows off site managers and owners to instantly log onto their phones and see cash balances and checks written to keep the scrappers happy.
What to consider when choosing a POP to aid cashiers and managers:
- How easy is the payout interface and is it quick?
- How easily does the software allow for delay pay and split pay tickets?
- How fast can they check for metal grading accuracy?
- How easy it to see that compliance laws were met?
The Back Office
The back office software is the key to managing the overall process and that’s impossible without real time information from the scale station, cashier station and any commercial mobile buyers.
Getting real time information in a commodity based industry is exceedingly important as timing is everything and seconds can cost the yard thousands.
Getting into the cloud is a must in today’s turbulent metal markets, once the ticket is completed, the scrapper is paid the back office needs to know the purchase totals and instantly know the average price paid for all metals and have this accessible on any device from anywhere in the world.
When evaluating a back office software component make sure it has the following:
- Fast and simple reporting engine with complete daily, weekly and monthly purchase reports.
- Accurate First-in and First-out inventory with average price paid and current market positioning.
- The ability to create bins and boxes with barcodes for net and gross weights when loading trucks.
- Simple to use shipping reports with easy reconciliation features.
- Commercial Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable features.
- Easy to run reports, like profit and loss reports.
- How fast can the manager update system prices?
- Formula price sheets for specific customers or industries.
- Ability to post to Facebook and Twitter buttons built in.
- Emailing price sheets to customers.
- Quickly create quotes and convert to scale tickets.
- Full accounting software integration.
There is a lot that goes into a back office software, make sure that it has real time data given the complexities and legalities of mandatory long term data storage, make sure the software provider is in the cloud and has back up servers in place with offsite storage.
Back office software is really the meat of the conversation when evaluating any software product. In today’s mobile world it’s a simple choice to go with the use of tablets or smartphones in the field or in the shop. A 21 century software provider will offer a super easy app scale software for the front end with an online back office so the managers and owners evaluate the purchases, see compliance images, create shipping reports and manage customer history records.
It should not be overlooked, make sure the new POP system connects to scale indicators, has password protected weights and prices, integrates with accounting software, integrates with cash and coin dispensers and last but not least is it affordably priced for the average monthly volume of metals coming through the yard?
Ultimately, the POP software will affect every person at the scrap yard, from the scale house to the cashier and most importantly the scrapper. It provides instant communication between scale operators, cashiers, managers and provides real-time online information while the owner is on vacation.