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  #1  
Unread 10-12-2012, 04:42 PM
carlsmower carlsmower is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Ferndale Wa
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Default Business Software

OK not to beat a dead horse but I am looking for some dealers who are willing to share/discuss what they like, dislike about a couple of business software systems we are looking at.

C-Systems Infinity

Charter Software Aspen

We are currently using Lizzy and it is a love hate relationship. We love the ability to access from anywhere and several other options but it like most systems are not a perfect match. I know that the companies will refer you to a couple dealers that run their systems but I want to skip the hand picked poster children and get it straight from the horses mouth.

Thanks Josh
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  #2  
Unread 10-12-2012, 07:18 PM
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tb8100 tb8100 is offline
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Infinity has been our first DMS. It has worked pretty well, but has shortcomings. Jim Brazil (Oldtimer) could tell you a lot about his experience, having used Softpower before Infinity. We went with them because they are headquartered 45 minutes away, and offer free training when we send employees in. For a modest fee, they'll send someone down here to train onsite.

We don't use the software to its full potential yet, but have found it's very difficult to inventory used items, which we retail in high volume. There are workarounds, and we are able to maintain inventory, but functionality is a bit limited because of it.

No pickup and delivery schedule module. That's ok, we have Outlook. X-Charge credit card processing is kindof high, though they called us the other day and offered to compare rates, and even buy out our contract. I would like to get on X-Charge, since it would use USB card swipers.

We've been with them 3 years and have seen no major changes to the product. They asked for feedback on a consignment module, but when I offered to beta test and help them develop it, they never responded. We sell millions on consignment.

Hardware and expansion cost is kindof high. Cash drawers are $500 apiece, licenses are $500 apiece, price catalog updates with supercedes are $70 a pop, and monthly support is a few hundred bucks. Haven't looked at that in awhile.

It's better than no DMS, but I'm curious how it compares to Ideal or Aspen (or Lizzy for that matter). There is no cloud access.
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  #3  
Unread 10-12-2012, 07:59 PM
Gritty Gritty is offline
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Location: USA
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When we moved to a new location I looked at all of the systems, but ended up going with something a little different all together called MerchantOS. (www.merchantos.com). I came across it because I really like bicycles and bike shops and it's used by and was originally designed for bike shops. But really, most bike shops do pretty much exactly the same thing we do. Sales, parts, service, etc.

I pay $100/month no contract, it's completely web based, and it does everything I want it to do with a clean/modern interface, clean receipts using a thermal receipt printer, etc. I can print thermal labels with barcodes for everything with one click, use a barcode scanner, print bar-coded claim check tickets, make up new inventory items extremely easily, customize bin locations, keep track of what is going on with the service department...I just really like it.

It doesn't do everything, though. It doesn't track rental, but I don't really need that. There are some OPE price files built into it (there might be more now, I'm not sure), but if you can supply them price files they can integrate it for free just like everyone else. The OEM price files don't automatically upgrade, but I've always kept track of that myself anyways.

It's definitely not as "robust" as the others, but it's also way more modern and wayyyyyyyyyy more affordable. And they are located pretty close to me.

Just something to think about!
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  #4  
Unread 10-12-2012, 11:48 PM
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thefix thefix is offline
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Carlsmower. We use lizzy also. I like most aspects of it. I especially like how it integrates all the accounting, payroll, inventory, crm, rental, warranty , and invoicing all in one package without 'add-on' module costs. They also load price files at no additional cost. However, the rental side of lizzy needs major development if they want to be in that space. Also, a pro/con for me is that it seems very 'accounting-ish' which I think makes it a little harder to train new people on. That being said, I like how ALL the accounting is handled on one system. What specifically do you like/dislike about lizzy?
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  #5  
Unread 10-13-2012, 11:05 AM
bgsengine
 
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Same here - Definitely interested in what's wrong vs. whats good with Lizzy - And most importantly - what do you do, if you do not have an internet connection (Service interruption - internet down, etc.)? I like having a BMS that resides on the local computer network - if our internet is down we can still access our pricing and work orders, etc - very important for a busy shop.

We use Inventrakk currently (unsupported - we do our own price files and maintenance.) and it has worked well for us, though it leaves something to be desired in the way of accounting and used wholegoods management. For a shop that does *mostly* service work, and *much less* wholegoods sales, it's a good fit. However, we're looking to the near future - shop is doing nothing but growing, we'll need a more robust system soon (probably next year) - we keep looking at Lizzy , but the fact that it is internet accessible only is the deal killer - we do experience brief, but frequent internet outages - some for as much as 10 to 15 minutes - and if we have a busy counter, it can suck when needing to access something off the internet and have to make customers wait... so we've pretty much put Lizzy at the bottom of the list for our needs - unless they can show or demonstrate how the information could be accessed (even on a barebones basis) if the internet is out, we probably will not get into that... We have had a look at Ideal and Infinity both , and they both are extremely expensive to set up, and both have their own unique issues that we dislike - We may just go to one of the powersports BMS systems out there, if we can't find something that fits our needs and situation.
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  #6  
Unread 10-13-2012, 11:23 AM
John Matthews John Matthews is offline
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Michigan
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This might be a good place for me to learn something....

I've been in business here for a couple of years but still use quickbooks for most everything. In my previous business (racing go karts) I tried quickbooks POS but it was a disaster so for now I deal with inventory manually.

As you can imagine it's a pain but we're still pretty small and I know mostly what I have in the shop. But, with winter coming up and preparing for next summer I'm thinking I need to step it up so I can start bringing in sales and parts people.

At what point did any of you who started small make the transition? I'm also building up a pretty good marine and powersports following so are there any systems that play nicely across product categories?

Thanks,

John
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  #7  
Unread 10-13-2012, 01:34 PM
carlsmower carlsmower is offline
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I will work on a list of pro's and con's

I will say that in our area loosing our internet connection has been no issue.
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  #8  
Unread 10-13-2012, 11:41 PM
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thefix thefix is offline
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Lizzy doesn't require a ton of computing power. In a pinch, you can use your cell phone if it's able to supply a wireless signal. Internet outages were a concern of ours too, but it hasn't been a big issue , plus I dont have to deal with servers or backup issues.
For John Matthews, we used quickbooks at first, but your right, it can't handle inventory the way you need it to. Get a good business mgmt system BEFORE you get busy, because you'll want to be set up and trained before a rush. They all take time to convert your data and training takes time as well. You don't want that hassle during a rush (I learned the hard way)
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