|“For the first time in our company’s history, were able to manage our retail business as a head office, centralize file maintenance and back office requirements and streamline the workflow.”
– Shawn Hulshof, Associated Maritime Pharmacies Ltd.
Locally owned and operated, Associated Maritime Pharmacies Limited (AMP Ltd.) has been serving Atlantic Canada for over 40 years. Their 11 locations are committed to promoting the overall health and wellness of their customers. As an independent pharmacy, AMP Ltd. has the flexibility to adapt to the ever changing needs of their patients and customers.
With each of their stores running individual datasets, managing the product file and day to day operations was becoming increasingly difficult. “We were looking for a solution that would maintain the financial independence of each of our subsidiary companies and would allow us to run the retail network as one and eliminate the duplication of work,” explained Shawn Hulshof, Senior Manager Marketing & Retail Operations.
After evaluating a variety of options, the company chose Auto-Star’s Star-Plus point of sale and retail management software and Star-Link head office solution. Star-Link communicates real-time information with the Star-Plus point of sale at the store level. “For the first time in our company’s history, were able to manage our retail business as a head office, centralize file maintenance and back office requirements and streamline the workflow,” said Shawn.
A Smooth Transition
With only four months to convert all their locations to the Star-Plus point of sale and implement Star-Link at the head office, a seamless transition was imperative. “We were under very tight time constraints,” said Shawn. “Needless to say, the entire Auto-Star team worked tirelessly to ensure we were ready to meet our timeline, which we did.” As the stores were successfully transitioned to the new system, Auto-Star also provided comprehensive training at each of the locations. According to Shawn, “the cashier training was very intuitive.”
Star-Link Software as a Service
The Star-Link Hosted Solution eliminates the need for costly on-site hardware and support staff, allowing AMP Ltd. to focus on core competencies for business growth. “Knowing that it is off-site, provides great business continuity and fits in with our business planning,” says Shawn. In addition, having the server hosted at Auto-Star ensures they have access to all the features and the latest version of the software. “With the low monthly fee, I know that we are always running the right operating software, we are up to date and fully compliant with industry requirements. Also, I absolutely love that everything is included and I am not being nickeled and dimed for all of the features,” said Shawn.
Improved Operational Efficiency & Time Savings
Associated Maritime Pharmacies Ltd. has realized a significant improvement in operational efficiencies since the implementation of Star-Link. Previously, when a new product came into the business, each store would need to list the item individually. “Listing thousands of items during key seasons or buying shows was excruciating,” explained Shawn. “Managers are now spending less time listing items because we are doing it centrally. In addition, products are scanning at the right price and as a result getting to the floor faster.”
Features such as Universal Import have allowed the company to enter new products at a fraction of the time than previously required. “We are continuing to make inroads on labor savings by moving people from doing data entry to helping serve customers on the floor,” said Shawn. Star-Link has also allowed head office to measure and monitor margins and ensure consistency between stores. “It would have taken hours of manual labor to do this previously.”
Leveling the Playing Field
By taking advantage of Star-Link’s advanced web-based reporting and analytics, AMP Ltd. has access to information and tools that allow them to compete with large retailers. “Being able to access our data instantaneously and filter as needed is a critical business tool in today’s retail world,” explains Shawn. “It puts us on a level playing field with a large big box retailer.”
Technical Support & Ongoing Development
Auto-Star strives to provide exceptional customer service and value added training. “The Auto-Star team has been absolutely great to deal with and ensures that the system works the way we need it to on a daily basis,” said Shawn. When needed, technical support can walk a store through solving a problem or dial into their system, however often times the help function within the system is all that is needed.
Auto-Star uses the latest development tools to implement changes and enhancements quickly, resulting in faster delivery of the most recent technology. Shawn agrees, “Not only is it a great solution today, but I see the development that takes place every week and I know Auto-Star wants to stay ahead of the curve.”
A Partner for Success
Looking ahead, Shawn is confident that Auto-Star will continue to be a key part of the company’s growth and success. “Just knowing that we have a partner when it comes to the POS side of our business is so crucial.” Shawn goes on to say, “It really is a partnership and I know we are partnered with the right group.”
About Auto-Star’s Pharmacy POS Systems
Auto-Star Compusystems is a software company that develops pharmacy POS systems for retailers across Canada, the United States, and the Caribbean. The company’s pharmacy point of sale software products provide seamless end-to-end solutions to optimize efficiency and customer satisfaction, while lowering operating costs.