Our Software Buying Group Case Study
Foto Source Canada Inc. is Canada’s largest buying and marketing group for photographic retailers. As a leader in the photo industry, Foto Source wanted to automate the ordering and invoicing process for over 200 member stores and dozens of vendors.
To be effective, the system would have to be utilized by many users from many different companies. Large vendors would require complex integration with their enterprise systems, but small vendors would not have any enterprise system to integrate with.
The functionality would not only have to differ for member users versus vendor users, but would also be dependent on the responsibilities of different users within a single company. A vendor may have an inventory control department responsible for maintaining products, a sales department responsible for placing retailer orders, and an accounting department responsible for invoicing Foto Source. Likewise, retailer-members would often have different people responsible for placing orders than those who would look after paying invoices, for example.
Although the system would be operated primarily by vendors and members, Foto Source head office users would require special access to support the user community and administer the system. All the financial transactions generated by the system would have to be accounted for by head office. In addition to purchases from vendors and sales to members, the system would have to enable head office to sell to vendors, for things like trade show booth space.
Foto Source was a perfect candidate for the Interprise Software cloud-computing system. Being completely web-based, Interprise Software is available from any location at any time, requiring only an Internet connection and a browser.
Interprise Software has functionality for the different types of companies and people that Foto Source works with, organized in portals. Small vendors can use the vendor portal to upload and/or edit products and pricing and to invoice orders. Large vendors can send product information and receive invoices through a direct EDI connection to their enterprise systems.
Foto Source member stores use the member portal to place orders and make payments. They can also identify the services, brands, products and prices offered at their store and use the built-in WYSIWYG content editor to add their own custom web pages, which will be seen in the consumer portal. Consumers visiting the site can quickly find the products and services offered by their local retailer, as well as contact information and a map to that store.
The Interprise Software team customized the consumer portal for Foto Source to include a photo-sharing and storage module called foto depot. Using the e-commerce (shopping cart) features of Interprise Software, consumers can also order prints and pick them up at their local store, or have them shipped to their house. The ability to create custom photo products was later added – products such as photo books, calendars and mugs.
The head office portal includes a complete web-based accounting system, which covers all financial transactions. Advanced accounting features enable head office users to record both sales and purchases to either members or vendors, and to automatically generate member invoices from vendor invoices. Head office users can also impersonate any user from any company to see the system exactly the way it is seen by that user.
Interprise Software is designed to be completely self-maintained. Vendors and members sign up online to use the system. A sign-up notification email is sent to head office with an approval link. Once approved, vendor and member administrators can create roles and define the functionality of each role. They can then create as many users as needed and assign them to the role of their choosing. Administrators can also define which users should receive orders, invoices and other documents sent by the system. Users even have the ability to sort and search for transactions in the system and generate their own PDF and Microsoft Excel reports.
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Product Manager, Foto Source Canada Inc.
As Canada's largest photographic buying group, Interprise Software has enabled us to manage all our transactions from the retailer to head office to the supplier. It has been key to maintaining our competitive edge and being reactive to ever-changing market conditions without deploying additional head office resources.
Through the tools available in Interprise Software, like the integrated Message Board and File Manager systems, we have quick and direct regulated communications and digital asset deployment with our whole organization not achievable with distribution lists and FTP servers.
The use of Interprise Software's Rebate management module ensures that we have accurate rebate data, giving head office, and our auditors', peace of mind. The accuracy of our rebate reporting ensures that we can collect from our suppliers and distribute to our retailers in days instead of weeks or months.
On-demand reporting and integrated Business Intelligence is critical to ensuring accurate strategic decisions. Interprise Software delivers scheduled reports, on-demand reports, and ad-hoc reports quickly and easily to ensure that we are making the best decisions for our group.
Our supplier relationships are a big part of our success, and Interprise Software has enabled us to have great relationships. The ease of sharing product and pricing information from supplier to retailer ensures that our members know what is available to order. And, our supplier partners are always paid on time because of accurate on-time EDI delivery of orders and invoices.
With Interprise Software we have gained a significant competitive advantage over our competitors, and remain effective and cost-efficient in a challenging market space.