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Cornett's IGA Supermarket branches out with Toshiba Tec

Supplier: TOSHIBA TEC Australia
16 June, 2008

It was in 1973 that the Cornett’s IGA Supermarkets success story started, with Derek Cornett opening his family business’s first store in Chermside, north of Brisbane. Through a series of acquisitions and building programs, the Cornett’s family business now consists of 40 IGA and SUPA IGA stores throughout Queensland.

The company’s size and scope of operations has enabled it to afford its customers a range of significant benefits arising from bulk buying, “own brand” staples such as bread and milk, and its own fresh produce distribution centre in the Brisbane Markets.

While Derek Cornett remains at the head of the company, when it comes to information technology, which encompasses close on 500 point-of-sale (POS) terminals, it’s his son Graham who bears ultimate responsibility.

Challenge: Stability and consistency

As the company grew in store numbers, Graham was being faced by the constant problem of maintaining a POS environment consisting of products from a variety of vendors. He admits quite openly that in some cases it was barely a handful of stores that consumed the vast majority of his time in relation to support and service of the POS systems. “At one stage, there were 12 of the 40 stores that took at least 80 per cent of our support resources,” he says. “And at any one time, at least two lanes at each store were down because of POS system failure.

“I had a vendor that seemed to have lost interest in us; and where it used to be the case of getting replacement equipment overnight, it suddenly stretched out to several days. There was even a situation where, because I was known to do my own support – even though I was paying a full maintenance contract – the vendor actually told me to contact myself when I called in for some technical support.”

Solution: Toshiba TEC and Worldsmart Retech

With the mix of POS systems causing a support and operational nightmare for the company, Graham made the decision to establish a single vendor platform across all 40 stores. Having already established a strong relationship with Worldsmart Retech, the developer and supplier of the highly acclaimed Grocery Manager software, Graham sought recommendations from the company on the best possible POS hardware.

“The team at Worldsmart Retech knew precisely what our problems were,” Graham says. “Importantly, they had a strong insight into what it would take to create a companywide POS infrastructure to help us maintain the high levels of service and operational effectiveness that we’re committed to
deliver to our customers.”

The result was the recommendation to deploy a POS solution consisting of the Toshiba TEC ST-7000 terminals running Grocery Manager, Navikey LKBST-65 touch screens and Toshiba TEC thermal receipt printers.

A business relationship that works

The Toshiba TEC hardware and WorldSmart Retech Grocery Manager software represent only two parts of what Graham considers an effective POS solution. The third part, which he regards as being every bit as important, is the business relationship that exists between Cornett’s IGA Supermarkets, Worldsmart Retech and Toshiba TEC; and it’s a relationship that leads directly to distinct business benefits.

“Even though my team and I do the vast majority of technical support for our POS systems, there are definitely times when we need technical support and advice from people who know the equipment and software inside out,” Graham says. “In those situations, we’re able to call either Toshiba TEC or Worldsmart Retech – depending on whether it’s a hardware or software issue – and get right through to an expert.”

The relationship between the companies extends well beyond the provision of quick and effective technical support. With a constant eye to improving the POS infrastructure throughout the business, Graham is often involved in developing his own custom solutions to suit specific applications. The support from Toshiba TEC plays an important role in enabling him to do this.

“In some of our stores,” Graham says, “we have a fresh chicken franchise that has traditionally used another POS hardware and software solution. Given that I’m trying to achieve a standard platform for our POS throughout the entire business, Toshiba TEC was quite forward in providing us with loan equipment to run a test programme for the franchise. This is the level of support that demonstrates to me that Toshiba TEC is committed to partnering with its customers and sees them as more than dollar figures on the bottom line.”

Reliability equates to improved productivity

There is little doubt in Graham’s mind that the introduction of the Toshiba TEC systems is delivering improved productivity and cost savings right across the board. At one of the company’s stores, 18 lanes of third-party POS systems was cut down to only 12, each configured with the combined
Toshiba TEC and Grocery Manager solution, and easily manages a quadrupling of business.

“The fact that the equipment is reliable – and fast – means that we’re able to process transactions much faster than we were previously able to and, with less people on thecheckouts,” Graham says. “This gives us a marked reduction in overheads and significantly less cost for equipment outlay.”

Graham also points out that the success being achieved with the Toshiba TEC solution is playing a crucial role in the company’s ability to compete in what is an increasingly strongly fought industry. “We’re going toe-to-toe with the two big names in the supermarket industry,” he says. “For us to
succeed in that, an effective and reliable POS system is every bit as important as product range.

“The Toshiba TEC gear is ensuring that when our customers arrive at the check-out, they’re getting levels of service that are as efficient as they could be.”

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