In 1985 I attended the IBM round table meeting that took place in Atlanta, where I represented the Mid-Atlantic states. At the seminar I met the IBM executives and we discussed the IBM DMAS Distribution Software. After I returned to New York the IBM branch manager, pleased that I was selected to represent his branch, arranged an ERP Software Seminar for me inviting the branch clients. At the seminar I discussed the benefits of having Distribution Software. After the seminar ended, a distinguished looking man walked over to me, shook my hand and said, “I found the material you presented informative and feel you could help me. We are the largest flower supplier in Manhattan. The florists buy their flowers from us between 4am and 8am and many of my clients pay cash for the flowers they buy. The cash business is not computerized and I have issues controlling it. I would like to discuss computerizing it with you. Could you come to my office tomorrow morning?”
When I visited him, he presented me with a large stack of green tickets and said, “what you see is $500,000 worth of cash my clients owe me and I don’t have control of how many days the cash is overdue. I need you to computerize it.”
“What would happen if you lose a ticket?”
“That’s my issue. Our clients will not pay unless we present them with the ticket.”
I resolved this by creating an online Account Receivable Age Trial Balance that showed current, 30, 60, 90 120 days and older. When his clients came to buy flowers, they were presented with their online open tickets and when his people clicked on the amount due, it showed the flowers’ description, quantity and the date it was bought. It had an immediate effect. When the florists came to buy flowers, they were presented with their online tickets and until they paid the overdue amount, they couldn’t buy new flowers. My client, pleased, asked me to work at his office where he and his associates counted large amounts of cash. It reminded me of Las Vegas movies and I told my client, who was 30 years older than I was, that I’d rather work in the office next to his. His response was, “Dani Baby, you resolved a big headache for me by computerizing the cash tickets. You are part of the family and we trust you. I would like you to observe the way we work and come with new ideas about how to improve my business.”
Six months later my client called me and said, “I need to speak with you. Please meet me at the Spanish restaurant next to my shop.”
I was puzzled about why he asked me to meet him at the restaurant rather than his office and realized he needed to discuss something confidential with me. While we had lunch, he told me, “You have done a great job computerizing my company and you resolved my cash tickets issue. Now I have a new issue. My bookkeeper is stealing money.”
“Why do you think she is stealing money from you?”
Instead of answering he tapped the side of his nose and said, “I have been in business 40 years and can tell when somebody is stealing money from me. I need to get rid of her but before I can, I would like you to help me find a reliable, honest bookkeeper.”
“My associate’s wife who is a bookkeeper and computer operator is looking for a job.”
“Do you trust her?”
“I know her very well. She is honest and a hard worker.”
“What kind of salary is she looking for and when can she start?”
After I told him that she could start right away and the amount of salary she was looking for, he asked me to hire her.
“You should meet her first. Suppose you don’t like her. After all there is a large amount of cash being counted every morning.”
“I trust your judgment. If you recommend her, she must be good. Please arrange the meeting.”
The next day he met my associate’s wife, asked her to start working immediately and fired his bookkeeper.
Food Distributor Cash Issues
A few years later I received a call from a large food distributor who viewed my website information and asked me to meet him at his office in Brooklyn. When I walked into his office, he took me to his conference room and I saw that all my published business articles were spread on the table. When he saw that I was surprised he said, “I read all your articles and found then to be very informative.”
“Nobody reads all my articles. You are the first one who did.”
“I’m a CPA. The reason why I read your articles is because I wanted to see who I am meeting. The reason why I’m in the food business is because my father, who wanted to retire, told me to stop playing with numbers and take over the family business.”
Next, he took me to his warehouse, showed me his operation and said, “before Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, people from the ‘old neighborhood’ come to the warehouse to buy products we import from the old country and pay for it in cash.”
“How do you keep track of it?”
“I trust my warehouse manager who has been with us for twenty years.”
When I heard this, I told him the story of the issue my flower client had with his bookkeeper and explained to him that the company we represent, besides having Food ERP Software, has a Retail Module that would enable him to control his cash sales by using cash registers. The CPA’s family, who was involved in the real-estate business, was building a new office and warehouse replacing the current one. When he heard my suggestion, he picked up the phone, called the architect and said, “We need to change the building configuration. I’ll need a separate store next to the warehouse that will have cash registers.”
During the Food ERP software implementation that he bought from the company we represent, I kept close contact with him. After they went live with the software, he gave me a tour of his new warehouse and showed me the small store that was part of it and had cash registers monitoring the items bought in the warehouse. Next, he took me to his office, closed the door and said, “I’m glad you told me the story about the issue your flower client had with his bookkeeper. The day we went live with the new Food ERP Software and the Retail Module, my warehouse manager walked out.”
Large Sea Food Importer / Distributor Cash Issues
One day, the COO of a Sea Food Importer/Distributor in Canada who had visited our website emailed me his information and asked me to contact him. When we spoke, he told me that he was impressed with our website’s “success” stories and videos and would like to discuss the functions of the Food ERP Software we represent. Rather than discussing the highlights of the software I told him that we should discuss his business needs, saying it would enable me to arrange a workshop style demo for him.
The COO, pleased, told me that they are the largest Sea Food Importer/Distributor in Canada importing from all over the world.
We discussed his business requirements for 45 minutes. During our conversion he said, “besides being a sea food importer/distributor we are also a manufacturer cutting the large fish and packaging it before we ship it to our clients. On Friday’s and Saturday’s people come to the warehouse and buy fresh fish and sea food and pay for it in cash.”
“How do you keep track of the cash?”
“That’s the issue our CFO has. We have a difficult time controlling the cash sales.”
I told him the experience our Flower Client encountered with his bookkeeper and our Food Client’s issue with his warehouse manager. Next, I told him that the we ERP Software we represent has Food, Manufacturing and Retail modules that would solve his cash issue. Pleased, he asked me to arrange a demo and said, “I appreciate you spending the time with me addressing my company needs. The local dealer of the company you represent has been trying to sell me the software for the past two years, visited me many times and never asked me what my pressing business issues were. That’s why I surfed the internet and found your company website. Please arrange the demo for me.”
Today the Sea Food Importer/Distributor, who is using the Food ERP Distribution, Manufacturing and Retail Software of the company we represent, has a 25,000 sq. ft. supermarket next to the warehouse selling fish, sea food, bread and other products with cash registers located throughout the entire store.
About SMC & Dani Kaplan:
Since 1980, Dani Kaplan has worked with manufacturers, distributors, food distributors and food processors as the trusted advisor helping them lower their operating costs, streamline their operation and control the inventory.
Dani can be reached via SMC – http://www.smcdata.com/contact