REDMOND, Wash. — Jan. 11, 2007 — Microsoft Corp.’s premier offering for midsize retailers continues to gain momentum as more organizations turn to the solution to efficiently manage their operations from the point of sale to the back office and through the supply chain. Recently, working closely with Microsoft® partner New West Technologies, American Automobile Association (AAA) Washington deployed Microsoft Dynamics™ Retail Management System (RMS) in the first of its 25 stores in Washington and northern Idaho.
AAA Washington offers its 920,000 members all traditional AAA services, which include approximately 1,500 items such as travel publications, luggage and other travel accessories, Travelex traveler’s checks, and a variety of stored-value cards (gift cards) through Travelex.
Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System together with Microsoft Dynamics GP is helping AAA Washington empower its store associates and managers to provide better service for its customers with information about their past purchase histories and up-sell suggestions based on an item scanned. In addition, with its transition to Microsoft Dynamics GP, AAA Washington is able to improve overall business efficiencies with near-real-time integration of data from the front of the store to the back office, empowering accountants and branch managers with accurate information from the front lines.
AAA Washington selected Microsoft Dynamics RMS to solve a number of critical business problems that were a fact of everyday life with the previous technology. First, the point-of-sale system was incomplete; it did not include cash management capabilities, for example. This lack of functionality required cashiers to run tapes at the end of each day and then enter them into a daily cash summary, a process that was both labor-intensive and prone to errors.
AAA Washington must also comply with anti-money-laundering requirements mandated by the Patriot Act and the Bank Secrecy Act because the organization sells several kinds of gift cards. AAA Washington is required to log transactions, collect additional information from customers and, in some cases, file forms. If mistakes are made, the penalties can be stiff.
“The customizations New West made to Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System now flag those situations in reports for our associates,” said Dean Granholm, vice president and chief financial officer for AAA Washington.
AAA Washington’s accounting manager, Elaine MacDougall, also said that Microsoft Dynamics RMS has improved overall efficiencies.
“We used to have multiple systems for different lines of business and were lacking one consolidated system for tendering all sales for which money was collected,” MacDougall said. “Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System allows us to consolidate what were previously four systems into one. The technology also allows us to better manage inventory at our branches. Before we deployed Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System we couldn’t provide our branch managers with real-time inventory information.”
Both Granholm and MacDougall said that concrete benefits have been realized for AAA Washington since deploying Microsoft Dynamics RMS.
“The product has made a one-till-per-cashier approach easy,” Granholm said. “Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System has been warmly accepted on the front lines by our managers and our associates. It has streamlined the overall cashier operation, reducing work both in the retail stores and on the back end, including faster daily balancing and auditing. That’s a real benefit.”
MacDougall said that Microsoft Dynamics RMS has proven itself a good bet. The system has dramatically reduced the amount of time it takes to complete processes such as posting premiums for insurance and membership premiums as well as some travel agency payments. The result is that having quick and easy access to members’ purchasing history and other activities allows associates to improve customer service by inquiring about satisfaction with recent purchases in a way that is specific to the member.
“Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System has given us a very solid front-end framework that allows us to easily gather all transactions into one database, which allows a single integration into our accounting software,” MacDougall said. “Thanks to customizations written by our Microsoft Dynamics GP partner, data from Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System is integrated into our accounting system by the next day of business rather than at the end of each month.”
MacDougall said she expects to continue realizing benefits from the investment in Microsoft Dynamics RMS. “We look forward to continuing to provide better visibility into our members’ purchasing history, to increasing compliance for financial reporting, and to allowing better ownership of inventory management at the branch level.”
About AAA Washington
AAA Washington has been serving members and the traveling public since 1904. The organization provides a variety of exclusive benefits, including roadside assistance, discounts, maps and personalized trip planning, to 920,000 members. In addition, its full-service travel and insurance agencies provide products and services for members and the public. Additional information is available through the company’s 25 offices in Washington and northern Idaho, at www.AAA.com, or by calling 1-800-562-2582.
About Microsoft Dynamics
Microsoft Dynamics is a line of financial, customer relationship and supply chain management solutions that helps businesses work more effectively. Delivered through a network of channel partners providing specialized services, these integrated, adaptable business management solutions work like and with familiar Microsoft software to streamline processes across an entire business.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
Microsoft and Microsoft Dynamics are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
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