Vicky Hopf, Quick Chek Food Stores
Quick Chek Food Stores is a privately owned chain of New Jersey based convenience stores. Its founder, Carlton C. Durling, opened the first two stores in 1966 for the purpose of creating outlets to sell more milk from the family dairy farm, which had been in existence since the 1800’s. In its humble beginnings, the corporate office was located in back of one of the convenience stores. Now, thirty-nine years later, Quick Chek’s support center is in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, and they have 102 company-owned stores located throughout the state. Three stores also sell gas and that product offering will expand to other stores in the future. Twelve of the stores have pharmacies, though corporate plans do not include expanding this service.
Currently, Quick Chek’s “big ticket” items include the sale of coffee and other food service items. They are open seven days a week in all New Jersey locations and twenty-four hours a day in areas where local governments permit. Quick Chek employs 1,800 people whose mission is, “Total Customer Dedication: How I Make Quick Chek a Great Place to Work and a Great Place to Shop.”
Vicky Hopf, Manager of Corporate Finance and Treasury, has been with Quick Chek since 1988. She began her career as an Accounts Payable Associate, processing invoices in the Accounts Payable department. She has been in her present position for three years. Her responsibilities include budgeting and forecasting, treasury work, managing cash and banking relationships and financial analyses.
Vicky explained that items for store resale are the responsibility of each store, but big ticket items like refrigeration cases, slicers, coffee grinders and other equipment are the responsibility of the support center, and this is where Bellwether Purchasing Software is utilized. Quick Chek uses the Purchasing, Receiving, Requisitions, Quotations, Inventory, A/P Interface modules. Within the Quick Chek Store Engineering Department, two people have responsibility for all materials purchasing.
Until two years ago, none of the purchasing cycle was automated. Then, stores would call in their requests, and the Store Engineering Department would place the orders with the appropriate vendors who met their specs. Quick Chek has roughly 50 different materials vendors and produces approximately 100 purchases per month – more if they are rolling out a new piece of equipment to all stores or constructing new stores. Vicky said, “It was a very informal process, and we had problems getting vendors paid on time. When invoices came in, we had to ‘walk the paper around the building’ to get the proper sign-offs before we could pay the bills. This process was very time consuming, and often the paper got lost along the way. Sometimes it was several months before the bills got paid.
There was also no way to track how much was being spent against the budget. We needed a better system, one that would monitor and control the whole process. That’s how I became involved. I was tasked with finding a software package that would meet the functionality requirements we needed.”
Vicky went on to say, “Since we were already a Lawson Financial Software client, we looked at the Lawson Purchase Order System first. We didn’t look at it for very long, however, because their purchasing software package was very price prohibitive.
After looking at the Lawson package, we reviewed three more systems, and Bellwether’s Purchasing Software met not only the functionality and price requirements we needed, but also it also interfaced with our Lawson financial system.
The implementation of Bellwether Purchasing Software went smoothly. Within a month, we had a test environment in place and, shortly thereafter, had the system up and running.”
Vicky stated, “It’s hard to quantify in dollars and percentages how much money, time and efficiency we gained with the implementation of Bellwether Purchasing Software, but it was significant in all areas. Especially beneficial for us was the ability to make timely payments of invoices.
The interface with Lawson eliminates double entry and creates an audit trail. As invoices are entered into Bellwether, a three-way match of PO, Receipt and Invoice is automated online. Then, approved invoices are sent to Lawson’s Accounts Payable System for payment.
Another benefit we have realized is that now the dollar amount ordered against the budget dictates the authority level of approvers, and through Bellwether Purchasing Software, within the dollar and budget guidelines we have set, determines the automatic approval routing. This has eliminated the bottlenecks we once experienced.
Quick Chek is pleased with Bellwether Purchasing Software, and we recommend it as an affordable alternative to Lawson’s Purchase Order System.”