EXTRA INNINGS INDOOR BASEBALL FACILITIES
Assured Computing Technologies
Established in 1996, Extra Innings (EI) is recognized as the premiere indoor baseball and softball training center. Extra Innings’ state of the art facilities are dedicated to covering all the bases and fulfilling the needs of players of all ages and abilities. They feature a complete Pro Shop on site which may carry well over 100 items in various styles and sizes. Starting from a single successful location, Extra Innings now includes 36 locations in 18 states with many more opening soon.
When they decided to expand via franchising, one of the areas they quickly realized that would need to be upgraded and standardized was the front counter operation. Without a system that could be successfully duplicated across the country, each location would have different hardware and software making it extremely difficult for the main office to offer support and assistance. They also knew that the cash register and multiple paper journals they had developed in the past were more time consuming than helpful and had to go. Everything was handled separately in a different ledger that sat on the front counter beside the register. It often took twenty minutes or more for a new member to be set-up, pay their dues, make any additional purchases and register for the use of one of the batting lanes.
Thus began the search for a system that would give them complete inventory control, customer sales history, membership data, integrated credit card processing, purchase order capability and multiple reporting functions providing historical sales data across the entire operation. They engaged a consultant who reviewed the requirements for the new system, including User friendliness (ease of use), comprehensive cost which included the total hardware and software, information management features and reliability from a known organization that would be around to support the product as they grew. One of the major concerns was the ability to duplicate the solution easily anywhere across the U.S. and the ability to quickly train a new franchise owner or employee to use the system.
EI looked at several software packages with various demonstrated features that offered part of the solution they wanted but not everything – especially ease of use. Several offerings were from small niche software vendors with limited history.
Assured Computing Technologies demonstrated the abilities of a full featured Point of Sale package called ‘Microsoft Retail Management’ (RMS), which was not only from one of the largest software vendors in the world, but offered robust features which included sales tracking by department, category, vendor, or item; customer history which showed every purchase made and the date the customer became a member, inventory control, integrated purchase orders, integrated credit card processing, unlimited custom reports, quick capture driver license scanning to prepopulate customer information and much more.
The hardware which consisted of Intel based All-in-One Point-of-Sale systems with integrated 15" touchscreens and credit card swipe, customer pole display, thermal printer, pdf 417 capable bar code scanner, heavy duty cash drawer and thermal transfer bar code printer was open source, standard configuration which is easily purchased and field replaced by next day air if needed. The final cost of the entire package for each new franchise was well within the estimated budget. The decision to move forward was a simple one.
Since the first installation, each new location is easily duplicated by simply downloading a current back-up of the item database from the main location and loading it into the new system. Hardware upgrades are easily accomplished as the technology changes since the hardware is not proprietary or based upon the software constraints. The EI Franchise Office has remote access into each location which helps alleviate any problems with sales or operation before they can become major obstacles to success. Technical support, training and software updates are easily accomplished via a secure internet connection from the offices of Assured Computing Technologies which minimizes cost for both the Franchisee and the Franchiser. After three years the proof of success is in the continued growth of Extra Innings and the success of each Franchise location.