SMITTY'S SUPER VALU EXPANDING PAYMENTS SYSTEMS, OPEN POS

PHOENIX -- Smitty's Super Valu here will finish upgrading stores' electronic payments systems next month and roll out new open architecture point-of-sale systems to all stores beginning early next year."We've expanded our debit and credit network to accept more cards and also have check verification at each lane, which is brand new for us," Gary Kroupa, director of management information systems,

PHOENIX -- Smitty's Super Valu here will finish upgrading stores' electronic payments systems next month and roll out new open architecture point-of-sale systems to all stores beginning early next year.

"We've expanded our debit and credit network to accept more cards and also have check verification at each lane, which is brand new for us," Gary Kroupa, director of management information systems, told SN.

Prior to installing check verification, cashiers in Smitty's 28 stores referred to printed flip charts before accepting or rejecting personal checks for payment. Kroupa said the new capability has reduced bad check losses by more than 30%, "as we predicted."

"We've even stopped various store employees from passing bad checks," he added.

Software applications for time-and-attendance, labor scheduling and POS controls will be converted to run on IBM Risc 6000 in-store processors, which also will drive the credit and debit network.

"The next phase will be to integrate this debit-credit network into a new POS system that we are planning on," Kroupa said.

Smitty's will install one store with new personal-computer based POS systems from Stores Automated Systems, Bristol, Pa. Chainwide rollout of systems, which use industry standard hardware and feature dual, super VGA monitors, is scheduled to begin in February.

"Once the first store is up and running for two weeks, we'll be installing two stores a week" until all 28 stores are equipped with new POS terminals, he said.

Kroupa said both the network and point-of-sale upgrades are customer-driven projects that will enable the chain to speed productivity and enhance service.

The financial switch software was developed by Micro Enhancement, Spokane, Wash., and Deluxe Data, Milwaukee, will provide processing services. Smitty's new check verification system is from Electronic Transaction Corp., Bothell, Wash.