Success Story: Rosa's Office Plus

DDMS Functions As a “Key Employee”

John Hauptstueck, Owner 
John Hauptstueck, Owner

In the five years since John Hauptstueck bought Rosa's Office Plus in Richmond, Indiana, the dealership has undergone some dramatic growth.

Driven in part by some shrewd acquisition moves, a territory that once covered just 17 counties in Indiana now spans 110 counties spread out across four states.

A product mix that consisted primarily of office supplies with a smattering of office furniture and machines now includes coffee and break room products, janitorial and cleaning supplies, ad specialties, managed print services and more. And despite the worst downturn in the overall economy since the Great Depression, sales at the dealership have doubled.

Expansion on that scale, particularly in the face of such difficult market challenges, would be good news for any dealer. But it gets better. Despite that growth, the headcount at Rosa's is the same today as it was five years ago—just 21. Even more remarkable for an organization processing twice as much business as it did back then, Rosa’s has four more salespeople on the payroll and four fewer back office and support staff than it did when Hauptstueck took over.

"It's all about technology"

How has his dealership been able to grow so dramatically while still keeping such a tight rein on overhead? Ask Hauptstueck that question and the answer comes right back without a moment’s hesitation. “It’s all about technology," he says confidently.

Over the past five years, Hauptstueck and his team have been on a mission to use ECi tools to automate as much of their dealership as possible. It’s paid off handsomely in new levels of productivity for some key areas of dealer operations. Purchasing at Rosa’s is now completely automated using DDMS tools and requires little more than routine monitoring, Hauptstueck reports.

The dealership has dramatically lowered its use of printed invoices and statements after implementing the Planet Press system. The result: estimated savings of $2,000 a month on postage alone. Further savings have come through aggressive use of procedure files to automate daily processes. They have also replaced printed daily and monthly reports with electronic versions that are always accessible on the dealership’s network.

“I look at our DDMS system as if it is a key employee and it’s been integral to our success over the past five years,” says Hauptstueck.

“Automation is the key to getting the most out of the DDMS system and if you stay open minded to the new tools and committed to putting them to work, you’ll find they can help you run your dealership far more efficiently.”

Success in a Demanding Marketplace

For Hauptstueck and his team, however, the benefits ECi technology provides aren’t just limited to internal operations. It also plays a vital role for the dealership in keeping it competitive in a crowded and increasingly demanding marketplace.

“There’s fierce competition in our market today and we have to monitor daily to guard against threats to our customer base,” Hauptstueck explains.

Recently, for example, a longtime customer called to complain about alleged over-charging after a sales rep for one of the big boxes had presented him with a price analysis based on just 20 carefully selected items. Literally within minutes, Hauptstueck and a sales rep were on their way to the customer, armed with a three-year business review. Generated by the Acscellerate business analytics program, that report showed just how well the dealership had performed for that customer and how they had changed the customer’s buying pattern to be more efficient.

“There’s a lot of disinformation coming from our competition today and we need tools to be able to educate our customers on what’s really happening,” Hauptstueck asserts. “Acsellerate makes it possible for us to show our customers the full picture of all that we’re doing for them and how our pricing stacks up across the board, not just for 20 selected items.”

Acsellerate is also making a major contribution to bottom line profitability at Rosa’s, Hauptstueck reports. "On a daily basis,” he explains, “Acsellerate delivers a report that highlights products that we sold the day before at a low margin and gives us the opportunity to determine if we are selling that product at the right price or too low relative to our competition.”

Rosa’s has over 250 contracts in its system and Hauptstueck aims to fine-tune at leave five contracts every day, to make sure pricing is in the right place and that the dealership is not leaving precious margin dollars on the table when it doesn’t have to.

ECi solutions have helped expand the business

Like many office products dealers today, Hauptstueck and his team have ventured into the coffee services business to generate a new revenue stream and, he says, DDMS technology has played a key role in that effort, too. "We have used the DDMS serialized machine module for several years for our copier sales and repair business and we find it also works very effectively when it comes to managing our new coffee operation and our coffee contracts,” he reports happily.

Hauptstueck also gives the ECi team high marks for their efforts to allow independents to offer an online buying experience that’s as good, if not better, than their big box competitors. As a member of the Independent Stationers dealer group, Rosa’s uses the is.D-Force 2 platform and he applauds the commitment ECi has made to online excellence, both for D-Force 2 and for ECinteractive.

“I’m very pleased to see the investment ECi has made in D-Force 2,” he says. “It’s a real source of confidence to know that ECi recognizes the importance of keeping independent dealers at the same level as the big boxes and e-commerce players like Amazon and Shoplet.com when it comes to doing business online.”

Rosa’s Office Plus may have come a long way since John Hauptstueck took over as its president five years ago, but as he discusses future plans for the dealership, it’s clear he feels the best is still very much to come. Continued expansion of the coffee business and stepped-up efforts in the janitorial and sanitation area are key near-term objectives. In addition, a new managed print services initiative using ECi’s FMAudit solution is in the works and possibly another acquisition or two.

"The big boxes aren't going anywhere"

Hauptstueck is also keenly aware of the need to strengthen his business against increasingly fierce competitive threats.

“The big boxes are not going away any time soon and they will continue to put pressure on us and our margins,” he maintains. “That means we will continue to have to find new ways for technology to help give us a faster response to the needs of the day and make customer relationships even stronger.” That’s a daunting challenge by any measure but Hauptstueck feels a whole lot better about his prospects for meeting it successfully thanks to his partnership with ECi.

“DDMS has done a great job for our business,” he says. “It’s a complete, all-inclusive system that is constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of the marketplace. And it’s supported by a staff that is passionate about what they do and not afraid to invest where they need to.”

That’s been good news for Rosa’s Office Plus over the past five years. And if John Hauptstueck and his team have anything to do with it, it will be even better news in the years ahead.