Solution Overview

Organization Profile
With more than 25,000 SKUs in five locations, The Outpost sells clothing, shoes, tobacco products, knives, swords, and “one-dollar” items.

Business Situation
Having tried two slow and inflexible POS systems, Accounting Manager Mayamba Ibrahim searched for a solution that could deliver fast, prompt customer service in very competitive neighborhoods.

Microsoft® Business Solutions Retail Management System cuts time at the registers and gives managers the fast and reliable reports they need to track their huge inventory and manage cash flow.



POS discrepancies cut by 90 percent


Inventory time cut by 80 percent


Daily close-out time cut by 67 percent


Transaction time cut by 50 percent


Prompt and effective support



New West servers


New West workstations


New West–designed VPN backbone


Epson TM-T88III receipt printers


APG 4000 cash drawers

Software and Services


Microsoft Dynamics RMS


Microsoft Small Business Server 2000


Microsoft SQL Server 2000

Vertical Industries


Apparel and Soft Line Retailing



United States


General Store Chain Gets Reliable Controls, Stock Levels, and Sales Speed

"In retail, efficiency is everything," says Mayamba Ibrahim, Accounting Manager of The Outpost, an Oregon-based chain of general stores. "Unfortunately, old point-of-sale (POS) systems can't keep up."

Besides slow response at the POS, previous systems couldn't encompass the transaction management details that executives needed. Ibrahim says, "Earlier solutions couldn't change prices at individual stores, or reliably add new items at every store. We needed something made for chains, but economical. It had to be intuitive to operate, smart, flexible, and effective."

After a long search, Ibrahim discovered New West Technologies, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner who installed QuickSell 2000, which Microsoft purchased and upgraded to Microsoft Business Solutions Retail Management System. "Exactly what we needed," Ibrahim says. "Speed, accuracy, flexibility. We have it all!"


"Picture The Outpost as a small-town Wal-Mart," says Mayamba Ibrahim, Accounting Manager for The Outpost, based in Madras, Oregon. "We offer 25,000 SKUs [stock-keeping units] in five stores and we sell them at excellent prices."

Established in 1977, The Outpost has 36 employees, all of whom use some portions of the company's retail management software. "In our business, speed is everything," says Ibrahim. "Having only two to three registers per store, it's always a challenge to ensure that customers aren't kept waiting, especially during peak hours. That means our software has to keep up with us, even give us good management pointers, and never bog things down."

Because of the high sales volume and number of SKUs, The Outpost had very specific and well-defined requirements for a retail management system. "We have a lot of different UPCs," says Ibrahim, referring to Universal Product Code, a commercial bar coding system that many manufacturers use in labeling. "There are always new items and high turnover, which gives us a very high rate of entering new products into the system.

"We make constant price changes, especially in tobacco, where manufacturers and wholesalers raise prices with a phone call," he says. "We needed something that would change prices chainwide or—depending on competing stores in a neighborhood—store by store. Most important, we needed unfailing reliability and speed at the POS [point of sale]."

The Outpost's first retail system was a Microsoft® MS-DOS®-based system called BullsEye. "It wasn't a friendly interface," says Ibrahim, "So we didn't even deploy it across the chain."

Outpost next tried a Microsoft Windows®–based system by a Portland, Oregon, developer. Though inexpensive, it had trouble with complex transactions and could only generate basic reports. "We got what we paid for with low-priced software," says Ibrahim. "Its communication was spotty. Price changes, new items, and anything else we wanted to propagate through the system wouldn't always show up at the stores. After trying it out in a few stores, it was obvious we had to start over again."



"No retailer can realistically evaluate all the POS and retail solutions," he says. "We spent countless hours looking at POS systems, ordering demo disks, then wondering if the software was anything like the demo. I was constantly searching for better systems because we were always dissatisfied with what we had."

Microsoft Retail Management System is constantly available, dependable, and stable. The reports give us great visibility so we're not working blind. We deliver phenomenal service in a very competitive industry. 
Mayamba Ibrahim
Accounting Manager, The Outpost

Then Outpost heard about New West Technologies, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner that specialized in retail applications. New West recommended QuickSell 2000, later bought and upgraded by Microsoft to Microsoft® Business Solutions Retail Management System.

"With New West, we felt comfortable about the product and the company representing it. All through the discovery and sales process, we felt no pressure to buy, only genuine interest in helping us solve our challenges."

Initial and ongoing costs were a major concern. "The cost differences between solutions are tremendous," says Ibrahim. "We know a chain that spent U.S.$150,000 on a system, then scrapped it. One solution was so expensive and complicated, the developer wanted $20,000 just for training—and we weren't convinced it could reliably manage multiple locations. But our first meeting with New West showed us a caliber of reports we had dreamed of, but had previously never been able to run."

"We knew they were playing straight with us. They had a superior product and the staff knowledge to support it," he says. "When Microsoft fixed some old QuickSell problems, that convinced me that Microsoft Retail Management System would get updates with new technologies."

Once QuickSell 2000 got its first chain-wide deployment in 2000, the differences were striking. "QuickSell was the first software that let us breathe a sigh of relief," says Ibrahim. "It was ‘goof-proof.' It gave us a whole new ease of learning. With New West's training, within a couple of hours our people knew it."

New West helped Outpost effortlessly upgrade QuickSell 2000 to QuickSell Commerce then, in March 2004, to Microsoft Retail Management System Headquarters and Store Operations. Store Operations is the store-level retail management solution residing in each store or a chain or any single store. Headquarters is the chainwide solution that gathers stores' information and distributes management's changes throughout the chain.

"Installation was so easy that we did most of it ourselves," says Ibrahim. "Because its interfaces have the same look and feel as the QuickSell package we already knew and liked, employees and family immediately found the new system easy to learn and use, both its POS and Manager modules," says Ibrahim. "With this system, I receive far fewer calls from cashiers with register problems."

In our business, speed is everything. 
Mayamba Ibrahim
Accounting Manager, The Outpost

Ease of communication throughout his store network was another plus. "Communication between Store Operations and Headquarters is very reliable using our mix of dial-up and broadband connections," Ibrahim says. "The product handles high- and low-speed connections."

Inventory control improved. "Now, I have the power to see what's happening in individual stores, individual departments in a store, or even throughout the entire chain—on any level of granularity I need," says Ibrahim. "From an accounting perspective, Microsoft Retail Management System is a real asset."


There was, literally, instant improvement at the registers. "It was like shifting into high gear. We used to average about a minute to check out one person," says Ibrahim. "Now we can serve seven-to-ten people in five minutes. Microsoft Retail Management System has doubled our POS efficiency."

Complicated transactions that traditionally caused long delays are now easily handled. "Split-tender transactions, exchanges, voids, and even discounts now take us just a few seconds longer than a straight sale," he says. "And it's all done from the same screen, all in one transaction. This saves me management time because I don't have to leave my chores to come handle these things. Any associate can do them. I can still designate which associates are allowed to authorize the discounts and can run reports on all of the price-override activity."

Because Microsoft Retail Management System saves an exact copy of every transaction receipt in its journal, managers and clerks can easily track down errors.

Physical inventory used to take two weeks.… Now it's…half the time with way fewer mistakes. 
Mayamba Ibrahim
Accounting Manager, The Outpost

The journals are permanent, and can be reviewed and reprinted long after the transaction date.  "We find this feature very useful," says Ibrahim. "In a multistore setup using Headquarters Manager, each store's receipts are automatically come into us and are sorted by register and date. We can see any transaction from any register at any store. This is a feature we use a lot and it's very easy to use."

End of day close-outs are more precise. "The closing screen lets you count your till by ones [$1], fives [$5], quarters [$.25], and so on. So, finding any problem or recounting is really fast," Ibrahim says. "For all 2004, our cash count was off by $214 out of $6,000,000 sales. In the years before this solution, we were regularly off by as much as ten times that amount."

And close-outs now take one one-third the previous time. "We're done in ten minutes maximum," says Ibrahim. "It used to take up to half an hour or even more because, when you had errors, it took forever to find them. This accuracy saves managers from spending 30 minutes to an hour looking through a journal tape to find a void that wasn't entered, or a one mixed with the tens. So it saves on labor and frustration, too."

"Physical inventory used to take us two weeks: one day per store to count, then another week to validate our data. Now it's half a day per store and less than a day to validate data chainwide. That's half the time—with way fewer mistakes—in a task no retailer likes. Uploading the inventory count from the handheld terminal is simple."

Ibrahim reports that a prime reason the company switched to Microsoft Retail Management was to smooth out year-end inventory problems in QuickSell Commerce. "When we'd upload our stock data we had just scanned, QuickSell Commerce stopped cold very time it hit an item that wasn't in the database. Might be new items not yet entered, but could be something so old and slow-moving it hadn't been entered. Now we proceed with no interruptions and handle or ignore undefined items after the upload."

Other retailers need to be where we are now—concentrating on customers and on retail, not on computers.
Mayamba Ibrahim
Accounting Manager, The Outpost

Constantly changing prices show off the new system's pricing flexibility. "With our previous system, when there was a price change for general merchandise, we had to update the whole chain," he says. "But this package lets us price competitive items, like tobacco, much more carefully. Depending on price competition in the neighborhood, we now set different prices in three to four stores without being locked in chain-wide. And the next day, we can run reports to verify that price changes took effect."

Another new advantage that helps Ibrahim with day-to-day operations is the instant and customizable reporting he can do in Microsoft Retail Management System. "We customized two reports ourselves, the close-out report, and a report to look for price discrepancies," he says. "Having a ‘canned' and customized end-of-day report that any employee can run lets us ‘push down' a task that used to be a managers'. We free up their time for higher-level tasks."

Reports enable smarter purchasing. "Now, before I buy, we review a vendor's rate of inventory turnover by item," says Ibrahim. "With batteries, for example, I now know which sizes and brands are selling fast or slow without a trek to each register to count batteries and check our back room. It's a real time saver!"

"Each store automatically calls Headquarters every night," says Ibrahim. "We get every day's sales and stock changes, and new prices are pushed down to stores. If we're in a rush, we just e-mail the store manager with price changes."

"When we needed to trim old items from our database, we ran a utility provided by New West that deleted every item with zero sales after a certain date. New West also showed us how to use the re-indexing capability in the new system. As the database grows, that keeps transactions fast."

Outpost found that "because Microsoft Retail Management System is such a powerful and multi-featured program—although easy to learn—to maximize its full benefit, a retail-savvy Microsoft Partner like New West is your ideal teammate."

Even now, Mayamba Ibrahim is still discovering new features that save time and shorten his days. "This program [Microsoft Retail Management System] is constantly available, dependable, and stable," he says. "The reports give us great visibility so we're not working blind. We deliver phenomenal service in a very competitive industry."

It's a smart investment to get a good support package and training from your Microsoft partner.
Mayamba Ibrahim
Accounting Manager, The Outpost

"We want to use our advanced reporting power more fully, and further implement the purchase order system," he says. "You can is always optimize receiving and tracking a chain's inventory. We'll also start using the customer tracking features and integrated credit card authorization. Instead of using the handhelds only for year-end inventory, we want to incorporate them into day-to-day receiving."

New West offers a solution that does real-time transfer as inventory data is being counted, and Ibrahim will evaluate this add for ROI benefits.

"My advice for those looking for a fast, flexible, and reliable retail management system," says Ibrahim, "is to find a Microsoft Certified Microsoft Retail Management System Partner like New West that you like working with, and who has good references. It's a smart investment to get a good support package and training from your Microsoft partner. Other retailers need to be where we are now—concentrating on customers and on business, not on computers."


HOME    PRODUCTS    Services    SUPPORT    SHOP NOW    Contact Us