by Terrie Ellerbee/editor-Midwest & Southwest
They invent the paper and scissors.
That is an apt description of what DUMAC does, with help from partners and the customers its serves. Those customers include more than 1,000 independently owned supermarkets in the U.S.
DUMAC provides comprehensive point-of-sale systems, software and services. It and RORC, first established in 1985 as Retailer Owned Research Co., came together in 2015. In early May this year, the combined company held its second annual RORC user conference. The users are the brainy people intimately familiar with RORCv6 software, which was developed by RORC and custom-built for the grocery business. The conference gave independent grocers access to the company’s owners as well as trainers and software developers and architects.
The paper and scissors analogy was brought up by DUMAC’s Joe Jurich, who shared with the group a 1980s Gary Larson “The Far Side” daily comic strip cartoon that depicts three cavemen playing Rock, Paper, Scissors with a word balloon containing the words, “Dang, tied again! Ready…one, two three!” The caption reads, “Before paper and scissors.”
When a user asks for something, DUMAC will do its darndest to make it happen. It’s like there being no stupid questions, said VP Phil McCarthy. He couldn’t recall a request the company hadn’t strived to satisfy.
“If a customer has a valid reason to want it, we have an open mind about writing it, which I think is unusual,“ McCarthy told The Shelby Report at the conference, which was held in Grapevine, Texas.
This year the company added 18 enhancements to the RORC system, like the ability to manage and redeem loyalty points, and 13 new functions, including the ability to assign PIN verification for authorized users. That would prevent people who don’t have authorization from charging items to accounts such as a school district’s, for example.
Among the more popular features introduced at the conference were short, three- to five-minute training videos about back office topics.
Some other new functionalities include the scanning of driver’s licenses and an option to include logos in receipt headers and footers. DUMAC also is introducing a left-handed cashier keypad and new color themes from which to choose, or retailers can customize the colors on the cashier user screens to match their brand. In addition, users can develop their own buttons by choosing or adding graphics (like a picture of a pizza slice).
User conference turnout
Based in Syracuse, New York, DUMAC also has offices in Edmond, Oklahoma; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Houston and Fort Worth, Texas. More than 75 percent of its staff is dedicated specifically to customer service and support.
DUMAC held its user conference for the first time last year to not only fulfill a need for communication between the company and the users, but also to bring users together to share their experiences with one another.
“We wanted to get direct access to the end users,” McCarthy said. “To get their feedback directly is important to us, because while our dealers do a great job of gathering that information, I also love being able to have retailers from different pockets of the country talking to each other. The broader group, the broader ideas—I think that provides a lot of value. At the end of the day, we want happy customers so that they love what we do.”
Many who attended the first year came back for the second event. McCarthy, grandson of the man who founded DUMAC in 1952, said the turnout proved that holding it again this year was the right decision.
“I participate in a lot of industry events, and sometimes you feel, ‘well, that was a waste of time and money,’” he said. “If that ever happens here, I would be really disappointed because then we failed everybody.”
DUMAC to the rescue
McCarthy provided an extreme example of the service it provides customers. A small chain in a resort town in Rhode Island had struggled for nearly a year with a another solutions provider. The retailer felt, in a word, “burned,” and took a hard look at many other providers before choosing another one. Just weeks before the Fourth of July holiday, the chain asked DUMAC to come in and make it right. Not only did the installation go smoothly, getting the retailer ready for the big summer holiday, but the IT person for the chain said she’d never had an installation go so smoothly.
“To do that in two or three weeks before a major holiday in a resort town, they were really, really blown away,” McCarthy said. “I was proud of the team because the software worked the way it needed to, and we were also proud of our implementation team because they turned it around very quickly, got the training done and we were able to walk out of the store and let them run through the holiday without having to call us.”
DUMAC, RORC combined
“For obvious reasons,” McCarthy joked with the group, following the combination of DUMAC and RORC, the name wasn’t mashed up and changed to “DORC.” The marriage brought together the RORCv6 software developed by RORC with DUMAC’s technology and service solutions. DUMAC also brought on board the aforementioned Jurich as VP, retail software solutions.
Jurich talked about what will be possible in the near future, including a “virtual lane,” or “walk-in, walk-out” shopping with no trip down the physical checkout lane. That work is taking place in collaboration with BRdata. Or how about instant coupon redemption, with the payment going directly from the manufacturer to the consumer during the transaction? These are ideas DUMAC wants to bring to life.
DUMAC is David to the Goliaths with more money and resources, and it likes it that way. It aims to be nimble, easy to work with and efficient. Through collaboration with other providers, it strives to meet needs smaller retailers may not even know they have.
“We’re playing in a game where pieces of it haven’t been invented yet, but it has to be invented for it to play out,” Jurich said. “I think that’s going to happen with the group here. A lot of what happens is with your input, with us being able to find good partners and being able to bring this stuff together to make it happen.”
DUMAC is celebrating its 65th anniversary in 2017. The focus now is on the next 65 years.
“I think at the pace we’re going, I’ll probably be dead,” McCarthy said. “I won’t be here in 65 years, but I will have died happy.”
See photos from the conference here.