Drill Down

Pinnacle users touch on tech trends, solution optimization

Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP

Bob Johnson

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Optimizing current technology, examining benefits and talk of future direction were emerging themes at the 2011 Pinnacle Summit, where about 150 retailer and supplier attendees gathered for workshops and general sessions.

Over 40% of the company's effort in the past year went to research and development, said Bob Johnson, president of Arlington, Texas-based software and hardware solutions provider The Pinnacle Corp. "We're focused on expanding existing solutions and … exploring new opportunities," he told attendees at the morning general session on Tuesday.

Later, a panel of retail speakers focused on Pinnacle's fuel-inventory solution, discussing ways they used the product and the benefits it brought. Bob Carpentier of Beacon & Bridge, Swartz Creek, Mich., said being able to forecast fuel inventory has allowed them to reduce turns from 3.8 days to 2.7.

"It has taken the peaks and valleys out of buying and increased margins," Carpentier, one of four retailers on the panel, told the general session attendees. "And runouts have been virtually eliminated."

Other general session speakers focused on creating a vision for the future. Mike Lawshe, president and CEO of Paragon Solutions, Fort Worth, Texas, said c-store retailers need to consider drive-through operations. While most c-stores today don't have them, "they're current competitors" such as quick-service restaurants do. He also suggested there is "money left on the table" with energy efficient technology and digital options like Groupon, as well as social media.

Taking on a motivational focus, the morning general session featured former Dallas Cowboy football players Charlie Waters and Cliff Harris. The two were part of a winning Cowboys dynasty that lasted through the 1970s, capturing four Super Bowl rings. The two discussed their experiences in team-building, which also meant paying attention to detail and excellence in execution.

They talked of their former head coach, Tom Landry, being very meticulous and running complex plays that the pair understood. "He knew the other team's plays better than they did," Waters said.

Conference organizers emphasized retailer discussion and networking. "An important goal is hearing your counterparts talk about their issues," said Johnson. "It's your conference."

Afternoon workshop sessions ranged from business intelligence discussions to point-of-sale (POS) best practices. In a session on "virtualization," speakers talked of opportunities to take data from a single computer and extract it into another "virtual" space. That space is typically another computer built with the memory and sophistication to house numerous computers.

In another session, the topic of business intelligence covered report building and the ability to draw from a company's databases to build timely reports.

The conference concluded Wednesday after sessions on loyalty, foodservice and industry benchmarks.

On the first day of the conference, Johnson and Drew Mize, vice president of product management and marketing for Pinnacle, spoke to CSP Daily News on current technology issues. To view that Q&A, see Related Content below.

Angel Abcede, CSP/Winsight By Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP
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