Wells Street Athletic Club is a medium sized health club located in downtown Chicago. Opened in 2004, WSAC used QuickBooks from the very beginning to track all of its memberships, paid classes, payroll, as well as all expenses. When the decision was made to open a juice bar on the first floor 3 years later, integration with QuickBooks was a must.  Jen Taylor, a veteran in the food service industry with many years of experience managing small restaurants and coffee shops, was brought on board to oversee the opening and operation of the juice bar. "We used QuickBooks at my last restaurant, but it was always something that the owner took care of. My job was just to feed her the daily sales information, which we had in a point of sale program that didn't connect with QuickBooks. This was my first hands on experience with QuickBooks itself.", says Jen.

One requirement was that the new juice bar had to make use of the inventory capability features already built into QuickBooks. The solution, Jen found, was to get a POS system that was compatible with QuickBooks and then use the assembly item type to build the recipes for the juice bar. "I wanted our juice bar staff to make each of our smoothies the same way every time, so this provided the perfect opportunity to specify the recipe and then enter that into the assembly bill of material. That way we could close the loop by tracking the inventory at the end of the shift.", says Jen.

Jen settled on a POS program called AccuPOS, that integrated with QuickBooks, so the juice bar was able to get its daily sales information imported back into QuickBooks at the end of every shift. She was dismayed, however, when she discovered that the assemblies still needed to be built in QuickBooks before the inventory levels of the ingredients would be properly adjusted. "It was a real gotcha.", says Jen, "I couldn't believe we spent all this work getting this set up, and then I find I have to sit at the keyboard every night entering in these builds." She would show a negative quantity for her assemblies (i.e. a 16 oz. strawberry-banana smoothie), but no change in the quantities of the strawberries, bananas, or frozen yogurt. "What I found was that, as we started to get busier, I was spending a huge amount of time manually building the assemblies in QuickBooks.", says Jen. "What started out as a nuisance, turned into a real problem - almost to the point of making tracking the inventory hardly worth the time! I hated the thought of giving up this great tool to track our smoothie ingredients (which are very costly!) and so I began a search for something that would ease this incredible burden."

What Jen found, after doing a search of the Intuit Marketplace, was Auto Build Assemblies. "After downloading and running the demo, this was an easy sell to my boss.", says Jen. "He saw how much time I was spending with this and he wanted me out managing the staff and interacting with customers. We didn't want the solution to be that we trained somebody else to enter this data either. Turnover in this business tends to be pretty high and I knew that would mean I would be spending all kinds of time training our staff on QuickBooks (something they don't have to know now). I would be solving one problem by creating another."

Auto Build Assemblies provided a drop in solution that took all that effort and frustration away. Jen did an initial setup that sets the Quantity to Have column in the Auto Build Schedule spreadsheet to all zeros. Now, Auto Build Assemblies will build just enough of each of the assemblies to bring the quantity on hand back up to zero. "Our POS system rings up our sales throughout the day, we import those sales into QuickBooks which drives our quanity on hand negative for each of the smoothies we sold, and then we run Auto Build Assemblies to build just enough assemblies to bring everything back up to zero. Our inventory loop is closed at the end of each day, so we can closely track where our juice bar money is going. At the same time, I can spend more time in front of our customers.", says Jen. The payback for this investment took only about 2 weeks for Wells Street Athletic Club in savings from Jen's labor.

"This is a targeted piece of software designed to solve a specific problem we were having with QuickBooks - and it does this very, very well.", says Jen.

jen.taylor@wellsstathleticclub.com