November 13, 2018 08:07 AM
Owned by KKR investments and based in Ontario, Ca., Cardenas Markets, formed by a merger of Mi Pueblo and Cardenas Markets, is an ethnic grocery chain specializing in Hispanic foods, with 54 locations and 1 warehouse along the west coast in the southwestern U.S. Cardenas prides itself on offering traditional, fresh foods, the boldest flavors and inspirational meal ideas. The chain is committed to creating enjoyable and unique shopping experiences for its customers, along with the widest variety of flavors, specialties and quality products from Latin America.
Cardenas prides itself on being the smallest of the 100 companies owned by KKR. Today they are a one-stop-shop for customers, offering a diverse selection that includes produce, fresh tortillas made on site, hot foods, carnitas, stews and other distinctive, traditional foods that are local to the region.
In 2018, Cardenas CIO Jesus Mathus was brought in as part of a new, seasoned management team to grow the newly merged Cardenas Markets business. When he started, he saw the company was using an old, outdated GSS HQ system. It was no longer being supported and was in dire need of replacement.
“The old system wasn’t a very robust system, and it wasn’t supported anymore,” Mathus said. “GSS never invested in new technology, and just did maintenance. Many people just stopped using it—the only person who could provide programming support was semi-retired. It was clearly a risky situation.”
To meet the demands of its customers, and continue to offer the selection and shopping experience their customers have come to expect, Cardenas needed a newer, more robust system that could keep pace while cutting costs. That’s when Mathus turned to NCR Power HQ and Power HQ Vendor Portal.
Having worked with NCR Power HQ previously, Mathus knew it was the solution Cardenas needed.
“I knew I had to do something to help the business grow—our current system just couldn’t do it,” Mathus said. “But I’d worked with NCR Power HQ in a previous role and loved it. I knew it was the right solution for our business.”
NCR Power HQ is an advanced merchandizing system that simplifies item management, manages item assortment and ensures accurate item and pricing data. It consolidates pricing, vendors, items and inventory information into a single, centralized repository, improving everything from pricing accuracy and margin control to product assortments, inventory control and labor costs across the entire chain.
Mathus said implementing it was a no-brainer. “Usually the solution selection is a lengthy process; it could take a year to go through the process. But choosing NCR Power HQ was the fastest and easiest decision I’ve had to make,” he said. “ I’d had experience using it and I know it’s used in very large retail operations. In fact, one of our board members is a former CEO of Sprouts, and he’d implemented NCR Power HQ there. It just has the best functionality for the price. We went straight to implementing it.”
He worked closely with NCR’s Professional Services team to get the solution implemented, which went off without a hitch since the teams knew each other well and had a good working relationship. A tough negotiator with very little time, he appreciated the proactive team effort from NCR.
“The NCR Professional Services team is very straight forward so I always knew what to expect,” he said. “I’m satisfied and happy that we’ve developed such a relationship of trust.”
THE SOLUTION BENEFITS
In implementing NCR’s Power HQ, Cardenas is poised to continue growing even faster by improving several areas of the chain’s operations. Mathus said he’s looking forward to shipping larger pallets, enjoying more flexibility on pricing, better usability, time-savings and a reduction in paperwork and labor.
“I already know it will improve our gross margins and prove out to be a fantastic ROI,” he said.
With that in mind, he said he’s looking forward to the advanced features that are fully integrated with NCR Power HQ and the NCR Power HQ Vendor Portal, including replenishment and inventory functionalities, in addition to the satisfaction of having a much more powerful platform behind the business. Already a fan of NCR, he said he’s excited about his planned future initiatives, including self-checkout.
“NCR Power HQ and the vendor portal make life so much easier. And now we also have a building block to build a digital presence and have put the pillars in place for a digital platform that includes loyalty and mobile,” he said. “NCR is a trusted and reliable partner that has always delivered on their promises. I have relationships with other vendors, and no one has compared to NCR.”