Automatic Merchandiser recently recognized 365 Retail Markets’ Erin Calkins and William Kolpasky as Pros To Know in 2019. As part of 365’s global-leading team, Calkins, a business systems manager, and Kolpasky, a product manager, strive to make a difference in the convenience services industry through meaningful partnerships and innovations in technology.
Calkins started at 365 in 2013, when the company was mainly focused on learning to sell MicroMarkets. The number of installed MicroMarket locations has increased exponentially since then, and in 2017 the company made the decision to configure a new business system. Calkins was at the helm of this effort to house 365’s manufacturing, inventory management, purchasing, sales management and account receivable functions. She led the selection, implementation and go-live of the company’s new ERP system.
Calkins says that the 365 Exclusive Partnership Program, which was launched in 2018, has brought operators around the world great success.
“A 365 partnership is not only essential for operators today but for 365 as well,” she said. “The convenience industry is ever-changing and it’s difficult for operators to meet their customers’ needs. We work together with operators to provide them with a unique partnership that is catered to them. 365 provides operators with a huge advantage with a partnership that brings them convenience opportunities and success.”
As a business systems manager at 365, Calkins oversees business process improvements, business reporting and day-to-day operational needs within the system. Her natural ability to problem-solve has helped lead 365 to many opportunities and enhance its capability to handle increased order volume, bulk orders and international orders. Calkins constantly puts 365 and its customers first by developing processes that help support 365 teams to provide the best and most efficient experiences for customers.
“Being a Business Systems Manager has allowed me to provide our operators with the best partnership experience by improving our business processes, implementing a whole new ERP system and supporting our teams with their operational needs,” she said.
Calkins noted that 365 is working with Minus Forty on the early 2020 launch of the PicoCooler, a product that will lead cooler technology in the new decade. As one of 365’s big innovations in 2020, the development of the PicoCooler exemplifies how the company is adapting its business systems to be able to fulfill collaborative system orders.
“The all-new, innovative PicoCooler brings operators the opportunity to grow into semi-public areas along with a technology that not only acts as a controlled access cooler, but also as a high-tech cooler that is an upgrade from standard vending,” Calkins explained.
Calkins said that providing 365 partners and customers with innovative technologies is just one of the company’s main focuses.
“Year after year, we continue to bring operators convenience opportunities, and I make sure our internal processes and business systems help support our focus of delivering the best technology and partnership to our operators,” she said. ”One of our top priorities for 2020 is to meet the growing demand for faster turnaround time on point-of-sale systems by developing systems that are capable of being provisioned by operators. Rather than needing to wait for staging and configuration, operators can order systems in bulk and have them on hand to deploy as soon as they have a site that needs one.”
Calkins acknowledged that making this happen requires big changes to 365’s business systems and integrations. The company achieves these through interdepartmental collaboration.
“By working together with our sales, operations and development teams to revise business processes and make system modifications to adapt to the ever-growing and changing requirements of the vending industry, we can continue to meet our operators' and their customers' needs today and tomorrow,” she said.
Additionally, as a product manager, Kolpasky oversees MicroMarket and VMS functionality for 365 Retail Markets and has led many successful technological innovations for the company. An adaptable 365 team member, Kolpasky started as an intern and has become a trusted source for industry leaders around the world. He cares about operators' success and is willing to go the extra mile to ensure 365's technology takes operators to the next level.
Kolpasky said that in addition to helping 365 provide products and services, partnerships enable the company to expand its reach in the industry.
“There are very knowledgeable individuals who understand this industry, and by partnering with them we are able to tap into those resources and provide our customers with industry-leading solutions,” he said. “Our team interacts with these partners on a regular basis to make sure that we continue to learn from them and are maximizing our offerings and solutions.”
Kolpasky has worked closely with top legal experts to fully comply with the changing landscape of consumer privacy laws to implement the necessary measures to protect consumers’ personal data. He has expanded the scope of 365's Data Warehouse, an Excel connector that allows operators to build their own reports and dashboards, to incorporate product and sales data into a single consolidated tool that can be used to create responsive reports to gain insight into market trends and opportunities. He is excited about the continued growth of the industry and helping operators meet their goals through the use of technology.
“By having open channels of communication with our customers we are able to quickly identify the opportunities with the most potential of having a positive impact,” he added. “We strongly encourage our customers to provide their ideas and feedback directly to our team. With this insight, we are able to design and deliver features on a regular cycle that provide benefits through technology. Additionally, having an agile process allows us to pivot when needed during the design, review, or development cycles to ensure that what we are delivering is actually desired.”
Calkins and Kolpasky look forward to raising the bar even higher in 2020 as part of the 365 team, which is dedicated to delivering innovative technology with a personal touch.