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    Valero Stores Get New POS Systems

    Switch intended to result in better efficiency, productivity.

    SAN ANTONIO -- More than a thousand of Valero Energy Corp.'s stores have been equipped with a new point-of-sale system designed to enhance customer service, the company reported. San Antonio-based Valero has more than 4,700 retail and branded wholesale sites in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.

    VeriFone Holdings Inc., of San Jose, Calif., completed a six-month rollout of roughly 2,000 of its Topaz/Sapphire POS systems at Valero stores in Texas, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana and California.

    With the new workstations, Valero's customer-service representatives can perform multiple tasks from fuel-dispenser and car-wash control to fast-food and merchandise transactions. The new system also allows more convenience at the pump, since it can be customized to recognize special discounts and customer loyalty programs, as well as accept Valero's proprietary prepaid gift card.

    VeriFone's Topaz system, together with the Sapphire site controller, acts as the command center, allowing the customer-service representatives to view all current activity with a few keystrokes on the 120-key keyboard or from the graphic-driven touchscreen. The screen features a simple icon interface, customizable product screens for simplified training and quick-response actions during peak sales periods.

    “We are finding that the touchscreen is an ideal training tool for new customer-service representatives, but that after becoming familiar with the system, many of them migrate to the keyboard to speed up their work,” said Tony Bartys, vice president of retail operations for Valero. “They like the keyboard because it's quick and easy-to-use.”

    Topaz can manage up to 32 fuel pumps at one time and connect to virtually any dispenser, tank-monitoring system, scanner, loyalty program, coin dispenser, car wash controller and back-office management software. Meanwhile, Sapphire, a high-powered site controller, takes the Topaz transaction data and formats it into standard reports.

    The system allows managers access to current store activity data, which VeriFone says increases reporting and inventory control efficiencies, and also features state-of-the-art credit card encryption technology to increase security of electronic data.

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