Today, the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association runs a café, a pub, and various retail stores on campus. They also manage events, clubs, rentals, and housing services.
In 2016, the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association scrapped all their IT and introduced the unified commerce system by LS Retail. For years, they were using multiple standalone systems to run various food service and retail operations for their 34,000 students, but this made it extremely difficult to effectively manage their business processes.
“When we had to do reports for the board, we’d have to log -in to five different back offices and get five reports – and of course, they were in five different formats. Then we had to try and make sense of the numbers and create a single overview,” says Prashant Kumar Patel, Director of Operations and Development at the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association. “Not only that, but when we added a new restaurant or outlet every few years, we would have to implement yet another solution since the old ones were no longer suitable.”
Instead of creating a more manageable environment, the constant maintenance of different systems created hours of manual work and duplicate tasks that often resulted in unreliable information. And since the systems were not optimal, services for students were also slow and inefficient.
“The unified commerce solutions from LS Retail were the one-two punch that we needed to get our processes fixed and modernized,” says Kumar, “Now we can manage our retail, food service, and hospitality in the same software system, which is brilliant. We also thought, why don’t we use it for our events, ticketing, room bookings, and rentals? This is all functionality that LS Retail offers.”
Since switching to LS Retail unified commerce, the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association have been able to create a single overview of their services that is both accurate and trustworthy. They know exactly what’s happening across their business and have access to valuable insights that they can immediately transform into action.
“We used to rely a lot on what we thought was happening, and it was sometimes too late, but after moving to the unified commerce solutions offered by LS Retail, our business performance has improved significantly in terms of profitability, cost recovery, margins, and most importantly, our customer experience.”