By John Howell
For a company that develops programs that keeps track of millions of sales and has clients across North America, a move from Cranston to Warwick wouldn’t seem to be a “big thing.”
That’s not the way Chris Kiernan, director of retail applications at ADD Systems, looks at it. But then he’s a Rhode Islander where a move of a few miles means a lot. His enthusiasm for the city comes from what the move means for the company.
ADD, a software solutions company that dates back to the infancy of business computers, is now located in a first floor suite of 931 Jefferson Boulevard next to the Holiday Inn Suite and just off the Air Connector. Kiernan points out that having the hotel as a neighbor makes it easy for out-of-state trainees. Of course, the proximity of the airport is another attraction as well as the vision for City Centre and its mix of office, retail and residential uses linked to air, rail and motor vehicle transportation.
Transportation and energy are key elements to the businesses ADD serves in 48 states as well as Canada, Guam and a few other places across the globe. Bruce A. Bott founded the company in 1973, but the roots to the venture go back to his college days when he drove an oil truck for Dixon Brothers Fuel in the early ’60s. In 1972 Bott connected with his former employer, Bill Dixon, where they talked about the need to automate his business and the idea of starting a business to help similar businesses was born.
Today, the company’s systems do far more than keeping track of the deliveries of heating oil and propane.
“We know when Snickers are selling better than Milky Ways,” says Kiernan.
ADD has branched out from the record keeping of the sale and delivery of energy products to include convenience stores, HVAC services, wholesale petroleum and lubricants.
Knowing what candy bar sells in a particular store may not seem like an important bit of data. That’s not the way Kiernan sees it. ADD systems keeps track of all the items sold in a convenience store, thus giving a company with multiple stores the ability to tailor product selection by store to customer demand. Kiernan said the information could be so refined that a company can track whether a sandwich with more ham or more cheese is the best seller.
As for the core business of energy delivery, drivers are provided with devices that not only provide a schedule of deliveries that are arranged to be efficient but transmit the time and quantity of each delivery.
Instant reports, says Bott, company president and the son of the founder, are in high demand these days.
“They want to see it on the Internet, online right away,” Bott said. He said the demand is for “real time” access to data. The company has 500 clients with more than 20,000 users. In North America, Systems are designed to be supported on client servers or to be housed in the cloud and costs are based on the number of user licenses.
There’s more to it than “business technology,” says Robert Culbertson, senior vice president and COO. He said the ADD is “out there talking to clients,” and it is from that interaction they learn what their clients need.
“Technology is fine, but you have people behind that. This is not a world of robots.”
For Adrian Moisei, chief software architect, accurate data is equally important. “This is information you can trust. It’s worthless otherwise.”
On Tuesday, Mayor Scott Avedisian visited ADD to cut a ribbon and welcome the company to the city. Warwick serves as a regional office for the company that has 160 employees and is based in Flanders, N.J.