POS co-founder Muscarello with, from left, Koers, Hillier,
Schneider and Residori.
Profile: Frank Muscarello '03 (EMP-55)
Kellogg EMBA grad really knows how to keep the registers ringing
by Kari Richardson
who has suffered through an equipment malfunction in the checkout
line, short on time and shopping cart overflowing, will relate
to Frank Muscarello EMP-55.
hear Muscarello describe it, cash registers and other point-of-sale
technologies are the unsung heroes of retail, the little engines
that keep chugging along while commanding scant attention
— unless they aren't working, of course.
point of sale is on 24-7," Muscarello says. "It
can take in thousands of transactions daily and all that data
is pulled back to corporate headquarters. It is critical that
the machine be up and running all the time. And it's being
worked harder than any other piece of equipment in the operation."
Muscarello and his 11-year-old company, Vision Point of Sale,
which sells and services refurbished point-of-sale (POS) equipment
such as terminals, scanners and inventory collection devices
that companies rely on to keep their enterprises ticking.
With $12 million in sales in 2004, and projections to double
that figure in 2005, Vision Point of Sale's success has been
fueled by companies looking to extract every bit of value
from their shrinking technology budgets.
feeding the company's growth, co-founder and CEO Muscarello
says, is a trend for businesses to retain their point-of-sale
technology for longer. Unlike personal computers, which are
recycled more frequently, POS equipment often stays in place
for years, as companies try to maximize their return on investment.
than 50 percent of register transactions are still done on
a DOS application. And it's not uncommon for Muscarello's
customers, which include high-volume retailers such as PETsMART
and Saks, to employ the same technology for five years. Looking
to save on their technology expenditures by using existing
systems, some even go seven to 10 years before replacing machines,
almost inevitable during that time that companies will need
to add to or replace some of their existing POS technologies
— some of which the manufacturer may no longer stock.
That's where Vision POS comes into the picture. The company
buys up equipment from businesses that fold or upgrade their
learned the business soon after earning his undergraduate
degree, going to work for another company that deals in POS
technology. He soon realized the firm was too focused on profitability
instead of "creating value for the client." So he
and a co-worker, Vision POS co-founder Ron Sloma, left their
jobs, founding the new venture in Muscarello's mother-in-law's
the firm's subsequent success, Muscarello admits he continually
searches for ways the company can grow and serve its clients
POS enjoys a competitive advantage, Muscarello says, in the
team of five Kellogg School graduates that make up its management.
While Muscarello didn't intend to hire only those who share
his B-school alma mater, the team says that a shared educational
background and work values have made leadership flow smoothly.
of those Muscarello hired was Roy Hillier EMP-55, a veteran
of the chemical industry charged with standardizing company
practices at Vision POS. "One of the things that attracted
me most to Vision POS was that [Muscarello] had grown this
business from a garage," Hillier says. "But he was
still so dissatisfied and had a driving desire to improve
on that which he'd built."
alums working at the company include Gary Schneider TMP '91,
senior vice president of sales; Tim Koers EMP-55, IT director;
and John Residori '77, CFO.
of Muscarello's effort to retool himself and his business
was his enrollment in the Kellogg Executive
MBA Program, which he says has helped him gain "perspectives
from all angles."
desire to improve constantly and perceive future potential
doesn't appear to be waning.
have not yet begun to see the true value of the services we
offer," he says. "I'm looking forward to great things
for all of our stakeholders."