Alon Brands Chooses Zenput to Streamline C-Stores: Why ‘Flattening’ is Still the Future

By Vladik Rikhter


The world is flat. You may recall that’s the name of the international best-selling book by Thomas L. Friedman, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist. This book analyzes globalization in the 21st century, and the title is a metaphor for viewing the world as a level playing field. Part of this concept is that geographical divisions are no longer a hindrance to companies’ growth.

At Zenput, we work with companies who embrace the idea of flattening. Just because retailers operate dozens, if not hundreds, of stores across their network, doesn’t mean they can’t reduce the time and labor involved in cross-company task management from weeks to just hours.

Case in Point: Alon Brands, the largest franchisee of 7-Eleven stores in the United States, has realized the advantage of Zenput and recently adopted the mobile app across its network. Now, more than 400 users across 300 convenience stores in Texas and New Mexico can automatically assign tasks and centralize auditing functions. Zenput will replace manual processes in Alon Brands’ stores, including the preparation of spreadsheets, emails and paperwork to conduct operational and retail merchandising audits. Exceptions on retail execution will be automatically routed, in-store campaigns will be verified, and other tasks will be managed through Zenput.

So in terms of geography, it doesn’t matter that a New Mexico store is hundreds of miles away from Alon Brands’ Dallas headquarters. That store will remain stocked and brand promotions will be up to date because the manager of that store is using a mobile-driven task management tool to manage inventory and verify marketing materials.

Friedman calls certain technological advancements “flatteners” because they level the playing field. Just consider Zenput’s ability to level the playing field for the in-store customer experience—it’s pretty amazing. Looking back, a technology like Zenput is like the fulfillment of a prophecy. (Keep in mind his book was published more than 10 years ago!)

Workflow software
The ability of machines to talk to other machines with no humans involved. Zenput allows senior management to auto-generate tasks and automatically monitors compliance of those tasks. Zenput works smarter so individuals don’t have to work harder.

Friedman called it “the most disruptive force of all.” Uploading allows organizations to collaborate on online projects via customizable software. That’s the beauty of a customizable app like Zenput and cloud-based technology.

Ten years ago, Walmart was ahead of its time by using technology to streamline item sales, distribution and shipping. As we see with Alon Brands today, more retailers are using technology to improve the way they do business. It’s faster, easier and just makes sense.

“The Steroids”
This is the name Friedman gives to all analog content and processes being digitized and and transmitted virtually. It may have been hard to predict the impact a device like the iPhone (first released in 2007) would have on mobile technology, but smartphone adoption has grown exponentially in the last decade. It’s a powerful technology right in the palm of your hand. And the best part is, it requires minimal investment since your employees already have the hardware—their own mobile devices.

Alon Brands has embraced that notion, and that’s why more than 400 users will be able to access Zenput’s platform. To learn more about Zenput’s ability to serve the convenience store industry, explore our website. Be sure to watch the Zenput overview video and consider scheduling a live demo.

Topics: Product Announcements

Bluetooth Thermometer Probe: The Next Generation of Food Safety

By Vladik Rikhter


On Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized the first two of seven major rules under the bipartisan FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FMSA). The agency calls it “one of the most significant steps in decades” to prevent foodborne illness.

The rules require human and animal food facilities to develop and implement written food safety plans that indicate the possible problems that could affect the safety of their products and outline the steps the facility would take to prevent or significantly minimize the likelihood of those problems occurring. Ultimately, these rules make food companies accountable for monitoring their facilities and identifying and preventing potential hazards in their products.

The FDA’s announcement coincides with one of Zenput’s biggest announcements to date—full integration of our mobile solution with ThermoWorks’ BlueTherm Bluetooth Probe. This brand-new feature enables restaurants, franchises, and other multi-unit foodservice businesses to instantly measure and log temperature readings for all prepared foods. Much like the FDA’s rules, this preemptive solution is a way for restaurants to monitor their facilities for potential hazards.

The BlueTherm Bluetooth Probe optimizes Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) inspections in three ways:

Increases the accuracy of readings

The thermometer probe’s integration with Zenput’s mobile solution eliminates the need for food service workers or managers to manually log temperatures, guarantees an exact reading each time, and ensures customers receive quality food in accordance with HACCP regulations enforced by the Food and Drug Administration.

Reduces procedure time

Employees no longer waste time writing down temperature estimates. Readings with exact measurements are instantly loaded into Zenput and distributed to managers. Zenput and BlueTherm integration offers senior executives the ability to easily communicate readings, maintain a historical log to assess performance, and save temperature-taking time needed in manual processes.

Decreases the risk of cross contamination

It’s the beauty of wireless Bluetooth technology – there are no wires or cords that will drag or pick up food. There’s no need for pencil, pen or paper either. The employee simply holds their phone in one hand and the wireless BlueTherm Bluetooth Probe in the other.

From convenience stores to grocery stores, more retailers are focusing on formats that offer fresh and healthy food. With foodborne illnesses widely reported, some retailers may be hesitant to offer such options. BlueTherm integration increases retailer confidence, enabling them to focus more on customer service and menu innovation.

Topics: Product Announcements, Restaurants, C-store

Do You Know About Submission History?

By Julia Burnett

Are you a Zenput Mobile User? If so, you probably noticed a change in the app yesterday, Submission History. If you haven't checked it out yet, here’s what you need to know!

Submission History serves two main purposes. First, it allows you to keep track of your work. With a simple click, you can see exactly what forms you have filled out and at what location. Second, it allows you to track new and ongoing issues at specific store locations. This helps you resolve problems before they are potentially costly.

What does this look like?
Submission History is accessible from two different channels, the Side Menu and from within a Form.




Accessing submission history through the Side Menu allows you to see the total list of all submissions.





Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 1.27.04 PM


Accessing Zenput from within a Form allows you to see all of your submissions from that specific location.
To learn more about Submission History click here!

Topics: Product Announcements

New Web App Design Supports Mobility

By Julia Burnett

Today we are happy to announce the release of our updated web app design! The purpose of the redesign is to ensure that users have a consistent and positive experience with Zenput, no matter if they use the web app on their computer, tablet, iPad or phone.

image (2)

The design update was inspired by a significant increase in the number of users that access the web app through their mobile device. Exactly a year ago 18% of all web app users accessed Zenput through their mobile device. Today that number has grown to a whopping 30%. In order to best fit the needs of our increasingly mobile clients, the new design is catered to provide a seamless experience across all technology platforms.

The updated and intuitive design pivots around a new and easy-to-use side menu. From the side menu there is now a more natural flow through the product. Users can effortlessly create forms, analyze and share data, and formulate reports with a few simple clicks.



Topics: Product Announcements

Zenput's integration with Dropbox

By Vladik Rikhter

With the integration of Dropbox into Zenput's mobile data collection services, forms submitted by your mobile users can now instantly appear in your Dropbox account.

A couple of quick notes: (1) For this process to be successful, you must already have a Dropbox account (or sign up for one before beginning this process); (2) only the account owner (the person that signed up your company to use Zenput) can create this Dropbox link.

Set up Dropbox in two simple steps.

1. Link your Zenput and Dropbox accounts

Once you're logged into Zenput, click on the "Company Settings" drop-down menu item, which you can access by clicking on your username in the top right of the browser window. Again, note that only the account Owner (the person that signed your company up for Zenput service) will be able do this.

revised company settings


Then click on the "Activate" button and follow the Dropbox instructions.


3rd party integrations shot

Once you've completed the Dropbox instructions, you can select which Zenput forms you want to add to Dropbox.

2. Select the forms you want to start sending to Dropbox

Open any of your forms (click on "Forms"-->"Open") and click on the form title. Then check the Send to Dropbox form.

 Select option


For all forms that your users submit in the future, the submitted form will appear in your dropbox account, in the "Zenput" sub-folder within the "Apps" folder. Reports will appear within sub-folders with the name of the particular form submitted.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions.

Topics: Product Announcements