Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Case Against Category Management – SRDC and Stores -1

The second one-third of the infrastructure, is the relationship between the StoreReport Data Centers (SRDC) and the retail stores. I will repeat there is no direct connection between a company’s retail headquarters and their stores.

There are usually three connections to the stores, one being SRDC-POS, the SRDC and a handheld device, and the third the SRDC and an inexpensive utility PC capable of running Microsoft Internet Explorer. The latter may be a simple diskless PC, because no data is stored in the store’s PC. A fourth connection could be between the SRDC and a store printer.

Refer to this link for some examples of necessary equipment inside the store:
·         A POS Systems capable of connecting to a router
·         A router to connect to the Internet
·         A handheld data terminal or an android cell phone
·         A standard (or diskless) PC for verifying purchase invoices and daily paperwork.

A simplified flow chart located at describes the interactions between the SRDC, store headquarters, the store and the supplier.

The StoreReport Catalogue is an ‘intelligent price book’. It has all the capabilities of a standard price book plus the intelligence to do many other things as well. Some, but not all are described here: Universal product codes (UPC), item description, item size, parent/child relationships, items on hand and on order, daily turn rates, days left between delivery cycles, relationships to supplier product codes, total units sold during various time periods, last sale date, last purchase date, push product authorization, moving average cost of existing products in the store, number of units desired in stock, category management department code, active flag, units adjusted, on-orders and back-orders, discontinue date (supplier and retailer), season codes, units received, re-order triggers, store keeping units (SKU), tax codes, units transferred, units shipped from supplier, current supplier cost, promotion start and end dates, promotion selling price, supplier can-order flag, cigarette buy-downs, etc., etc.

When an item is touched (sold, received, audited or adjusted), all the affected fields are recalculated instantly. For example, if the item catalogue specifies an item should be re-ordered when the desired units falls below a certain level, the SRDC will automatically determine what size of the product can be ordered and generate an order for the supplier to send the new items to the store. This could result in several individual items or cartons or even cases, according to what the supplier allows the store to order.

The supplier may use the order as a guide to pick items in the warehouse and if the supplier responds with a pre-shipment notification, the supplier and the retailer can see the order in transit and compare it to the orders actually received when they arrive at the store. The received items are scanned with a handheld device by store clerks when they arrive, and the store manager can go to the PC in the office and verify the shipment arrived. If there are discrepancies on the order (and there usually are), the errors are immediately reported to the supplier and retail headquarters.

(to be continued)


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