Whether you have one store or a large national chain, inventory is your most critical area of operations. Having the ability to automate inventory processes with a POS-integrated perpetual inventory system is a huge advantage in today’s marketplace, as many retailers struggle with manual processes and outdated third-party services.
Customers typically enter convenience, grocery, and pharmacy stores with the expectation to purchase at least one pre-determined item. Does your store currently have this item in stock or did you lose the sale? Yes, they may purchase a replacement product, but that’s a big risk considering the replacement product may cost less, or they may walk away and purchase the product elsewhere. How many times does this have to happen before the customer no longer returns? If you’re lucky, you may get a second chance, if you aren’t, then the customer is gone for good. The fact is, stock outs equal walk outs and walk outs equal profit loss. However, excess overstock and dead stock can consume capital and end up as waste. Inventory management is a careful balancing act, a balancing act that can greatly impact bottom-line results and long-term success.
With so much invested, and so much at stake, why not use an automated perpetual inventory system to manage inventory? It is technology based on science, fueled by data such as real-time sales, forecasting, seasonality, trends, and other factors that humans simply can’t process all at once. Science removes the personal influence, entry errors, miscounts, and the unknown from outdated, manual ordering processes.
Consider this scenario; a new buyer is walking the floor creating an order based on current stock levels. He scans an item because there is only one left on the shelf, so it must be time to reorder. Is he aware that the item has been sitting there for months because it simply doesn’t sell? Unless he has the right data at his fingertips, it is likely that this dead stock item will be reordered.
Even with a perpetual inventory system in place, there is always the need for human interaction. There are situations a computer can never account for, such as an approaching hurricane or snow storm. Implementing a system that automates daily inventory processes while buyers focus on the human interaction required for inventory management is the surest path to long-term enterprise growth.
ECRS® offers a comprehensive perpetual inventory system within its Catapult point of sale software. ECRS also facilitates bi-directional data exchange between stores and suppliers for streamlined ordering and receiving. By using an all-in-one system, data accuracy is improved, operating costs and maintenance are reduced, staff training is simplified, and data is housed in a centralized location accessible to, and owned-by the retailer. Implementing multiple technology platforms and using multiple handheld devices quickly becomes tedious, confusing, and time consuming. It can also lead to a greater margin for error.
DemandFill® is the most advanced method of replenishment available on the market today. Catapult uses proprietary formulas based on varying factors to automatically populate suggested orders based on real-time and historical data. It is simply the most powerful inventory automation technology available to retailers in today’s marketplace.
To accommodate retailer preferences, the perpetual inventory system within Catapult builds suggested orders based on various methods including DemandFill, Min/Max, Replacement, and Maintain Constant Level. These methods can be used in any combination throughout an enterprise.
- Automated Item Grading allows users to filter items based on their grade as automatically assigned by the Catapult system. Item grades are calculated over a rolling 90 day period and are measured relative to other items in the store. Grading types include: Contribution, Velocity, Department, Basket, and Revenue. The feature enables managers to determine items that should be placed on sale to be more easily moved out of the store. It also provides valuable information for item placement.
- Mobile hand held inventory checks and ordering with Order Assist and Auto-Detect technology.
- Order Assist helps the buyer build orders on-the-fly by providing item information once the shelf label is scanned.
- Auto-Detect enables buyers to build orders by aisle, department, or store rather than by supplier. This feature auto distributes scanned items to the correct Purchase Order based on the associated supplier.
- Unparalleled inventory and supplier insight provided through extensive reporting and analytics
- Streamlined order management with all suppliers through ECRS Gateway™
- ECRS Gateway links the Catapult POS system to all suppliers for electronic communication
- 360° inventory view for comprehensive inventory information
- Part of Catapult Web Office, this provides an overview of an item’s historical inventory-related data
- Cross Channel/Distributed order management
- Facilitates order distribution throughout an enterprise, enabling orders to be placed from HQ or placed by the individual store
- Store-to-store inventory checks
- Cashiers can easily check remote locations to see if an item is in stock
- Multi-store demand fulfillment
- Provides retailers with a powerful enterprise automation component that centralizes and synchronizes the vital processes in the demand fulfillment infrastructure. Whether you have ten stores or hundreds of stores, one warehouse or many, ECRS MDF leverages modern web technology and proven EDI standards to allow independent chain retailers to reduce labor overhead and operational complexities, while simultaneously optimizing warehouse inventories and streamlining demand-related processes across the enterprise.
- Visual merchandising by location
- Demand-based planning and forecasting