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Serfas Gives Reps Inventory Tool

Published February 20, 2009

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, CA (BRAIN)—Serfas has supplied its sales reps with UPC scanners that allow them to scan items on the retail sales floor to determine which of its accessories need to be filled in to maintain par levels.

James Thomas, Serfas’ marketing manager, said the company began using the scanners last fall. It designed proprietary software that allows standard UPC scanners to communicate with its inventory management system.

The outside rep sets up par levels in the scanner with the retail buyer for all Serfas SKUs. During a retail visit, the rep scans the inventory of Serfas products using the scanner, eliminating the need for manual counting. The scanner generates an order, which is approved by the buyer, then transmitted wirelessly to Serfas.

“There are no missed opportunities due to empty hooks and no overloading on product either,” Thomas said.

Thomas said the automated scanners also help retailers identify which items are selling so they can adjust their product mix accordingly. “If it’s not moving, we can freshen it up,” he said.

Thomas said 60 to 70 percent of its retailers currently are signed up for the inventory management program. Participating dealers receive a 2 percent discount on purchases.

Thomas said the system lends itself to the fill-in or at-once ordering trend among retailers this season.

“What we found was that the number of traditional pre-season or pre-written orders with future ship dates is flat compared to last year. However, our retailer commitments are up for the year based on dealers agreeing to participate in our inventory management system and earning an extra discount,” Thomas said.

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