Award for Innovative Inventory Solutions

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Inventory. The very word strikes fear and dread into the hearts of many a retailer. The countless hours spent checking and double checking inventory, controlling loss and theft, and keeping in-demand items in stock can really eat up a lot of a retailer’s budget – and not just the financial one. The inventory process can also eat up a retailer’s time budget, with additional manpower required to run the complicated inventory process. It is no surprise, then, that retailers are always looking for ways to speed up and simplify the process so that they can spend less time and employee expense on the inventory process and more time actually serving customers.

 Recently, ECRS played a crucial role in an independent grocer’s journey from running outdated inventory and POS systems to being honored for its tech leadership in the industry. Rollin’ Oats, a Florida-based progressive grocery chain, was recently honored with the Tech Award from Progressive Grocer. The award is in recognition of Rollin’ Oats great success and industry leadership in implementing state of the art POS, inventory management and replenishment, and supplier integration systems across its multiple stores. The idea of being a “progressive” grocer is right in line with ECRS’ grocery point of sale and especially inventory solutions, which allowed Rollin’ Oats stores to save time (20-30+ hours per week) while still seeing a significant growth in profits (8% directly linked to the ECRS system implementation).

 Mike Asher, Chief Operating Officer of Rollin’ Oats, says the grocery chain saw a relatively speedy return on its investment after implementing ECRS’ CATAPULT auto-reorder software along with two other ECRS solutions. The time they shaved off of inventory management has been redirected to the most important sector for a small business: customer interaction. Employees now have additional face time with shoppers, making the customer experience more personal. According to Joseph Tarnowski, senior editor for Progressive Grocer and editor-in-chief of Progressive Grocer Independent, “strong customer engagement is a key differentiator. More time spent with shoppers means more sales.”

 Rollin’ Oats COO Asher says that the most difficult part of implementing the new POS and inventory solutions were not the products but the people; it took a little while to get some employees on board. According to Asher, “We have a lot of experienced buyers that were used to outdated methods of ordering (walking the aisles with clipboards, antiquated hand held order machines, relying on sales reps to place orders, etc). Once they saw the way the systems work and how much time savings there is, they embraced the change and have seen the growth.” So though they may have initially been reticent, once these employees saw the time savings the new system would afford them, they were ready to give it a try.

 Clearly, this experiment in electronic inventory has been a success. The Progressive Grocery Tech Award is a testament to the way that this new inventory management system took Rollin’ Oats into the future. Interestingly, last year’s Progressive Grocer Tech Award also went to an ECRS client, Star Super Markets.

 What are your thoughts on this interesting and innovative inventory management system? Could your business benefit from the leap forward it might provide?


For more on ECRS, click here.

For more on Rollin’ Oats, click here

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