September 24, 2004, 12:00 AM

How Sheetz c-stores control inventory with web-based POS

Soon after a customer purchases a freshly made turkey sandwich, executives at Sheetz headquarters can view on a web page the sale’s effect on in-store supplies of turkey. The system helps to keep up with demand for its custom sandwiches, Sheetz says.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

Soon after a customer at a Sheetz Inc. c-store purchases a freshly made turkey sandwich, executives at headquarters can view on a web page the sale’s effect on in-store supplies of turkey. The system helps Sheetz keep up with customer demand for its custom sandwiches, John Moulton, director of store operations, tells Interrnet Retailer. “We try to be pretty unique in prepared foods, and our stores are doing about four times the c-store industry average in sales,” he says. Sheetz operates 300 stores in five states.

The POS system from Radiant Systems Inc. forwards information regarding the value and identity of purchased products, along with updated inventory records, to a central web server sitting on Sheetz’s corporate intranet, which uses IBM’s Websphere platform. “I can monitor inventory, so the store manager can spend more time serving customers,” Moulton says.

Under Sheetz’s older system, which it still uses in many of its stores, store managers conduct physical counts of inventory levels without the benefit of near-real POS transaction data to determine replenishment needs. “Under the new system, if a customer orders a six-inch turkey sub, I’ll know that we need to replenish a six-inch set of turkey,” Moulton says.

The system is also set up with a method of generating purchase orders based on current levels of inventory. Managers review purchase orders that the system automatically generates once POS data indicate that particular materials like sliced sandwich turkey have dwindled to levels set by Sheetz. After reviewing and, if necessary, modifying the purchase orders to reflect special needs such as extra supplies for a coming holiday weekend, managers click a button on a web page to forward the purchase order to a supplier.

 

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