Benchmarking For Project Planning Essay

1664 words - 7 pages

Houser Shoes
Gary Houser started his shoes career working for International Shoe Corporation part-time while attending college. In 1973 an opportunity arose, Houser collaborated with a few partners contracted into a 3 store lease. This strategy encouraged Houser to venture on his own. The first Houser Shoes opened in Gastonia, NC in 1976(Houser Shoes, 2007).
In addition, the implementation process was a success and grew to be an 11 store operation in no time and one of the southeast’s largest independent retailers, and is still owned and operated by Gary Houser (Houser Shoes, 2007). In 2000, Houser and his daughter Beth Houser created a shared vision for another chain of stores named GB ...view middle of the document...

Houser’s typical purchasing cycle starts by buying inventory six months in advance, before the actual selling season.
The company has little opportunity to reorder once the season arrives and inventory ages on a daily basis. Inventory management is a critical component for Houser’s success. Houser Shoes through the combined efforts of several companies and their products and services, has used real-time inventory management as a competitive advantage through the daily shifting of inventory between locations and real-time sales pricing against inventory trends (Houser Shoes, 2007).
Houser Shoes' headquarters in Asheville, NC, has instituted the services of an IBM AS/400 midrange computer for more than 10 years(Houser Shoes, 2007). In addition, the headquarters uses the AS/400 to perform large internal processing jobs, as well as jobs for its remote store locations. One of these involves the inventory management for the more than 25 point-of-sale (POS) registers that are located at the 16 stores (Houser Shoes, 2007).
Houser Shoes problems are unreliable communications between the store locations and the corporate headquarters' AS/400. Store personnel would manually dialed into the headquarters' AS/400 using the old software, often requiring a good deal of time to accomplish the connection to the AS/400 (Houser Shoes, 2007). In addition, inventory information was not being delivered to each store in a timely manner, resulting in lost revenue and unsold inventory.
Houser Shoes implemented a system designed to operate in unattended mode through CQ's specially designed scripting language(Houser Shoes, 2007). Every morning at 12:05, the AS/400 automatically calls each POS terminal in each store and information is transferred(Houser Shoes, 2007).
During the night, data consolidation is completed and verified with check verification and inventory control applications. This results in a set of daily inventory reports in Asheville every morning. During the day, messages such as: requests for transfers to and from stores, items to be put on sale, price changes, sales reports and updated inventory information are transmitted from the Asheville office staff to personnel in the stores, and vice versa, and are stored in the computer during the day (Houser Shoes, 2007).
The solution does not require an additional internal adapter card, representing a savings of 20% to 40% when compared to typical adapter card-based solutions(Houser Shoes, 2007). Installation is also more convenient, in that the PC never has to be opened or reconfigured for an internal adapter card. As an added benefit, the modems can also be used for asynchronous applications, such as credit card processing (Houser Shoes, 2007).
Gary Houser CEO stated:” With our old system, we had many problems with communications in polling the stores," he offers. "Every day, we had to manually poll the stores. It was a nightmare. Since our present system was installed, reliability has...

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