CHICAGO -- Micromarketing is today's trendy way for manufacturers to place the right products before the right consumers at retail. In the real world, however, it's impossible to implement, said Robert Dyer, vice president of category management for PIA Merchandising, Irvine, Calif. "Retailers cannot do it day in, day out. That would mean multiplying planograms on a store-by-store basis. They can't even keep up with planograms on a cluster basis. "I think micromarketing will go the way of DPP [direct product profitability]. It cannot be executed," said Dyer, speaking here at a category management conference sponsored by International Business Communications, Southborough, Mass. While the number of product introductions by manufacturers has been growing steadily since 1988, the number of items stocked and introduced at retail has leveled off since 1990, according to Dyer. Also, sales per square foot have been declining since 1988. Trained and experienced labor has become a big issue at retail, as the number of part-time employees has grown vs. full-time, he said. This labor shortage has made resets and maintaining the proper schematics more difficult at the same time that new-item proliferation is forcing more frequent resets, he said. "Manufacturers and brokers are not contributing their fair share of the labor to reset shelf schematics. Suppliers that do participate are called upon to do more than their fair share of the work. There has to be a shared partnership in trying to work with retailers and help them get new products on the shelf," Dyer said. Vendors cannot be allowed to touch the shelves in the store without authorization, because that is what can destroy the schematics, he said. Store management has to be involved in enforcing this policy. "Field merchandisers have been making uninformed shelf schematic decisions based on old methods. This won't get the retailer or manufacturer increased sales and productivity." Another problem is that retailers are setting up for category management, but are not really evaluating results, Dyer claimed. PIA has a category management retail program designed to set up merchandising policies and procedures, develop and strengthen a shelf schematic development program and use PIA's Toolbox II software. Toolbox II maintains an information database on stores, categories, vendors and shelf schematics. It maps and reports store gondola layouts, including category sizes and location; schedules and assigns a store reset workload, notifies vendors and tracks participation, and schedules shelf schematic implementation, with vendor assignment, notification and performance tracking, Dyer said. The goal is to take the focus off the store labor issue and work toward getting product on the shelves and selling it, he said.