Ever since scanning gave retailers a quick read into daily sales, industry pundits have held out the promise of using computers to take care of replenishing in-store stock. The beauty of this process, generally known as computer-assisted ordering, is that computers can generate orders based on a cold, hard analysis of consumer demand, rather than on more ad hoc measures such as filling holes on the shelf or stocking up on the latest manufacturer deal. In theory, CAO would lead to fewer ...

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