Sometimes, very high-tech technology developed in the lab can be applied to the more mundane world of the supermarket. H.E. Butt, San Antonio, has found that to be the case.
ovement of nuclear materials around the site. That system, used to detect "unusual patterns of movement," was ultimately licensed by Data Ventures, Charlotte, N.C., for retail applications like loyalty card analysis and out-of-stocks, said Terry Montgomery, chief executive officer of Data Ventures.
Retailers send daily POS movement (as H-E-B does) or transaction-log POS data to Data Ventures' data center, still in Los Alamos, where the data is analyzed for changes in sales patterns and sent to Data Ventures' Charlotte headquarters; there, Data Ventures interprets the data and makes suggestions in periodic reports to retailers on how to address out-of-stocks, such as changing shelf-space allocations, Montgomery explained.
An H-E-B test, conducted with Procter & Gamble at 250 stores, focused on bath tissue, detergents and diapers, as well as the chain's top-selling 1,000 items. Guided by monthly reports, H-E-B executives and store managers made changes in the chain's operating procedures at store level and in its ordering process that led to a 1.9% decrease in out-of-stocks in certain categories, or $3 million in recovered sales, according to Data Ventures. H-E-B declined to comment.