Tiva Software, Socket Communications Partner on Real-time Inventory Control

Companies' handheld barcode scanning, productivity solution selected to streamline processes for retail chain

Companies' handheld barcode scanning, productivity solution selected to streamline processes for retail chain

Charlotte, NC and Newark, CA —¬ August 26, 2005 —¬ First Stop Convenience Stores this week have implemented Tiva Software's Pricebook Connect in conjunction with Socket Communications Inc.'s barcode scanners to improve the speed and accuracy of order processing and information sharing for its chain of stores.

Tiva Software LLC is a provider of automated productivity solutions for the wholesale, retail and distribution industries, and Socket Communications Inc. is a provider of mobile productivity products.

With 30 locations throughout Ohio and Kentucky, First Stop is always looking for innovative ways to improve productivity and reduce overhead costs, said Chad Moore, chief information officer at First Stop Stores. Our store operators were spending a lot of time performing manual tasks involved with ordering, receiving, pricing and tracking products, and we needed to streamline processes and improve the flow of information between wholesalers, stores and our corporate office.

Moore said that with the handheld system, First Stop has automated its inventory management process and improved and simplified store inventory data collection. The accurate barcode scanning has improved efficiency and reduced the staff time required for price changes alone by over 20 hours per month in each store, he added.

First Stop implemented Pricebook Connect, running on an HP iPAQ mobile device with integrated Socket CF Scanners, to streamline ordering, pricing, inventory and back-office activities. Moore said the wireless system eliminates manual processes and enables real-time access to accurate information, allowing price updates to occur in hours rather than days or not at all.

The solution also enables store operators to print updated shelf tags immediately as pricing updates are approved. In addition, it provides First Stop with more control over pricing, ensuring that the scanned prices are the correct prices, which eliminates the possibility of variance or discounting at the register.

Our system, running on a mobile device, performs many of the functions that used to be done on paper or with back-room systems, said Rory Wall Jr., president of Tiva Software. This handheld solution enables First Stop stores, even in very remote locations, to stay connected with secure access to real-time inventory, pricing, order information and shift data. The improved data flow and the accuracy of scanned information keep all locations in sync.

Sales and shift information are downloaded to handheld units for reconciliation and then sent to the Pricebook Connect Web portal for consolidated reporting, editing and integration with accounting systems. The automated system takes care of errors associated with manual data entry, and the ability to scan physical barcodes directly using store handhelds improves productivity and accuracy in ordering, receiving and managing physical inventory.

Keeping an accurate inventory is one of the most important activities facing every store owner, said Peter Phillips, vice president of marketing at Socket Communications. According to the National Retail Federation, U.S. retailers lose $224 billion annually due to excess inventory and $45 billion from not having sufficient inventory in stock. The use of wireless, portable scanners helps store owners amass inventory information and provides an accurate view of inventory at any point in time.