Roy Martin is product manager at GERS Retail Systems, a provider of inventory software solutions whose CE retail/installer client roster includes Harvey Electronics, Abt Electronics, Bernie's, and Sony Style.
Do inventory management issues differ considerably between larger CE retailers and those smaller CE dealers who are now hybrid custom installers?
Yes. One thing really strikes me as a big difference. When you're an installer, keeping track of all the little bits and pieces is a challenge. For example, when you're putting in stereo speakers, you have to take into account the clips that hold the wire against the wall. How do you track that? Most people do not. They just put it into a bin and take it out, but at the end of the day, that adds up to a lot of money. And if you're not tracking it, how would you charge a customer for it? Our systems allow you to track even those minute parts back directly to the manufacturer for replenishing.
You've recently partnered with D-Tools. What is the nature of that relationship?
When someone wants to do a custom installation, the best thing you can do for customers is to allow them to visualize it—to work with what size the room is and what they want to put into the room. There are some third parties out there who do that well, so what we at GERS are doing is working with D-Tools. Their software allows you to draw it and visualize it.
We're also developing something we call the job order cost. When the customer comes into the store originally and picks products, and it's put all together with D-Tools so they can see what it looks like, a list of parts then gets spit out at the end that shows everything needed, plus the labor—and it enables the tracking of all of that through to completion. So it works for both the sales and the service sides. That's quite a benefit. We're working with Harvey to integrate our solution with D-Tools' system right now.