Spring Arbor lets you receive shipments with a bar-code scan, if your POS system lets you. Imagine receiving scanning boxes and then just shelving product with no manual check-off lists, no re-entry into the POS, no jerry-rigging electronic purchase orders to be receiving documents, and no manual re-checking when the invoice comes?
Spring Arbor Distributors and parent company Ingram Book Content Group has been successful in working with numerous POS systems to make it happen for Christian stores, including Booklog, IBIDie, Revelation Retail, PRAIZ, and ExtremePOS.
Terry Greer, manager of Ingram Data Services, said the company developed the required electronic data interchange (EDI) documents using the publishing industry’s transaction standards for the purchase order, purchase order acknowledgment, advance ship notice, and the electronic invoice. While the advance ship notice (ASN) has been in use for several years, it has been difficult to make it available to Christian stores because industry POS providers couldn’t make the integration happen.
Greer said accuracy rate in tests is above 99%, meaning it typically would cost more to find an error than receive the credit or pay for extra product. Each box in a shipment has a license plate, so if a box gets lost, the receiving data can’t upload and the ASN and Invoice won’t reconcile. If boxes arrive at different times, the scan still associates the box with the original purchase order. The purchase order is the controlling document in the pick-and-pack process adding a final accuracy check.
“The time savings in doing license-plate receiving is well worth any risk of loss from an incorrect shipment,” Greer said.
“This really encourages a better environment for booksellers,” Greer said. “With shrunken staffs and thin resources, booksellers need all the help they can get to run as efficiently as possible.”
The technology means less time in the back room and more time on the sales floor with customers, she said.
Greer said Ingram has worked hard to simplify the technology integration process, working with established standards and processes that can be adapted easily into POS technologies.
She said she hopes the ASN technology is just the beginning of the conversation with retailers. “We want retailers to be well informed about what’s available and we want to hear what else they need,” she sad. “Where can we help?”
See the full story in CBA's Retailers + Resources magazine.