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    Associated Grocers South to Fight Ordering Goofs with Automation

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - In a bid to quell losses from product ordering mistakes, Associated Grocers of the South, a wholesale grocery cooperative here, is rolling out portable data capture terminals to its 300 member grocery stores throughout Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, and the Florida Panhandle.

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - In a bid to quell losses from product ordering mistakes, Associated Grocers of the South, a wholesale grocery cooperative here, is rolling out portable data capture terminals to its 300 member grocery stores throughout Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, and the Florida Panhandle.

    The new program's supplier is Plano, Texas-based CipherLab. Its CPT-8021 acoustic coupler terminals are designed to eliminate the ordering of discontinued items and streamline the entire ordering process for the stores.
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    "CipherLab has done a good job for us," said Ron Burke, v.p., information technology for AG South, in a statement. "We've seen an almost immediate ROI through the simple addition of two-way communication through CipherLab's 8021 terminals. Another big plus: Our store managers really like the system."

    Burke explained that the company had been experiencing an estimated loss of more than $2 million annually in sales, due to the ordering of discontinued items.

    "When store personnel request discontinued items, it leaves orders unfilled and valuable shelf space empty," Burke said. "The CipherLab terminals completely eliminate this problem. Additionally, they reduce employee errors, eliminate double orders through a verification system, and allow order requests to be transmitted almost immediately, shortening our response time."

    AG South completed field tests with CipherLab's terminals earlier this year. The rollout is now approximately 20 percent complete, with 50 percent of the AG South stores to have the CipherLab units by the end of 2006. The deployment of the remaining CipherLab terminals will be complete in 2007.

    The CPT-8021 and other CipherLab products are now being shown in booth 7513 at the National Association of Convenience Stores' NACS Show 2006, being held at the Las Vegas Convention Center from Oct. 9-11.

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