Home Depot's Inventory Control Problem

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On 08/17/06 11:49 pm snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

When we lived on Long Island, we had four HDs within a reasonable distance, but not all with the same stock or atmosphere. Only at one of them were customers metaphorically frisked as they left. Lowe's came later. Each carried stuff that the others didn't, but I can't say that there was a whole lot to choose between them.
Now in W. Michigan, we have Lowe's just around the corner and a few HD stores much farther away. We also have small Menards (Wisconsin-based chain), True Value, Ace, and Do-It-Best stores. Now HD is due to open within the next month or two and a much bigger Menards within the next year. (This all in spite of a plummeting job market and a more-or-less static housing market.) It will be interesting to see how everything works out.
When we first moved here, Lowe's had a "decruited" electronics engineer working in the electrical dept., but he is now working in the garden dept. watering plants.
Perce
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On 17 Aug 2006 20:49:37 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I've had a similar experience. I have about 5 HD's nearby. Finally a few years back we got a Lowes. I was happy. went there a few times, the store was empty and I could not get any help. I was redoing a kitchen at the time, looking at cabinets. The people in the kitchen design area would not talk to me, I had to make an appointment. There was NO ONE there!! They had no customers. Since Lowes opened, the workers at the local HD have really stepped up...it's even funny how many of them say hello, can I help you? as you walk through the store. They are doing a great job. I appreciate HD more since Lowes came to town. This is LI NY by the way.
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On 08/17/06 11:41 pm Tom G wrote:

This may tie in with something I read or heard recently: Many businesses stock only good-turnover items in their bricks-and-mortar stores but have a far larger range of stuff available on line. It's possible that walmart.com would have had what you wanted for less than Gander Mountain (even after taking shipping charges into account).
Perce
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wrote:

The only thing I noticed was today, at a store that just opened 10 days ago, that they don't have many glues in the 4 oz. toothpaste-style tube. I was in a conversation with a friendly clerk who said they were still stocking the store, that he put out new things several times a day. I said the area was full, but he said that one of the vendors for glue got their first and just filled the area with his stuff, and when the other stuff comes, they'll rearrange things. I should say that this HD store just opened about 10 days ago.
But I"m going to check out other stores and another HD to see if HD rreally sells things like 4 oz. tubes of GE silicone, and DURO rubber, etc. I know if it's sold in a caulking tube, you get 6? times as much 150% of the price, but otoh, if I have no other uses, it will dry in the tube.

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frank1492 wrote:

Home depot moves in with decent prices and a half way knowledgeable staff...one person in each department who knows somewhat something about the items in his department. I noticed when they first got here they had some pretty decent prices...
Okay...home depot gets established and then puts all local small time hardware and building supply businesses out of business....home depot prices then start rising and now I have noticed that their staff is getting dumber....
I find myself going to lowes more now because of the better selection and the brighter cleaner store..... also our local Lowes has 2 midgets working in the store...not one...but TWO midgets...a man and a woman...... I have not dealt with the woman much but the man hangs out around the tool area and he knows exactly where everything on his end of the store is...tools, plumbing, electrical..hardware.....
What are the odds of having two midgets working in one Lowes ???
Not making fun of them...dont know any other word than midget to describe to them and I dont mean it in an offensive way.
Home depot is dark and dank.....poor selection of goods..... Lowes clean and bright store...better selection of goods...tremendously better selection of tools.
I do miss my old local ace hardware....I knew exactly where everything in that store was...knew the people by name...could hang out in there and chat about things...Lowes and home depot employees seem cold....all business....but its not their fault...Id say they got the secret HD or Lowes police in there ready to pounce upon any employee wasting time by striking up a convo with a customer.
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Officially...dwarfs. Diplomatically...little people.

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No. "Dwarf" and "midget" mean two different things.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Aw jeez. I hope this thread ends here....
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Doug Miller wrote:

But both were included in the "little people" class-action suit a few years ago complaining of housing discrimination. As a result of the litigation, a new apartment house was built in Chicago and various "little people" were given free rent. The residents, never happy, are now complaining about the name of the housing project. Seems they don't like: "Stay Free Mini-Pads."
There's just no pleasing some folks.
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So don't go there. Visit one of their competitors instead.
See? That wasn't so hard, was it?
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Wow! I never thought of that! Thanks!
On Fri, 18 Aug 2006 11:41:05 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

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Although I do still like Wal*Mart, there was an article in the paper that said they were going to carry fewer brands. I have already noticed that- no more Jubilee sheets for example. Also, numerous other items. Not a good sign.
wrote:

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With computers and barcodes on everything, reordering is supposed to be "just in time". That is they get a new shipment in just before they run out of something.
But it is not working that way at some stores. I frequently see things out of stock in many different stores.
This is a "management system" and it is not designed well obviously.
It should take into account how frequently an item sells > predict when the store will be out of an item.
Take into account how long it will take for a new shipment to arrive at a particular store.
Alert management when any item is out of stock so they can tweak their reordering of that item - prevent being out of stock in the future.
And incorporate all of this into stocking regional distribution centers.
Then based on the item selling (the computer would know because of barcodes), automatically reorder that item - Just in time.
In some cases the item might need to be reordered when the stock is down to 3 items. Other cases when the stock is down to 1 item. Etc.
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Bill wrote:

...
...
I think if you would/could see the actual inventory algorithms you would find they're far more sophisticated and global in their logic than this. The actual target is to maximize overall _profitability_, not just to restock individual widgets in a bin.
If targets were set so high so that _no_ product were ever out of stock inventory and delivery costs would cost far more, overall, than the occasional loss of sales.
The largest difficulty in making such models work continues to be data collection at the POS and controlling shrinkage and on-shelf damage (as somebody else noted) that reduce inventory out of the observability of the collection system (as well as the actual loss, of course). The effectiveness of local management and particularly department managers in ensuring accurate data input makes the difference other note between better/lesser-stocked stores within a given chain. It is certainly true that if corporate makes a decision to remove power from local managers to effect corrections into the data system the quality of the data will go down and the effectiveness of the system will degrade with that loss of data--"garbage in, garbage out".
I don't have local BORG available but when I do visit one on occasion on treks to "the big city" :) I still observe there are some HDs that are clearly far better managed locally than others. In general, for the areas I see, it seems to me that Lowes in general are better than HD in terms of numbers of people and general selection--that of course, could reflect only on what my particular likes/dislikes are more than any real difference--others could visit the same stores and undoubtedly draw the opposite conclusion. Since the Lowes re-vitalization effort some years ago it has seemed to me that what little lumber I've bought at either that Lowes is better in general than HD in that particular area.
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In the perfect world that would be true but there is the trip from China, and the weather the breakdown of trucks plants on strike ect ect. The fact that people want the cheapest price and the biggest cost that can be controlled is staff so we are the first to go. Just so you know I work in a home fix it store in Canada. Ive heard most of these whines before and can tell you, the cust is not always right . In fact you as consumers are the biggest reason your prices go up. Returns that shouldn,t be taken back THEFT STAFF DON<T TAKE IT ALL. Boxes open with peices missing cause Cust don,t know how to put it together so they open it up. Then I have to take time to put it back together, I would love to go in a office and take your paperwork and spread it around your place of employment. People I can fill this whole thread with stories that you people give me, Not hat all are bad and lord I love to serve the ones that are good. People if you don,t belive me come and trie retail; if you can handle it dpb wrote:

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And as an owner of 3 retail flooring stores, I can give all kinds of stories about complacent Joe Beer Chucker types like you. I've fired a bunch of them because they get this sad "YOU PEOPLE" mentality.
Complacent Joe Beer Chuckers go crazy when you talk down about Complacent Joe Beer Chuckers!
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HD has the same problem here in the DC area. Unfortunately, most of the Lowes are in the outer suburbs, so there is really no competition. Lowes apparently likes the lower rents in the outer areas.
However, I find it worth it to drive another 15 minutes to Lowes, cuz when HD is out of stock, I end up doing so anyway.
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Agree with the point. HD seems to have lost the edge ... I've been using Lowe's more but also try to keep my local small hardware store in in business. HD lost touch with its consumer base ... whether too big or too fat, who knows. Customer Service is iffy .. and certainly, not everything is in stock as needed.
And one thing for certain, phone order and follow-up is lousy.
face=Arial size=2>...</FONT></DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>&gt;I used to take great joy in visiting HD, but over the past year it has<BR>&gt; become a frustrating experience. (I live in MA.) Every time I need<BR>&gt; something these days, they are out os stock, and I'm not talking<BR>&gt; slow-moving stuff, I'm talking basics like 3/4" copper elbows! They<BR>&gt; tell me they can't order when they need something these days, <BR>&gt; but receive stuff only when the home office tells them they need<BR>&gt; it!<BR>&gt;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The other day, they only had ONE model of hedge trimmer in<BR>&gt; stock in the Worcester store, so I went to Lowe's. No problem<BR>&gt; finding HedgeHogs there.<BR>&gt;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Anybody else seeing this? One other observation: If an item<BR>&gt; can be found at both Wal*Mart and HD, Walmart usually steps<BR>&gt; all over HD on price.<BR>&gt;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I'm starting to dread going to HD.<BR>&gt;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Frank</FONT></BODY></HTML>
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