I was in Starbucks with my family this evening. The only thing unusual about this was that it was the evening. As I stood in line waiting to order I noticed nine New York Times that remained in the rack. No one is going to buy a Sunday edition on Monday, so these were retail products that were also perishable. This reminded me of a project that I was involved in a few years ago with a newspaper company.
This newspaper company wanted to have a better understanding of where their inventory sold out, and where there was excess inventory each day. Up to that point and time, no one had ever tracked how many newspapers was unsold at the end of each day. The delivery folks would simply grab unsold copies and throw them into the van for recycling. As a result, there had been much waste.
It would not take much to have a mobile application in the hands of the delivery folks that would allow them to accurately inventory the numbers
of papers sold each day and the numbers of papers remaining and recycled. After a month or so the newspaper company could quite accurately adjust the numbers of newspapers each location required to optimize sales and reduce waste.
Let's look at some numbers. I was told by the Starbucks' barrista that there are now 16,000 Starbucks stores. If each of them had nine unsold New York Times at $6 each, that equals 144,000 unsold Sunday Editions with a list price value of $864,000. My point is that these things add up. How much paper, ink and distribution costs could be saved if there was a good mobile application in use that helped reduce waste?
The other day I interviewed
Sybase's Sam Lakkundi. In that interview he mentioned that there are enormous numbers of mobile applications that companies will ultimately need, and that SAP/Sybase will never develop. A mobile application for optimizing the numbers of newspapers delivered to places like Starbucks is a good example. It is simple POS and inventory tracking.
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