By Joseph F. Morgan, Presidio of Monterey Public AffairsNovember 16, 2010
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Electronic display labels that show the prices of items shelved at the Ord Military Community Commissary will benefit the storeAca,!a,,cs customers, said the storeAca,!a,,cs director.
Aca,!A"TheyAca,!a,,cre a technological advance for DeCA,Aca,!A? Bob Landon said, referring to the Defense Commissary Agency of which the OMC store is an outlet. DeCA operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families.
Aca,!A"The customer benefits because the new system virtually eliminates mistakes in the pricing of line items,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"The shelf price and the price scanned at the check-out counter will be the same in all cases. Items not having electronic shelf labels will be meat, produce and off-shelf displays.Aca,!A?
Landon explained that prices of many of the storeAca,!a,,cs unit-priced items fluctuate regularly. He said the storeAca,!a,,cs inventory includes approximately 19,000 line items, and that itAca,!a,,cs necessary to change the shelf price labels of about 4,000 of them twice a month.
Aca,!A"We go to work changing store prices on the first and 15th day of each month,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"When we attached adhesive-backed paper labels to the shelves it took a crew of 12 to 15 employees the better part of two days to prepare the new labels, then remove the expired price labels and replace them with new ones.Aca,!A?
Besides taking a lot of time, the method was subject to error. Sometimes mistakes were made on the labels themselves or on where they were placed.
Aca,!A"With the electronic displays we use a computer in our storeAca,!a,,cs Management Support Center to post line item prices,Aca,!A? Landon said. Aca,!A"One person can change prices immediately throughout the store by simply adding new information into the program.Aca,!A?
Landon said the work hours saved in price-labeling will free more commissary employees for customer service.
The electronic labels are now attached to shelf edges throughout the store. The devices are encased in sturdy plastic and prices appear in digital display. The size and format of the electronic labels are essentially the same as that of the paper labels.
Installation of the electronic labels began Nov. 7. Besides attaching thousands of the devices to the edges of shelves, about 80 ceiling transmitters have been installed to interact with them via computer.
Landon said the OMC Commissary serves about 1,200 customers per day and sales totals are about $2.5 million per month.
The OMC Commissary is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The store is closed on Mondays.
The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment, according to the agencyAca,!a,,cs website.
Authorized patrons purchase items at cost-plus-5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. The website estimates that shoppers save an average of more than 30 percent on their purchases compared to commercial prices Aca,!" savings worth more than $4,400 annually for a family of four.
It adds that as a core military family support element and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for AmericaAca,!a,,cs military and their families and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.