Archived Rant: Item Merge

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For those that don't know, item merge is a backroom process where TMs have to print out a report of items that have changed DPCIs, subtract the old DPCI out of location, and STO the new DPCI back in (or use LOCU depending on preference).


I can not understand why this process isn't completely automated. There's no reason we can't have a computer script that would accomplish the following things and make the item merge require no human interaction at all:

1. Associate all barcodes from old DPCI with new one. If xxx-xx-0001 changed to xxx-xx-0002, then scanning 49xxxxx0001 should ring up as xxx-xx-0002. You can already do this manually with DPCI/UPC Maintenance menu.
2. Use a basic Find/Replace function to update the store's backroom database automatically. If xxx-xx-0001 is located in 01A 001A25, it changes it to xxx-xx-0002 for you.

Those 2 simple steps could be written into a script in no time at all by any fresh-out-of-school programmer. Instead, it's deemed necessary to waste thousands of hours across the company every week to do something that....shouldn't even be necessary in the first place. Which brings me to the next rant on item merge:

Why does it even exist as a weekly process? I can understand the necessity if say....you temporarily have a bonus packaged item with a different DPCI on a sales planner that is very similar to something carried in the home. For example, you have some diapers that are being packaged with some freebie baby wipes on an endcap, the endcap is coming down, and the plan is to just stock those with the normal diapers and let them sell. Item merge is just fine for migrating that over.

However, I never see that type of item in the item merge report. Instead, I get a full page every week of random crap that's changing DPCIs for no apparent reason. They aren't from a salesplanner at all, they weren't part of some promotional event, they're nothing but average merchandise that someone decided "Hey, let's make this item go from xxx-xx-0053 to xxx-xx-1697. Why? Well, why not?"
 
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I don't think my store does this. It must be very low on the priority list and we're just not at that level yet where we have time for it. There are many times I'll scan a case and get not on file and then open the case and scan the item. As long as BRTMs are opening the cases, we're okay. However I'm the only one that scans every item in the location. I call it ghost busting.
 

Formina Sage

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Lame reason, but my best guess would be to ensure an accurate quantity is re-entered when the item is LOCU'd in with its new DPCI. Just in case the old DPCI's had inaccurate quantities.

Not that it should matter - There was a day when Target didn't count backroom quantities at all!
 
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There are so many things wrong with the way our system is programmed. It just blows my mind how much money this company wastes on redundancy because of their horrible system in RF Apps.
 
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Whats really great about the item merge is when you get items that don't merge properly. You are supposed to send a mysupport for them to investigate and fix the problem. 99% of the time the reply I get is "oh we apologize but that item doesn't merge for 3 more weeks" but yet its on the report and I am getting dinged for it not being done.
 

cihyfthedoor

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For those that don't know, item merge is a backroom process where TMs have to print out a report of items that have changed DPCIs, subtract the old DPCI out of location, and STO the new DPCI back in (or use LOCU depending on preference).


I can not understand why this process isn't completely automated. There's no reason we can't have a computer script that would accomplish the following things and make the item merge require no human interaction at all:

1. Associate all barcodes from old DPCI with new one. If xxx-xx-0001 changed to xxx-xx-0002, then scanning 49xxxxx0001 should ring up as xxx-xx-0002. You can already do this manually with DPCI/UPC Maintenance menu.
2. Use a basic Find/Replace function to update the store's backroom database automatically. If xxx-xx-0001 is located in 01A 001A25, it changes it to xxx-xx-0002 for you.

Those 2 simple steps could be written into a script in no time at all by any fresh-out-of-school programmer. Instead, it's deemed necessary to waste thousands of hours across the company every week to do something that....shouldn't even be necessary in the first place. Which brings me to the next rant on item merge:

Why does it even exist as a weekly process? I can understand the necessity if say....you temporarily have a bonus packaged item with a different DPCI on a sales planner that is very similar to something carried in the home. For example, you have some diapers that are being packaged with some freebie baby wipes on an endcap, the endcap is coming down, and the plan is to just stock those with the normal diapers and let them sell. Item merge is just fine for migrating that over.

However, I never see that type of item in the item merge report. Instead, I get a full page every week of random crap that's changing DPCIs for no apparent reason. They aren't from a salesplanner at all, they weren't part of some promotional event, they're nothing but average merchandise that someone decided "Hey, let's make this item go from xxx-xx-0053 to xxx-xx-1697. Why? Well, why not?"

I agree with everything here and have wondered about this many times over the years myself. I hate the item merge. It's a complete waste of time. I have noticed a significant drop in the number of items I have to manually merge via UPC/DPCI Maintenance myself though. Last year was REALLY, REALLY bad. This year, it hardly happens at all.

I'm just glad that for most of the summer the merge has only been half a page, or less. Usually it's a page to a page and a half. I hate those weeks where it's 2 or 3 pages.

Lame reason, but my best guess would be to ensure an accurate quantity is re-entered when the item is LOCU'd in with its new DPCI. Just in case the old DPCI's had inaccurate quantities.

They could easily add this to the daily backroom quantity audit. Problem solved. I've noticed that a lot of the locations I scan during the daily quantity audit get scanned later that same exact day during POGs and Price Change batches. Considering the daily quantity audit consists of only a minute fraction of the thousands of locations in the backroom, there's no way this is a coincidence.

Those 2 simple steps could be written into a script in no time at all by any fresh-out-of-school programmer.

In other words, me! And combined with....

There are so many things wrong with the way our system is programmed. It just blows my mind how much money this company wastes on redundancy because of their horrible system in RF Apps.

....my REAL WORLD knowledge and experience of RF Apps over the last 5 years, I could turn this system completely around. I have a lot of [reproducible] bugs I could suggest to be fixed, a lot of improvements to be made, etc., but I know Target doesn't care and I've stopped suggesting it to my ETL, STL, and Group person. Nothing ever came of any of it. Which is a shame, because there's a few annoying bugs that have been around since I started 5 years ago that are easily reproducible.

Whats really great about the item merge is when you get items that don't merge properly. You are supposed to send a mysupport for them to investigate and fix the problem. 99% of the time the reply I get is "oh we apologize but that item doesn't merge for 3 more weeks" but yet its on the report and I am getting dinged for it not being done.

I don't even bother. It never takes less than one full week to get a response from mysupport anyway, that any issue I bring up is already resolved before a reply even comes in.
 

FlowMonkey

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They could easily add this to the daily backroom quantity audit. Problem solved. I've noticed that a lot of the locations I scan during the daily quantity audit get scanned later that same exact day during POGs and Price Change batches. Considering the daily quantity audit consists of only a minute fraction of the thousands of locations in the backroom, there's no way this is a coincidence.

This only works if your backroom audits get done, I dont think our store has done one in over a month, the flow team cant finish a truck (we're lucky to have 20 people a night with average truck sizes of 2500-3000 7 days a week plus FDC average 1000 3 days a week) and dayside backroom doesnt even touch backstock as far as we can tell when we come in at night the backstock we left is still there along with what would almost have to be everything from the day by the amount of it
 
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dayside backroom doesnt even touch backstock as far as we can tell when we come in at night the backstock we left is still there along with what would almost have to be everything from the day by the amount of it

How many hours does your dayside backroom get? They may have only enough to cover the pulls. At my store, any significant amount of truck backstock left behind can potentially screw up our whole day.

edit: Audit batches not getting done is a pet peeve of mine. I hate coming in and seeing 3 in the gun.
 

StackerMistress

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dayside backroom doesnt even touch backstock as far as we can tell when we come in at night the backstock we left is still there along with what would almost have to be everything from the day by the amount of it

How many hours does your dayside backroom get? They may have only enough to cover the pulls. At my store, any significant amount of truck backstock left behind can potentially screw up our whole day.

Yeah, pretty much. I'm lucky if I have time to get to backstock. Autofills take up almost the entire hour these days. Between pulls I'm probably desperately trying to stay on top of cardboard. Then there's the empty loc audit to do... possibly sales plans or POGs to pull, depending on which TL is working... oh, gotta make a cardboard bale... 10 minutes taking a TV up to guest service because I'm apparently needed for a team lift... 6 pm, time for price changes! Fitting my breaks in where I can because I'll be damned if I skip one. Well, price changes took forever... plug in the equipment, sweep, push the empty tubs (lol, haven't had any of these lately) into the aisles... 9 o'clock, going home!

Typically, unless we have double coverage, I don't get to backstock unless I have an opening shift or it's the weekend and we don't have price changes.
 

FlowMonkey

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dayside backroom doesnt even touch backstock as far as we can tell when we come in at night the backstock we left is still there along with what would almost have to be everything from the day by the amount of it

How many hours does your dayside backroom get? They may have only enough to cover the pulls. At my store, any significant amount of truck backstock left behind can potentially screw up our whole day.

edit: Audit batches not getting done is a pet peeve of mine. I hate coming in and seeing 3 in the gun.


Im sure they dont get the hours they need either, our store is severly understaffed, to the point they are starting to schedule overtime just to fill gaps
 
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Im sure they dont get the hours they need either, our store is severly understaffed, to the point they are starting to schedule overtime just to fill gaps

Wow, they really have to be desperate to do that.
 

FlowMonkey

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they waited till we were at the point where we had 2 trucks worth of freight filling recieving so we couldnt even unload the new truck before they decided it was time for that (most of the other stores within a couple hours of us are in the same staffing situation due to the oil industry nearby paying upwards of 100k/year with no degrees needed, our stores in my area starting wage is around $9/hr for cashiers, McDonalds is hiring at 10+/hr more with open availibility + a hiring bonus of anywhere from 200-500 depending on which McD's you go to to give you an idea of how bad of shape were in so no support help)
 
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they waited till we were at the point where we had 2 trucks worth of freight filling recieving so we couldnt even unload the new truck before they decided it was time for that (most of the other stores within a couple hours of us are in the same staffing situation due to the oil industry nearby paying upwards of 100k/year with no degrees needed, our stores in my area starting wage is around $9/hr for cashiers, McDonalds is hiring at 10+/hr more with open availibility + a hiring bonus of anywhere from 200-500 depending on which McD's you go to to give you an idea of how bad of shape were in so no support help)

I know a few people who moved across the country for that.

edit: Please tell me that your ETL staff is smart enough to not have instocks shooting research with that much freight backed up.
 
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