I had a recent experience at Walmart that pointed out how great it is to have good information on inventory. I wanted a patio set and saw one in the store that I wanted but could not take it at the time. The person helping me said they had two left and one was being sold as we spoke and she would save the other one for us till noon the next day.
I returned that evening and the set was nowhere to be found. The manager offered to try to find it and call me back. The next day they could not find it and suggested we look at other stores. He found one in a store nearby according to the computer but said "I had better call to make sure". I shows they have several." It turned out they did not have any. Another store showed they had three and the call confirmed they had it and would hold it till we could come and get it.
I called before I left to pick it up and it took me several calls before they could locate the set that was on hold for me. I finally got to the store and picked it up but what a hassle.
If one has a system that should be updated when a sale is made, how come the people in the store do not trust the system. I expect they have been burned too many times.
Does this not indicate the company really does not know what inventory they have? I expect they are making important merchandising decisions on bad information.
Sometimes when you ask people about such systems they tell you how great they are. Then if you ask a follow-up questions about problems with the system, you will get a long list of problems. I expect that many of these systems offer some useful information but still have significant data quality problems.
I think we all need to strive to improve the quality of the data that is provided to the people who are on the front line dealing with the customer. As Harvey used to say "The client is King!’