C&K SETS PACE FOR REAL-TIME PRICE VERIFYING

BROOKINGS, Ore. -- C&K Markets here, a 35-store chain with 29 stores operating as Ray's Food Place and six stores operating under other banners, will implement an on-line price verification system between its stores and main headquarters by the end of this year.Ed Kessler, vice president of operations for C&K, explained that with this new system, price verification information will be sent in real

BROOKINGS, Ore. -- C&K Markets here, a 35-store chain with 29 stores operating as Ray's Food Place and six stores operating under other banners, will implement an on-line price verification system between its stores and main headquarters by the end of this year.

Ed Kessler, vice president of operations for C&K, explained that with this new system, price verification information will be sent in real time, via a phone lease-line, from its stores to United Grocers, Portland, Ore., its wholesaler.

From there, United, which is acting as a switch in this process, will send the pricing information to C&K's main office. The main office computer will then run file comparison reports, create batches, and then download that information back to the stores.

Kessler said United is acting as a switch because the retailer already has a phone lease-line connected to the wholesaler for its electronic payment system.

Presently, price verification information is collected manually, via a handheld device, and is mailed to headquarters in a hard copy format. With this method, by the time the information is sent to headquarters and the stores have received the proper pricing information in return, three days have passed. Once this information is processed electronically, it will be turned around in a matter of minutes, explained Kessler.

"We feel like our error rate will be cut in half with this new system," he added.

At the stores, front-end support hardware and software are from Bass, Dayton, Ohio. Headquarter's office-level hardware is from Digital Equipment Corp., Maynard, Mass.