COST-CUTTING GUIDE SOFTWARE TO BE OFFERED FOR FREE JULY 1

CHICAGO -- Second-generation computer software to help meat departments increase their profitability will be available -- free -- on July 1, a Texas A&M assistant professor told a Food Marketing Institute convention seminar here earlier this month.According to Davey Griffin, assistant professor and extension meat specialist at the university, the second-generation software, called CARDS, will include

CHICAGO -- Second-generation computer software to help meat departments increase their profitability will be available -- free -- on July 1, a Texas A&M assistant professor told a Food Marketing Institute convention seminar here earlier this month.

According to Davey Griffin, assistant professor and extension meat specialist at the university, the second-generation software, called CARDS, will include data on lamb as well as beef, with data on pork to follow.

CARDS is an acronym for Computer-Assisted Retail Decision Support -- a program designed to reduce inefficiencies in retail meat departments by giving operators more sophisticated tools for analyzing product value.

The original CARDS software -- released two years ago -- only accommodated beef.

Texas A&M has been working with the National Live Stock and Meat Board to develop a data base for the computer program. Although 1,200 copies of the software have been distributed nationally, it is not known how many operators are actually using it," Griffin said.

Dick Shulman, president of Industry Systems Development Corp., Melville, N.Y., urged retailers to clean up their scan data so it can accommodate the use of the new technology.

"In the rest of the industry, scan data is relatively clean because market research companies have been marketing it and manufacturers have been using it for years," Shulman said. "But virtually no one is using scan data from the meat department. In fact, I'd be surprised if two or three retailers in the United States were using it."

To clean up their data bases, Shulman urged retailers to ask for a complete scan movement report for the entire company. "You'll find items you're not getting credit for [being rung up in other departments]," he said.

He also said, make sure meat sales are being rung on the meat key, and review procedures for how new prices get to store scanners and scales.

The software is a guide to meat cutting for retailers to better evaluate a product's yield.