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Do not fold then staple or mutilate this card. The slogan of the computer a University of Illinois radio service presents a series of programs about you and the computer from banks to hospitals and from airlines to music. It's application in this team and these programs will give you a glimpse of these countless applications and what they mean to you. Do not fall joins the nation shoppers in their search for a winter coat. The latest automobile or a good selling steak. Stores are beginning to turn to computers to handle the volume of business which is grown with every consumer's dollar. Every time a purchase is made computers find another job. Excuse me miss. Do you have this boss in a size 12. Let me look. Yeah here's one in that style. Fine I'll take it. Will that be cash or charge charged
please here's my charge card. OK just a moment I'll call that in. All right. 5 3 5 0 0 5 credit authorization number seven. Number three seven. Thank you. Now let me put that in the bag for you. And thank you for shopping at Carson's. Thousands of times each day this transaction is repeated at Carson Pirie Scott and Company in Chicago. Computers are an integral part of a system which ensures customer credit and keeps tabs on bad accounts. John Byrne assistant Corp. vice president in charge of Information Systems explains how this system entitle Crist's evolved.
Most stores. At this particular time when a customer comes in with a credit card. And there is a certain floor release limit. Where they may have no credit card at all. Have to call to a central place where a clerk. Looks at a ledger card and makes a human judgement as to whether credit should or should not be granted. And our case a sales clerk from any of our 11 stores in the Chicago area. Goes to a telephone there are 800 phones on the system. And. Picks up the phone dials the computer. Touch tones in the account number. And the rounded off dollar amount and within a matter of 21 seconds receives back. A. Yes or a no.
1. 5 5 5 1 9 extension 5 1 9 0. 0 0 approximately 65 to 70 percent of the phone calls are automatically Yes so normal human being has to intervene. And this is one of the great. Attributes of the system. If. There is a question about the account. The sales clerk is given a nother number to touch tone. At that point. She hangs up. Touch tones in. That. New extension number and. That extension number is uniquely identified with the coding on the echo. Such. As if it's a fraud a count. Would have one calling. If it's a
Mr only Or and this is only shopping it's another call. If it's an overlimit problem it's a different call. If it's no children shopping on this account. It's a different code. So that when the sales clerk gets the human being on the end of the line she gives the code and she need say no more to that. Authorize or. You authorize or knows what the problem is. She gets the account number. And she goes to a 20 to 60. Video dist display to. Which is really just a small television screen. She puts the account number and. And. She is on line to a data cell. Which is a large random. Storage device. Where we have our 650000. Charge account customers in Chicago area on line. And she visually looks at that account. And she can choose several displays.
But why is such a complex system necessary. Mr. Dern offers a reason for chrissake Carson Pirie Scott. He returns to the customer and is needs a customer reaction has been. Terrific. In favor of this kind of service first of all it's much faster. Secondly there is not the chit chat. That. Used to go on between the girl on the floor and the Authorizer. And in some cases 65 miles away like you know honey I've known this. Gal for a long time she lives four blocks from me and her credits got to be good and the customer hears all of this and has a big question mark in her mind. Under this system the sales clerk. Says nothing at all. If credits OK. And if it isn't ok. And it may be at the at the customer's request in other words a customer may have
lost the plate. Or it may be a child shopping. When the parents don't want the child to shop. Again although sales clerk. Gives. Is the. Account number to the referral clerk. Everything else comes back to her and she's told what to say. Let's say in the case of a fraud. In many cases the fraud department will indicate. Hold onto that credit card. It's a stolen plate. If you can't detain the customer. Make sure that you. Don't get the credit card back. There is a fraud investigator on the way down. And in this case we've. Recovered many many. Stolen plates we've saved an awful lot of customers an awful lot of embarrassment and I would say at this point. We've had no adverse
criticism whatsoever to the system. This system is only the beginning. Most retail stores have just started to touch the surface as far as computer applications are concert. Mr. Durnan division some other projects for computers at Carson's. One thing that we are just getting delivery on. Our new cash registers which will be installed at the present time throughout our men's store. In all of our men store departments in the Chicago area. And this involves the capture a point of sale. Of. Certain merchandise information. And certain sales audit and accounts receivable for me. These. Point of Sale recorders as they're becoming better known rather than cats with cash registers. Are what are known as Earl C R registers or optical character recognition.
Registers. And what actually happens is as the sales clerk keys in for information on the keyboard of the register on a journal tape that is revolving inside the machine. She is putting down. Characters that can be scanned on several types of. Computer. On line scanners. Some are off line. Ours happens to be an online scanner. Now. This enables. A buyer. Within 12 to 14 hours after the day closes. To receive information by their department their classification and their price line as to what they sold on the previous day. This information is being gathered now. By. Manually tearing off stubs from sales checks. Little tickets that come off
of dress shirts in the men's area. Many of the tags are lost. It's a huge clerical functions and extremely inaccurate and even more than being inaccurate. It doesn't get to the buyer until. It's far too late for him to make any kind of a merchandising decision. This application of computers brings on a whole new concept in retail merchandising buyers for stores across the country have used savvy wit and a little gumption in their predictions of the customer's wishes. Buyers big dressers with large buckles or shoes with square toes and hope that customers feel the same way. They try to anticipate quantities of goods so that a popular model will stay in stock. All too often however stores find empty shelves when styles sell quickly and racks over stocked with the lemons. With an
analysis of buying trends by computer retail stores may finally solve this dilemma. One of the first in one of the largest users of computers has been Sears Roebuck and Company. Hundreds of stores within this national chain of department stores handle a gigantic volume of retailing catalog business with the aid of computers. Mr. Mumford Miller national director of data processing for Sears explains the extensive application of computers at Sears or use computers for quite a number of different. Activities our operations in our company. Our credit accounts. Are built are handled to a large extent. On computers. And most of that work most of the credit account handling and billing. Is now
processed or involved in computer systems. We use. The systems quite extensively in accounting operations such as accounts payable. Most of our invoices are paid on computers. Quite a large number of our employees are paid with and by computer systems. And. The general accounting type. Projects that you would normally expect the reports. And merchandising reports and that sort of thing are prepared quite extensively on computers. We use them quite a bit in our catalog or operations and. In the processing of information or orders from field units retail store catalog order desk catalog sales offices and those type of field units. Their orders are tele typed in to. Control store
operations and they're the computers assessed in the matter of editing and validating and pricing preparing Intrade tickets and that sort of thing for the orders. We use them obviously quite extensively and inventory management areas. And. Our fashion merchandise for example is. Handled to a large extent with computer systems. Many of our. Our own stock old warehouse operations use computers in the processing of orders and the. Handling of their inventories. I took a large extent we can. Repair parts operations in our company with computer systems the inventory. Management aspects to some extent for repair parts are. Are facilitated by computer systems. Our parent operations the those operations that are involved in support of our parent
departments. Are. More involved with computer systems the report preparations and that sort of thing. Computers are used in so many areas of the retail business at Sears. How do customers feel about it. Mr. Miller observes Well I guess we have had experiences and I think well have experiences in the future with. Implementations of systems where the customer recognizes a change and may be aware that the changes might not be to our liking at least in the first instance but. In most cases I think the customer's. Reaction will be a good one and should be a good one. Will used the computer.
More and more I believe to facilitate. Inventory management and operational areas. Those areas where. By the fact that we're able to do something with a computer. We will be able to give the customer better service will be able to give the customer. Maybe better software of merchandise will be able to give customers a more accurate billing or even billing in a more timely fashion. I think the customer will experience. Such instances in the future and I think our reaction will be good to them. I think merchandising has much to gain from the fact that the computer should be able to provide information to our merchants both in broader forms and faster and by doing that I think margins can build. Better job of serving the customer.
He also can evaluate many times what. The customer wants. Better than he could under a manual handling where you maybe cannot look at the detail size assortments and color softness and that sort of thing on a computer systems. I believe we'll be able to help management help store merchants and people. Make better decisions and I think not a lot of the effects of the computer will be in areas like this the fact that. Almost in an intangible way but yet a tangible way in the final analysis to custom all benefit by the fact that we're able to do a better job. And that's really what computers are here for to help us help our company do a better job. I believe they are and I believe the continue. All of these advantages spell a big difference in the retail business. Just to keep up with the growing mountain of paperwork retail firms must think in terms of computers although
many smaller stores do not yet make wide use of computers. Mr. Miller suggests that the trend toward data processing by computer is unmistakable. Well I mean I think computers are. Being used creasing numbers. And in a recent number of instances by. Retailers I think in some respects. The retail business. Has been. Maybe slower than some businesses and the use or the application of computer systems. And I think it probably is. And there's there's a reason for it. The retailer. Is a transaction oriented business. There are large numbers of transactions that have to be. Handled and in many cases the. Price all the all the amount involved in the transaction is small. The retailer
has had the problem of using computers in an environment where he has to handle a large number of things large amounts of detail and yet he's had to do it in a fashion that that the price per unit is relatively small. The retail business is a customer oriented business. And much of what's done is involved directly with the customer. And we have to concern ourselves with the effect of the transaction and. The process on the customers. So. I think as we've used computer systems we have had to be sure that. What is done is done in the customer's interest and doesn't make the customer paying any penalty of either having to wait until we put something in machine sensible form or something like that. But in the final analysis I think retailers have are dancing their understanding and their use of computers.
And I think this is going to be the trend of the future. We. Are finding like many businesses that. There are many activities at the computer for us to. Do better for us and help our operations. With It. Accordingly I think we're going to. Advance the use of computers. So. I think the customer. While you may not see the computer so to speak. And the fact that it won't be maybe evident in the middle of the store about the candy counter I think you will find that the retailer is using the computer. To first help the retailer do a better job for the customer. And secondly maybe to to help the process by which the customer gets to a final result. Thanks for the
sounds of milking by hand or as they did at the corner grocery. The majority of the nation's consumers buy the food for their table at large supermarkets which offer unimagined variety different brand names sizes and colors stock every aisle of today's food store. Most of the items on the shelf have been supplied by a wholesale buyer such as J.M. Jones in Champaign Illinois. From start to finish the business of this wholesale firm is handled by computer. Jim Kusum an off systems analyst for J.M. Jones explains how a product is first obtained by the company. We initially print a purchase order from the computer and it is forwarded to the buying department with the current level of stock on every item. The buyer then chooses from his records whether he wishes to buy it in what quantities and how it is to be shipped etc..
A more sophisticated way of doing this is to let the computer actually determine the number of cases. This is being done in many wholesale grocers. And the computer takes past buying history past sales history. The cost of shipping the merchandise cost of storing the merchandise in your own warehouse and computes the best quantity. We will eventually be getting into this but like I say we're not. We're not in the present time now. After the buyer buys it there is a certain time lag two days to two weeks or more before the merchandise comes in. When it does come in a copy of this purchase order that was printed by the computer is at the warehouse and the warehouse foreman that receives this merchandise compares the original order a carbon copy of the original order
to what actually comes in and. We hope of course that it's exactly as ordered but the manufactures make mistakes as everybody does. And so the receiving form and then notice any changes as to the original order. The copy of the purchase order also has things like the location in the warehouse of this item so the receiving man knows where to put it away if it has to be stacked on a paper or or a wooden pallet of the palletized information is also on the copy and so if he has to hand stack it he knows how to hand stack it so that will it will fit in the warehouse properly. Now the document then the purchase order document actually the copy then
gets sent up to the data processing department where it is key punched and enters into a vast system of financial controls. An issue only what we're doing is of course putting the merchant nice that we received into the computer for this particular item. But while we are doing this we are also establishing the cost on this item thus keeping track of how many dollars we have in him and Tory. Now that an inventory has been prepared and warehouse shelves are full. JM Jones can offer items to local retail grocery stores these supermarkets fill out special order forms and send them to JM Joe Johns. There are various methods for for him ordering and sales and wholesale grocers. We happen to be using a combination of key punching and Mark sensing and everybody is should be familiar with
Mark sensing if you've taken any high school or college tests. Filling in the little box or a little sausage with a special pencil. The retailers in our area use Mark sensing to order. They merely order off of their order guide and place their word or on to Marx's cards. We receive the Mark sends cards keypunch anything additional to it and put it in the computer. Print out an invoice while we are printing. We automatically reduce from our inventory and keep track of our sales. At the end of a particular order we generate an accounts payable record so that we can bill the retailer for this merchandise. Now this also gets tied into our inventory control process. We take the beginning inventory as of a certain period of time will there be a day or
week or accounting period or year we add to it all of our receiving and we subtract from it. All of these sales and this should equal our ending inventory and it does. We wondered why JM Jones needed to rely on computers for an inventory system. Mr cosmonaut explained that a variety of reports could be generated from computer data with important results. Actually we are running. So many reports. Both on a daily and weekly basis for some period basis which is four weeks. Some on a quarterly basis which should tell our buying department exactly how they're doing what items are selling and which ones are not and which ones are profitable and which ones are not. For example on a daily basis we run a
stock crisis report which tells us every item that we have less than two days supply on based on the last week of sales. Well you can see all we're doing here is giving a and I and a number of days supply in this case too. We're taking last week's sales and dividing it into the current inventory level. And if this comes out over two why we ignore it but if it comes out to or less that means that if we sell the same amount this week that we saw last week is we're not going to make it past two days. So and this is a daily report and a very good one. In most cases probably 99 percent of the time the order is already been placed and it's on its way
in. However once in a great while it hasn't been placed or it isn't on its way and so this will not only help us by perhaps getting the merchandise in sooner if it's possible it's going to help the retailer on this course is going to help the consumer. Stead of being out of stock on for example a new soap item for a week. If we didn't have this report it's very possible that we wouldn't be out of stock at the retail level at all. Mr cosmonauts also offered a very practical reason for the increasing use of computer as a JM joke. Our present volume of business right now couldn't be handled manually. It would be extremely difficult to do it on any sort of counting machine. That small businesses use whether you're planning to buy a package of
carrots or a color TV set. Computers can aid your shopping trips. Increased awareness of supply and demand trends can be made possible with computer processing and the desires of today's shoppers can be more carefully calculated. Do not call this the latest department in days retail stores and a key to a modern shopping convenience. Whether a customer wants tomatoes or tennis shoes satisfaction is just around the corner. With electronic data processing on our next program in this series we'll study the story behind the greener pastures of the modern farmer. Cattle and corn fields are also a part of the computer story. Each week the University of Illinois radio service brings you a new meaning behind the slogan of the computer age.
Do not fold then staple or mutilate this card. This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
Do Not Fold
Episode Number
Producing Organization
University of Illinois
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Series Description
"Do Not Fold" is a program about the growing applications of computer technology. Each episode focuses on how different professions and sectors are using computers to explore new possibilities in their line of work. Interviewees discuss how they are incorporating new technology into their work, what these innovations mean for the future of their field, and how they may affect the general public.
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Producer: Johnson, Jiffy
Producing Organization: University of Illinois
Production Designer: Haney, Edna
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 69-19-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:44
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Chicago: “Do Not Fold; 6,” 1969-04-17, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2023,
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APA: Do Not Fold; 6. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from