US 3784027 A
Display device having support means and indicating means which enables a merchandise inventory control system to be easily maintained.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Unlted States Patent 11 1 [111 3,784,027 Gold Jan. 8, 1974  DISPLAY DEVICE AND METHOD OF 3,194,528 7/1965 Chesley 211/184 X MERCHANDISING AND INVENTORY 2,954,125 9/1960 Husted 248/DIG 3 CONTROL 3,251,464 5/1966 Hanson..... 211/57 X 3,251,476 5/1966 Hanson 211/57  Inventor: Ronald J. Gold, Spring Valley, NY. 2,945,732 7/1960 dson 21 18 X 2,933,195 4/1960 Radek 211/184 X 1 Asslgneer URI-Systems, -a New York, 3,160,283 12/1964 Lachance 211/184 2,812,862 11/1957 Cullen 211/184 X  May 1971 3,200,960 8/1965 Banse 248/DIG. 3  App]. No.: 142,995 3,512,652 5/1970 Armstrong 211/134 Related U.S. Application Data  Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 1,764, Jan. 9, 1970, Primary Examiner-Nile C- y r- Pat. No. 3,645,485. Attorney-l-1enry A. Marzullo, Jr.
 U.S. Cl. 211/184, 108/60  Int. Cl. A471 5/00  Field of Search 211/153, 57, 184,  ABSTRACT 211/148, 134; 108/ 108, 110, 60; 248/D1G 3 Display device having support means and indicating means which enables a merchandise inventory control  References cued system to be easily maintained.
UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,501,020 3/1970 Krikorian 211/184 8 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures PATENTED JAN 8 I974 SIEET 1 BF 3 INVENTOR. RONALD J. GOLD ATTORNEYS PATENTEDJM 8 m4 SHEET 3 OF 3 FIG 7 5 A V v V.
v w 3W 6 0 5 a 4 I 6 H/@ m M F %7% M I.\'\'I.',\' TON RONALD J. GOLD A T'IORNEY 1 DISPLAY DEVICE AND METHOD OF MERCHANDISING AND INVENTORY CONTROL RELATED APPLICATION BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION:
The present invention relates to a display device and more particularly to a method of merchandising.
With the advent of computers, significant advances have been made in many business operations. F requently, the computer is utilized in conjunction with other systems to more efficiently merchanize operations which heretofore required large clerical staffs to service. Many new and more recent computer applications have been programmed to do specific job functions but heretofore there has not developed the need for providing an improved marketing system wherein the present archaic methods of servicing accounts are eliminated.
Accordingly, it is the principle object of the invention to provide an improved method of merchandising and to provide associated display devices which when used in conjunction with said method provide an efficient system of distributing merchandise.
Another object of the invention is to provide a marketing system wherein every product offered for sale in a department is disposed at a fixed location known to all department personnel.
Yet another object of the invention is to provide for the reduction and/or elimination of backroom stock within the department or store itself.
Still another object of the invention is to provide a quick and simple method of reordering merchandise and an efficient and neat manner of maintaining goods within the store.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from a study of the following portions of this application which describes and discloses at least one preferred embodiment or modification of the invention. Other embodiments or modifications may be suggested to those having the benefits f the teachings herein and such other embodiments or modifications are intended to be reserved since they fall within the scope of this application.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS:
FIG. I is a front perspective view taken from above, of a display panel embodying display devices of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a front end view of one of the display devices;
FIG. 3 is a side-elevational view, partly in section, of the display device of FIG. 2, taken along the lines 3-3 thereof;
FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram illustrating in block form how a computer will be utilized to set up the novel method of merchandising;
FIG. 5 is a greatly enlarged plan view showing a portion of the order form shown in FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a perspective view, taken fromabove and in front, of an alternate display panel embodying horizontal shelf means and a modified display device of the invention;
FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view along the line 77 of FIG. 6;
FIG. 8 is another cross-sectional view of a modified display device for use with a horizontal shelf; and
FIG. 9 is yet another cross-sectional view of another display device for use with a horizontal shelf.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS:
Referring now to the drawing, and more particularly to FIGS. l-3, there is shown a form of the invention wherein the display element indicated by the reference numeral 10 is in the form of a hook and is illustrated as a two prong element comprising a lower prong l2 and an upper prong 14. The lower prong 12 is partitioned with a plurality of sections, coded so as to distinguish one section from the other sections. Suitably, the sections may be coded by spaced notches, different diametric shafts, or by painting the prong 12 with various colors. Preferably, for example, the sections are colorcoded by plastic colored tubing, so that for example, in the display element 10 shown, there are three sections, red, white, and blue, respectively, shown as 16, 18 and 20.
A plurality of packages 22 containing goods are suspended for display and merchandising purposes. In operation, as will be explained in greater detail hereinafter, a plurality of display elements are utilized, each holding a plurality of packages, usually different. In FIG. 1, there is shown a display board 24 containing three display devices, holding packages 22, 26 and 28. Of course, such a display board may hold many, many more display elements, but for purpposes of the disclosure, only three are shown.
As best shown in FIG. 3, the display element 10 comprises an integral U-shaped hook. The connecting or yoke portion 29 contains suitable protruding hooks 31 which are cooperatively associated with matching apertures in the display board 24. Such a board is commonly known as a peg board. It will be appreciated the display element may be fastened to the display board in any other suitable manner, such as by adhesives, fasteners, such as screws, nails, etc., clamps or the like.
The distal end 30 of the lower prong 12 is suitably disposed upwardly so as to preclude the last few packages from sliding off the prong 12. The upper prong I4 is provided at its distal end 32, which is suitably bent on a right angle, with a small front face plate 34 containing suitable indicia markings as will be explained hereinafter. The plate 34 secured to the end 32, suitably by a weld or other fastening means.
If desired, the display element 10 may simply comprise a single prong, since such an element can have its corresponding indicia marking disposed right on the display board above such an element 10.
In the embodiments of FIGS. 6-9, the display elements are represented as 50 and such elements are primarily employed where peg boards cannot be used and where it is desired to employ conventional horizontal shelving 52 which is suitably secured to a vertical wall 54 by means of associated strips 56 secured to the wall 54 and brackets (not shown) beneath the shelf 52. The display element 50 is connected in place to the shelf 52 by any conventional means, such as fastening, by means of screws, etc., (see for example FIG. 2).
In the modification of FIGS. 6 and 7, the display element 50 is secured to the shelf 52 by means of straps 58 (respectively a, b, and c). These straps 58 may be equally spaced or positioned in predetermined spaces so as to provide a plurality of Sections 70 (shown by the dotted line). Thus, for example, in FIG. 6, one notes that the straps 58 divide the section of shelf between display elements into 16 squares. Such squares, may for example, hold one bottle each of a particular product, such as the containers 60 (also shown in dotted lines). If desired, the sections 70 of the display element may be each color coded, although the straps 58 provide the necessary separation for one to quickly judge the inventory remaining on the shelf between any two elements. Thus, for example, and as will be hereinafter explained in greater detail if the shelf 54 holds 16 containers 60, if four containers 60 remained on the shelf 52, one would know that three-quarters capacity of such item between elements needs replacement. Should ten containers 60 be on shelf 52, then one recognizes that only one-quarter capacity of such item needs replacement.
It will be appreciated that in lieu of straps 58, one can achieve the same results by color coding the shaft 50 in a manner as shown with respect to FIGS. 14. Alternately, one can employ a multi-diameter shaft (shown in FIG. 9) for the display element which would accomplish the same end result. Thus, in such a construction where the shelf is divided into thirds, the largest diameter could be displosed at the rear of the shelf forming one section and the smallest diameter could be disposed at the front of the element forming another section with the intermediate portion constituting another section. These sections can obviously be subdivided into 4 pieces or any other suitable portions for purposes of the invention. In another arrangement, notches can be used in lieu of straps (see FIG. 8) and it will also be understood that it is conceivable that other means may be employed so as to enable one to calculate the remaining inventory between display sections by scanning the shelf between the dividers and determining the replenishment order for marking on the inventory card during a recycling of the products on display in a store for sale.
Turning to the embodiments of FIGS. 8 and 9, the latter discloses a suitable adhesive 62 to secure the device to the-shelf, whereas the former discloses the device 50 held in place by depending pins 64 cooperating with holes 68 provided in the shelf 54.
The front face plate 66 is capable of retaining suitable indicia markings and is bent downwardly slightly with respect to the axis of the device 50 and the plate 66 is secured to the device 50 by means such as welding, etc.
In the marketing system, according to the invention, there is provided a computer 40 (FIG. 4). The computer 40 receives order information of the type disposed on an order form 42. Such information may be transferred from the order form 42 to the computer 40 by means of key punched data, tape, Hollerith card, OCR or the like. Themarketing concern derives the order information from stores. The computer 40, in turn, generates or prints out a warehouse picking list 44, invoice 46 (and duplicate copies thereof), and an inventory or store profile 48 of all items in the customers stores and department location numbers. This profile 48 may be an optional output. The inventory or store profile may not be needed on each and every order.
The various print outs 44,46, and 48 shown herein may include other prints. For example, the computer 40 may haves stored thereon a history of past orders and provide, for example a comparison of sales per item over selected periods.
The warehous picking list 44 preferably contains at least for each order the customers name and address, customers number, invoice number, and distributor order number. For each item to be picked, the picking list 44 may contain warehouse location, quantity ordered, the items nomenclature or description, the retail price, and the suggested selling price for price marking. The invoice, of course, may also contain similar information as well as the terms of billing, such as the name of Party if items are to be shipped to another party not billed, the percentage discount (if any) and, the peg or prong location, or location between the display elements embodied by the horizontal shelving.
Referring again to FIG. 3, and more particularly to the color-coded lower prong 12, it will be appreciated that any number of color-coded sections such as 2, 4, etc. can be employed. The length of each section is predetermined in that it can hold a predetermined number of packages, such as blister packages. For purposes of illustration, sections l6, l8 and 20 may each hold ten packages. By observing a color-coded section exposed as packages are removed one can, readily ascertain the remaining quantity on tne prong. For purposes of inventory, all one needs to know is whether for example the red, white, or blue section is protruding beyond the remaining packages suspended from the prong. In operation, one simply observes the last completely empty color-coded section adjacent the packages suspended from the next adjacent colorcoded section. There is no need to count the packages remaining and one does not consider a color-coded section as empty unless the next color-coded section is visible.
In FIG. 5, a partial enlarged view of the invoice form is shown. In re-ordering, a stores clerk without specific knowledge of the products can simply write up a reorder by observing a color-coded section completely visible on each display device and its corresponding indicia or item number located on the face plate 34. Such a clerk would fill in the order form entering the number to be ordered as set forth the color-coded section fully visible opposite each and every prong (display device) which has a corresponding locating number. A simple order form comprising a checkboard pattern of squares, wherein the squares are alphabetically numbered along the ordinate from A to Z, Aa-Zz, etc., and the abscissa is in numerical order so that any box in the order form could be identified by reading across and upwardly or downwardly so as to identify a box for example by a letter and a number.
For simplicity, the clerk may use the letters R, W and B or fractions, such as A, a, in the shelf embodiment, for marking the order sheet next to the peg, prong or divider location viewed. Should none of the color-coded sections be completely visible, then the clerk would leave blank the associated box in the order form for such a peg or prong.
In the order form of FIG. 5, other additional information is shown besides location, and quantity and may be included, if desired. In a store or department employing the display devices and operating under the method of merchandising disclosed herein, the department or store is divided into sections or such other predetermined lengths or zones as is appropriate. Each such section or length is given a letter code. Thus, for example, in a foot department, one might provide sections A, B, C and D. Within each section, each display device or prong would be given a location number starting for example with 01 in the upper left-hand corner numerically increasing vertically downward and across the section until the last lower right-hand corner. Of course, because of various product sizes, the number of display devices or prongs in a section may differ from the section next to it.
The computer 40 has in its master file information, such as every customers location and product numbers, customer name list, location of inventory, customer sales in each category, addresses, discount percent and other sales data, such as prices, number of pieces ordered, suppliers, etc.
Each store will receive with its previous order either a printed order form as hereinbefore described or a computer generated form to be used for re-ordering. Such form may be printed in location number sequence or randomly, and can show a complete profile of the store or department.
The order form also has provisions for the date of the previous order so that the possibility of a duplicate order is precluded. If a previous order has not yet been received and the store has ordered merchandise for (Al) on both orders, then the computer will simply indicate that shipment is to be made only on the difference between what was ordered previously and the quantity on the latest order. It should be appreciated that, if desired, manual product substitutions can be made by punching up a card with the store number, peg or prong location number, and the new item number. Such a manual substitution will override any automatic substitution made by the computer during the processing of the re-order.
While the invention is shown, illustrated, described and disclosed in terms of embodiments which it has assumed in practice, the scope of the invention should not be deemed to be limited thereby.
What is claimed is:
l. A support, such as shelf or the like, adapted to display for sale a plurality of items for a merchandise inventory control system comprising: a substantially flat, horizontal support means having at lease one portion thereof delineated from the remainder of said support means by at least one separating means, said one portion of said support means adapted to support a predetermined number of items of a particular product to be displayed, said separating means having means defining a plurality of rows longitudinally of said support means and each of said rows defining the boundries for a fixed quantity of said items proportional to said predetermined number of items on display in said one delineated portion, and said separating means enabling inventory to be reordered by observing at a glance the number of vacant rows in said one portion not occupied by said proportional quantity of items representing such number of items sold which are to be reordered.
2. The support according to claim 1, wherein said means defining a plurality of rows comprise a plurality of markers, and the longitudinal boundries of said rows being defined by two of said markers.
3. The support according to claim 1, including a plurality of separating means defining a plurality of portions of said support means for displaying a plurality of different items separated from each other group of displayed items.
4. The support according to claim 1, wherein said separating means is an element extending transverse to said support means, and said markers comprise a plurality of sections along the length of said element.
5. The support according to claim 4, wherein said sections are color coded sections along the length of said element.
6. The support according to claim 2, wherein said markers are straps securing said element to said support means.
7. The support according to claim 2, wherein said markers are notches in said element.
8. The support according to claim 2, wherein said separating means is a rod and said markers are variable diameter sections of said rod.