By Greg Belkin
You have all heard about this opportunity before, and it starts like this — a customer comes into your store only to find that a product recently advertised in the weekly circular is not available. Not a problem, you say to yourself, because you know your company just installed a multimillion dollar warehouse integration system. You hit the F5 key on the terminal, and suddenly, right in front of you is the entire inventory available for sale to the customer at your fingertips. There is even a section on when the next shipment will be arriving from the manufacturer. The customer is going to be thrilled as their needs can be met by a simple drop ship — home delivery order. As you confirm the shipping date with the customer and finalize the order you think to yourself, we've come a long way from telling our customers, "No, we don't have that item in stock — there is a problem with our systems."