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Best Practices Toolbox
Welcome to the FMS Best Practices Toolbox

This toolbox contains the latest in grocery best practices to help keep your store at its most efficient and profitable. All the articles are arranged by areas of the store, which you can choose and access by using the navigation on the left hand side of the page.

FMS customers must log into the Portal to view the full documents. If you are not already logged in, you will be given a prompt to enter your username and password when you select the full article.

If you are not an FMS customer, please contact Stan McClintock at StanM@fmssolutions.com or 877-435-9400 x1503 to learn more about how you can get access to all content.

Tax Documents
Audit Sheets
Transfer Sheets
Sales and Receipts Report


Biometric Fingerprint Policy

Navigating the myriad rules and regulations is difficult and these rules and regulations are constantly changing

Many states have enacted or are considering enacting biometric privacy laws. These laws govern the collection, use, protection, and storage of biometric data. We are aware of three states (Washington, Texas, and Illinois) that have enacted specific laws pertaining to fingerprint and/or converted biometric data. This is biometric data that is converted into an identifier and not the original data.

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Back Office Loss Prevention

Keep your money from flying out the back door

According to a report by Retail Systems Research, retailers on average lost 1.7 percent of their sales to shrink in 2008, substantially higher than the 1.5 percent rate in 2007. The Global Retail Theft Barometer (2008) estimates the global retail industry loses $105 billion annually to inventory shrinkage.

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Mechanical and Equipment Services

Lower costs and better strategies to retain customers

According to The Food Institute, which tracks the differences between wholesale and retail food prices, many food prices are on the way up due to late plantings, weather conditions and natural disasters.

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Reconditioning Services

Do you understand your 10 types of shoppers?

Under recent social and economic pressures, the modern grocery shopper has evolved considerably, and the competitive set of food-retailing venues need to evolve as well. With limited-assortment stores providing a new model for convenience, and chains like...

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Technical Services

More customers prefer mobile shopping and self-checkout. Are you ready?

According to an article in Supermarket News, retailers operate today in a "B2C" - business to consumer - world in which they try to predict what consumers want. However, in the future, successful retailers will adopt a "C2B" or "C-tailing" view in which "consumers dictate the terms...

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Break Room Posting

Don't miss an opportunity to communicate with your employees

Most employees do not mind rules. Often times it is just a matter of posting or sharing those rules and providing equal enforcement. Break room walls offer a great opportunity to communicate with staff on a regular and consistent basis. Oftentimes when you enter a break room...

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Back Room Efficiencies

Disorganized back rooms waste both time and money

Too often back rooms become mini warehouses for product rather than staging areas. Inventory in the backroom can be necessary to take advantage of deals, but an overstocked backroom can cause some of the following issues:

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Minimum Wage by State

Visit the Department of Labor's website to view the latest minimum wage thresholds

Minimum wages are changing all over the country. How does your state's minimum wage compare with others? Are you 100% sure what your state's minimum wage is?

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2016 W4

View or download a copy of the current IRS document

Each of your employees must fill out a W-4 to ensure that you're withholding the correct amount of federal income tax from their pay. This is a link to the latest document provided by the IRS.

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W-9 Form

Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification

Visit this link to view and download the latest W-9 form from the IRS. This information is required for verification purposes and the information it contains will be filed on form 1099.

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Accounts Payable Best Practices

Learn how to close some of the holes in your AP processes

While there is much talk about good receiving procedures, DSD systems, and consultants that review your DSD receiving procedures, there is little talk about proper internal controls after that point. There are many areas for failure of this internal control if some basic procedures are not followed. Below are a few quick...

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Bonus Program Recommendations

Considering a bonus incentive? Follow these guidelines

As you begin reflecting on last year's performance, you may be thinking about an incentive program to improve this year's result. A bonus or incentive program needs to be well balanced in order to achieve its directive and not be destructive to the long-term growth of the company. When designing a program, take into account...

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Tax Screening

FMS has helped its retailers reduce their federal tax bill by more than $900,000.

There are various on-going Federal and State employment-based Federal and State tax credits and incentives to businesses that hire employees in certain economic classes or areas. On average, 10% of all employees hired in a supermarket will be a federal or state tax credit to the employer averaging $1,800. Because of the usual...

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Child Labor

It's critical that you follow federal, state, and local laws regarding your under 18 employees

As you prepare for the summer season, it is good to review your compliance to federal, state and local labor laws. Here are a few federal age restriction notes: Age Certificates - Employers should keep an employment or age certificate on file for each minor employed. Certificates can usually be obtained from the school or...

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HR Screening

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit can shave thousands off your tax bill

It is more important than ever to take advantage of the government's Work Opportunity Tax Credit. The current administration is spending lots of money in the 2009 Economic Recovery Act, so be sure to get your share by doing what you are already doing: hiring people. With an industry full of turnover, grocery stores...

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Today's Insurance Market

For retailers, there are two words to describe it: price and peril

After dealing with one or two sources of insurance for years, some retailers are being approached by several representatives that now have the ability to offer property and casualty insurance to grocery stores. Many insurance companies have loosened their underwriting standards and reduced pricing in an effort to attract...

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Electronic Payment and Identity Theft

As a retailer, you could be at risk of civil and criminal litigation

One of the most significant forms of fraud that affects all retailers today including those in the grocery business is the theft of personal information. The facts are that you as the grocer are at significant risk from both a civil and criminal perspective as it relates to these activities occurring in your stores...

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Disaster Planning

Will you be ready?

A national newspaper ran a survey about disaster recovery. This survey showed what percentage of companies had a written plan. The numbers looked pretty good, however there was one catch. Very few organizations had actually communicated these plans to their employees, vendors, local government agencies, and disaster...

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Charitable Contributions

Make your investment count

Charitable contributions can be an effective public relations tool in the communities you do business. When properly run and managed, you can maximize the goodwill and generate additional sales dollars in your store.

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Federal Record Keeping Requirements

Are you holding on to everything that's required?

A number of federal laws require that business owners record and retain records ranging from employee contact information to toxic substances. FMS has created a chart detailing what needs to be recorded and what law requires it.

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Credit Markets

Credit financing in relation to small business

Most of today's small businesses utilize financing in one form or another to facilitate their operations and investments in equipment and infrastructure. The most common types of credit being utilized today fall under one of the following 3 categories: credit cards, leasing, and commercial bank loans/lines of credit...

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Electronic Payment Fees

How you can manage them since you can't avoid them

We recently received notification from one of our channel associations regarding another round of fee increases in the credit / debit processing industry. The fees associated with electronic payment types are already a significant expense to retailers – those of you with fuel centers truly know this to be a point of fact – and...

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System Security

Update your system's security at year's end

For most of you, year-end closing and work with your tax accountants and planners are over. Once the Easter holiday has passed and summer vacations are ahead, what better time is there to review your system security?

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Reduce Property Taxes

And increase profits

The grocery business is cost conscious and most owners are looking for ways to maximize profits while reducing prices to consumers in order to remain competitive. One way to reduce expenses is by minimizing your property tax liabilities. A majority of state and local governments impose both a personal...

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Counter Party Risk

Have a backup plan if your vendor's business is at risk

Counter Party Risk is a term that we are all beginning to hear in today's economic environment. So what does it mean? The definition of counter party risk is "The risk to each party of a contract that the counterparty will not live up to its contractual obligations." You may be looking at your own financial position with a sigh of relief...

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Use of Positive Pay to Reduce Check Fraud

Keep better track of your submitted checks

"Positive Pay" is a banking service that offers valuable security for your payroll and accounts payable functions. After your checks have been produced, the specific file used in producing the checks, is then forwarded to your bank. The bank will compare this file against all checks submitted for payment.

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Leases - Checking Property Tax Invoices

You could be overpaying

Most tenants with escalation clauses in their leases, when receiving an invoice for real estate taxes (usually billed annually or semi-annually), simply pay the bill and assume the correct formula has been applied in determining the tenant's pro-rata share. Astute bookkeepers may pull a copy of the lease out of the bottom drawer...

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American Recovery Act Update

What the Stimulus changed in 2009

On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 ("ARRA 2009"). With a massive cost of $787 billion, this economic stimulus package contained over $300 billion in tax relief. Several provisions impact both businesses and individuals. With the many provisions, we offer this article in two parts. In Part 1, we previously discussed the popular...

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DSD Receiving

Identify breakdowns in the operational processes of the receiving function

According to the 2013 Supermarket Shrink Survey, receiving errors, theft, misdeeds and inefficiencies accounted for 6% of total store shrink with an average loss of $35,884 annually. Of this amount, over half of all backdoor receiving shrink was attributed to receiving “errors” and the remainder was attributed to vendor and/or receiver “dishonesty.”

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Receiving Audit

Test your receiving process

This receiving audit guides you through a checklist designed to ensure that your receiving process is running as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

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Back Door Automation

A guideline to assist in implementing a DSD system

Establish a team that represents the buying department, IT, a back door receiver, HR, and a member of accounting. Meet with this group to discuss the following items and how each of them will...

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Physical Inventory Procedures

Make sure you follow these guidelines

As many of you wrap up year-end inventories, the results you achieved may not have been what you expected. Below are a few helpful hints in regards to getting accurate counts, which result in good decision support tools for your business. Deliveries: If at all possible, no product deliveries should be received during the time of...

Read More


Transfer Sheets

A worksheet for transfers

Keep track of all transfers with this form. Fields in clued store name, department name, and applicable signatures.

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Merchandising to Cash Strapped Customers

Offer value without compromising margins

Consumers are on the lookout for bargains. This has equated to an increase in the amount of private label product being sold across almost every category. Some big box retailers have revamped and expanded their private label offerings in an effort to capture more of this market segment. There are some simple ways for you to expand the image of...

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Food Safety in the Meat Department

Avoid the risk of a food safety outbreak

The meat department is a key contributor to overall store sales and profits. Consumers typically rank high quality meats and fresh foods as the most important characteristics of a grocery store and it certainly impacts their choice of supermarket.

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Consumer Trends in the Meat Department

Millennials will drive changes in marketing and merchandising programs for retailers in the near future.

Meat matters. The meat department is a key contributor to overall store sales and margins and is one the most important departments to shoppers.

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Meat Grind Regulations

New regulations from the FSIS and how to adhere to them

Retailers that grind raw beef will have to adhere to new recordkeeping regulations designed to reduce the spread of foodborne illnesses beginning October 1, 2016. The new regulations require establishments to record specific information about their beef grinds.

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Shrink Management - Meat

The most impactful steps retailers can take to reduce meat shrink

Fresh departments are responsible for close to two-thirds of overall store shrink with meat contributing about 18%, according to industry surveys. Any reduction in meat shrink will have an immediate impact on a store’s bottom line.

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Meat Slicer Maintenance and Cleaning

A properly functioning slicer will keep your service departments running at peak efficiency

The safety of your associates and shoppers depends on a properly operated, cleaned and maintained meat slicer. Regular maintenance and good training ensures that meat clerks are unlikely to be injured while using the slicer and a strict cleaning schedule will significantly reduce the risk of food borne illness.

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Store Inventory Audit

Keep your inventory in check

This simple audit checklist goes through scanning, store prep, accounting, and inventory crew and counting to ensure that you're following inventory best practices.

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Transfer Sheets

A worksheet for transfers

Keep track of all transfers with this form. Fields in clued store name, department name, and applicable signatures.

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The Power of Meat Remains Undiminished

Down economy not turning consumers vegetarian

The state of the economy is the talk of the town in 2008. The housing market slump, credit crunch, high fuel prices and rising unemployment are driving this debate. Additionally, consumers' confidence is subdued and their short-term outlook is cautious at best. The food industry is not insulated from the overall economy and the high food inflation and...

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Physical Inventory Procedures

Make sure you follow these guidelines

As many of you wrap up year-end inventories, the results you achieved may not have been what you expected. Below are a few helpful hints in regards to getting accurate counts, which result in good decision support tools for your business. Deliveries: If at all possible, no product deliveries should be received during the time of...

Read More


Shrink Management in the Deli

Steps retailers can take to reduce shrink in the deli and prepared foods department

Fresh departments are responsible for close to two-thirds of overall store shrink with deli contributing about 14%, according to industry surveys. Any reduction in deli shrink will have an immediate impact on a store’s bottom line.

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Food Safety in the Deli

Consider core elements of a food safety program for your deli and prepared foods departments.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of food borne diseases. The importance of safe food handling practices in your deli department cannot be overstated. In addition to the negative impact on your brand and severe financial repercussions, a food safety outbrea

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Prepared Foods on the Rise

Consumers turn to deli for freshness and convenience

American consumers, who prepare meals in order to stay in and eat at home, are increasingly turning to prepared foods purchased at the supermarket deli, reports market research firm, the NPD Group. In a recently released study titled "DeliTrack," the research firm finds convenience to be the top-ranked reason consumers buy supermarket prepared...

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Shelving and Store Display Fixtures

Shoppers are looking for new ways to put meals together at home

Americans want, and are trying, to eat at home more often. According to Joe Derochowski, executive director, business development food & beverage at the NPD Group in Port Washington, N.Y., "The winning formula for retailers is to help consumers effectively connect their daily decisions...

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Transfer Sheets

A worksheet for transfers

Keep track of all transfers with this form. Fields in clued store name, department name, and applicable signatures.

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Watch Words for In-Store Bakeries

In-store bakeries can offer extraordinary, unique products at competitive pricing

In-store bakery sales and profits increased for almost two-thirds of respondents during the most recent measuring period, as revealed in Progressive Grocer's 2010 annual Bakery Operations Review...

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Shelving and Store Display Fixtures

Shoppers are looking for new ways to put meals together at home

Americans want, and are trying, to eat at home more often. According to Joe Derochowski, executive director, business development food & beverage at the NPD Group in Port Washington, N.Y., "The winning formula for retailers is to help consumers effectively connect their daily decisions...

Read More


Transfer Sheets

A worksheet for transfers

Keep track of all transfers with this form. Fields in clued store name, department name, and applicable signatures.

Read More


Modernizing Your Store Environment

Shoppers are looking for a memorable shopping environment

The modern grocery shopper has evolved considerably under recent social and economic pressures, and the competitive stores need to evolve as well. Chains like Trader Joe's are raising the bar on the in-store experience and traditional supermarkets have to do more than ever to...

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Preventative Care Programs

Some grocers are testing disease management initiatives

Despite the recession, consumer demand for health and wellness products remains high and a new trend for disease management programs offered by pharmacies is in on the horizon. Diabetes is the first disease that retailers are targeting...

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Holiday Markdowns

Stay on top of the post-holiday season

Yes with every holiday comes end of season markdowns. By planning today, you can ensure you get the maximum dollars from your seasonal merchandise. Below are a few simple steps to take to ensure proper credit and handling: create a list of all vendors for which you carry holiday merchandise...

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Transfer Sheets

A worksheet for transfers

Keep track of all transfers with this form. Fields in clued store name, department name, and applicable signatures.

Read More


Private Label Products

Consumers looking to private-labels to save cash

With rising prices of goods for consumers and the cost of gas and utilities skyrocketing, the consumer's wallet is being pinched tighter and tighter. While some consumers are financially well off enough to absorb these impacts on their personal budgets, most are not. Private Label Promotions can offer an opportunity to provide value to your consumers, protect your margins...

Read More


Physical Inventory Procedures

Make sure you follow these guidelines

As many of you wrap up year-end inventories, the results you achieved may not have been what you expected. Below are a few helpful hints in regards to getting accurate counts, which result in good decision support tools for your business. Deliveries: If at all possible, no product deliveries should be received during the time of...

Read More


Books and Magazine Buyers

These shoppers tend to be young, influential, and female

Over half of all magazines are sold in supermarkets and supercenters and unfortunately, due to a sluggish economy, those sales have declined. In the second half of 2009, however, the declines eased slightly, according to figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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Modernizing Your Store Environment

Shoppers are looking for a memorable shopping environment

The modern grocery shopper has evolved considerably under recent social and economic pressures, and the competitive stores need to evolve as well. Chains like Trader Joe's are raising the bar on the in-store experience and traditional supermarkets have to do more than ever to...

Read More


Wine Purchasing Trends

In-home entertainers turn to wine to serve their guests

While "trading down" has been the catchphrase of the economic downturn, more than three-quarters of consumers surveyed claimed they haven't changed their alcohol beverage purchases because of price, says a recent Nielsen study. Of that group, one-quarter of these consumers are simply buying less often. A lesser amount (13 percent) continues to buy the same products...

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Holiday Markdowns

Stay on top of the post-holiday season

Yes with every holiday comes end of season markdowns. By planning today, you can ensure you get the maximum dollars from your seasonal merchandise. Below are a few simple steps to take to ensure proper credit and handling: create a list of all vendors for which you carry holiday merchandise...

Read More


Grocery Gross Profit Management

A 27-question guide to help track your gross profits

This thorough list asks you everything you should know about your pricing and inventory

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Grocery Shrink Audit

Understand where your shrink occurs

Many grocers have a very limited shrink management program. By using this audit, you can better understand where your problem areas are.

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Transfer Sheets

A worksheet for transfers

Keep track of all transfers with this form. Fields in clued store name, department name, and applicable signatures.

Read More


Physical Inventory Procedures

Make sure you follow these guidelines

As many of you wrap up year-end inventories, the results you achieved may not have been what you expected. Below are a few helpful hints in regards to getting accurate counts, which result in good decision support tools for your business. Deliveries: If at all possible, no product deliveries should be received during the time of...

Read More


Private Label Products

Consumers looking to private-labels to save cash

With rising prices of goods for consumers and the cost of gas and utilities skyrocketing, the consumer's wallet is being pinched tighter and tighter. While some consumers are financially well off enough to absorb these impacts on their personal budgets, most are not. Private Label Promotions can offer an opportunity to provide value to your consumers, protect your margins...

Read More


Food Safety in the Produce Department

Adherence to food safety standards is critical for any company wishing to avoid the risk of a food safety outbreak

The produce department has become the primary competitive advantage for many independent grocers and regional chains. Shoppers typically rank high quality fresh foods as the most important characteristic of a grocery store and it certainly impacts their choice of supermarket.

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Buying and Ordering Produce

Consumers have become more interested in where their food comes from and how it is grown

Produce is a key contributor to overall store sales (10.1%) and generates, on average, more than $117 in sales per square foot, according to the FMS / NGA 2017 Independent Grocers Financial Survey.

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Fresh and Local

Customers prefer produce that's grown close to home

There are many indicators that customers increasingly want fresh, locally-grown produce and are often willing to pay a higher price for better quality. Grocers across the country are meeting this demand in a variety of ways...

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Transfer Sheets

A worksheet for transfers

Keep track of all transfers with this form. Fields in clued store name, department name, and applicable signatures.

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Produce Displays For Slow Moving Products

Creating a good display without creating shrink...

Controlling shrink in the Produce Department has become a big issue with demand going up for more specialty items including organics. The simple bland answer is to use false fillers and create the same pile it high look that you always have in the past. The better way is to get creative!

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Shrink Management - Produce

The most important steps retailers can take to reduce produce shrink

Fresh departments are responsible for close to two-thirds of overall store shrink with produce contributing about 16%, according to industry surveys. Any reduction in produce shrink will have an immediate positive impact on a store’s bottom line.

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Garden Center

Consumers find gardening a great way to spruce up their homes without overspending

"With the downturn in the economy, more people are tending to stay closer to home," says Charlie Nardozzi, senior horticulturist and spokesperson for the National Gardening Association. "That means they are interested and have the time to take on gardening projects." People are...

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Floral Merchandising Opportunities

Retailers seeing strong or increasing department floral sales

In addition to eating at home more, customers are also seeking to save money by entertaining within the home, as well. Whether shoppers are looking to create a sophisticated environment for a dinner party, or seek a specific need for a themed holiday celebration, these trends can mean big business for floral departments. According to Amy Sung from Supermarket News...

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Transfer Sheets

A worksheet for transfers

Keep track of all transfers with this form. Fields in clued store name, department name, and applicable signatures.

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Wire Transfers

Grocers who offer Money Gram or Western Union services are considered remittance transfer providers

Federal law defines “remittance transfers” to include most electronic money (wire) transfers from consumers in the United States through “remittance transfer providers” to recipients abroad.

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Private Brands

A well-defined strategy will help a retailer determine the right approach and strike the balance between private brands and national brands

One in five items sold in a supermarket is a store brand. Clearly private label is valued by consumers and is equally important to a grocer’s bottom line. Private brands enable retailers to differentiate their store(s) from others in the market.

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Self-checkout

Awareness of the pros and cons of self-checkout is important before making significant changes to the front-end

Self-checkout lanes have become common in grocery stores throughout the US. Yet retailer and customer response to the systems are mixed. Self-checkout can shorten the amount of time a shopper waits in line as well as reduce labor costs for retailers.

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Scan-Based Trading

Scan-based trading is common in categories such as dairy, frozen foods, snack foods, magazines and commercial bakery

In a scan-based trading program, suppliers continue to own the inventory until it is scanned for sale to a customer at POS. Retailers have successfully used scan-based trading arrangements for years. It has proven to reduce costs and improve category performance.

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Store Management Recruiting

The most impactful best practice relative to recruiting store management is a thoroughly conceived and detailed plan for recruitment.

Recruiting is as much about selling your brand as finding qualified candidates to hire. Making sure the prospect knows about your company’s history, culture, policies, values, benefits, expectations and opportunities for personal growth are important in helping the recruit decide if they would like to be a part of your organizations.

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Inventory Turns

How efficiently are you turning inventory into sales and revenue?

An important measure in evaluating the effectiveness of a supermarket's merchandising strategy is inventory turnover. Inventory turnover is a measure of the number of times inventory is sold in a specific time period.

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Home Delivery - Conquering the Last Mile

Retailers need to determine if they will offer in-store pickup, curb-side pickup, and/or home delivery

Many retailers realize that an e-commerce program will be a requirement for remaining competitive in the future. FMS’ E-Commerce Best Practices White Paper describes steps grocers should take when rolling out an online shopping program.

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EMV

Reduce the costs of credit and debit card fraud

EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) is a global standard for credit and debit cards equipped with computer chips as well as the technology used at POS terminals to authenticate the transactions.

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Click and Collect

Steps grocers should take when rolling out an online shopping program

Many retailers realize that an e-commerce program will be a requirement for remaining competitive in the future. Along with home delivery services, click and collect is projected to contribute significantly to the $100 billion grocery e-commerce market predicted for 2025.

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Data Breach Response Plan

Stand a much better chance of surviving an attack

While many grocers believe they are not a primary target for hackers, the wealth of card data processed at POS does, in fact, make supermarkets one of the primary channels for data breaches.

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Shoplifting Prevention

The best deterrent for shoplifting is an alert, well trained staff

According to the National Supermarket Shrink Survey, 36% of overall store shrink is due to theft. Of that amount, 33% is attributed to shoplifting. Any reduction in shoplifting will have an immediate, positive impact on a store’s net profit.

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In-store Dieticians

In-store dietitians contribute to their stores/companies in a variety of ways.

Many retailers are embracing shoppers’ demands for healthy living solutions by hiring an in-store or corporate dietitian. In-store dietitians demonstrate a retailer’s commitment to health and wellness as well as provide a much-needed service for their shoppers.

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E-Commerce

While online shopping has not yet generated significant sales, it is expected to grow rapidly.

According to research conducted by Morgan Stanley, one-third of online shoppers expect to purchase groceries online in 2016. Other research suggests that millennials and Generation Z will fuel an increase in online food shopping. Many retailers appreciate the importance of being first in their market to establish an e-commerce presence. Early adopters are often able to attract new shoppers as well

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Store Audit Checklist

A complete checklist to perform a store audit

From the outside to the backroom, and all the departments in between

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Store Audits - The Basics

How to make a plan to identify deficiencies

A comprehensive store audit program is an important tool for ensuring that store operations meet company and shopper expectations.

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Financial Ratios and Loan Covenants

Ensure your business is sound

Retailers use a variety of financial ratios to ensure their business is sound. The list of financial ratios is very lengthy and some are well-suited for the grocery industry. Following is a review of common ratios and how they can be used in your business.

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Shrink Management - Front End

How to stop money flowing out the front end

According to the National Supermarket Shrink Survey, 36% of overall store shrink is due to theft. Of that amount, 31% is theft by associates at the front-end. The survey noted the most frequently used methods for cashier theft.

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Shrink Management - Center Store

How to reduce shrink from theft

Shrink is generally defined as the loss of product between purchase from supplier or wholesaler and POS. Roughly two-thirds of shrink is caused by operational issues (process and accounting errors, pricing mistakes and ineffective inventory management) and one-third is due to theft (employees, vendors and customers). According to the FMS/NGA Independent Grocers Financial Review, the average shrink

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Annual Budgeting Process

Understand the advantages of budgeting

FMS has long advocated the value of the budgeting process in all organizations irrespective of company size. We believe it is a key best practice. Using a golf analogy: budgeting allows you to know the difference between par, bogey and birdie. A budget helps you define success and, just as importantly, communicate your definition of success to your managers and supervisors. Additionally, doing P&L

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Social Media Strategies

Utilizing social media to enhance your brand

Social media is one of the best ways to market your company. It is an extremely effective way to promote your store, tell your story, and help boost your brand. And, it gives you the chance to connect with current and potential customers on a more personal, human level.

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Understanding a Profit & Loss (P&L) Statement

The P&L is one of three key indicators

While the balance sheet provides a snap shot of a company’s financial position at a specific point in time, the P&L summarizes activity over a period of time, usually one to 12 months. The P&L may also be referred to as the income statement or operating statement. The reports are prepared as frequently as needed by management; a weekly report which includes a measurement of your key performance in

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Understanding a Balance Sheet

Assets = Liabilities plus Owner’s Equity

A balance sheet, also known as a statement of financial position, is one of the most important tools for assessing the financial health of a company. A balance sheet is a snap shot of all the things the business owns, owes, and the owner’s investment, at a particular point in time (i.e., the end of a month, quarter, or year). A P&L statement, on the other hand, provides an indication of how a busi

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Physical Inventory Procedures

How to prepare and perform physical inventories

Conducting a physical inventory may be a tedious and time-consuming task, but is absolutely essential. Inaccurate inventories can lead to out of stock items, too much inventory, incorrect reordering information, and loss of profit. Perishable inventories should be taken at least one time per quarter and should be conducted at the end of each accounting period. Grocery inventory should also be take

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Developing a Credit Card Request for Proposal (RFP)

Know the steps of the RFP process

Are you reconsidering your credit card (CC) processing, but not sure what to do? Re-signing with your current processor is the easiest way to go, but may be more expensive and you may not necessarily get any new ideas on how to improve, or fix any problems. Giving other credit card processors (CCPs) your statements (hopefully pricing hidden) provides them a snapshot in time that may hide some prob

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Improving Your Front End

The front end is the best place to increase your bottom line

Labor productivity has fallen in the industry during the past two decades. This may be partly due to an increase in the share of total sales accounted for by service-intensive items, such as in the deli and bakery departments, and partly reflects problems due to high and increasing worker turnover, which lowers the experience-level of the workforce.

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Front End Best Practices Part 1

ATM's, self-serve registers, cash on hand levels, safe security, cash in register levels, and unused checker lanes

Store owned ATM's offer a great opportunity to bring extra revenue into your business. However, they also represent a theft opportunity if not properly checked. Cash placed into the ATM should be logged and removed from cash on hand and placed into an AR ATM account. The balance of this AR ATM account should be monitored for any...

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Front End Best Practices Part 2

The second of a two-part series

Not using gift cards? You may have a hole in your controls! The most recommended method is the use of electronic gift cards. Gift cards offer two great benefits. The first is visibility and ease of purchase. Too often customers may not realize you sell paper gift certificates because they are behind the counter. Or maybe, it is too much of an...

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Retail Pricing and Margin Optimization

Item size and private labels can be affecting your profits

Size pricing: the idea behind vendors offering larger size products is to offer higher dollar sales, a value to the customer, and more gross profit for the store. It is important that all three of these items are addressed when looking at your pricing strategy. More value to the customer:

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Supermarket Productivity Standards

Know where you measure up against other stores of the same volume

This article will show you department sales and labor per man hour for conventional supermarkets at several different volumes.

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How Much Cash Do You Carry?

These days, it's probably not too much

A quick Google search on the amount of cash we carry in our wallets shows that for most it's little or none. In addition, more than half of us don't even keep any extra cash in the house. In the food industry, the move to plastic is undeniable as well. Grocery shoppers use debit or credit cards for an average 53.3 percent of total transactions. Cash transactions continue to drop...

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Credit Card Fees

Could they be the next "do not call"?

There are 147 million telephone numbers on the national "Do Not Call" list. That is more than the total number of people who voted in the last presidential election. The legislation that created the registry, signed into law in 2003, is wildly popular and has done much to reduce free-time interruptions. Now that dinnertime telemarketer intrusions are a thing of the past...

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Pricing and Scanning Audit

A simple worksheet to audit your pricing and scanning procedures

This audit will help ensure that your scanning, pricing, and inventory procedures are being checked and your employees understand them.

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Cash Management

Dennis Hoyt on how to remove or revise the processes and practices which hinder effective cash management

Cash management best practices enable retailers to efficiently and at a lower cost receive, control, and report on receipts; more quickly upstream those receipts to corporate; and maintain minimal amounts of cash on hand at the store.

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Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT)

Significantly reduce future estate tax liability

Owners considering the future of their business have a few options - sale of the business to another company, transfer of ownership to associates through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan or transfer of ownership to family members through a Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT).

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Employee Stock Ownership Plans

6 of the 10 largest ESOPs are supermarket companies

Owners considering the future of their business have a few options - sale of the business to another company, transfer of ownership to family members or transfer of ownership to associates through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan.

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Bonus Programs for Store and Department Management

Effective bonus programs incenivizet behavior to achieve specific goals

Retailers offer bonus programs for store and department managers. Bonus programs reflect a company's definition of success, how that definition is measured, and the extent to which that measure is met.

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Interview Guidelines

Make sure you're hiring the right employees

Store managers with a reputation for making good hiring decisions understand that preparation is critical to an effective interview.

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On-boarding New Associates

How on-boarding lets your employees hit the ground running

Orientation initiates a partnership between the company, the store, the department and the new associate. In the context of this study, an overview orientation is the process used by a company to welcome an associate into the company or into a new position.

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Cigarette Audit

When was the last time you audited your tobacco section?

The carrying and selling of tobacco comes with a lot of rules and regulations. Don't put yourself at risk by not following them. Use this audit to ensure you're compliant.

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Weekly Sales Reciepts

Keep proper records

This weekly worksheet allows you to track spending down to the day and department.

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Petty Cash Form

A simple worksheet

This form allows you to track your petty cash by department.

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Manual Accounts Payable

For the pen and paper type

If you're manually keeping track of your accounts payable, make sure that you're tracking all of the categories listed on this worksheet.

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Watching your Cash

Hard times typically result in increased crime levels

Now is a good time to do a quick check up of your stores cash levels by day and even time of day. If cash is building, you may want to schedule an additional armored car pick up or deposit to the bank. If your store has timed drop safes, be sure that store personnel are making...

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Department of Labor Overtime Regulations

Employees covered by the Act must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek

The US Department of Labor requires overtime pay for hourly associates. Executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees receiving a salary of at least $455 per week are exempt from minimum wage and overtime regulations.

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Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

This federal law requires covered employers to provide employees with job-protected and unpaid leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) is designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons.

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2017 W-4

View or download a copy of the current IRS document

Each of your employees must fill out a W-4 to ensure that you're withholding the correct amount of federal income tax from their pay. This is a link to the latest document provided by the IRS.

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Tax Credits / FMS Accounting Services

FMS has partnered with HR Screening to offer a custom program for supermarkets to secure credits.

There are various on-going Federal and State employment-based Federal and State tax credits and incentives to businesses that hire employees in certain economic classes or areas. On average, 10% of all employees hired in a supermarket will be a federal or state tax credit to the employer averaging $1,800. Because of the usual high turnover rate associated to retail, this can become a significant a

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Understanding the W-4 Form

A breakdown of this IRS form

An employee completes an IRS W-4 form, or an Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, to indicate his tax situation to the employer. The W-4 form tells the employer the correct amount of tax to withhold from an employee's paycheck based on the employee's marital status, number of exemptions and dependents and other factors.

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Important Tax Info

Tax planning questions

This 34-question sheet will help determine whether you're following the right path when it comes to ensuring tax compliance and preparation.

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W-9 Form

Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification

Visit this link to view and download the latest W-9 form from the IRS. This information is required for verification purposes and the information it contains will be filed on form 1099.

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