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New Tricks, Meet Old Dog

Warehouse management system helps McLendon Hardware herd its SKUs

Stores Magazine from Feb 2009 | By M.V. Greene

It has taken more than 80 years, but McLendon Hardware has become "inventory conscious." A family-owned and operated specialty hardware retailer with six stores in the state of Washington, the company was founded by Mac McLendon, who rode through Seattle on a horse-drawn wagon to collect used tools and appliances for resale.

Its first stores had narrow aisles and musty dirt floors, but McLendon Hardware now has a commercial lumberyard, two distribution centers and an Internet sales operation.

Vice president Mike McLendon, grandson of Mac, says the company is insistent on remaining viable in an era when many family-owned firms have been forced to capitulate to larger, well-financed behemoths.

"Our key challenge in competing against them is to provide what they don't," McLendon says. "When a person goes to The Home Depot, sometimes he has a hard time finding someone to help him. You walk into our stores and there are plenty of people. We also really focus on trying to have the hard-to-find items.

"It's one of those things that when your name is on the door you just feel like you need to do a little more for your customers," he says.

For McLendon Hardware, being "inventory conscious" means ensuring the operation is run as efficiently as possible. To help achieve that, McLendon Hardware last year adopted the Latitude Warehouse Management System from PathGuide Technologies, a Seattle vendor that provides solutions for small to mid-sized wholesalers and industrial distributors.

Read Full Article in Stores Magazine