GE TRADAR point-of-sale system
GE unveils its TRADAR By A. V. GULLETTE Associate Business and Financial Editor New computer to serve Penneys 9 retail system; 1,500 terminals to replace store cash registers LOS ANGELES cret! A $10 million se- General Electric Co., in Los Angeles and New York news conferences, unveiled unveiled the details of its computer system for the J. C. Penney co. The system is called TRADAR, and its development was centered at the Phoer nix GE facility at Camelback and North 27th Avenue — "until recently under a cloak of secrecy," a GE spokesman reported. reported. The secret was so well kept that GE is reported to be two years ahead in the retail store data processing field. GE set out to modernize total information information handling in large retail operations. operations. What GE experts did was to adapt its time sharing and computer techniques to retailing. "Accurate, timely collection of information, information, such as merchandise and credit data, at the point of sale has been a historic bottleneck in advancing retail systems," said Jack Katzen, general manager of GE's special systems department department here which developed TRA- DAR. "GE has made a real breakthrough. "With TRADAR, retail store management management will have more accurate information information faster, and customers will get faster, faster, better service.," GE had two partners in the effort: Penneys, which field-tested TRADAR in its Glendale store and will extend it to 50 others in the Los Angeles area, and Dennison Manufacturing Co. of Framingham, Framingham, Mass., which developed a magnetically magnetically encoded merchandise ticket which the computer can read instead of a sales slip. There will be 1,500 terminals in the $10 million Penney TRADAR system. Those terminals replace cash registers in the 50 Penny stores. The terminals are connected with two GE computers in Penneys' Buena Park distribution center. W. W. Martin, Penneys' national point of sales manager, called these store connections significant because they bring the computer to the sales floor. Besides performing the functions of a cash register, TRADAR reads the magnetically magnetically encoded merchandise tickets THEIR SECRET — Key members of GE's team E. H. Cabaniss, advanced projects systems en- which developed TRADAR retail store computer gineer; Jack K.^Schafer^new market development system in secret here pose with a TRADAR point- of-sale terminal. They are, from left: John M. Scandalios, special systems marketing manager; been with the TRADAR program since shortly after its inception five years ago. and credit cards, verifies credit ratings and cards almost instantly, performs all calculations, and produces a sales slip automatically. Martin said the system, in a test during during the Christmas rush, showed customer customer transactions were speeded up. In addition, the Glendale store manager manager knew, day by day, just what merchandise merchandise was being sold and how much. Pennys will have TRADAR tell these results to its computers in SASC — its semiautomatic stock control, and TRA- DAR will be linked to Penneys' totally computerized credit operation. The Los Angeles Penneys TRADAR system is to be completed in 1970. Martin said it had been planned to include Pennys' Phoenix stores in the system, but the Los Angeles group took up all the terminals. I»s Angeles was selected for the in- stallation because of a suitable concentration concentration of Penneys stores and its nearness nearness to the GE seat of computer tech-- nplogy in Phoenix. The Phoenix GE information systems equipment division was the control point for the design and development of the complex, highly specialized software, as well as the special communication and data processing elements making up the TRADAR system. GE spokesmen said-the effort also included included GE's research and development laboratories in Schenectady, N.Y., its communication products business in Lynchburg, Va., and the information devices devices business in Oklahoma City. In early stages of the operation, the first TRADAR installation at Pennys in Glendale was connected directly to GE computers in Phoenix by phone lines to make periodic checks of the system's coiruniu'iicatious capabilities Dr. Thomas A. Vanderslice, general manager of the GE Information Systems sales and service deputy division, told the Los Angeles news conference that TRADAR was applicable to all large and medium sized retail operations. In response to a question, he said GE was considering use of time-sharing for TRADAR in retailing. The outlook for additional TRADAR orders is excellent, Katzen said, and will mean substantial additional computer computer business for GE in Phoenix. "We intend to be a major supplier to the retail industry," he said. ' In addition to TRADAR, Katzen's department department is responsible for GE's data entry system developed for the Internal Revenue System and installed in the IRS southwest service center in Austin, Tex. Three others will be delivered to IRS this year.