RCCC to offer highly specialized space management course

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - In a world where consumers have unlimited choices, companies invest carefully to ensure their products are placed in the right stores at the right time and in the right locations. Sales and marketing organizations help many of America's most trusted brands found in major retailers across the country do just that.

Apparently, there is a reason that milk is in the back of the grocery store.

"As an example the milk category (very high-demand products) is typically positioned in the back corner of the store by design – to encourage shopping in other categories," said Jim Hanson, Senior Vice President, Space Management Solutions, with Acosta Sales & Marketing. "There is an unbelievable amount of strategy that has gone into the layout and contents of your grocery store."

Space Management isn't just occurring in grocery stores– chains like Best Buy and Lowe's employ space technologists to maximize their profits.

This is the second fall that the College has offered this class, with last year's class resulting in students turning their new skills into employment.

In the Space Management taught by Hanson, students will learn how to analyze and place products to ensure successful sales. This course will place students in a position to qualify for roles in space management or retail merchandising for either retailers, manufacturers or a sales and marketing agency.

Using hi-tech, specialized software, space technologists create what is called a planogram, which allows them to produce, modify and conduct analysis on an electronic rendering of each category in a store.

"If a student is comfortable on a computer and completes this course – they will be an attractive candidate for a role as a space technologist," said Hanson.

This class will teach the principles of space management and specifically how retailers use space management to develop planograms and floor plans to help make decisions on how to allocate space between brands and categories, and where to position products on the shelf and in the stores. Much of the class time will be spent on learning what actual retailers require to make fact-based decisions about their shelves, such as inventory analysis, gross margin return on investment, days of supply, annual turns, etc. Students also will study the impact of product placement, traffic flow, adjacencies, out-of-stocks etc. on sales and profitability.

The eight-week class will be a hybrid course with about 65 percent of the class taught in a traditional classroom format and 35 percent completed via online coursework. The class will also include at least one field trip and guest speakers from the industry.

After years of teaching internally within Acosta, Hanson has loved teaching those new to the field in this class. "There are only about four other colleges in the entire U.S. teaching this topic. It's thrilling that local residents here in Salisbury and Concord have access to an amazing educational opportunity."

Rowan-Cabarrus is the only community college in the nation to offer a program of this kind. Classes will be held on Mondays from 6-9 p.m. beginning Oct. 20 and running through Dec. 8, 2014. Classes will be held at the College's North Campus in Salisbury in Building 400, Room 4126.

For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).