What is a cut-in? And a plan-o-gram?

I did an Ask.com search to find out what a "cut-in" means in the merchandising world and this is their answer...

"Cut-in: When a new product is introduced, the manufacturer usually likes to cut-in the new product into the existing plan-o-gram via a Revision."

I love it when they use more merchandising terms in the definition. So I had to look up plan-o-gram and got this answer...

"Plan-o-gram: A schematic drawing of fixtures that illustrate product placement. Picture or layout plan describing where merchandise is to be placed on the fixtures. Also known as a POG."

I am still a bit confused. So is a "cut-in" like an additional picture, pricing, or promo added to an existing sign? So they don't have to make all new signs from scratch? Or am I way off base here?

And a plan-o-gram is a drawing, like blueprints? I thought it was the actual display itself where the merchandise is located.

How important is it to understand all these merchandising terms before accepting a merch shop? Or is everything (even the basics) usually explained in the guidelines?

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A planogram is a drawing or blueprint of where you place the merchandise so you get the picture with each item going across the shelf,so you can see how it should be organized. I would assume a cut in means you have to move some of the merchandise around in order to make space for the new item, So you will be adjusting the previous display based on a planogram to make space for the new item.
A pog is a scematic of a shelf or section. Like the coffee section or soap section. It shows where each item belongs and how many facings(rows) a particular item has. Some have one facings some have two or three. Cutting an item in means moving, eliminating or reducing the facings to fit in the new item. Lets say you have three rows of Tide and you have to cut in one facing of Cheer, you reduce the Tide down to two facings to cut in the Cheer.
Walmart calls a plan-o-gram a modular. You will hear associates referring to a product as "not on mod". A POG has lots of features, sometimes stapled together. It might have a picture version as well as a drawn version. You are to figure out how many inches apart the shelves are. There may also be a list of discontinued items, which they like for you to handle first. There would also be a list of new items. For Walmart, however, I usually just see one page for every four-foot section. So if you are doing something in the coolers, you will have to figure out how to do it without keeping the product out too long. For bigger resets, which is what you do with a POG if it is new, you may be on a team with a leader. Everyone generally works on their own in their own section. Everything has to be organized. There are a few things that different people do differently. Teams are nice if the people are nice. Some are not professional enough to be nice. Most are. A cut-in is kind of like a smaller version of a reset, but I have seen the terms interchanged. You will learn the jargon as you go along. Some companies give an estimate of one hour per four-foot section but that really depends upon the product. One warning: if you happen to work for a company that does resets almost exclusively, you will have the tiredest shoulders on the planet. The same muscles are used all the time. It is better to have variety. The longest reset I ever did was by myself and lasted 27 hours. I was rather new to the field. The company called to ask if I did it all in one day. No, there are only 24 hours in one day. I did it over three days. It was underwear. I absolutely do not like to do resets involving clothing. Some are ok, but many are not. The hardest resets I have done were cosmetics but I nearly always had a partner or two and I enjoyed them after they were finished. The work wasn't hard but the matching of colors was, even with extra help such as numbers for the colors. The product had very small spaces to exist in, so we sometimes had to move hooks around.
Well, I couldn't add in a comment above, so I'll do it here. What the other person said about a cut-in is completely accurate. I have, though, seen the term interchanged with the word "reset" and been very surprised when I got to the store.
A cut-in refers to a new product that has arrived in the store but has not yet been added to the planogram. So you take the new product(s) and "cut in" to the appropriate section (i.e. shelves) by reducing some of the existing facings (such as changing a product from 3 facings to just 1 or 2). Later (usually a few weeks), a reset team will get the new planogram which incorporates whatever's been added and deleted from that section. Until that time, the store wants to start selling the new merchandise. So it gets cut-in.
Some Wal-Marts will not allow cut-ins and prefer to wait until the entire mod drops. There is a company that checks to make certain that mods in WM are correct, and if someone has come along and cut-in a product then that WM store would fail the audit. Word to the wise would be to check with the Department Manager to see if cut-ins are allowed.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/31/2013 10:50PM by iwahstore.
You really need to get some experience before you try to go solo. Get with a company that will hire you as an hourly on a team. You will learn fast, when you are doing the work, the terms will make more sense. You really need to know the ropes before you go solo. The one area that you could make a solo start with would be magazines/ books. Those are usually the easiest things to start with. Greeting cards are another area that you can learn on. Neither pays too much though. I personally hate greeting cards as they are just too fiddly for me, and, you MUST be in the stores the day after a holiday, sometimes the day before also. Good luck, let us know what you end up doing.
I agree with Cindy55................if you are wanting to break into the world of merchandising, cut ins and POG work is not really the place to start.
Start out with POP work - which is putting up graphics or placing IRC's (coupons) on products. Also building an endcap display with a dress up kit (these are graphics such as shelf strips and side panels that attach to the shelving -marketing materials). These are examples of straight forward type of merchandising assignments that are good starting points.

Resets (where you have to match the way the product flows on the shelf to the POG) can be very long and involved if you are not sure what you are doing. FYI - you are done with the reset when the reset is done, you can't stop when your estimated time is over it has to be complete before you leave.

Magazines, books, greeting cards - these are all good places to start also and would be regular consistent work.

Good luck and keep asking questions. There is a lot of jargon used in merchandising that can be foreign to everyone else.
I agree with Cindy55 and soo7mile. If you want to do merchandising, start with the easy stuff. If you can, find a company that is willing to train you. Leave the resets and cut ins for later when you have gotten some experience and know a little more about merchandising. They are not hard as long as you know what you are doing, but to try and do them without knowing what you are doing is going to be extremely frustrating for you.
I am speaking with very very little experience. But I started doing some merchandising because my husband use to do some merchandising and working with planograms as part of his retail experience. He's able to look over the paperwork with me before a job and make sure I understand it. Also, Castforce told me that if my husband applied as one of their contractors, he could go do the work with me even though the job is under my name and he has nothing under his. So, when I was really in a pinch with an overwhelming messy project last week, he came and helped me finish. I'm still not sure I want to do this on a regular basis. Mystery shopping is more fun!
If you get with the right merchandising company, it can be interesting and lucrative. It really helps if you are obsessive. I love to put things in order, so planograms are fun for me. The caveat is that it has to be a company that does realistic, well thought out planograms and instructions. The ones where someone was learning how to create a planogram, and apparently took a hit of crack or 2 to calm their nerves, now those are not fun. How I'm going to put a box that is 15 inches high on a shelf that is only 11 inches high is a wonder.( No sideways or on end setting allowed). Castforce is known for "difficult" programs. It's one of the companies I avoid, too many doomed for failure, or way under timed sets. There are few more out there. The ones that will hire you as a W2 as opposed to a 1099 is usually a clue as to how they treat their merchandisers. I only work for W2 companies now.
It does get easier as you go. You also don't have to type for hours and wonder if your report will be accepted, and, if you will get paid after you do your work.
HDA, Driveline, CPM, Lawrence, Randa, that I have done work for recently. Convergence in some positions. There may be more, I haven't done anything lately for anyone else, so I don't know if they are still hiring W2's or went to 1099's.
With merchandising most of the bigger companies hire employees and do not use IC's. Most of the IC work I have run into is with smaller companies that are bidding on overflow work or smaller POP one time work.

The IC companies I may only hear from a couple times a year while the employee work is the bread and butter regular work.
It might be easier to make a list of the smaller companies that are only IC smiling smiley
Really? I would bet 75% of the calls I get are from companies looking for IC's. My first question to them. "Is this a 1099 or W2 position?" If it is 1099, I say thank you for calling, I no longer accept 1099 work. There seemed to be a surge of companies that went to IC's few years ago. Now it seems the pendulum is swinging back to W2 employees. I guess it is all a matter of where you are located.

I just got a call today for an IC job. No thanks. I'm just so tired of the whole sign up process, especially now with the new and improved * Must be notarized * component. Too much of a hassle! In a small town, you may have to go to 2 or 3 places hoping the notary is still there, not at lunch, not in a house closing. Fax or scan the 9 pages back, re send, they didn't get the stuff the first time. Just too much for a one shot grocery reset. I'm not accepting anything new for the rest of the year. My other job is picking up now, so I'm going to put more time in there. I don't have to put up with the joyous, spirit of the season, lunatic shoppers.
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