A twenty year old company, SewWorld, comprised of six locations in three states, sells sewing machines, sewing related software, and accessories. Each store sells between 3-5 different brands of sewing machines. Currently the stores run independently with separate inventory databases, budgets, and expenses. Because the stores run independent inventory databases, their inventory information is sometimes inaccurate. This leads to a loss of customers who did not want to wait for a product and went elsewhere. Also, when stores share inventory, more times than not, the information is never entered into the independent databases. This results in one store showing a missing item while another store is showing in excess.
Each store has a manager who is responsible for the day-to-day operation of that store and is paid a portion of his/her store's profits. Though there are computers with inventory/sales programs, the managers must mail reports and back-up floppy disks to the corporate office each week to keep inventory, sales, payroll, and commission information up-to-date. Due to this process, some disks are lost in the mail, and inventory, sales, payroll, and commission information is slow to gather and inefficient.
The company sells some of the vendor's products online, but the high-end machines must be sold by a local authorized dealer because they require some amount of training and face-to-face support.
The owner of SewWorld has realized their information system and internal processes creates inaccuracy, loss, inefficiency, and diminished productivity. The owner has decided it's necessary for the success of SewWorldto transition to a professional management team. The owner has hired you to do an analysis regarding SewWorld's information systems and what needs to be done to compete. Your main goal is to bring the information systems' issues in-line. You're also open to accepting a full-time position with SewWorld if the need arises.
SewWorld's current infrastructure may be described as follows:
Each store is equipped with 2-6 microcomputers, used for running an off-the-shelf point of sale (POS) software or responding to e-mail.
All data is stored locally on the microcomputers themselves as no store owns a server.
Stores are not configured with a Local Area Network (LAN) nor are any stores interconnected by a Wide Area Network (WAN).
Each location has one dial-up Internet account and one e-mail address for the store manager.
Where is a good place to research these topics?
1. In terms of hardware, software, databases, telecommunications, and the Internet, what specific recommendations are you prepared to make to Sewtown to improve the speed, accuracy, and reliability of their information system?
2. Specifically, how should SewWorld approach the acquisition and/or development of software?
3. What advantages would your recommendations offer SewWorld? What operational and/or competitive advantages are offered by your recommendations?
4. What disadvantages would your recommendations present to SewWorld? Do you foresee any pitfalls?
Microsoft's Retail Management System is the solution for this case
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This retail ...
Retail Management System for a a twenty year old (fictional) company is proposed.