Information Management System at a Local Book Store
- Introduce the context: the small business company introduction, its products, markets, and mission.
The business analyzed here is a local book store that has various sections of stationery for individual customers, business customers and toy section that serves the customers of young age. The store has expanded its products line and its space to accommodate more products and serve various markets.
The bookstore has various product lines including the books, stationery, wood carvings, gifts including perfumes, men and women accessories, candles and other items as well as toys. The books section has various genres including Sci-Fi, horror, mystery, Young Adult, coloring, fiction current affairs, history and children books.
The markets that bookstore serve includes readers, children, business and individual seeking books for school and other for recreation. The bookstore serve the market for specific schools as well for which it serves specific uniforms and books set including complete course for every grade. The latest edition of the bookstore is the printing and composing section with toys that are for young and teens both. The composing and printing section is becoming popular in the recent weeks because of the colleges and schools that are nearby.
The bookstore has the mission to further grown in the coming years and serves more school and colleges in terms of their specific uniforms and books course. The bookstore also aims to create a section for maps and history related items in the future. The customer reach in this regard needs to be improved since the bookstore has expanded its actions it requires more and more customers and sales to promote its products and make sure the products generate sufficient sales to successfully continue working in the expansion process.
- Discuss the problems with its current information processing abilities – analyze whether it is inadequate in satisfying computing requirements, misaligned with firm strategy, not cost effective etc.
Current information processing abilities
The current formation processing abilities of the bookstore are mostly manual. The suppliers though have better database systems and the bookstore is looking for more reasonable sales options in bulk products to place on bookstore shelves, the strategy of maintaining data manually is not effectively supporting the aims.
The current information processing system also lacks the ability to find error in sales. Though the sales receipt is generated for few sections including the gifts and toys through system, they are still required to be out manually into the registers because the calculations of the rest of the system and section are done manually. This causes errors in final count and sometimes even gives the employees the leverage to show lose and earn illegally in such a big store.
The owners, who are three brothers, are on the store simultaneously and sometimes one at a time. This causes confusion of authority for the system that is why the system has not been installed in the data base and cash out but the brothers have started to notice that they need more and more loss to cover in the recent weeks while there have been sufficient sales going on.
The problems with the current technology setup in the bookstore are given as follow
- The system is poorly arranged and updated which means the financial and inventory matters are handled manually. This will be impossible with the growing sections of products and services the bookstore offers.
- The financial system shows losses that can now be traced since the sales and check out are all done manually and without an entry in the system.
- The system and the overall process of the bookstore is not monitored and cannot be in the given situation since the owners do not have the system to locate each transaction and held the particular employee responsible.
- Customers are seeking other bookstores that are offering books and other products sale online. The system of the bookstore has manually created a database that can be linked with the website and establish an online system that will help generate more sales and satisfy customers as well.
- Since there is no online ordering system, other bookstore with facility to online purchase and home delivery are recording more sales than the discussed bookstore.
- The promotions of the new products are mainly done within the bookstore through posters and other items. There are no promotions being done in the system and online.
- Develop and justify your proposed IT strategy. What new technologies should be introduced? What applications would they support, and who would use them to do what differently?
Following are the proposed solutions to help resolve the issues mentioned above. These solutions collectively will help business achieve its goals and expand its customer market and business further.
- Database for all products and items in each section
The bookstore needs to create a database of all the items that are available at the store and are specialty of it. Such items should be given a unique id according to the items section where they belong so it is easy to track an item from the database codes. The database is not an expansive investment since the entire database system can be easily maintained using free software like access and excel from Microsoft.
- Monitoring system through check out and sales
The monitoring of the sales should be conducted which means that all the sales and the investor balance should be monitored by the owners who keep track of the sales and how much money is received against the transaction to make sure no hidden money is put into loss and eventually becomes an expenses to the business. The checkout should be linked with the database to deduct the number of product that are sold out and main the inventory by the end of the day.
- Online ordering system
The online ordering system can be introduced through the web site that is an effective investment. When the webs it is linked with the database and al the products currently available at the bookstore are viewed by the user online they can easily place and order providing their address and contacts. This should be linked with the active system at the bookstore for which the bookstore will need a professional to maintained the orders and make sure they are being delivered at promised time.
The online system will promote the products that are easily browsed through the database and the users do not even have to visit to the store saving them cost and time of visits. The more and more users prefer buying online because they did not wish to waste their time. Also it is easier to introduce products when they are being demanded by the customers. Through online system the users can also place recommendations and orders for future products that cane b bought in whole sale and then sold offline and online.
- Keeping track of sales and inventory and clients
The system and the online system will all be linked with the database that will help keep track of the inventory and the sales. This will help both in the stocks maintenance and financial management. No hidden money transfer will be done and the sales conducted by each of the employee will become the customer’s recipe that can be claimed and reported in system with each transaction.
- Promotion of products online
The promotion of the products can be done through website and the users can also be kept in touch through other means of social media and emails. This way the users will be exposed more and more to the products and the attractive prices will help increase the sales. The promotion in this case will be done free and accurately towards the customers who are actual part of the customer market and which to buy in future. This way the brand strength of the business can be achieved and the products can be promoted to attract more suppliers (Caldbeck, 2012).
- Price Estimation
The pricing option in the current solution is that the bookstore hires an individual who is good at computers and database management. The debates should be developed and connected with the website to help maintain the transactions and inventory system. This is expensive that the next pricing solution because in this case the professional will be paid month for services.
The next pricing solution is that the business hires the services of the consultancy firm to help develop the website and the database. They offer life time maintenance and upgrade n minimal cost when required. In such case there will be only one time investment made on system development. No monthly payments will be required and the system will be upgraded when needed. In such case the control of the system will be in owner’s hand.
The books store seeks of the cost effective mean and the proper investment is ready for the bookstore to be applied to develop a better sales and inventory system. Hence the bookstore should hire a professional to deal with the database development and web management, the professional ill help the day to day update of the system and the website as well as the reporting on inventory. The bookstore since is growing and expanding in the new few years will requires their own in house professionals to deal with glitches and issues.
Caldbeck, R. (2012, September 18). 5 Essentials of Small Business Investing. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryancaldbeck/2012/09/18/5-essentials-of-small-business-investing/#1086526c39bc