Strategic Business Area to Improve through IT.
The most important aspect of the haircutting business model that can be improved in UMUC Haircut situation has to be customers (customer demand). The entire profit model revolves around two truth. The first is that people want to come get haircuts here at UMUC. Second, these customers will be repeat customers at a rate that facilitates profit. In order to meet both of these goals for profit the use of a comprehensive scheduling tool is needed to both benefit customers and manage employees. A cloud-based open schedule application allows for simple transparency and has a secondary feature of using old scheduling data to form a more profitable business model. Being able to have a constantly evolving schedule provides the perfect amount of flexibility for Myra Morningstar.
To best apply information technology to the scheduling problem a robust program will be developed. This programs first major feature is that it will be cloud based. So for a 7 day work week there will be open hourly blocks that can be filled with customer appointments. These blocks are of course able to be filled at the main counter on the central computer in the system but can also be filled via the web. Customers will be able to submit request for blocks which will be approved by management. At the same time, in the same program these blocks will correspond to individual chairs, in the sense that the chair represents an available stylist being able to perform the styling or cut. This program will be real time so that everyone is one the same page. Ultimate control will fall on Myra Morningstar. The program will run through the UMUC Haircut website.
IT Infrastructure Requirements
Services- Myra and staff will be required to learn and manage this program. Although not overly complicated it will require dedication of use to be successful. It will be tempting to use the paper scheduling method but this will need to be cut out. The initial construction of the program and subsequent upgrades to the program will be the work of a clever programer for hire and should not require constant technical support.
Hardware- Any internet connected device will be able to access to the program. It would be a sound investment to have a small command terminal or server inside the store able to handle backing up this data constantly and allows a level of redundancy. (To both handling the data and backing it up)
Software- A application will have to be purchased or designed to facilitate this online scheduling. An example of a pre-existing software package would be Appointment-plus, this service already includes customer self-booking.
Telecommunications- A high-speed internet connection will be required at all times so that the program can communicate changes back and forth at all times. This need can be handled by fiber-optic or a dsl network from a local provider. Most of the information here will be data.
Facilities- The main desk computer station will be the facility for housing the center server. This software, if uniquely designed for UMUC Haircuts will be entirely in-house but if a generic version it is applied it will be managed from that companies facility.
How Online Scheduling will Improve the Process.
As UMUC Haircut conducts business now there is no single method for managing both employee staffing times and customer appointments. Customers have to come in or use the phone to schedule an appointment or come for a walk in unsure of availability. This new program will allow for the front desk, all the stylist, and customers to access the scheduling tool at all times. This will stream line the process of getting into a chair and cut down on the almost guess method of scheduling employees.
Online Scheduling Impact on Generic Strategy.
The generic strategy goal that is strived for at every step in this process is Broad Market/High Value-to-Cost Ratio. With an affective online scheduling tool more customers will be able to access appointment opportunities that fit their schedule. This gives them the ability to plan ahead. at the same time the scheduling application also cuts down on the hours that stylist are getting paid even though there are no appointments. Being able to cut down on these wasted hours will make the cost drop which will indirectly rase the Value Ratio. Reaching more people online, at a cheaper price will be the driving force to adopt an online solution for scheduling.
Schmidt, M. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.businesscaseanalysis.com/business.html