Rockin Beats is a music store which has two branches located in the United Arab Emirates. One branch is located in Sharjah and the other in Dubai. The Rockin Beats store in Dubai offers:
* Latest titles in pop, rock and dance
* The expanding collection offers over 1000 CD’s including live versions
* CD’s are digitally re-mastered for the best sound
* Reasonable prices and special offers
Rockin Beats has a total staff of 19 who are constantly working to provide the best service. The staff of 19 consists of 6 shop assistants, 1 sales manger, 3 sales staff, 1 accountant and 1 assistant accountant, 1 sound engineer, 1 purchasing manager, 3 cashiers, 1 storekeeper, 1 secretary and the chairman Mr Jason Smith.
In order to investigate the problem with the current system there had to be some research done, which involved interviewing the chairman, Mr Smith and the customers.
Mr Smith, aged 42 has lot of experience in the trade and is constantly trying to make the store more profitable. His main concern seems to be the inefficiency of the system as it’s a manual system. In order to increase the efficiency, the current system will have to be automated. At present, shop assistants are concentrating more on there manual work rather than giving time for customers. An automated system will create friendly customer service and increase the efficiency there by making Rockin Beats a more profitable organisation.
In the current system, when a CD arrives to the store the name of the CD, album name and price are noted down on a sheet and placed in alphabetical order in a filing cabinet, which is placed in the store. When a customer buys a CD, an invoice with the price and album ID, handwritten by the cashier is given to the customer. After the cashier has about ten invoices, the invoices are sent through a shop assistant to the accounts department which takes about 10 minutes. An accountant searches for the sales file in the filing cabinet and writes down the sold CD’s and places the file back in the sales cabinet. The invoices are then passed on to the store keeper who ticks off the CD’s sold on the stock control file and then removes the CD’s from the filing cabinet in the store. Copies of the invoices are stored in another filing cabinet in alphabetical order of the album name.
The store keeper has to constantly refer to the stock control file in order to check that the CD’s are available. When the stocks become low the store keeper calls Mega Star (the local music distributor) and places an order.
If the a customer wants a particular CD and asks a shop assistant to check whether it’s available, he or she will have to refer to the filing cabinet to check if the CD wanted is available. Communications between the two branches are made using the telephone, fax or post.
By the end of each month the sales and cost are calculated manually using a calculator. These calculations are then checked by another accountant to make sure that the figures are correct.
In order to check the effectiveness of this system the customers were interviewed in order to obtain their opinions. Fifty questionnaires with six questions on the important factors of the music store were randomly given out to the customers entering the store. The results from this questionnaire are shown below:
For Question 1 ‘What do you think of our service provided?’
The pie chart above shows that 74% of the people thought that the store needed improvements. From question 2 on the questionnaire, ‘What improvements would you like to see?’, the customers wanted the staff to be quick in searching for CD’s, wanted a service where the CD’s not available could be ordered and more shop assistants to offer help.
Question 3, ‘What do you think about the time taken at the cashier?’
Needs to be faster
Question 4 ‘What do you think about the location of the store?’
Difficult to access
Question 5 was ‘If you chose difficult to access, where would your preferred location be?’ For this question Dubai was the preferred location to the customers as 44 customers (88%) thought that the store was easily accessible.
The last question was about the parking facility, ‘What do you think about the parking at the store?’
Need more spaces
The bar chart above shows that 46 customers (92%) think that the parking facilities are good. So this factor will not have to be considered as the customers are pleased with it.
The results from the questionnaire show that a greater number of people want the check out process to be quicker. This means that the new system should contain a faster check out process, faster search facilities and the service of ordering music. The location of the store and parking facilities are fine according to the customers.
The current system seems to contain a great deal of problems, which are:
* Prone to errors as there are lot of human involvements
* Information is stored in filing cabinets, making queries difficult
* Processes are very time consuming and inefficient
* Calculations have to be double-checked
* Difficult to keep back up copies
* Filing cabinets can get unorganised leading to errors and wastage of time
Data Flow of the current system
The hardware in the current system is a calculator, a typewriter and filing cabinets. These are very old and inefficient types of hardware used for processing and storing information. This system needs to be computerised in order to make it efficient and organised.
A database can be used to create a system which is easy to understand, which means the staff wouldn’t require much training, a basic knowledge in computers would be enough. Carrying out tasks on the data stored in the database would be easier and quicker. The system could also be made more secure by adding a password. Back up copies of the data can be stored in case the system crashes.
Computerising the system will also mean that communications between the two branches and Mega Star (the local music distributor) will be much faster due to the use of the Internet. Methods such as E-mail, internet telephony and video-conferencing can be used to communicate.
There are a few disadvantages in computerising the system as follows:
* The initial cost of setting up the system will be high
* Use of the internet will make the system insecure as hackers can get into areas with sensitive data
* Danger of virus spreading throughout the whole organisation.
* Elimination of certain jobs.
The advantages of computerising the system are far greater than the disadvantages, which means that a certain tasks will have to be performed on the system, which are:
1. Enter all data in filing cabinets into the database. E.g. Album name, artist, genre, year, etc.
2. Create a query to find a particular CD.
3. Create forms for tables so that data can be entered easily.
4. Create an invoice so that the cashiers only have to enter certain information such as album ID, album name, artist/band and price.
5. Create a form for customer comments. E.g. if a customer wants a particular CD, he or she can place an order through this form.
6. Making the system simple and user friendly so that a person with a moderate knowledge of IT can use it.
The program which I will use to create the database and perform the tasks is Microsoft Access. This database will be created for users with moderate skills. The users should be able to carry out queries, add entries and making sure that the system is up-to-date. The shop assistants should check the customer comments daily in order to get the required CD’s in time for the customers. When the requested CD’s have arrived, the entries for those CD’s in the customer comments must be deleted and new entries should be made in the tables. The storekeeper must check the invoices daily to make sure that stocks are available.
When using Microsoft Access the computers must have certain features to run the program efficiently. These are the hardware specifications:
* Pentium III, 700 MHz terminals (each with 128 MB RAM)
* Flat screen monitors – for use with the store by shop assistants and cashiers.
* Normal Monitors – for use in departments.
* Main server (with 100 GB) – networks all the terminals so that they can access the database.
* 3.5″ floppy drives
* CD-ROM drives
* Printers – used for printing receipts and used by other departments such as the accounts department for keeping hardcopies of information.
* Modems – used for connecting to the internet to get information on CD’s.
The software requirements are:
* MS Access 2002
* Windows XP
In order to maintain the efficiency and standard of Rockin Beats, certain procedures have to be followed when performing tasks:
* All documents of the company must contain the letterhead, address, telephone number and date.
* Password must be alphanumeric. This reduces the chances of being hacked.
* The password must be changed every month to reduce the risk of hacking.
* The customer comments form must be checked everyday in order to get the music wanted by the customer as soon as possible.
* The anti-virus software must be up dated every two months to reduce the risk of new viruses entering.
* When downloading information or software from the internet the 2 stand alone computers must be used. If a virus enters only the computer being used will be damaged, not the entire network.
* The system must be backed up every month, in case of a system failure and information is lost.
* Database must be updated as soon as new CD’s arrive.
* On the table ‘Other Information on CD’s’, in the field ‘Year’ the validation rule must be changed in the month of December of each year. E.g. the current validation rule is that data entered must be “Between 1960 And 2002”. In December this year it should be changed to “Between 1960 And 2003”.