This chapter contains a discription of the various methods to be used to gather information from the client and customer in other to meet up to the requirement provided when developing the system for the client and others problems assoiciated with the current system. On the completion of this chapter, various requirement will be gathered and analysed and based on these requirement, the system will be developed.
ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE OF WELLCARE SHOPPING MALL
The mall management is a hierarchal top-to-bottom clear cut system that has clearly defined boundaries. The shopping management follows the standard four-level management levels (Top, Middle, Low and Operational Management Levels). The system is described in full below.
TOP LEVEL MANAGEMENT: This level of management, being the pinnacle in every organization is made up of CEO, and Managing Director’s Board Meetings are held monthly and the mall’s monthly profit rankings are discussed among other issues pertaining to the store. At the Board meetings, long range plans for the store are drawn up, and are then broadcast into the store by the Manager’s then to other departments in the store.
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MIDDLE LEVEL MANAGEMENT: The Manager’s of the mall has people under him (he represents the Board of Trustees at the store) who implement the long range plans that the Board has set out to achieve for the store. By breaking up the plans into more realistic year or monthly plans, and dividing the objectives among the departments, the managers also at this level oversees the affairs of the mall. Listed here are the Middle Level Management level personnel at the store: Human Resource Manager, Facilities Manager, Store Manager, Purchase Manager, Sales Manager, Finance Manager, and Front Office Manager.
LOW LEVEL MANAGEMENT : For the smooth day-to-day running of the hotel, the managers of each department put in place supervisors, team leaders, group leaders to watch and oversee the actions being carried out daily by the operational level staff. Some of the personnel at this level actually work along with the operational level, but cannot be classified with the operational level because of their level of information and access.
OPERATIONAL LEVEL MANAGEMENT: The personnel at this level are the staffs responsible for the day-to-day implementation of the hotel’s objectives. Sales personnel, cleaners, Store clerks, Drivers, Sales marketer, Security officers, and Store clerks all fall under this category.
An organizational chart showing the various levels of management at the mall is shown on the next page.
The listings of fact-finding techniques are as follows:
Interviews: Of all the techniques employed this is considered the most effective for obtaining information due to its flexible nature as interviewees are able to give proper clarification where such is required and more detail is easily obtainable using this method. Therefore in order to gain a wholesome grasp on the working of the current system certain staff and customers of the store were selected since the customers are the ones to be affected by the project it was necessary to obtain their opinions. Interviews allow us to study the reactions of the interviewees and judge if their responses are unbiased and knowledgeable. Much relevant information was obtained from the interviews conducted with the staff of the store. However this process was carried out over the internet as arranged by the client.
Questionnaires: The purpose of distributing questionnaires is to obtain a broader scope of the operations of a store from the views of both the staff and customers of the store. Due to the fact that the staff of the store are numerous it is cumbersome to attempt to interview all of them but it is necessary to ensure that a good number of staff participate in the exercise. It is also not possible to interview all the customers of the store but it is necessary to obtain a broad base of input from the customer because they are the ones to utilize the software which will be designed. Due to these constraints the only technique available is to fill the stated requirements by distributing questionnaires to the various respondents. Since most of the questions in the questionnaires have a restricted set of answers the information obtained using this method is generally more precise.
Observation: The purpose of observing at first hand the shopping operations of the store is to get as much personalized information as possible by discovering what is actually happening as opposed to what is supposed to happen. In conducting interviews and surveys it is possible that respondents might not be entirely forthcoming with the true answers but by observing what is actually going on, direct fact will be gathered from the shopping process.
DESCRIPTION OF THE CURRENT SYSTEM
HOW THE CURRENT SYSTEM WORKS
Based on the facts gathered from our facts finding process, the current manual based shopping system being operated by wellcare shopping mall Abuja can be summarized as follows:
There are two main purpose why customers comes into the store that come; the first type of customers are those who want to find information about a product, while the second type of customers are those that want to purchase a product. The current system does have arrangements for both types of customers.
MAKING AN ENQUIRY FOR A PRODUCT
When customers walks into the store and want to make enquiry about a particular product, the customer then walk up to the shopping attendants to make enquiries.
If the enquire is something that can be immediately treated (e.g. the description of a particular product), the shopping clerk can handle on the spot without consulting her subordinates or superiors.
If however the customer wants to find out things that exceed the jurisdiction of the clerk, it is mandated for her to refer the customer to the front office manager who then handles the case, and since this also exceeds the boundaries of the shopping system.
PURCHASING A PRODUCT
Customer who purchase a product in wellcare shopping mall are put through five (3) process that make up the current shopping system. The first process involves customer searching for a products and adding searched products to the shopping basket. These can only be done by searching for products based on product categories in the store.
The second process involves the customer paying for the product and specifying the means of payment. Two main modes are encouraged. These means are: payment by cash and payment by cheques.
The third process is simply printing out the shopping receipt for the customer. The shopping receipt will contain fields which include Product Number, Product Name, quantity, amount paid and method of payment. The customer checks in the next day if the payment mode is cash, or two days after if the payment mode is by cheque.
Based on these facts gathered from our facts finding process, the current manual based shopping system being operated by the wellcare shopping mall in Abuja can be somewhat summarized and represented in a process modeling diagram to illustrate or show how the current system works.
Description of the current system using Data Flow Diagram (DFD)
Below is a Data Flow Diagram that shows the physical information flow within the current system at the context level.
The basic organization structure is decentralized control. By referring to the Context Diagram (see Figure 1), we can see the current system is constituted of the main SHOPPING SYSTEM interacting with three entities; Customer, Bank and the Store Information System.
The customer is every person that comes to the shop regarding shopping and product enquiry. Whether it is to make enquires, or to buy a product, or to pay for a product.
Mall Information System
This Refers to the front desk and customer services section of the store. Information regarding the store is kept in store information system.
When customers opt to pay by cheque, the store sends the cheque details to the bank for verification and the cash is then sent back to the store database.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE GENERAL SYSTEM PROCESSES
From the Context Diagrams, we can see that the current shopping system has 3 main entity:
Shopping information system and below is an ER (Entity Relation Diagram for the current shopping system).
PROBLEMS OF THE CURRENT HOTEL RESERVATION SYSTEM
IT IS TIME CONSUMING
With the current shopping system a lot of time is required to go through the shopping process even for regular shopping customers. It takes customer time to search for product category by category especially if the customer.
IT IS TEDIOUS
In the current system is very tedious and stressful for both the sales representatives and customer because of the queues often encountered in trying to pay for a product in the mall. The morale of the front office staff is usually reduced after a full days’ work as they are likely to feel fatigued.
IT IS NOT AUTOMATED
The current system requires constant supervision and personnel presence to run effectively. The absence of this (supervision) hinders the system and wades off prospective customers as well as taints the reputation of the store. However, the problem involved here is that more attention is given to the shopping process and other areas are neglected because the staff required to manage them are supervising others.
THE CUSTOMER HAS LIMITED OPTIONS
Here the customers does not get adequate information regarding different product and other important information, as a result these the store might loose their prospective customers.
The current system has many flaws in its implementation. Flaws such as over out of stock of products, number of product supplied, poor defined specifications, poor documentation. Most of these are caused by the human factors that implement the system.
TAKES UP SPACE
Data is usually stored in hard copies( in filing cabinets) thus requiring valuable office space:- Since the current system makes use of office files and filing cabinet to store records of product, suppliers and staff, a lot of space is required to accommodate large volume of these records.
With the current system, records and other important information are prone to theft, unauthorized manipulation and lose due to fire. These files can even be easily accessed by unauthorized people.
IT IS COST INTENSIVE
The current system requires lots of funds to maintain its smooth operation due to the purchase of paper, stationeries, filing cabinets, phone bills, e.t.c
LIMITED CONTROL OVER PURCHASED ITEMS
The current system makes it difficult/tedious for the customers to have control over purchased product for example returning and asking for refunds for an already purchased product.
SOLUTION TO PROBLEMS OF CURRENT SYSTEM
RE: IT IS TIME CONSUMING
The proposed system aims to achieve a record time of 3-6 minutes for registered customers and 6-10 minutes for new customers depending on the customer shopping items. Also, with the customer account module running, the customer need not submit his details every time, he just supplies his user ID and his details are automatically uploaded.
RE: IT IS TEDIOUS
Since the number of customers to come to the sales would reduce, front office staff fatigue is less likely to occur, and as a result, the morale towards work of the staff would increase. Also, the customers would not have to go through the burden of queuing to lodge.
RE: IT IS NOT AUTOMATED
The proposed system would be developed in simple everyday language, thus making it simple for any body that can read and use a computer to book a room online. Also, staff supervision is not required for the receptionists and other front office staff, this is because the customer details are simply uploaded to the computer in the hotel, and can be opened by a simple mouse click.
RE: THE CUSTOMER HAS LIMITED OPTIONS
The new system would not only have information concerning the new system, it would make it possible for the customers to ask questions online and have their answers mailed to them. Thus making the enquiry process easy and increasing customer satisfaction.
The new system is computer based and thus the issue of human factor does not come up. The computer works with the principle GIGO (Garbage-In-Garbage-Out) which means the computer only supplies what the user had given before.
RE: TAKES UP SPACE
Since the new system is computer based, space requirement would be a very trivial issue because files would be stored in your computer hard disk. This means there is no need to have physical storage locations.
RE: DATA INSECURITY
In the proposed system, data security is very important as access specifiers would be made available at virtually every level of information.
RE: IT IS COST INTENSIVE
Since the system is computer based, the only form of paperwork needed would be printing sales report at the end of every month, which is normal and nothing compared to the tedious paper work which currently is being used. The computerization thereby means that the hotel would no longer have to budget so much money for provision of stationary anymore.
RE: LIMITED CONTROL OVER RESERVATION
The proposed system provides the customers the flexibility to control their reservations. Customers can modify their reservation at any point before the check in time. They can even cancel reservations without loosing their money as opposed to the current system where the customer looses 50% if he/she does not lodge.
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