Case study -- Blooming with Technology
The use of information technology is needed by every industry size and type of business. Small businesses can realize the positive effects through adopting technology. However, small businesses often do not have the resources and expertise of large corporations to implement information technology strategies. However, the benefits of technology for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are just as crucial to business operations and strategy.
Consider Four Seasons Greenhouse and Nursery, located in Colorado. This small nursery was like many other small businesses and garden centers. They used manual registers to track and maintain its inventory as well as determine which products were realizing the most profit. The profits from the nursery were either "negligible" or a loss. They did not have access to useful operational data to effectively manage their business. For example, they did not track or review the margins of individual products. However, they believed that they needed to do something different for their $1M business operation.
Enter a new point-of-sale system (POS) in 2008. The system allowed the owners to track useful business data from the sales transactions immediately at the time of the sale; eliminating the need for tracking sales manually. The system processes and stores data from the sale while updating the inventory as well as compiling a sales history. This eliminates reliance on manual entry of sales transactions and reduction of inventory units for the items sold. POS systems provide much more than a cash register. These systems provide more robust functionality in inputting, tracking, and distributing data to provide useful information to operate and manage the business.
Accurate inventory data maintained by the POS helped with decision making. Decisions on how many units of a product to order were no longer based on speculation about current inventory units. Now, accurate inventory counts eliminate the guesswork on how much to order, helping the business to operate on leaner inventory units. The system's reporting can provide the detail transactions for an inventory item, such as how many were purchased, discarded, and sold.
The implementation of a POS system also confirmed that the owners did not know as much about their business as they thought they did. As they reviewed reports from the new system, they saw that some products were less profitable than they thought. The more detailed cost reporting by item helped them to understand which products contributed the most profit to the operation. Their new perspective of the "real costs" provided the opportunity to shift production to the higher-profit items, thereby gaining more profit. Prior to implementing the POS system, they simply did not have the time to approach this level of decision making. Knowledge of their detailed product costs helps them to price products more profitably. Price changes can be implemented temporarily (for a promotion) or permanently and still remain within acceptable product margins. The accurate and timely reporting of this information assists them to be more effective managers of their business operations. The ability of the system to process sales, inventory, and purchasing transactions immediately reduces the need for data entry of paper information. The time savings can be used for managing the business rather than mundane clerical functions. The new system has expanded Four Seasons' management control over employee schedules to review and allocate labour expenses to specific departments and functions. An additional benefit allows the owners to delegate more responsibility to the staff and establish accountability. Instead of the owners establishing goals, they provide the system's data and ask staff to submit their sales goals for the next reporting period. Ultimately, the information technology system creates a solid infrastructure to process and report the businesses operations for the entire enterprise. The garden centre is an excellent example of how technology can realize benefits for a business. The ability for organizations to remain competitive and agile is crucial. These systems allow organizations large and small to leverage business data to gain a competitive advantage and operational efficiency.
Source: Jones, R. (2011, May). Garden Center 2.0. Today's Garden Center, 8, 14-16. Assessment Criteria (Individual Assignment 25%)
1. Introduction: Clear statement of purpose, clarity of methods and assumptions; systematic approach to project. 2. Use of resources: Application of relevant course concepts, tools and frameworks use of evidences, engagement with the literature.
Balanced coverage of each of the important points,
Richness of analysis;
Flow of ideas;
Validity of objectives,
Use of own insight and originality;
Feasibility of recommendations and implementation consideration
4. Organization and Presentation: Clarity of structure, quality of presentation, style and readability. Title page, Table of contents, List of abbreviations and/or glossary, Executive summary/abstract, Introduction, Body, Conclusion Recommendations, Bibliography, Appendices
5. Citation practice: Appropriate citation of sources and evidences used. 5 25
POS system has become a key component of successful business operations helping the companies to gain competitive advantage. In relation to the current case study of Four Seasons Greenhouse and Nursery, there is an analysis related to POS system is conducted and presented in the following sections.
There are following advantages and disadvantages of POS System (“Justin Guinn”, 2018)
|Register screen||This is a standard monitor screen which displays product database. IT enables different functions, such as employee clock-in and sales reports view. It makes an ease to use the system.|
|Barcode scanner||This is the advantage of POS that hardware has Automated the checkout process. As by scanning barcodes, product info is pulled and will be added to the checkout total. During barcodes scanning, products details may also be integrated with inventory management.|
|Credit card reader||Its and advantage because if retailers does not have the standard payment system then the business may suffer due to fraud. Credit card reader provides secure medium of payments.|
|Receipt printer||Prints of the customer sales can be provided instead of Email and text receipts, Which will give an immediate snapshot of the customer sales.|
Apart from above merits there are certain demerits of POS systems like:
As POS is all related to the technology enhanced in so first important thing to understand is Software options available and its requirements. These requirements include Software Components meaning two deployment methods are there for common software development. These are:
Further, there are certain ways by which POS system help to gain business. Here the first way is that POS maintains accurate inventory data which helps in decision making which in turn gain the competitive advantages. Further its accurate inventory also eliminate guess work and provides the real cost of everything which in turn helps to calculate the real gain (“Quorion”, 2018)
Having centralized database, there are following advantages.
This is the advantage of POS that software are already available of the need bases if we want to have system which needs no internet access can opt for On-Premise and if needed for internet connectivity Cloud-Based can be used. As it was not easier for “Four Seasons Greenhouse and Nursery “ to maintain the large sales d manually and it was effecting their $1M business so they decided to do something better to handle the situation. So centralized database helped them grow.
POS facilitates decision-making. . Decisions on how many units of a product to order were no longer based on speculation about current inventory. POS process business activities more effectively because of accurate inventory counts, guesswork on order quantity is helping the business to operate on leaner inventory units. This information cannot be tracked manually so effectively because it will be too much paper work also will not be able to maintain. There are following types of questions which can be answered
Information can better be use to order the new stock and to maintain the database of the real cost of products and the gains.
POS (Point Of Sale System was introduced in 2008. It is defined as “A point of sale system is a combination of software and hardware that allows merchants to take transactions and simplify key day-to-day business operations.” By Yamarie Grullon, manager of content strategy at ShopKeep. The POS system can communicate to each other via POS-server which is available in LAN(Local Area Network), if the POS PC systems has a support of TCP/IP or UDP data transfer protocols. WAN (Wide Area Network) is a network of computers, which is used to exchange information over long distances. It is required when you want to connect within several countries or even worldwide. It is larger than a LAN. Types of media can be any wireless or wired technology for both types of networks. LAN and WAN. But wireless technologies are recommended as follows:
Wireless – There are following wireless POS available in market
AccuPOS provides a wide range of POS systems for retailers and restaurants both.
2. NCR Silver
NCR provides a full-fledged wireless POS system for the iOS platform, with compatible terminal software for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.
It was known as Deploid initially. Signage.biz works for the retail and restaurant industry (“Quorion”, 2018).
There are following risks with POS system like Software and Network Weaknesses where Most of the POS problems come due to drop of network as many times network is not secure. Hackers can get into the network and can steal the information such as customer’s credit card numbers other business account details, which will hamper all three factors security, privacy of customer and confidentiality of the business. If software is up-to-date then also it is vital. That’s why companies keep releasing patches and improvements for their existing software so that such type of threats can be handled. So there is a need to be updated always. Finally, there are three POS System Security Risks You Need to Recognize. These are device faults and other threats. Under device faults most of the time even if the network is secured; devices needed to be secured too. Guard your computers and tablets with a passcode (“Tallysoft”, 2016). Further under other threats as cybercrime is growing day by day and become more sophisticated and malicious. Even if it is unfortunate but still all companies has to face it. Security in secure access-becomes more important for wireless data communication than wired communication (Christopher, 2018).