William’s Hardware Stores (WHS)
William owns WHS with six stores in Australia, selling a range of hardware and timber products including paint, power tools, hand tools, gardening materials, and building and plumbing materials. He has been in this business for more than 20 years and has loyal customers, who purchase hardware and timber products regularly because of the quality products and expert advice provided by his staff. Due to fierce competition from major hardware chains, William has seen a big drop in overall sales in the last couple of years. As each store stocks more than 45,000 products, it has become a big challenge to identify the products in demand and the required stock levels for each product at his stores. William has been using a manual system to record stock levels. All this time, William didn’t think about adopting an information system to support his business due to the costs involved. Also he did not realise the benefits of information systems until he recently attended a seminar about Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, which explained the benefits businesses can reap with information technology.
WHS has two types of customers, Business customers and Walk-in customers. Business customers are given a 20% discount on every purchase. Whereas, walk-in customers are offered a 10% voucher on future purchases. Regardless of the type, the customer’s first & last name, address (no, street, city, state and post code), contact numbers (phone, fax, mobile, etc.), customer type and multiple email addresses are noted. In addition to these details, offered voucher codes, business or walk-in customer ID and discount% for business customers are noted.
WHS customers generally place orders over the phone or visit the store to place orders for different hardware/timber products. In exceptional circumstances customers will be allowed to fax in or mail the orders. WHS gained the reputation of maintaining a huge variety, big brands and supplying the goods within a reasonable amount of time (1 to 2 days in most cases). Every order includes details such as customer, order id, order date, and the products required.
According to WHS, they wish to record details of all the hardware and timber products (Product ID, Product name, Month and year of manufacture, manufacturer, Warranty details, quantity in stock, price) they sell along with the manufacturers details (manufacturer id, manufacturer’s name, local contact name, Address, street, city, post code, contact numbers, email id and manufacturer’s web address). At the moment WHS has warehouses in four different locations where all their products are stocked. William believes that there is no need to stock every product in every warehouse unless they are in high demand and popular. He also wishes to record warehouse details such as warehouse id, full address, email id and contact numbers in the proposed system, as this information would help him understand which products are stocked in different warehouses.
Business customers may place orders several times each month as the need arises. However, WHS sends an invoice to customers once in every month for all the orders placed in that previous month. Invoices are usually prepared and sent out on the first working day of every month and include details such as id, date and amount ($). Customers are expected to pay the invoice within 7 working days. Customers can make the payment by cash, credit card, cheque, etc. Once the payment is received, the customer is sent a receipt. The receipt identifies the invoice for which payment has been received, date of payment and total amount paid.
William is keen to use the technology and adopt an ERP system with the help of an ERP consultant (you) to record their customers’ details, products they sell, orders they received, etc. He believes that a computerised system will not only help him to record the transactions easily, but also help him to generate reports to understand which customers have placed orders each month, list of customers living in different suburbs and other states, more profitable customers (customers who purchased most products), which customers didn’t place any orders in the last week/month/year, popular products, average monthly orders, etc.
For this assessment, you will develop a report for WHS, which includes:
- An argument to persuade management that an ERP is required,
- An abridged feasibility analysis,
- Issues that may arise due to incomplete elicitation of requirements and misalignment between the business processes and organisational strategy
- Risks associated with BPR and ERP customisation
- Current business processes
- Proposed changes to the business processes
Persuade management that an ERP is required. Your argument should consider at least:
- The reason for organisational change,
- Alignment of an ERP with the organisation’s goals.
- Benefits and limitations of cloud based ERPs in the context of this organisation, and
- The organisational commitment, especially from management, for this organisation.
Remember that there is no right answer or recommendation. Successful arguments can be made for many options. Your task is to present a persuasive and argumentative piece of writing in report form. From your research and discussions in the report, you are expected to draw and justify your own conclusions.
For this assessment, you are required to use academic literature to support and illustrate your report. It is important that you look at how issues and potential problems inter-relate and explain the linkages in order to present the risks/issues. It is up to you to explain and justify why the risks/issues you identify may be a problem. Use literature to develop your recommendations for strategies or actions that can avoid or mitigate the risks. Be aware that it may not be possible to avoid or mitigate all risks.
Your audience are non-technical. However, you can assume your readers are intelligent people who understand business arguments. Remember that there is no single right answer that will address all risks and recommendations. It is your choice to nominate which of the risks you believe are the most critical and it is up to you to select the most appropriate mitigation strategies for your recommendations. You will be assessed on your ability to persuade the reader, so it is essential that you develop factual and logical arguments in your risk and recommendation justifications.
Your report should include the following:
- Title page
- Executive summary
- Table of contents
- Discussion (use suitable headings and sub-headings)
- Recommendations and Conclusion
You must use trade and academic literature to inform and support your report. A minimum of 10 references (sources published 2012 or later) are required, at least 5 of which must be from academic sources (journal, conference or edited book chapter papers).
What you should submit:
You are required to submit your report as a Microsoft Word document.
In week 3, you should introduce yourself and know each other, so that you can join a group by week 4 to work on Assessments 2 and 3. If you have a genuine problem and you are unable to participate in a group, you can apply for permission from the Tutor of your class in week 3.
– Include the names and student ID of your group members when you submit your assessment.
– All group members are required to submit the same report through the Moodle submission link.
– All group members will receive the same mark.