* Background of Business
My database is going to be about a pet shop. It is called “Paws’n’Claws”. It is a large pet shop with many breeds of different species. It is not a chain but has one large store that is 14000 square meters of floor space over two floors and employs 180 staff for a range of jobs including pet care, stacking shelves, working the till, assisting employees, filing or managing. It is located in South West London. The pet shop has members with different levels of membership. They receive a percentage discount on certain discount on certain pet shop accessories. The pet shop sells a range of animals plus breeds and crossbreeds of those animals. It also sells accessories that are adapted especially for each animal breed and size. If you buy a pet and become a member at that point you get percentage discounts for every accessory that is adapted especially for that animal.
* The System
When somebody comes in to buy a pet in the shop they choose the pet and that pet has a price which they pay at the cash register. Some pets have mandatory accessories that are needed to keep the pet in a safe environment so they will be sold with the animal. At this point the customer is asked whether they are a member and if not whether they would like to subscribe and become a member. There are three types of memberships: bronze, silver and gold. Bronze membership is free and will achieve an immediate 5% discount with any items bought with that transaction and also on certain lines of products in the future. Silver membership costs 1.99 and achieves an immediate 10% discount with any items bought with that transaction and also on certain lines of products in the future. It also allows the member to get 1% of their transaction price back per purchase that is put on their card and they can later use the credit in the shop. Gold membership costs 4.99 and achieves an immediate 25% discount with any items bought with that transaction plus 5% of their transaction price back per purchase that is put on their card and they can later use the credit in the shop. The discounts would be deducted at the cash register and the customer would pay by cash, credit or debit card.
The customer would be given the relevant membership card if they choose to subscribe. The membership card would contain the data of what they have bought and the animal accessories they have the right to a discount on. This information would be kept on a chip in the card and could be read by the shop’s card reader. This piece of equipment cannot be used by all staff because of lack of training. Some pets require regular check ups and those customers will be informed of that after the transaction has taken place and the regular check ups will either take place at the home of the customer or on the store grounds, this is the decision of the customer. The shop records are all kept in paper copies in the form of receipts and records of purchases, memberships and pet check ups. These records are made by filing staff but an immediate record must also be made by the till staff. All records must be kept due to tax requirements, mandatory pet shop requirements from the NPSA (National Pet Shop Association) and also just for personal shop records.
* Drawbacks of the Current System
One drawback of the current system is that members of staff require a lot of training to be able to remember the species and all the implications that come with buying those animals. The staff member needs to learn every animal and whether check ups are needed; how often those check ups are required; what type of accessory the animals must come with and also some must learn how to use the membership card reader. This training is time consuming and mistakes can easily be made. The information they currently must know is stored in a word document and is distributed to all staff members. This is a waste of paper and is bad for the environment. Also the fact that paper copies are kept for everything mean that so must paper is being used that the filing takes up lots of unnecessary space and wastes so much paper that it wastes money as well as being bad for the environment.
* Alternative Solutions
Other solution include advertising in the shop all the implications with buying the pets so the customer and staff members are more informed and staff do not need training. However, this could discourage the customer from purchasing the pet in the first place from our shop and could also use a lot of expensive materials. An IT solution could be making a website that the staff would have login credentials and once logged in would have access to all the information they need for the pet shop. However, it would be expensive to hire the webspace. But the system would mean that training is not required apart from to use the website but this would be far less training than required than for the current system. On the other hand, staff would have to return to a computer point to check the information they wanted.
This problem could be rectified by giving staff Blackberries with which they could remotely access the website and therefore the information required, on the go. This would cost the company a large amount of money because if every staff member had a Blackberry it would cost around 45,000 assuming the Blackberry costs around 250 pounds and every staff member required one. This expense is far too much for a company the size of “Paws’n’Claws”. However, if the information was put into a database then it could be loaded onto PDAs which are far cheaper than blackberries and for all staff to have one could cost only around 9,000 which is a much more acceptable figure for a company of this size. The database would be made on a computer and could easily be synced onto the PDAs using USB wires connecting to the PDAs and doing file transfers. The database would be free to make and the PDAs would have little to no running cost, unlike the Blackberries that would cost money to run the internet on them.
* User Requirements
o Must store members’ information such as contact details, address, transaction history, pets owned, check ups required, date of last check up, unique member ID, date of birth and membership type.
o Must store animals’ information such as breed name, size, weight, colour, price, mandatory accessory requirements, check up requirements and unique pet ID
o Must store accessories’ information such as price, pet aimed at, eligibility for percentage discounts for members and unique accessory ID.
o Must link members’ information with what they have the right to discounts on.
o All viewable tables, queries, forms and reports must be clear and viewable on any size screen.
o Must be easy to use with little to no training required for even staff with no experience of IT based tasks.
o Have a field for “current date”.
o Send letters to those that have not visited the store in the last month telling them about any offers that may be on in the shop at that time.