IT System for Local Video Store Essay Sample

IT System for Local Video Store Pages
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Mans video store, is a video store run by the Man Group. They have recently purchased 5 more video stores in the London area and already have 3 more stores including the one in Staines. We are focusing on the store that is in Staines, Middlesex; it is situated in a parade, near to many residential areas and is quite close to the town centre.

The man group has run these video stores for approximately 2 years and have found that the previous owners system was not a feasible system. The store in Staines, which we will specifically be focusing on, has a large customer base, and as always as the local population is ever increasing in the popular area, it is attracting more and more customer, with its customer base increasing every year.

The store is open 7 days a week, and its opening times are 10 am to 10 pm on Monday to Saturday, and on Sunday they are 11am to 10 pm.

Statement of the Problem to be Solved

With its increasing customer the store has found that it has had trouble with the amount of data that has to be handled manually through paperwork, thus it requires a system that can hold all customer details, a system, which the store can view all titles currently held by the store, and where the store can track customers that have not returned their rented purchases by the due back date. Searches will also be needed to be made to find a customer and/or to find a particular title; this will do through the keyboard through a simple graphical menu. The required information will be output directly onto screen or paper, this is in order to lessen waiting times for customers, and to become more efficient by reducing the likelihood of costly errors occurring.

Investigation

Interview

So that I will be able to understand more about the new system I have decided that I will carry out an interview, so that I will be able to analyses the weaknesses of the old system, how the old system operates, and the weaknesses of the old system, so that I can obtain objectives for the new system.

Preparing the Interview

An interview has been arranged with the manager of the store at May’s Video Store in Staines, although the May’s group owns the store, I have concluded that the manager of the store will; be the ideal candidate to interview as he runs the store everyday and therefore knows all the procedures that occur, with in the day to day running of the business.

The Interview

How old is the business?

The man group has run the Staines store for approximately 2 years

What are the opening times of the store?

The store is open 7 days a week, and its opening times are 10 am to 10 pm on Monday to Saturday, and on Sunday they are 11am to 10 pm.

How many staff are employed?

The store currently employs about 10 people with a manger working there full time.

What are the current methods of data storage and recall?

Member’s details are held In a 2 boxes a black and a red box, if you wanted to retrieve the details you would have to take it out of the box.

What is the process for a member taking out a video?

When a member joins they are given a membership card with their surname on, the customers detail are held then on small sized cards, and put into a little black box, when a video is taken out, the staff ask for the customers membership card and find the appropriate customers details inside the black box, a black box signifies a member that has not taken any titles out to rent. For security reasons there is a password on the card so that nobody apart from the customer can actually take out video’s, this password has to be quoted when making a rental purchase, when the password that is given is correct, the video title and date due back are written onto the card, and the card is then put into a red box, a red box signifies customer that have taken out a title to rent. Both the red and black boxes records of customer are sorted out alphabetically.

What is the process to see if any members have not brought back their video by the due back date?

To see if any rentals have not been brought back by their due back date then on a certain set day, for example Sunday, a member of staff goes through the red box looking at each individual record, and if a title has not been brought back a telephone all is made to the customer or a letter is sent.

What is the process if a customer has an enquiry about a certain title?

If a search wanted to be made for a particular video the only way would be too see if the video cover was actually on the shelf, because then on the video cover, there is a category number and then the staff can obtain the video by going to the back, and looking at the appropriate category shelf, this is not a very good idea, as if the customer or the staff couldn’t find the video cover, then they would have no way of knowing whether a video is in stock or not.

Does the business have any specific company policies?

The business does have some a specific company policy and that is that all data must be secure and apply to the data protection act, therefore it must be protected from unauthorised personnel.

What are the staff impressions of the current system?

The current system is highly inefficient and much manual work is done by the staff, this in turn creates mistakes being made, customers having to wait, for example when a customer takes a title out, much time is wasted looking for the customers record writing the title and the due back date, and asking the customer a password, confirming this and switching it from the black box to the red box, this is too time consuming, and also the process is so long the errors could be made, and errors lose the company money. The second thing that is also highly inefficient is that fact that staff have to look through records manually to see if a customer has not brought their title back in time for the due date. This is highly inefficient as mistakes can be made and the fact that you have to employ someone to look through the records, this is not a cost effective option. The last thing that is also inefficient and also may make the company lose customers, is that the customer and/or staff have to check manually and see if the cover is out on the shop floor to see if a film is in stock or not, if you cant see the cover then the film isn’t in stock. The whole current system in ineffective and inefficient, because we have a system that involves small cards, now these cards may got lost, be misplaced or get stolen, or get damaged, not there is no back up system to this, so this is also not a very good system.

How will a new program improve the current system?

A new system will save the company time and money, it will make the business much more efficient. The amount of data handled manually through paperwork, will be dramatically reduced. The new system will hold customer details, a system, which the store can view all titles currently held by the store, and where the store can track customers that have not returned their rented purchases by the due back date. Searches will be made to find a customer and/or to find a particular title.

Are there any computers in use at the store?

No we do not have any computers at the store.

What sort of volume of data has to be stored?

The volume of data would need to be great; it will need to hold at least about 500 titles and about 600 customers.

What information is kept on each customer?

The information kept on each customer is: name, address, telephone number, age, and password. However recently the store has stopped using the password field as many people are trying to impersonate other members, so when a video is taken out, wither the membership card, or some other proof of ID is required.

How is the current information stored?

Customer’s details are held on small sized cards, and put into a little black box, which separates each customer, by alphabetical order of the surname.

Is old client data held on records?

No previous client data is held on the records.

Analysis Of The Interview

The interview carried out with the manager gave me a clear indication that there were problems with the current system that was currently being used.

The first point that came to my attention was the fact that so much paperwork and labour was involved, in a customer taking out a video for each customer there is a card and on that card the customers details are held and if they want to take a title out, the title and the date due back has to be written onto the card. This could cause problems because when a customer changes his personal details for example his address or telephone number, the card has to be either rewritten or a new card maybe required, time and money would then be wasted, as you would have to replace the card or alter it.

The cards that contain the customers details can easily be stolen or lost, this could pose many obvious problems for example security issues, the data may get to people who have no right to access it, but in the new system if a computer was used, the information could be saved and then backed up for example to a removable hard drive, so data cannot be lost.

The manager also told us that mistakes could be made in the current system, mistakes waste time and can also cost the company money, with a new system, mistakes should not be made as easily.

When a customer takes a title out, much time is wasted looking for the customer’s record writing the title and the due back date, and asking the customer a password, confirming this and switching it from the black box to the red box. This is a long and time consuming method for when taking a video out, in the new system it should be quick and easy and create less waiting times for customers.

Another area what is also highly inefficient is that staff have to look through records manually to see if a customer has not bought their title back in time for the due date. This is highly inefficient as mistakes can be made and the fact that you have to employ someone to look through the records, this is not a cost effective option and is very time consuming, the new system should quickly be able to bring up customers who have not brought their videos back.

The last thing that is also inefficient and also may make the company lose customers, is that the customer and/or staff have to check manually and see if the cover is out on the shop floor to see if a film is in stock or not, if you cant see the cover then the film isn’t in stock, this is not acceptable for any video shop, and certainly not one belonging to the Mays Group.

The present situation regarding equipment at the video shop is very bad as there are no computers at the video shop.

Current System

The current system is very manual orientated, for when a member joins they are given a membership card with their surname on, the customers detail are held then on small sized cards, and put into a little black box, when a video is taken out, the staff ask for the customers membership card and find the appropriate customers details inside the black box, a black box signifies a member that has not taken any titles out to rent. For security reasons there is a password on the card so that nobody apart from the customer can actually take out video’s, this password has to be quoted when making a rental purchase, when the password that is given is correct, the video title and date due back are written onto the card, and the card is then put into a red box, a red box signifies customer that have taken out a title to rent. Both the red and black boxes records of customer are sorted out alphabetically.

Now to see if any rentals have not been brought back by their due back date then on a certain set day, for example Sunday, a member of staff goes through the red box looking at each individual record, and if a title has not been brought back a telephone all is made to the customer or a letter is sent.

If a search wanted to be made for a particular video the only way would be too see if the video cover was actually on the shelf, because then on the video cover, there is a category number and then the staff can obtain the video by going to the back, and looking at the appropriate category shelf, this is not a very good idea, as if the customer or the staff couldn’t find the video cover, then they would have no way of knowing whether a video is in stock or not.

Problems With The Current System

Now as you can see the current system is highly inefficient and much manual work is done by the staff, this in turn creates mistakes being made, customers having to wait, this is unacceptable for a modern day video store run by the May Group, for example when a customer takes a title out, much time is wasted looking for the customers record writing the title and the due back date, and asking the customer a password, confirming this and switching it from the black box to the red box, this is too time consuming, and also the process is so long the errors could be made, and errors lose the company money.

The second thing that is also highly inefficient is that fact that staff have to look through records manually to see if a customer has not bought their title back in time for the due date. This is highly inefficient as mistakes can be made and the fact that you have to employ someone to look through the records, this is not a cost effective option. The last thing that is also inefficient and also may make the company lose customers, is that the customer and/or staff have to check manually and see if the cover is out on the shop floor to see if a film is in stock or nit, if you cant see the cover then the film isn’t in stock, this is not acceptable for any video shop, and certainly not one belonging to the Mays Group. The whole current system in ineffective and inefficient, because we have a system that involves all cards, now these cards may got lost, be misplaced or get stolen, or get damaged, not there is no back up system to this, so this is also not a very good system.

Requirements Of The New System

General Objectives

The system must be able to add, delete and modify and search for members details as well as the various titles that are in the store. This information will include member’s personal details, and all the titles currently held by the store. The procedure to do this must be fast, and simple. There must also be a facility where you will be able to check what titles have been taken out by what members, and what date the titles are due back, there must also be a facility to print this information.

Specific Objectives – Quantitative

* Reduce waiting times for customers, so that to take out a film, it should take no longer than a minute.

* To retrieve a particular query or report it should take no longer than 100 seconds

Specific Objectives – Qualitative

* To be able to store customer’s names, addresses, and telephone numbers, telephone number as well as storing what titles the storing the details of all titles held at the video shop. This is so that the store can easily locate what members they have and what titles they have, it helps also in stock levels, this can be done by using a database.

* To be able to store a particular title against a member’s name, so you can easily track titles that have been taken out by a certain customer.

* So that you can use a search to see what titles have not been brought back by a member, and thus then you can track the members details and send a letter if necessary or contact the member by phone by looking up his details. You can search for a customer, about a particular title in the store and see if they actually do have the title or whether they are out of stock.

* Reduce costly errors that occur by a member not bringing a film back, or files being lost, this cannot happen with a computerised system.

* The manager must be able to produce reports through so that he can see for example which customer have overdue titles and what are the most popular rented out titles. This can be done by using reports, that are linked to a query, for example if a report wanted to be carried out to see what members have overdue video’s this report will then bring up the results of the query which is carried out to see what members have overdue video’s.

* A password must be on the system so that no unauthorised personnel can access it; there must also be the facility to change the password if necessary.

* The system must be user friendly, so a graphical interface is necessary.

Constraints

Hardware

Equipment – Because the video shop does not actually have any physical hardware and it does not have a pc, equipment will need to be purchased.

Software

As the store does not have any hardware, it will not have any software, it’s likely that a database program will need to be purchased.

User’s IT Skills and Your Knowledge

The end users will have limited knowledge of a pc, they can operate the basic functions, but they will need to be trained on the end product, and thus there input into the design of the system, will be vital as a systems success or failure depends on the end users willingness to use the system, and the end users satisfaction with the system.

Other Constraints

Cost – This will be a lot because the video shop will have to invest in the necessary equipment for example a computer, and the software required.

Time Scale – The May Group would require the system as soon as possible to improve efficiency.

Comparison of Alternative Solutions

Now I will examine the necessary solutions available to us, and from this we will be able to determine what program we will actually use to solve the problem, first we must define the actual problem, we must create a system that can meet the following objectives:

* To be able to store customer’s names, addresses, and telephone numbers, telephone number as well as storing what titles the storing the details of all titles held at the video shop.

* To be able to store a particular title against a member’s name, so you can easily track titles that have been taken out by a certain customer.

* So that you can use a search to see what titles have not been brought back by a member, and thus then you can track the members details and send a letter if necessary or contact the member by phone by looking up his details

* You can search for a customer enquiry about a particular title in the store and see if they actually do have the title or whether they are out of stock.

* Reduce costly errors that occur by a member not bringing a film back, or files being lost, this cannot happen with a computerised system.

* The manager must be able to produce reports through so that he can see for example which customer have overdue titles and what are the most popular rented out titles

* The new system must have a facility where letters can be sent out to the customers that have overdue video’s this can be done by having a template, and only the necessary details will be changed such as the customer’s details and the particular titles.

* A password must be on the system so that no unauthorised personnel can access it; there must also be the facility to change the password if necessary.

* The system must be user friendly, so a graphical interface is necessary.

Looking at the objectives it seems that a database package such as Microsoft Access will be the most viable option, however we must consider other solutions as well first lets look at Microsoft Access.

The first viable option as mentioned before is the database system, such a system is Microsoft Access, which is a database program, first lets define a database; a database is a large collection of data stored together and organized for rapid search and retrieval, now Microsoft Access is a program that manages this data, and can be used to store, retrieve, and sort information, this program ideally meets our objectives as it can store records and link data through relational databases, and a search facility is available within the machine so that we can produce queries and reports, data can be easily changed where it is stored in particular tables. A mail merge facility is also in the program so that letters can be sent to customer with any overdue titles.

The second option is to use a program such as Microsoft Excel, this particular program does somewhat include a database facility; however it would not be possible to carry out queries in this system and relationships between the different entitles would be very difficult to implement. This particular method may not also be viable, as it doesn’t meet one of the main objectives, which is that the new system must be user friendly, this would be very difficult in a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel.

Another option is to design a specific system using programming language such as visual basic or c++, this would be ideal as a program can also be bought directly from various suppliers, here the program has been tailor made to meet the needs of a video shop, it contains all the fields and entities required, and could meet the needs and objectives of the end user, however a major drawback would be the cost of this new system, for not only would the video shop have to purchase the necessary software, but would also have to pay maintenance costs.

Chosen Solution – Relational Database

I believe that the best system to use would the relational database system, for by using this system we will meet the end users objectives and such a system will enable us to:

* Create and modify tables, where data can be inputted via a form

* Create and modify queries, which in turn will enable us to produce reports. This was also one of the main objectives, for in this program we can carry out queries and see reports such as the most popular titles and see which customer haven’t bought back which titles.

* Create and modify relationships, this would link various entities, by doing this we can link entities and tables via relationships; in a relationship we have primary keys in the tables which enables us to give a unique identifier to a certain field.

* No mistakes can occur such as duplicate membership numbers because with primary keys you can make sure that data is not entered more than once because the primary key is a unique identifier.

* Create customised input screens and using Visual Basic facilitate searches and validation procedures

* Would meet one of the end users main requirements, which is ease of use, as there would be a graphical interface using “buttons”.

* A password could also be put onto the system to stop unauthorised personnel accessing the system.

* Access has a mail merge facility where letters can be sent out to the customers that have overdue video’s this can be done by having a template, and only the necessary details will be changed such as the customer’s details and the particular titles.

By having a relational database, data is held in tables and is linked by means of common fields.

Data Flow Diagram Of Old System

Input, Processing and Output Requirements From Data Flow Diagram

As you can see from the previous page we have a data flow diagram where we can see what the input processing and output requirements are of the old system, these will also apply to the new system as the new systems primary function is the same – to rent out a video.

Data Stores

The data stores that are held in the system are:

Members File

Titles File

Rental File

Input Requirements

Member Details

Title Details

Video Taken Out Details

Processing Requirements

Members joins store

Edit member details

Member leaves store

Member taking out video

Member returning video

Stock enquiries

Membership cards issued

Unreturned Enquiries

Most popular title rented out

Output Requirements

Mail Shots to Customers Regarding Unreturned Video’s

Member finishes taking out video

Member finishes returning video

Stock Enquiries Completed.

Queries such as most rented title, overdue videos, and movies currently available.

Normalisation

Normalisation a process used to come up with the best possible design for a relational database. It is carried out so that tables are organised in such a way that:

* No data is unnecessarily duplicated (so that the same data is not held on one table.)

* Data has to e consistent throughout the database; consistency should be an automatic consequence of not holding any duplicated data.

* The structure of each table is flexible enough to enter as many or as few items as you want to

* The structure should enable a user to make all kinds of complex queries relating data from different tables.

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