The organization is competing in a scenario that is up to date and latest to say the least. The competing firms have employed ways under which orders are placed through a system that computerizes the whole process, from order taking to delivery. In today’s fast paced world where time is money, valuable time is lost in taking orders manually and then keeping track of them too. Manual order taking and processing is a thing of the past, which will not be of any use for the organization and rather become a hurdle for the company to progress further.
Inappropriate order management results in unsatisfied customers and lost sales for the organization. Customer’s today are learned enough to know their alternatives and desire real time information from their sellers. Any value addition carried out by some other company which increases the utility for the customer will be of interest for him or her. Proper order management will result in timely and accurate delivery that is desired by every customer.
The manual order taking, tracking and then order delivery which is the whole process is affected greatly because of not being properly computerized and up dated. The problem here is in the fact that manual order taking results in complications for the company and proper tracking is not possible. To counter this problem an order management system would be very effective and efficient and bring out the desired results for the company.
The root definition will be “the system is an order management system and it aims to achiever real time order taking, processing and delivery to the customer in the least possible time”.
1. Clients: – Clients will benefit the most from the new order management system because they can order sitting in the comfort of their homes and track the order’s status online too. Timely and accurate order delivery will provide more satisfaction for the customers.
2. Actors: – The in house users i.e. the employees of the company will also benefit from the new system because they will not have to carry out manual activities anymore. A computerized system will make it easy for the employees to track the order processing and make the final delivery of the order.
3. Transformation: – The transformation process from manual order taking to using an order management process will require a few personnel to be hired, who are well versed with the computerized environment. Equipment such as computers, printers, scanners and other such devices will be required to bring the new management system into place.
4. Worldview: – Worldview about the system will definitely be positive because it will benefit the company and the customers. Technically sound organizations have developed systems to make their processes much better, this system will also provide value added services to the organization, which will be appreciated globally.
5. Owner: – The owner of the system will be the users of it i.e. the order takers, data processors and order delivery personnel.
6. Environment: -The environment surrounding the company is actively involved in such systems and the organizations need to develop and use this order management system to stay up to date and in line with the environment.
Defining and Understanding
Description of the relevant system
The order management system proposed will help in reorganizing the customer order managing procedure. The recommended system facilitates the customers to place a purchase order by entering the particulars on the screen, via authorized log in details straight to the system. This Purchase Order needs to be confirmed for reliability and released by sales supporting staff so that this could be then viewed by the finance people, the store staff and the delivery staff. As the purchase order is released & viewed by all departments, in forty eight hours an automatic electronic-mail is being created to the relevant customer, acknowledging the order.
The customer is required to inform the company if he or she does not get an order authenticating electronic-mail within a specified time period. The system keeps a check on the stock levels and issues a purchase order to the suppliers if stocks are not available in the warehouse. The warehouse assigns goods updating the system as and when the orders are issued, and the distribution staff too are kept informed via the system on the selection dates to ship the goods through the system. Twenty four hours before the delivery date the staff is alerted. Once the deposit slips of the banked cheques are honored the finance division is responsible in closing the purchase order. After which the details of the complete transaction are stored for potential reference, this makes the purchase order a processed purchase order. After this step the liability of the company is finished. Taking out data from the stored location and analyzing historic data is much easier.
Information Technology Infrastructure
Hardware specifications for the order management system are very specific and need to be met in order to make the system function properly at low costs and high optimization.
Servers to be used:
Web server – IBM web sphere application server Network deployment version 6.1 + fix pack 188.8.131.52 +IFPK 31377 is recommended.
File server – Intel SDS2 Server Board with dual Pentium III 1.4GHz. The SDS2 has four 64-it/66 MHz and two 32-bit/33 MHz triple peer PCI buses. 2 GB of PC133 SDRAM (ECC) 16 IDE drives total, with eight connected on each of two Escalade 7850 8-port RAID-IDE controllers from 3ware.Escalade controllers that can be used are 64-bit PCI cards supporting 33 MHz PCI bus speeds. The IDE drives are Maxtor D540X 4G160J8 160GB 5400 RPM drives. SysKonnect SK-9843 SX Gigabit PCI adapter (64-bit, supports 33/66 MHz PCI bus speeds)
Local admin server – Intel Pentium 4, Intel Xeron, AMD Athlon, 1Ghz or higher, 1GB RAM, >200GB
Free storage required for fast access to the network and proper functioning of the processes to take place. Database server(MS SQL server)- 256Mb RAM, 500Mhz processor, 8GB hard disk drive free space of 45Mb, Network card 10/100 Mbps, Lease line modem
Client Personal computers – Intel or Intel compatible Pentium III or higher ,Processor speed 1000 MHz or higher, RAM 512 MB,CD ROM X 52,Minimum Disc space 100MB,Network Interface Card is recommended.
Routers, Switches, Printers, Scanners, VPN Tunnel
Software specifications are essentially very basic because the system does not involve any such devices that require very high level of technical support or technical specifications.
Client Personal Computers – Use Microsoft Windows 2000 server with SP4 with the following specifications: Pentium 866 MHz or faster, 100Mb free disk space, 512 Mb RAM and CD Rom x52 drive is recommended.
Database server – Operating system – MS Windows NT 4.0 SP 6a with MDAC 2.7 upgrades can be used, DBMS – SQL server 7 SP4 can be used.
File server – Operating system ?Windows server 2003 SP1 is suggested to be used.
Browser software – Netscape navigator or Internet Explorer version 5.5 or higher or Firefox enabled with 128 crypto is recommended.
Applications are also very easy to use and available in the market easily, they are:-
MS office – Version 2000 or higher
Acrobat Reader – Version 8 or higher
Mail exchange MS outlook – Version 2000 or higher
Anti virus : Symantec
Java runtime Environment
HTML authoring tool
Protocols required in developing the recommended system are:
TCPIP, SMTP &POP SHTPP and SSL
Phases of System Development Life Cycle
The entire Systems Development Life Cycle begins with the demand by the Company to build up a system for the current procedures. This is the preliminary phase that leads to the conclusion whether a particular system development should proceed for the Company. A human constituent, software constituent and a hardware constituent jointly creates a system.
Initially identifies the business processes thus the issues and how best they could be characterized by hardware, software and live applications. This involves putting together the stakeholder’s information needs and the issues faced in deciding a pertinent system for the organization. In addition the decision to carry on with the growth of the recommended system would depend on technological constraints, budgetary constraints, time constraints, economic viability and operational achievability from the company’s point of view that would have an impact on the final outcomes,
An in depth and detailed analysis of the user requirements is done over a period of time which includes information needs gathering of stakeholders, about the system in place and the new specifications to be adopted. This means that the requirements to proceed with development of the order management system are brought to the forefront. This is usually done via fact finding techniques. These mainly include back ground research, interviewing, inspection, document samples and questionnaires. The final outcome of this phase is to make a specification statement which would aid the company in the design phase.
This is a vital phase before the actual coding starts. This stage serves as a guide in order to build a system that is in line with the specified requirements in the preceding phases since during this phase the complete formation of the software is designed. The design phase aims to look at data design, interface design for example screen layouts, report layouts, the method as to how individual programs run, the programs that is required and how they interrelate with each other. This phase also addresses how the work of people will change and their approach to job design will vary.
At this stage the coding takes place. This is done in sequence with the findings from the specifications analysis stage and the result derived at the design stage. Since the Company presently functions on a manual basis before building the final working explanation, it is wiser to develop a sample which will give the users a signal of the final system to be built. This will aid the users to recognize how their specifications will be transformed into an operating system. This would further help in getting rid of the uncertainty of the requirements between the developer and the Company. After approval of the model the final coding is carried out and completed.
Usually this stage is carried out by someone who was not included in the programming process. The chief aim of this phase is to make sure that the desired requirements of the administration of the company have been adequately met. The software can be taken as a black box or white box and tested to see its viability. Black box testing looks at the value of the performance of the software. White box testing looks at the accurateness of the building of the software. Over all black box and white box testing makes sure the completeness, correctness, reliability and maintainability of the system when it will be adopted.
Testing is usually done through five levels. They are unit, integration, sub-system, system and acceptance testing. This implies that testing from individual classes to groups of classes and the system as a complete process has to be done. Acceptance testing is normally carried out by the users to ascertain the acceptability level amongst the users of the proposed system.
Installation & training
The system is put in place through a comprehensive installation process in the working environment. Commonly there are many exchange methods that could be implemented. There are direct changeover, parallel running, phased changeover, pilot project approaches. Development of training manuals and planning a satisfactory training conference is important as the employees of the Company are not exposed to a system prior to this. The employees have very little knowledge about the system and need to be enrolled in proper programs to get training according to the order management system’s requirements.
Review & maintenance
All businesses operate in a dynamic work environment and therefore the business needs of the company keep changing. The system proposed also needs to be upgraded to match these requirements over a period of time. This phase also comprises correcting flawed operations that are usually overlooked during the development process. In general throughout this phase the changes that need to be inculcated are managed and put in place.
Goals and Objectives
The development of the system and the procedure of developing a plan to be carried out entail the following goals and objectives:-
* Placing of an order by the customer starts a chain of actions to be carried out in order to productively bring the transaction to a final result. The purpose of the system is to restructure the complete procedure in order to give more value and a well-organized service.
* Minimizing and consequently removing manual processing of transactions and thus reducing the level of errors in internal processing or the orders.
* Minimize lead-time i.e. reduce the time taken to receive, process and finally deliver the order. High lead times increase inventory costs which can be reduced with low lead times possible with the help of the proposed system.
* To produce reports supporting on user defined criterion, for example Sales volume, customer type, revenue generated and purchase order handing out time for management decision making and implementation.
* Reduce work hassles for the employees and thus reduce employee complaints to achieve more satisfied customers and achieve a wider customer base.
* Easy access of past business transactions is possible because of the high data storing capability of the system. Files and data can be accessed at any time with no hassles at all. Furthermore the computerized process eases storage of records pertaining to the order management processes.
The chief issue pertaining to the order management system is to focus on the System Development Life Cycle processes as this is a prearranged method and there is less possibility that concerns are left out. Consequently the first premise is to focus on the System Development Life Cycle in building a plan for the complete project. Primarily it is significant to have a detailed conversation with the client who funds the project to recognize the present business processes. Episodic meetings would be approved to notify the administration of the growth procedure.
A general idea of the buying cycle, the delivery cycle and the payment cycle are looked at. After understanding the complete business processes this would be drawn as to what aspects could be put in place in the best form in software considering the impact of the issues in the underlying business practices. The final focus being computerizing the whole business processes, the primary weight is given to the important issues. After identifying the significant issues a detailed examination is carried out in order to get in-depth information of the processors the function performs and any other connected processes.
After performing this job primarily all the related stakeholders linked to the system need to be recognized; for example, internal staff and customers. A comprehensive fact finding procedure would be put in place in order to gather the pertinent details to build up a system design. A one on one conversation would be carried out with all the functional level staff to get a valuable insight of the actual work being carried out and to recognize repetition of work and lead times.
At the start interviews would be planned followed by explanations. Theses details are documented for reference in future. Meetings would be planned to discuss the results with the administration. A plan is also drawn to go all the way through past purchase orders to get an understanding of the level of details desired for the transactions.
Scheduled visits with the customers and suppliers with an envoy from the company. This step would facilitate in recognizing the procedure at the customers end. Any contentious issues are discussed then and there with the company spokesperson and an agreed understanding is come to. These will be discussed in detail with the administration proceeding to designing the system.
Development of a sample and obtaining the users consent so that the development is realistic. If the system is not aligned to the needs of the users and the requirements the system will be of no use for the company. Adequate and appropriate system functionality can only be achieved with matching needs and system specifications.
Operations checklist of the system
These are essential specifications that the system must definitely carry out sufficiently for the fluent functionality of the system. Without this capability the system will be of minimal or no worth to the company and will not serve its purpose.
* Processing the login details of each customer and identifying them and allowing login. This provides security and customization to the customers.
* Allowing authorized level of access for each and every customer.
* After generating and submitting the purchase order processing whether the necessary details are filled before accepting, if the required details are not filled by the customer prompt an error message and refusing the purchase order.
* Accepted purchase orders shall be queued in the restricted location.
* Allowing access from the restricted location by the sales support assistant and releasing to the unrestricted location in the system.
* Automatic electronic-mail generated to the customer after accepting the purchase order by the system.
* Processing the log in characteristics of each internal staff member and allowing access accordingly.
* Accepting the commands from each department as and when the pertinent task is completed. Departments function in their own capacities and need to linked together to make the functionality cohesive. The system will make this possible.
* Accepting the commands by the warehouse when the goods are picked up by the delivering staff.
* Once cheque banked details are received accepting the closing of transaction by the finance division and storing the details in the archive location. The whole financial process has to be carried out by the system.
* Distinctive characters and integers as data are inputted to specific formats by customers and employees.
* Calculating the delivery date and time automatically for each supplier as agreed before the system based on the date the purchase order is created.
* Automatic alerts to all the pertinent division prior to the scheduled delivery date.
* Retrieving reports based on any data input into the system.
* Storing customer data, type of products requested, quantity bought, delivery dates, revenue, processed purchase order details.
These requirements usually describe the features of the system that help in satisfying the functional requirements.
* System should react to the accepted purchase order within forty eight hours.
* System should send the alert messages to all the departments twenty four hours before the delivery date.
* Releasing the purchase order should be done within twenty four hours.
* At a given time not more than 20 purchase orders should be queued because of capacity constraints.
Analyzing the System
Constraints and Roadblocks that could be faced
These are the limitations of the system that may be rectified or removed to enhance the capability of the system in future.
* Manual releasing of the purchase order which would take more time for processing. The speed of the pertinent staff member decides success of the system procedures.
* Customers unwilling to use a web based system due to concerns they have of the security of the system
* Network down time will affect the processing speed which would lead to unprocessed orders and dissatisfied customers. This can reduce revenues in the future.
* Employees unwilling to work in a web-based environment as all performances are streamlined. Certain in capabilities may be exposed of the employees that they want to hide.
Data Flow Diagram showing main elements of the system process.