Improving Hoosier Burger
Bob and Thelma Mellankamp wanted to open their own business. They came across Myrtle’s Family Restaurant and saw a sign that said it was for sale. Bob and Thelma bought the restaurant and their own restaurant was brought to life Hoosier Burger Restaurant. The idea was one that everyone dreams of owning their own business but do not understand all the behind the scenes projects that make a business successful. Yes, they have been in business for over 30 years but even they understand that their dream needs some improvement to continue in the market they are in. Bob and Thelma have discussed the idea of a computer system but do not know where to start so Bob wants to bring in a consultant to address some of their weak areas and make suggestions to improve Hoosier Burger. They inform the consultant on how business is ran. This restaurant is behind the curve when it comes to technology. They still do paper trail on every aspect of the restaurant from deliveries, inventories, and point of sale (Valacich, George, & Hoffer, 2009).
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Even though paper was what many companies started out with, it is no longer an approved way to do business. Paper allows too many human errors to come into play where as an electronic record keeping system eliminates a majority of these errors but as with any data…you get out of it what you put into it. All this means that if you put inaccurate data into the system then the data you get from the system will also be inaccurate. Hoosier Burger has learned this lesson oh too well. Especially, since they did not order enough vanilla ice cream to cover their own special so they had to run to the grocery store to try to get enough for the sales they were doing on the special (Valacich et al., 2009). Bob and Thelma agreed that it would be valuable to purchase an information system to assist them in the areas of inventory management, marketing, customer service, food preparation, and point of sale (Valacich et al.). Now that it has been decided on what needs to be addressed with this new information system.
The systems development life cycle (SDLC) begins (Valacich et al., 2009). The four main steps of this process are (1) planning and selection, (2) analysis, (3) design, and (4) implementation and operation. The first phase is to plan the system out and then select the appropriate system for job. This situation a good point of sale system would give this company the system they need for daily operations and growth. A good POS covers all aspects of the restaurant from the dining area to the kitchen and even the storage areas. With any system, you have subsystems that are called components. Components by themselves do not make a system but when put together they make a complete system. In the case of Hoosier Burger one of the components of the system would be an inventory log or database. This subsystem would track usages and deliveries to ensure that stocks are maintain at the properly level for daily operation of the business. The project development team that Hoosier Burger selected was based on the weaknesses of the organization.
The focus of the new system will be on ways to improve inventory management, customer service, and management reporting. Any one of these weaknesses could cripple the organization. The team needs to get as much information as possible to ensure that they are building the correct system for this organization. I would use the interview process to get as much information from the staff as possible and I would use questionnaire to customer input. Also, I would gather as many reports and logs that I could for supporting documentation but with the current processes. This type of information may not be readily available or available at all. After gathering this information, the process of developing a system to correct their weaknesses begins. You would also want to find out if the company has any upgrades planned so that you could incorporate that into the system. In this case, they want to expand to delivery services and a drive through operation. These expansions do not require a lot of upgrades to the building so these will go into effect immediately to increase revenue for the company. The diagram figure 1 shows the flow of information for the new system. Fig 1.
As you can see from figure, the information system that need is robust in nature but simple. The system analyst now needs to break down the different entities the company needs to store information about. These entities have particular characteristics that require information to be stored. There are rules used when attempting to place an identifier for each entity. The diagram will show the changes and specify the component’s needed for each relationship.
In the text, an entity is a person, object, place, concept, or event in the user environment of which an organization wants to store data(Valacich, George, & Hoffer, 2009). Person entities are usually your employees but can be your customer. Place entities are basically the location i.e. states, regions, countries. Object entities include the machines you use, buildings your work out of, products you produce, and vehicles. Event entities can be considered sales, renewals, registrations. Concept entities include courses, accounts, or work centers.
Hoosier Burger needs the ability to store information about their individual entities. The main entity is the customer that frequents the restaurant on a regular basis. They also need to store information about what products the customer is purchasing. Hoosier Burger also needs the ability to store information about the company itself and place entities which are the businesses that order meals from the company.
We will now discuss attributes. Attributes according to the text are named properties or characteristics of entities that are of interest to the organization(Valacich et al., 2009). The following attributes should be used for the customer: customer name, customer address, customer phone number, customer’s number of orders, and customer specific orders. These attributes can also be assigned to the business entity by switching out customer with business. Attributes can also be assigned to the end product such as ingredients, price, and amount sold.
Identifying the entities require assigning unique identifying characteristics for the entity type. For example when dealing the with customer entity, you would use an identifier that is easy to use i.e. Customer ID, Customer Name, Customer Address, and Customer Phone. The key when dealing with identifying items is making it user friendly. Once all of these have been put into place, the system analyst now needs to build three working solutions to this company’s weaknesses. The three solutions as discussed in the text are low, medium, and high level. The difference in the three levels usually equates to cost but it also includes how much effort the user has to put into the system and the type of technology used. Time is money and if your employees are having to spend more time with the system than the customer then Hoosier Burger will lose money.
All of these factors come into play when developing a system for an organization. The key to success of Hoosier Burger and the project development team is communication and cooperation. The more time these two entities communicate with each the easier it will be for the project team to address the needs of the customer and customer addresses the needs of the project team. It is a two way street. In the end, the job of the system analyst is to develop a system that addresses the wants and needs of the customer while maintaining within the budget. You do not want to sell the customer a “Corvette” when a “Camaro” would have done what is needed.
Valacich, J. S., George, J. F., & Hoffer, J. A. (2009). Essentials of Systems Analysis and Design (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.