After getting to know them better, you have approached Williwonk’s management people with your ideas on possible systems improvements that could address some of the problems or opportunities given in Problem 1.
a. In two paragraphs, provide your suggestions for systems projects. Make any realistic assumptions necessary.
b. Are there any problems or opportunities discussed in Problem 1 that are not suitable? Explain your response.
Williwonk’s Chocolates of St. Louis makes an assortment of chocolate candy and candy novelties. The company has six in-city stores, five stores in major metropolitan airports, and a small mail-order branch. Williwonk’s has a small, computerized information system that tracks inventory in its plant, helps schedule production, and so on, but this system is not tied directly into any of its retail outlets. The mail-order system is handled manually.
Recently, several Williwonk’s stores experienced a rash of complaints from mail-order customers that the candy was spoiled upon arrival, that it did not come when promised, or that it never arrived; the company also received several letters complaining that candy in various airports tasted stale. Williwonk’s has been selling a new, low-carb, dietetic form of chocolate made with sugar-free, artificial sweetener. Sales have been brisk, but there have been problems shipping the wrong type of chocolate to an address with a diabetic person. There were a number of complaints, and Williwonk’s sent a number of free boxes of chocolate to ease the situation.
Management would like to sell products using the Web but only has a few Web pages with information about the company and an order form that could be printed. Web ordering does not exist. One of the senior executives would like to sell customized chocolates with the name of a person on each piece. Although the production area has assured management that this could be easily done, there is no method to order customized chocolates.
Another senior executive has mentioned that Williwonk’s has partnered with several European chocolate manufacturers and will be importing chocolate from a variety of countries. At present, this must be done over the phone, by email, or by mail. The executive wants an internal Web site that will enable employees to order directly from the partner companies. All this has led a number of managers to request trend analysis. Too much inventory results in stale chocolate, while at other times there is a shortage of a certain kind of chocolate.
Seasonal and holiday variation trends would help Williwonk’s maintain an adequate inventory. The inventory control manager has insisted that all changes must be implemented before the next holiday season. “The time for this to be complete is an absolute due date,” remarked Candy, a senior manager. “Make sure that everything works perfectly before the site goes public,” she continues. “I don’t want any customers receiving the wrong chocolates!” In addition, the order processing manager has mentioned that the system must be secure.
You had been working for two weeks with Williwonk’s on some minor modifications for its inventory information system when you overheard two managers discussing these occurrences. List the possible opportunities or problems among them that might lend themselves to systems projects.