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Mrs. Fields Secret Ingredient (v4)
On a typical morning at Mrs. Fields Pier 39 store in San Francisco, Lui, the store manager, unlocks the store, calls up the Day Planner systemon his computer, and answers questions the computer puts to him such as what type of day is it: normal day, sale day, hot day, school day, holiday, etc. The computer communicates this data to the Day Planner application on the corporate servers and retrieves sales for this time last year from the corporate servers, which are adjusted, for growth trends and for Lui’s answers to then come up with a forecast for today’s sales.
Say, for instance, it’s Tuesday, a school day. The computer goes back to the Pier 39 store’s hour byhour, productbyproduct performance on the last three school-day Tuesdays. Based on what you did then, the Day Planner tells him, here’s what you’ll have to do today, hour by hour, product by product, to meet your sales projection. It tells him how many customers he’ll need each hour and how much he’ll have to sell to them. It tells him how many batches of cookie dough he’ll have to mix and when to mix and bake them to meetthe demand for fresh cookies and to minimize leftovers. He could make these estimates himself if he wanted to take the time and had the skills. The computer makes them for him.
Each hour, as the day progresses, the Day Planner at corporate tracks his progress from POS data entered at the register. The computer revises the hourly projections and makes suggestions. The customer count is OK, it might observe, but your averagevalue of the sale is down. Are your crew members doing enough suggestive selling? If, on the other hand the computer indicates that the customer count is down, that may suggest the managers will want to do some sampling – fish for customers up and down the pier with a tray of free cookie pieces – or try something else, whatever he likes, to lure people into the store. Sometimes if sales are just slightly down, the machine’s revised projections will actually exceed the original on the assumption that greater selling effort will more than compensate for the small deficit. On the other hand, the program isn’t blind to reality. It recognizes a bad day and diminishes its hourly sales projections and baking estimates accordingly.
Hourly sales goals?
Well, when Debbi Fields was running her first store, she set hourly sales goals. Her managers should, too, she thinks. Rather than enforce the practice by command, Randy Fields (Debbi’s husband who helps run the company) has embedded the notion in the software that each store manger relies on. Do mangers find the machine’s suggestions intrusive? Not Lui. “It’s a tool for me and allows me to focus on my customers and crew and know the freshly baked cookies will be there and I can meet my revenue goals.” he says.
Lui’s computer can also help him schedule his crew by accessing the Crew Scheduler system running on the corporate servers using a browser. The scheduling systemprojects sales for the next two weeks and combines that with the standard times Debbie herself would take to perform the mixing, dropping, and baking chores. Using the roster of store employees and their skills the program gives back a schedule of whichpeople with which skill levels he’ll need during which hours. A process that done manually consumed almost an hour and often produced a sub-optimal schedule is now automated.
That’s a lot of technology applied to something as basic as a cookie store, but Randy had two objectives in mind.
First, it’s no accident, even if Lui isn’t consciously aware of why he does what he does, that he runs his store just about the same way that Debbi ran her first store years ago. Even when she isn’t there, she’s there – in the standards built into hisDay Planner and Scheduling system, in the hourly goals, in the sampling and suggestive selling. The technology has “leveraged,” to use Randy’s term, Debbi’s ability to project her influence into more stores than she could ever reach effectively without it.
Second, Randy wanted to keep the store managers managing, not sweating the paperwork. “In retailing,” he says, “the goal is to keep people close to people. Whatever gets in the way of that – administration, ordering, and so on – is the enemy.” If an administrative chore can be automated, it should be.
Of course, headquarters learns what every store is doing daily – from sales to staffing to baking. All of this data is transmitted to headquarters where it is stored.Randy pushed the organization toward automated “exception reporting.” The Store Status system compares actual results with expected results and flags the anomalies, which are all management really cares about anyway. Seven store controllers are working at headquarters with this information. If a store’s sales are dramatically off, the store controller covering that geographical region will be the first to know it. If there’s a discrepancy between the daily report of batches of cookies baked, and the sales report, the controller will be the first to find it. And they will communicate with the store manager and others to determine the problem and how to best correct it.
Randy sums it up “these systems give us the information that leads to better decision making, keeping store managers focused on customers and team while supporting our corporate goals of revenue growth and profits”
Read all the questions to get a sense of the problems and then as you tackle each question make sure you read the whole question and answer it fully and specifically. Be prepared to go back and revise previous answers as you answer later questions and learn more about the case.
Read the case carefully and make sure you have identified the three (and only three) information Systems that are described. They are in capital letters! Also understand that they are closely related and share information.
Use the tables provided and keep your answers toone page in length using an 11 point font or larger. Any part of the answer that is more than one page will not count towards your grade! Short and specific answers are best. Bullet lists or a list of short sentences/phrasesare best in the cells in the tables.Start each question on a new page. Submit all the following pages (but not this page and the previous page) with your answers.
<Your name> MISM 2301 Final Case (Russell) <Date>
Q1. For the 3 Information systems described in the case (they are in capital letters in the case) and fill in the following table.
|Information Systems||Who is the main user||List the data the IS needs as input.||List the Information/data the IS produces as output|
Q2. The columns are business needs/drivers. Fill in the table describing howeach of the 3needs is or is not supported by the IS.
Q3. List and briefly describe the role the Information Technology components play for all these systems. Use one list since the role played in each system is basically the same. Also use the full page but only one page and structure your answer.
Q4. Fill in the table.
|BI Systems||Describe a specific example of how eachis used in one of the 3 ISs or if not usedhow it could be.||What would be the business benefits of such a use?|
Q5. Complete the following system diagram for the Day Planner (DP) and Store Status (SS) systems withthe following circles. Show only the information flows needed for these systems on the diagram. Note that these systems share data. If one system has produced some data/information it then shares it with the other systems through the shared DB at HQ if needed.
|DP at HQ|
|DP at store|
|SS at HQ|
Q6. Give 2 specific examples of dataat Mrs. Fields that should be made secure and briefly explain why.List and briefly explainfourtechnologies you could use to enhance the security of this data?Structure your answer.