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With the introduction of readily accessible communication tools such as smart phones and tablets there is an increased opportunity to implement a customer integrated system (CIS). The utilization of customer driven orders into a grocery store’s deli and bakery would provide the ability for the customer to become proactive in their ordering and purchasing process for their deli and bakery needs. This management information system would encompass customer ordering, order scheduling, supply and demand tracking and allow for a greater understanding and control of the ordering process on both the supermarket and customer sides. With the implementation of any system there are three main components which include the information, the information technology and the people involved in the utilization of the information and technology.
With the implementation of this project there are system requirements that are aligned with the goals and objectives laid out by the project team and the stakeholders. Those that are developing the idea would also need to come up with not only their primary focus but also feasible alternative to the issue. In this case the problem statement is based around ordering from the deli and bakery sections of the supermarket. Through the brainstorming session of the project team came up with a clear and concise description of the needs for the new application. The problem statement is that we want an application that is accessible through online tools, such as smart phones, tablets or pc’s, to allow customer ordering for deli and bakery items in which they can define the product, quantity, pick-up time, special requests and pay for the item prior to pick up if so chosen.
The project will develop an application to allow for ordering sliced meats, deli products, chicken or any other product from a defined list of available items in the deli. These products would be modified at the beginning of specific timeframes according to a standard operating procedure outlined for the deli offering the service. This allows for the customer to have visibility to the items that could change throughout the day such as salads, macaroni or other side items as well as the mainstay items that are consistently in rotation such as ham, turkey or roast beef. Specific items would have cutoff quantities and limited availability due to their inherent shelf life for the finished item. These items would be an optional implementation for the deli. The primary focus would be on the scheduling of deli meats and cheeses in which the customer would be allowed to order the type of meat or cheese, quantity, and proposed pick up time. This could also be scheduled as either a one-time purchase or a recurring purchase through a calendar option within the application. Through this implementation the deli market would have the option to implement the primary option of the deli meats and cheeses or they could implement the entire deli package to include their short term items such as the salads and sides on the deli line.
The second half of the application focuses on the bakery side of the fresh good market. The application would work in the same manner but would be available for the baked goods such as cookies, cupcakes and pies. The available items would be available based upon the availability at the bakery and the customer would only see the active goods available. The customer could also order items that would be made from scratch such as birthday cakes or other special order items. These items would have a built in lead time and the application would provide the first available pickup time based upon work load and store hours. An alternative to this would include an enhancement where the application could contact the bakery directly to address urgent issues such as last minute birthday cake needs or other special requests.
With the primary objective of the project outlined there is also a need for an alternative option for presentation to the stakeholders (Mackinnon, 2013). The alternative to this application would include the ability for a kiosk near the deli or bakery in which the customer could place their order at the terminal and after they have completed their other shopping they could pick up their deli selections. This option does not afford the same level of ordering and scheduling but it does accomplish one of the primary objectives which included limiting the wait time at the deli. This option would allow for ordering deli meats, cheeses, and side items that are available at the time the kiosk is accessed. This would not include special order items in the bakery and that process would not necessarily change. The application would be constrained to the kiosk and would not be implemented for use with smart phones or tablets.
The application would require interfaces, data management and maintenance to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of the tool (Kotter, 2012). There are also integral inputs made by the deli personnel that would be required to ensure the appropriate items were made available as they were available on the deli line. The same holds true for the bakery. The information technology infrastructure would have to support bi-directional feeds between the customer and the market personnel so that orders could be placed, received and fulfilled. The key interactions between the technology encased in the application, the information technology including the infrastructure, hardware and software to run the application at the store front and on the mobile devices as well as the people, including training, implementation and sustainment all come together to facilitate a successful application implementation project (Cooper, Grey, Raymond, and Walker, 2005).
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