Computerizing the Purchasing System of the Company

Introduction

House incorporated is a medium sized company selling motor vehicle spare parts with over ten branches scattered across five major towns in California. It has several department interconnected using a common server. The departments that are interconnected include accounts and finance and procurement human resources, marketing and administration. The interconnection between the companies has made the company remain competitive in the market and due to stiff competition from companies with outsourced human resources and has risen requiring the improvement of stock control. Stock control will ensure that are enough stock in store to cater for customers needs has well too much stock is not held to tie up funds.

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Body

This project is based on computerizing the purchasing system of the company which is currently handling most of their daily operations manually. There is a high rate of bureaucracy within the organization. The problems currently faced from operations of the company are:

  • The amount of paperwork involved is high.
  • The turnaround time for obtaining information to make decisions is highly time consuming.
  • Error rate is high in a manually functioning organization.
  • The tendency to lose important documents is high.
  • The management of the supplier’s records and payment system is not efficient.

Therefore the aim of this project is to minimize the current problems faced by this company by computerizing the entire purchasing system and making this a more efficient organization. The company makes a lot purchases for its materials to enable it in the production of clothes.

Computerization in the organization has been keenly approached as a way of creating a niche in the market as a result of stiff competition that the company has faced. The new technology will help the company respond timely to the demands of their clients and will also enable them to track payments made by the suppliers easily. It will also enable the company redeploy extra staffs involved in following up of orders. This will result in saving of operational expenses that could have been used as staff salaries.

Aims and Objectives

The main aim of this system is to make the purchasing operations in the organization more effective and efficient.

The objectives of the new automated system are to:

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  • Enable faster purchasing of goods into the organization.
  • Make the data in the organization more secure against hackers and people who maliciously destroy them
  • Make the processing of payments within the company faster and reliable
  • Monitor all payments made
  • Monitor the movements of stocks in the procurement department.

Constraints

The limitations of this project will include lack of enough time since the researcher is student who at the same time is working. The other limitation the researcher is a mere academic research aimed at ensuring that the student passes the exam therefore it cannot be leyed in real life experience. The students will used his personal resource in making up for resources required by the project. Being a student he will try to economize resources that will be used.

Resources

The resources that will be used by this project include the; networking interface card, cables, internet, Pentium IV computers with alteast 1 GB, 80GB hard disk, 3.0 GHZ, ten printers, Microsoft office, visual basic 6.0 and Microsoft visual drawing.

Feasibility Study

This is the measure of how beneficial or practical the development of the system will be to the organization. At the end of this study I am supposed to produce a feasibility study report which contains suggestions and reasoned arguments to help management decide whether to commit further resources to the proposed project.

I am supposed to study both the merits and demerits of the current manual system and finally come up with a justification of the viability of the new proposed system.

Economic Feasibility

I studied the economics of the new system in terms of the costs and benefits that it will bring to the organization to ensure that the investment in the proposed system provide a reasonable return. I computed all the costs associated with operating it against the returns that the system brings into the organization.

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The costs may include equipment costs, software costs, personnel costs and installation costs. The benefits of the new system greatly outweigh the costs. These benefits are measured in money terms and they include savings in terms of time, staff salaries and operating costs. Furthermore there are intangible benefits that are difficult to estimate like customer satisfaction, greater accuracy of results, efficiency and flexibility.

Therefore it is clear that compared to the manual system the new system should be cost beneficial and should provide the best return at the earliest opportunity.

Operational Feasibility

From the study I carried out I realized that the current is not efficient due to its proneness to errors generated as a result of manual data input hence increasing its unreliability to the organization.

A computerized system will be generating backup automatically hence it will be easier to recover data incase the original copy is corrupted. In terms of response time and performance the new systems is faster due to less paperwork involved and also have error detection and control mechanisms.

Security of data within a system is also put into consideration to ensure that the data is protected from fraud and embezzlement and to guarantee accuracy and security of data and information. Security controls incorporated into the system include individual with separate login names and passwords and different access privileges and rights.

A good system must be user-friendly. This is evaluated in terms of easy to use, appealing and must be interesting to the end-user. The new system will ensure that through the incorporation of user assistance tools which lacks in the current system. It will also enhance accuracy, efficiency, productivity and robustness. This is because the new system is developed according to the experience of the current employees and the management structure thus the users do not need to have new skills to use it. Minimal training required.

This new system is operationally feasible.

Technical Feasibility

In this respect I investigated whether the technology requirements of the new system is appropriate and available, whether it has the capacity to perform according to the specifications and to be effectively integrated with the business operations. The skills requirement for the development, implementation and operations of the new system was also of concern here in addition to the equipment requirement of the system.

The technological requirements of the new system were available e.g. visual basic 6.0, Ms Access for database, use of printer to generate print outs and the Uninterrupted Power Supply to aid where power blackouts are common which was effectively used in the development hence making the project technically viable to the organization.

Requirement Analysis

Discussion Section

This is the process of studying the business processes and procedures, generally referred to as business systems, to see how they can operate and whether improvement is needed. It may include examining data movement and storage, machines and technology used in the system programs that control the machines, people providing inputs, doing the processing and receiving the outputs.

This is the fact-finding stage or the analysis of the current system. It is a detailed study conducted with the purpose of wanting to fully understand the existing system and identify the basic information requirements.

To conduct the investigation of the current system I visited the company several times in order to gain a thorough knowledge of how work is conducted within the organization. In my analysis I found out that the organizations operations are manual. This consumes a lot of time and still raises the question of accuracy. Suppliers records are not computerized therefore it is very difficult to locate a customer record or to update a certain record. Backup of data involves an enormous amount of paperwork, which in turn results in inefficiency.

There is a problem in storage space because the hotel has to allocate a special area to maintain their entire backup and other data records. This is very inconvenient for the management of the organization.

I also carried out a thorough investigation in every aspect affected to determine whether the new system is feasible enough to be implemented.

Logical System Specification (Business Systems Design)

Database Design

It is the description of the database design that shows all the attributes, the size and the description of the attributes.

The lists of the tables used in the system include:

  • Order table
  • Suppliers table
  • Invoice table
  • Login table
  • Payment table

The database design is shown in figure 2 of the appendix.

System and Interface Design

This is the description of the entire system design which includes form design, connection with the database, accessing and modifying records and ensuring the system functions according to the user specifications.

This is where almost all the entire work in the system’s development is done. It designs the user interface (i.e. the point through which the user interacts with the system).

The links and connections between various forms and databases are also considered here to ensure that communication in the system is effective.

Input and Output Design

This describes the inputs into and outputs from the system. It is well described terms of input/output structure diagrams.

The inputs in the system include:

  • Supplier details
  • Order details
  • Payment details
  • Invoicing details

The outputs from the system include:

  • Bills statement Room status
  • Stock Check-out details

Completion of this stage marks the beginning of the initial stage of physical design.

Physical Design

System Coding

This represents a variety of sample codes that have been used within the program. An example is shown in the appendix section.

Integration and Testing

Testing is an essential part of the system development playing a vital role in the realization of an operational system and cannot be ignored. It involves the execution of the program using varied test data with the aim of realizing errors in the system and to make the system run smoothly. The types of test I used were functional testing (black box) which looked into the functionality of the system and the structural (white box) testing which I used to check into the logical structure of the system. I finally used the bottom up testing beginning with the unit tests through to the integration testing and to the system test to check whether the system components could perform as a single unit.

Justification of the Testing Techniques

I chose these testing techniques because of the following reasons:

  • Due to the inaccessibility to the variety and advanced testing tools, I chose this because of its cost effectiveness as it requires the Personal Computer with a monitor, mouse and a keyboard as its tools. The software required to run the non-executable codes of the system is Microsoft Visual studio.
  • Bottom up testing enhances the testing in bits that is manageable and hence high chances of error detection.

Changeover and Transition (Implementation)

This is the process of changing over from the current manual system to the new proposed computerized system. The implementation of the new system will be done in phases where by the new system is introduced into the organization in phases while the current system is still in operation. It starts with one phase before moving to the next until it’s successfully implemented.

This method was appropriate because of the following reasons:

  • There is less interruption of the organization’s normal operations during the implementation of the new system.
  • Errors can be unearthed early before the system is fully put into operation.
  • It is cheaper because it will not require extra staff in its implementation.
  • It is less risky to implement because even if the new system fails the current manual system will still be operational.
  • The method is reliable because the system must be tested fully before it is switched on and the current system being switched off.

Staff training may be necessary to ensure that the new system remains effective and efficient during its lifetime. This is necessary because the new proposed system incorporates new levels of technology that is not found in the current manual system.

Training will mostly focus on the operational level staffs that are concerned with the day to day running of the system and can be conducted through issuing of user manuals which explain in depth about the system or through systems.

User Guide

The system has been developed in a friendly manner to both the expert and novice users. It can run on all standard of hardware platform and can be easily customized to suit the requirements and reflect the priorities and mission statement of the organization’s management team.

I developed a brief description of all the modules contained within the system to make the user operate the system easily. All the details of the transactions within the system will be stored in the company’s database. For example login in to the system:

Login to the system

When a user wants to use the system he/she is prompted to enter a password. If a wrong password is entered the user will not be allowed access and a message will be displayed giving a retry chance. If a right password is entered a confirmation message of successful login will be displayed to the user.

References

Benfari R, Changing your Management Style, Lexington Books, 2000.

Boehm, B.W (1990); software engineering economics Prentice-hall.

Douglas, P. 2002. Information technology is out—Knowledge sharing is in. The Journal of Corporate Accounting & Finance: 73–77.

Garson D; Information Technology and Computer Applications in Public Administration; Idea Group Inc, 1999.

Jack R. Meredith (1998); project managerial approach, Prentice-hall.

Khosrowpour M; Challenges of Information Technology Management in the 21st Century; Idea Group Inc 2000.

Murthy, U., and D. Kerr. 2004. Comparing audit team effectiveness via alternative modes of computer mediated communication. Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory: 141–152.

Rosenfeld L, Morville P; Information Architecture For the World Wide Web; O’ Reilly, 2002.

Schwalbe K., IT Project Management 3rd edition, 2004.

Szulanski, G. 1994. Intra-Firm Transfer of Best Practice Project: Executive Summary of the Findings. Report. Houston, TX: American Productivity & Quality Center.

Williamson R.J. , Business Organization, computer books publishers.

Winstow F.T., The Principles of Scientific Management, Courier Dover, 2000.

Computerizing the Purchasing System of the Company
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