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Switch is a brand name wholly owned by CG Computers Sdn Bhd. CG Computers Sdn Bhd was founded on 1995 by Mr. Li Chau Ging. The main business of the company is selling Apple Products under the brand name Switch, which focuses their business in retail store, education and enterprise market. Currently, there are five Switch outlets,
Two of the stores are Apple Premium reseller, which have more demos of Apple products in the store for customers to "test drive" compare to Apple Authorized Reseller. As one of the leading Apple Premium Reseller in Malaysia, Switch also provide training course which is called CofeeMUG to teach customers on how to use or "enjoy" the product which they have purchased.
CG Computers Sdn Bhd is also an Apple Authorized Gold Service Provider, which provide service and repair for Apple products, any Switch store is a "Drop Point" if the customer have problem with their Apple product which they purchase from any Apple Store around the world.
The founder of CG Computers Sdn Bhd name his store Switch is because the company wants the more users to "Switch" to Mac, by delivering the best customer service to the customer and demonstrating " The Beauty of a Mac".
Switch's employees called themselves Switcher, which is trained to serve customer on the best they could. Every Switcher will be trained on product knowledge of Apple products on Apple Sales Training Online (ASTO) by Apple Inc. and will be certified as a Apple Product Professional and Apple Sales Professional.
1.2 Business Operation
Switch operates the business every day. The business hour depend on which shopping complex the Switch store is located. The standards business hour in Switch is from 10.00 AM to 10:00 PM. On every store, Switch's employees will do stock counting every morning and night(when opening and closing the store). Stocks that the employees have to count are from iPods to System; this is to ensure that no stock is lost and amount in the inventory is tally. All branches in Switch will do the same thing. If there is a problem during the stock count, Switch's employees must report immediate to the Headquarters.
After stock counting, Switch's employees turn on the all the demo units, the MacBooks, iPods, iPhone, iMacs and the Mac Pro. This is to ensure the moment that customer walks into the store. They could "test drive" the demo unit immediately, without waiting for the system to startup.
Immediate after the all the systems are turned on, Switch's employees will clean up the store. They will sweep the floor, wipe the tables and demo units to make sure customers feel comfortable when trying it. While wiping and cleaning the units, Switch's employees will also check on the demo units to make sure it is functioning.
This are the 3 task the every Switch's employee does in every outlets in the morning. It is a rule set by the company before they could start attending customer. After this 3 task is completed, they will start attend customer and do their daily sales.
E-mail serves as the communication channel of the company, every employee will be given an employee ID and email address from the company. E-mails are sent everyday to each employee regarding updates, promotions, news, comments and suggestions. CG Computers is a very flat organization that it has no hierarchy between uppers and lowers, any comments or suggestion could be voice out to the management or other colleagues. E-mail is the most important thing in the company which is use on every branch to communicate.
Another communication technology that is use by the company is Instant Messaging. The Company uses .mac and AIM on every Point of Sales machines for instant communications. Every Switch outlet and all the employees are connected using .mac or AIM. This is to ensure instant communication can be held if a branch need help, emergency, queries and stock request.
Chapter 2: Literature review on Point of Sales System
2.1 What is Point of Sales
Also known as the point of service or POS, the point of sale is the exact point in a transaction when goods or services are provided to the customer and payment is rendered for those products. While the specifics of a point of sale system will vary somewhat from one situation to another, the final outcome is always the same. (Malcolm Tatum, 2010)
Point of sales (POS) software is a type of software that retail store use to calculate their sales and operate the cash drawer; it is a computerized cash drawer. Point of sales add up the sales total and calculate the change. When customer buy items from retail store, point of sales will minus or debit the amount of item sold in the inventory system. At minimum, POS should be able to handle sales and manage your inventory database. (Jane Harmon, 2010)
Image above illustrates point of sales (image from: http://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia_term/0,2542,t=point+of+sale&i=49444,00.asp)
Point of sales system is mostly found in supermarket. The point of sales system consists of the checkout counter, bar code scanner, and the cash register. Every time when an item is scanned, the system count the cost; till all the items selected by the customer are scanned, the system will calculate the total cost of all item that customer would like to purchase. Customer will then pay amount money, using either credit card or cash. If customer pays by cash, the point of sales system will allow the cashier to input the amount of money that customer pay and calculate the balance that should be returned to the customer. When the payment is done, Point of Sales system will generate a receipt and store a log in the server.
The proposed system will be at least able to do the basic requirement of what a Point of Sales should have.
2.2 Features of Point of Sales System
There were many features in Point of Sales System. The proposed system will highlight the existing and important features. One of them is easy to learn, By using a user friendly and easy to learn system, the company will save up cost. Switch do not need to send their employees for expensive training on how to use the point of sales. Switch will also save time to train a crew before they could start working.
The second feature is easy to use. An easy to use Point of sales system should require the minimum keystroke and minimum skill during daily sales. This will ensure customers do not have to wait too long until a receipt is printed. A complicated Point of Sales system will cause customers to wait while paying and a long queue when the cashier takes too long time to key in the data into the Point of Sales.
The third feature is automatic. Point of sales system should be able to apply automatic discounts or preferred price levels to special customers. This will help ease the speed up the cashier's job when there is a promotion going on.
The fourth feature is rewarding. Point of sales system should be able to calculate the total sales by every individual staff to keep track their sales performance and commission. This will ensure staff could get their commission every month in their pay slip and it will motivate staffs to sell more items to earn more money.
The fifth feature is accommodating; some hot selling items will be sold out very frequently. Customer may have to come back the next time until the stock arrive, but when it is a hot selling product, it may be sold out before customers could come again and purchase it. Point of sales system should be able to take sales order so that, when the new stock arrived, it will be reserved for customers.
The sixth feature that I would like to highlight is receipt. This is the most important feature is point of sales. Every sales end up with a receipt before the sales is complete. Point of sales system must be able to print receipt for customers to proof that they have bought the items from a store and it will be used for items that have warranty. The date of purchase will be printed on the receipt.
Chapter 3: Literature Review on Existing Point of Sales System
3.1 Existing Point of Sales System in the market.
3.1.1 Retail Man Point of Sales
Retail Man Point of Sales can turn an ordinary personal computer into a Point of Sales System and inventory system just by attaching Point of Sales hardware into it, for example, bar code scanner, cash drawer, docket printer, touch screen and pole display into the computer. It features a very simple user interface with powerful security. This software includes Point of Sales, stock control, inventory and standard accounting functions. By using this software, you can turn your ordinary personal computer into a powerful point of sale terminal. Their official website is http://www.retailmanpos.com/
3.1.2 POS MAID
This software is compatible with any barcode scanner or any touch screen computer. POS Maid basically have all the tools a retail store need to run a business. With simple operation and feature set, business owners will be pleased by this tool. All the maths, including taxes was automatically added to ensure accuracy. This software allow a retail sotre to save customer's information into database to run a business report with just a few clicks. This program even has feature to record the employee work hours and tally up their pay checks. Their official website is http://www.alexandriacomputers.com/retail-software.aspx
3.1.3 Free Deluxe Pos Point of Sale Software System 2.0
Win TRS Point of Sales us a completely free software suite for setting up a Windows DOS based point of sales system. This software is a full feature system with a client and inventory database. One of the great features is it allow users to create purchase order. It also support cash drawer and barcoding. This software can be used on a single PC with a standard printer and expand up to multiple PCs with dedicated printer if required. This is a complete stock management system that can work in a single PC system.
3.2 Existing Point of Sales in Switch
The existing Point of Sales System used in Switch is FileMaker Pro. FileMaker Pro is a cross-platform relational database application from FileMaker Inc., formerly Claris, (a subsidiary of Apple). The main reason why FileMaker Pro was used is because the Point of Sales devices in Switch is a MacBook, Apple Macintosh computer, FileMaker Pro is fully compatible with Mac OS X on Macintosh Machines. FileMaker Pro is a database application that has been used since when the company was founded.
Figure 1 is a snapshot of the "sales" interface, this interface is used to key in customer's info, stock no (stock ID), amount, cash/ credit card and sales person name. When cashier filled up the required information, the receipt will be printed.
If a product runs out of stock, this "sales order" interface will allow staff to take customer's information, such as, name, address, and contact number. Staffs will have to key in the items that customer would like to order and deposit paid and issue a receipt as a proof that the customer have paid and order for the item.
The existing system also allows the retail store to view the total cash and credit card sales. It is called the daily report of each branch. The main purpose of this is to ensure the cash and credit card amount is tally each night before closing the retail store.
Chapter 4: Investigation of Problems
This chapter is about to investigate existing problem in the Point of Sale currently used in Switch. The proposed system will solve the problem to ease the task of Switch employees.
4.2 Problem 1: Sales report
The very main problem of FileMaker Pro (Point of Sales System) used by Switch is the sales report. When a receipt is being issues, the existing system cannot send a report to the Headquarters to inform them that a transaction is being made. To know the daily sales, Headquarters can only view it the next day because the report will have to be generated manually every night.
It means the Headquarters cannot view the sales report in real time each time a transactions is being made. The proposed system will solve this problem on the server software in the headquarters by implementing a page for authorized person to view the transaction in real time and updated every seconds.
By solving this problem, the company will benefit from monitoring each transaction in real time. If there is a mistake made on the sales receipt, price, promotion and etc. It can be monitored and noticed directly so that changes could be made immediately. Compare to existing system, mistake can only be identified on the next morning.
Mistake could be identified if the report could successfully generate on the night. It there is an incident like staffs forgot to generate the report and the next day the report is lost or damages; this will cause the company loses a report of a whole day and it might take a week to trace back what items have sold, pricing etc.
4.3 Problem 2: Stock delete/ stock debit
The second problem in the existing point of sales system is stock deduction/debit. Notice that in Chapter 1, under Switch's business operations, the author have mention about stock counting every morning. The report of the stocks only included, iPod, iPhone and Mac. Other accessories are not included in the stock count due to too large amount; but iPod, iPhone and Mac are expensive stock and still are in countable numbers, that the company is afraid of. Staffs might steal a MacBook home and the stock is lost and no one could realize it without the stock count.
The problem of stock deduction is, every time a iPod, iPhone or Mac is sold, the local list of stock in the existing Point of Sales System require manual deletion. After all stock sold on the day are being deleted, this list will be a part of daily report to be send to the Headquarters. Staffs may have forgotten to delete the stock from the list and result an untallied amount during stock count at night. There is a possibility of deleting the wrong stock.
The proposed system will solve this problem by implementing automatic stock deletion from the local and server stock list so that there is less possibilities of error made by humans. This will speed up the job of stock counting and report generating. By implementing this system, Switch's employees will have lesser task and stock amount are always correct.