GladRags is a small business that rents out occasional and party dresses and suiting for both males and females. Related accessories are also available to rent out for customer convenience. Worth brothers are running this business. In the past, business processes were recorded on registers through manual data entry for each transaction of rent out and returning of items. But now they have got an Access Database System developed in order to manage their business effectively and to ease the data entry in the System instead of manually entering in the register. Excel sheets are also created in order to analyse their business processes and financial aspects. Excel sheets help to conclude pricing and penalty charges so useful conclusions can be drawn from these sheets.
A few years back, people in a small local city, had to face a difficult situation. Whenever there come any occasion, people find it very difficult to manage their dresses for the occasion, as most of the people were not too rich to afford new clothes for every new occasion. In the same city, there lived two brothers. Their named as Jan Worth and John Worth. They not only noticed the people problem but also focused on the solution. Since there was no any service in the city at that time through which people can borrow clothes for occasions, so worth brothers planned to start a new business through which they decided to help the people as well as a good business to start with. They started a small company named as GladRags. Since then, GladRags is a small company in a local city. The business of GladRags is to rent out conjure and stylish outfit, shoes, bags and other accessories to its patrons.
In order to run the business, worth brothers employed a store keeper named as Julie. Whenever a customer came to the shop to borrow clothes, Julie had to write the customer record on the register each time the same customer visited the shop either to borrow the clothes or to return them back. Similarly, she was the one who used to manage all the records of the items being rent out to different customers till they were back in the store.
To scuttle the production, a customer approached to the GladRags and let know the manager about the event for which s/he hassled for clothes and accessories on rent. Manager showed customer its wide range of items that can be rent out. Manager further helped the customer to take decision and to select the item if customer was sort of confused. When an item was selected by the customer, the manager noted the item details and customer details on an official register.
Afterwards, worth brothers also involved their sons in their business. Since the sons were young boys so worth thought it a wise decision to involve them in their business. Their sons named as Jim Worth and Joan Worth. After the sons joined the business as part time employees only, they suggested their fathers that a lot of useful information can be collected from the business processes of GladRags so that they can also improve their business and to increase its effectiveness. They concluded that the only need was to get the business systematically so that ambiguities can be removed and final conclusions can be drawn after analysing the financial issues. To achieve the target, the Worth had requested to provide them a database on which they can store their business entities` information and to gradually move their business systematically.
The modern representation transforms the legitimate information and extorts important information out of the provided scenario. It consists of a single MS Excel file with five worksheets in it. The information within these work sheets is associated with each other so that one change in the linked content will result in a complete change in the revenue, cost and penalty figures. This automation will be of great help to the company owners in order to make decisions about the pricing and costing aspects. Also it will help the user to change and save the information in the one place and System will update the information on all occurrences. User will not have to update the data at every occurrence. This will also remove data redundancy. This model aligns with the objective which the business wants to achieve by using the spread sheet. By putting the sales data in the original category, the whole processing would take place. The explanation of different sheets is as follows;
This worksheet contains the data which Julie recorded on a register in the past. This would be used to extract significant information. All the calculations that are done in the “current category” sheet, has used the data from this sheet. Therefore, any change in this part of the model would result in an entire change in the results generated by the model. It is important to note that the “Original Category” and the “Raw data” sheets are the input sheets. In other words, if the inputs in these two sheets are changes, all the other sheets would yield different results based on the changes made on these sheets.
The statistics in this leaf is also the input data upon which the complete calculations are based. This sheet contains the data about the penalty and cost rates, the ID’s of the customers on the items they have borrowed from the company. Any change in this sheet would result in an entire change in the result of the model proposed.
This is one of the output sheets which would help the company in making better decisions about the pricing as well as the costing aspects. This sheet uses inputs from the “Original Category” sheet and provides output in the form of valuable information. It is important to note that this is not an input sheet and therefore, if a new pricing strategy has to be experimented, it will be entered in the input sheets which are the raw data sheet and the original category sheet.
I found that I will have to create a few Tables in the database. I will have to enter dummy data in the tables. I will have to relate the tables with each other so to fulfil the business requirements and to make sure that data must not be redundant. After that, I will have to create a few Forms which will be used for user interface. Once I collect data in tables, then I will have to create Queries and finally from those queries, I will generate Reports. In the last but not the least, I will have to create a Main Menu from which user will have an easy access to all the forms and reports and tables data. I also kept it in my mind that user must be able to Add/Edit/Delete the records independently.
Tables store information about different entities used in the GladRags business. The main tables are Customers, Items, Items Hired and Category table. The enhanced tables are Brands, Stock and Invoices that will further facilitate the user to run the business processes more effectively and time consumption will become very less. The Brands table will store information about the brands of items like suiting, shoes, bags and accessories. All the tables are easily accessible from the database. The primary key in each table is set as unique number and it will always be added automatically by the System itself when so ever user will add a new record. All tables are mapped or related together through their Primary Keys and Foreign Keys, in order to remove the data redundancy.
There are multiple forms and sub forms in the database. The forms mainly serve as user interface between the System and the human user. Each form is designed with a suitable header and footer. Each form displays the current Time and Date of the System whenever the database is accessed. Forms are especially created to provide a user friendly interface. The first Tab displays the current records and the second tab is a sub form which is used to add a new record in the system. Each form has a navigation button back to main menu so that user can access the main menu anytime. All forms are designed according to a suitable heading which complements the forms contents. The data from each form can be Edit and Delete according to the requirement.
Queries are an important asset of the GladRags database. Basically queries are created to generate required Reports. Since all the tables are inter-related so queries play an important role to generate reports depending on different requirements. The database contains a total of 5 reports that are mainly required by the GladRags.
The Main Menu is the central part of the database, from where a user can access to any desired form or report, as required. There are multiple Macros that run when a menu option is clicked by the user on Main Menu. The main menu is divided into three sections mainly. The first section contains the transaction links. In order to add a new sale or to add an invoice against an existing sale, user will use this section. The second section contains the forms to different entities and attributes of the database like customers, items, stocks, brands, categories etc. In order to add a new entity, user will simply select the respective menu option. The third and the last section contain the Reports.
GladRags is indeed a good business to have in such local areas and so the Worth brothers are doing it well. Adopting the systematic approach that I have proposed to the GladRags business, will surely resolve all the problems that GladRags is facing currently. The interface is also easy to learn and it will help a lot to draw financial conclusions about and on the business. However GladRags should also try and provide more facilities to its clientage as compared to the current service. There should be a web service through which clients should be enabling to place orders. Also GladRags should provide door service. It will not only increase their clientele but also enhance their business.
To use the database, first the user would have to install MS Access 2010 in the System. Then s/he can easily access the database as the interface is user friendly. The user will simply open the database in MS Access 2010. System will open the file with the Main Menu already opened in the database. This is the default setting of the database so whenever a user will open the database, System will always open the Main Menu with the database. The Main Menu is designed to provide links to all forms and reports within the database. Behind each Menu option, there is macro which is called and the desired form is opened. Similarly, if user wants to navigate back to Main Menu form any form, then the user will have to click on the “Back To Main Menu” button which is located at the top of each form.
To train the GladRags users to use the Access database or Excel sheets is not a big issue at all, since the proposed System is especially designed to provide an easy interface. View existing records, edit them, delete them or to add new records, these all functions can be easily performed using database. Another benefit is that the System deals with data redundancy well. User will not have to enter/update data at multiple places but only once which will definitely save a lot of time. Training to maximum 2 days will be enough for any user to understand the proposed System and to perform business operations using both Access database and Excel sheets. However, a User Guide can also be created for the proposed System so that any user can understand the flow of the System and how to use it.
To introduce the security to the System and to provide the authenticated access to the System, it should be maintained by the functionality of System stored usernames and passwords, so that only authenticated people can have access to the important credentials of the System. Database user should be logged in to the system using authenticated usernames and passwords. Other then these users, no one else should be allowed to access the System. In case a web service is provided to the customers then System should also user the same strategy for the customers to access their accounts respectively.