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The use of Computers at Somerfields Supermarket in Cheadle

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Introduction

The use of Computers at Somerfields Supermarket in Cheadle Each store in the Somerfields chain uses a computer to keep track of transactions (purchases) throughout the day. The system uses real time processing so that at any time the manager of the store can check exactly how much stock there is in the shop. For example, when someone purchases something the item is passed over a bar code scanner, which records the item's code number. This item is then immediately deducted from the stock held in a database. If real time processing was not used then the manager would not know how much stock he had in until the end of the day. Of course not all stock is sold. Sometimes items are damaged, or wasted (eg. they go past their sell date). In these cases the stock still needs to be deducted from the database but needs to be classified as waste so that a purchase is not recorded. ...read more.

Middle

The biggest problem with using all of these systems is user error e.g. not scanning all items on a stock take, forgetting to record wastage etc. Another difficulty is how to monitor short life materials or complex materials like meat (remember meat is cut before it is sold and is not always sold at the same weight). Loyalty card Some large shops such as supermarkets have introduced loyalty cards. Tesco was the first to start the ball rolling in 1995 with its Tesco Clubcard. Customers apply for a card giving their name, address, e-mail and various other personal details. In return, they are issued with a Loyalty card that resembles a credit card in size and appearance. The loyalty card contains the customer membership number. The card is swiped when the customer buys something and details of their purchases are stored on the computer system. The customer is usually 'rewarded' with discounts or vouchers, typically 1p for every �1.00 spent. On first glance, this would only seem to benefit the customer as the entire scheme is free of charge. ...read more.

Conclusion

Everything takes place much more quickly and efficiently. The price of an item can be altered at any time simply by entering the new price against its barcode on the computer database. There is no need to price goods individually so some staffing costs are reduced. Less paperwork needs to be stored and information can be retrieved more easily. Better stock control means that the manager knows which products are selling well and those that are doing poorly. The computer system will automatically re-order new stock just in time to prevent the shop selling out. This means that fresher goods are always on display and reduces the amount of money tied up in stock. On the right you can see a photograph of the stores computer system. Note the use of two mini computers for back up. If one fails the other automatically ' takes over. On the bottom left you can see the back-up power supplies for use in the event of a power failure. The cabinet to the right houses a modem, connecting the store' s computer to the head office computer via telephone lines. The centre units are bar code label printers. ...read more.

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