In a world where competitive edge can hinge on the breakthrough technologies that makes a business run smoothly, Bead Bar is an anomaly. This is because Bead Bar is still using paper based system and this is where Stan’s BJR Consulting will come in.
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To begin with the analysis of Bead Bar, we would have to discuss their background and why they came to the point of needing information technology experts to study their operations. From the needs assessment, we will discuss the best recommendations on the network technology that Bead Bar can put into action to ensure that their company needs and objectives are met. Background In 1998, Bead Bar was started as a small business by Meredith S with the first concept store at New Canaan, Connecticut.
Meredith wanted a store, which she called a studio, wherein customers can create their own bead jewelries with an array of beads, accessories and tools to help them work creatively in a cozy environment. The store will provide the necessary equipment on site and the customers will just have to buy the beads and accessories such as wires and string that they will use. As a result, the customers’ creativity in making their own bead jewelry will be fostered and the company will sell their products.
Of course, for customer who has no time to think their own designs, much more to create it will also have an array of designs and products to choose from. They can also choose a particular design which would be made for them by the stores trained employees. The Bead Bar is composed of three divisions namely the studios, franchises, and Bead Bar on Board. The Studio Division, headed by Susanne S. , manages the six Bead Bar studios in different locations. Aside from the Bead Bar studios, they also have franchises are managed by their Franchise Division headed by Leda H.
The current franchises of the company are at Kansas City, Missouri; Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles, California; Seattle, Washington; and Miami, Florida. The franchise division sells a complete beading supply package to businesses that want to open their own bead studio. Bead Bar on Board division which is headed by Mitch is a special bead bar designed for cruise ships. The bar is portable and can be placed on deck or in a lounge. The cruise ships employees also purchase their supplies through the Bead Bar. Currently, Bead Bar has 6 studios, five franchises and Bead Bar on Board.
They have a roster of 15 full-time employees and 20 part-time employees. As of their last financial reports, they recorded $1. 5million annual revenues. As we can see, the studios and franchises are scattered in different states. This resulted into several inefficiencies in their operations such as lost orders, incorrect invoicing and delays in fulfillment and delivery. One of the things that Meredith realized is that these inefficiencies can be mitigated with the implementation of the right system into the company.
Further, with the onset of globalization, Meredith believes that it is the right time for Bead Bar to use the advantages of computer technology to become more competitive. She knew that digitization would help the company simplify its processes; facilitate the processing of its orders without the need for lost invoices and help in the overall operations of the company. Bead Bar would also need to look into different strategies such as their supply chain management and pricing strategies. Additionally, Meredith may like to explore other market options such as an online store to widen their customer reach.
Meredith realized that there are huge possibilities for Bead Bar once it has the appropriate information technology in its arsenal. Recommendations Overview After the information technology needs assessment made by the consultants, it was noted that there are many things that would have to be procured to help Bead Bar’s system to competitive. First, there was no mention of any hardware that Bead Bar has but the basic assumption would be that the head office has computer peripherals that helps them in their administrative work.
For example, top management executives probably have their own desktop where they make their reports specifically for Meredith as the president and owner. Julia R, as Bead Bar’ Chief Financial Officer, needs a computer to keep track of the finances of the company as well as make the necessary reports and financial documents that the company needs for its operation. Miriam, as head of Marketing and Sales, probably has a database of inventory of the company’s stocks in order to know what products are moving and what products are not so that she can make the necessary promotions to sell these.
In the same way, Rachel, as head of operations and purchasing should also have access to the same inventory database so she can forecast her stock procurement and see what product should be replaced and ordered. Jim, as head of human resources would also have a system for his personnel file, which will include the database of compensation and benefits for each employee. Assuming that each critical unit of the company has its own computer peripherals, the next stem is to determine how each computer is connected to form a network.
A network is defined as “two or more computers that are connected with one another for the purpose of communicating data electronically. Besides physically connecting computer and communication devices, a network system serves the important function of establishing a cohesive architecture. This allows a variety of equipment types to transfer information in a near-seamless fashion” (Encyclopedia Britannica). There are two kinds of network that would be applicable for Bead Bar. First is Local Area Network or LAN.
These link computers and other peripheral devices such as printers, copiers, etc. As such, the computers within the headquarters of Bead Bar can be interconnected through LAN. The second type would be a Wide Area Network which users connected to LAN can tap into. Wide Area Networks or WAN consists of “computers connected to a wide-area network and often connected through public networks, such as the telephone system. They can also be connected through leased lines or satellites” (Webopedia). WAN is needed by Bead Bar so that all stores are interconnected with each other.
This is especially important for the inventory and marketing database of the company. When stories have access to real time data regarding stocks, decision making in their level will be easier. Network Topology There are different kinds of network topologies that are available for businesses to connect them to their operations network. I recommended that a mesh network topology be used for Bead Bar. .In this topology, there would be alternate ways for nodes to communicate when there is a breakdown on other nodes or if a cable fails.
However, this can be expensive to install, as it will involve many of cabling. Mesh technology is often used in conjunction with other topologies such as star, ring or bus topology which is useful for a business that uses LAN. For a WAN architecture, most employ mesh routing. An example of a network which uses mesh topology is the internet. I recommend that a partial mesh network topology be employed for Bead Bar
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