Stevenson Apparel is a manufacturer of fashion apparel that has just opened its first large retail store for selling in-season clothes at regular prices. The company’s competitive strategy depends on a comprehensive point-of-sale (POS) system supporting online, up-to-the-minute sales totals, day-to-day tracking of stock information, and quick checkout of customer purchases. Because cashiers were already familiar with electronic cash registers, management decided that only minimal training was required. Cashiers enter four-digit stock tracking numbers (STNs) into one of the POS terminals that retrieves price and description data, computes the tax and total amount due, accepts the type of payment, and controls the cash drawer. A unique STN identifies each of the 9,500 pieces of merchandise. The central microcomputer server maintains stock information.
In the first month of operation, new cashiers were awkward using the new system. They eventually became proficient users but were frustrated with the slow printing of sales tickets and the unpredictable action of their cash drawers. Each checkout stand has a telephone that cashiers use to call for approval of credit-card transactions. Customers became impatient when credit approvals delayed the checkout process or when the microcomputer was down, thus stopping all sales, including cash sales. Identify four problems with the system and describe how you would remedy each of them.