The Brewton Business Scenario will be utilized throughout the course for both individual and learning team assignments.
Brewton Business Scenario
Brewton Enterprises, Inc. is a clothing retail company located in the city of Eugene, Oregon. The company offers an array of products with a mix of clothing styles, appealing primarily to teens and young adults. Brewton has four satellite offices in Los Angeles, New York, Houston, and Atlanta. These offices, including headquarters in Eugene, serve as distribution centers for products sold by Brewton. The company employs 240 employees as follows:
Each of these locations has a warehouse manager, an administrative assistant, a human resources representative, sales and customer service coordinators, shipping and receiving personnel, and facilities maintenance personnel. All locations stock a full complement of Brewton products for delivery to purchasing customers. In addition to these functions, headquarters, located in Eugene, also provides human resources, purchasing analysts, sales and marketing personnel, accountants, systems personnel, and operations personnel.
Mark Brewton, the company’s founder, wants to implement a comprehensive Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) application to support the business now and in the future. He believes the business has grown to the point that such a system will streamline business processes, help to control business expenditures, and will better manage inventory levels, which presently do not seem to reflect accurate numbers for each distribution center. The new system will replace almost all of the computer applications currently in use in the company.
The Current System Environment
Users in the business functions of the organization utilize standalone software packages such as a purchasing system, accounting and payroll applications, and a personnel tracking system used by Human Resources. Because these applications do not share files, there are frequently situations in which employee and customer data do not match, then research must be conducted in order to make the data consistent in all systems. The IT organization runs special programs developed to cross-compare the information and report mismatches among data files, which are then updated to reflect the correct information. The new ERP System will help to mitigate these data integrity issues.
The current applications reside mostly on individual desktop computers, with the exception of the HR System and the Inventory Tracking System, which reside on the company network. Human Resource staff from all locations have access to the HR System and its files. Inventory files are maintained centrally and can be accessed by operations personnel at corporate headquarters, as well as the remote distribution centers. As merchandise is received in the central warehouse, quantities are updated in the Inventory Tracking System. When products are sent out to the other distribution centers and to customers, the inventory levels are adjusted accordingly. All employee workstations are connected to the network and have access to the Internet for sending and receiving emails. The IT organization maintains the software and data files for all employees and their computers, performing routine backups and applying needed updates. The company does not have a disaster recovery plan or a business continuity plan to be followed in the event of a contingency situation, such as flooding or earthquake, and it is generally felt by management that this situation should be addressed. The online web application for processing orders is maintained separately, with orders sent to operations on a daily basis for fulfillment and shipping.
The Software Application
The application acquired for implementation is the Business Enterprise Software solution which incorporates modules supporting multiple areas of the company, including Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Purchasing, Human Resources, Accounting, and the Supply Chain Management (SCM) components of inventory control, receiving, and shipping. The application includes a high-speed analytics module designed with predeveloped reports and with the capability to enable user-defined ad hoc reporting. Each module of the system performs independently of the others, but they all utilize the same database management structure as an integrated data store. The vendor delivers the software in a bundled package that can be downloaded from the vendor’s web site or can be obtained on CD, if necessary. It is anticipated that the software can be installed, the necessary business processes developed, and the migration to the new system environment accomplished within a one-year time frame.
Mark Brewton, Chief Executive Officer
Mark is an energetic entrepreneur who built Brewton Enterprises from its beginnings as a small retail store in Eugene to a well-managed corporation serving several business markets via an online website store. Mark relies on his direct reports to manage the day-to-day operation of the company. With input from his staff, Mark directed Mike Benson, the IT Director of Brewton Enterprises to acquire the Business Enterprise Software and to prepare for its implementation. He feels that the new system will streamline the accounting and purchasing functions and will help to achieve better inventory control.
Barbara Scharer, Chief Financial Officer
The finance and accounting functions are managed by Barbara Scharer and her staff. She maintains appropriate levels of investments, retains adequate operating capital, and arranges for lines of credit as needed. She oversees the accounting function of the organization where her employees use desktop software products to perform their work. Barbara is looking forward to making use of the new Business Enterprise System, leveraging its integrated reporting capability to better track the business. She would like to determine why the company is not as profitable as it might be and feels the software will help to identify areas in which improvements might be made.
William Hunter, Chief Operations Officer
William Hunter is responsible for the purchasing organization, which places orders for products to be sold, office supplies, equipment, computers, etc. Bill and his staff are also responsible for physical plant security and making sure the strategically located warehouses are properly stocked with products to be will be delivered to their customers. Products are centrally received and accounted for before they are distributed to the warehouses. Warehouse personnel work on orders as they are received, pulling products together, packaging them, and shipping them to their customers. Bill has a group of associates in the shipping industry with whom he has close relationships, and he uses their companies to ship the products. Bill is proud of his organization and believes that the supply chain is working smoothly and effectively. He sees no need to use the new application to support his part of the business and believes it will require his staff to do unnecessary reorganizing and to bring in unneeded additional resources to perform their work using the new system.
Jennifer Morales, Sales and Advertising Director
Jennifer oversees the selection of products to be offered for sale on the company’s web site and works with purchasing to acquire those products. She works with the IT organization to make sure that products are effectively and accurately presented on the web pages. She also maintains a relationship with an internet advertising firm that provides links on other sites to direct potential buyers to the Brewton web site. Her staff of sales associates and customer service representatives take orders over the phone and assist customers with their selections. Orders are sent daily to Operations for picking, packaging, and shipping.
Roger Tomlinson, Human Resources Director
The employment needs of the company are addressed by Roger Tomlinson, who handles the recruiting and hiring of qualified personnel for the company. He also oversees running of biweekly payroll, government reporting, and processing of insurance payments, as well as other payroll deductions. Roger’s staff conducts compensation surveys to make sure employee pay remains competitive in the industry, and in line with corporate financial guidelines. Roger plans to use the Human Resources module of the new system to streamline job applicant data, from the receipt of resumes through the interviewing process and hiring of candidates.
Mike Benson, Information Technology Director
Mike Benson’s staff is responsible for maintaining the company’s technical infrastructure, such as the network, employee workstations, the web site, and associated hardware. His staff negotiates software agreements with vendors, performs routine maintenance, and monitors network usage. Mike meets regularly with his staff to receive status updates on projects underway. Mike has some concerns about the implementation process, because his staff members do not have the bandwidth to take on a new project the size of the ERP system implementation. He is considering hiring additional staff to take on this responsibility, but also wants to evaluate the possibility of bringing in consultants to do the work.
He knows that preparing for testing of the new system and scheduling training for all users will be a challenge in order to keep the business functioning normally and getting everyone familiar with the new system. The development of training materials and user documentation will also be a consideration. Mike feels that there must be some good alternatives for accomplishing these tasks.
Gary Holmes, Systems Administrator
Reporting to Mike, Gary Holmes sets up user IDs for all employees, and installs desktop software on PC workstations as needed. Gary is sensitive to the need to maintain state-of-the-art equipment and software to support the technical operation and seeks to keep all systems up-to-date and running at peak efficiency. Gary is somewhat apprehensive about the new system that has been acquired. He wonders who will be asked to support it and who will fix it when technical problems occur following implementation.
Nancy Davis, Web Developer
Nancy Davis is a web developer, reporting to Mike. She is responsible for maintaining the company’s web site, working with Jennifer Morales, to keep the content of the site attractive and user-friendly. She does not think that the new system will affect her work in any way.
Jim Travis, Network Administrator
Jim Travis, the network administrator also reports to Mike Benson, maintaining all network hardware and connections, including web access. He is responsible for maintaining security of the Brewton data assets and providing threat detection of unauthorized access to the corporate network. Like Gary, Jim is wondering how the new Enterprise Business System will fit into the existing configuration of the technical infrastructure. He fears it will require the purchase or lease of a new server and will likely increase his workload significantly. He knows that the implementation will require, not only a production environment in which the new system will run, but will also necessitate creating a test environment for user acceptance testing, and a training environment in which users will be trained to use the new system. He wonders if the training could be conducted in the test environment so as to save some resources.