How Thato and Mpumi Conduct Business
Thato and Mpumi use a set of processes to complete the tasks and activities that occur in their business every day. They are the owners of Dilo Stele Appliances, an appliance store servicing customers from Soshanguve, Mamelodi, Atteridgeville, Garankuwa and Mabopane, a bustling metropolitan area in South Africa. Thato and Mpumi would like an online Order Management System (OMS) tool that helps control the process between a customer placing an order and the product going out for delivery. They would like the proposed system to tracks sales, stock and fulfilment as well as ensuring all processes and people in-between are kept informed and up to date. When a customer enters the store, they usually browse among the appliances and either Thato or Mpumi will meet them and ask if they can help the customer find something. If the customer is interested in, for example, a stove, Thato or Mpumi will walk them to that area of the store, show them what they have available, and ask if they had something particular in mind. They will answer any questions the customer may have, and then hopefully will “close the sale”. At that point, the customer is asked to follow one of the owners to the Sales Counter. Thato or Mpumi then gets a notepad of Sales Orders and begins to write down all the necessary information.
Each manufacturer has a different coding scheme for the serial number and product number. For example, some manufactures use all numbers whereas other manufacturers use a combination of numbers and letters, such as 18X-Y28Z. Thato or Mpumi must be very careful when writing down this information, so they won’t accidentally transpose the characters. If the customer purchases any parts with the appliance, such as hoses for a washing machine, the information for each part is also recorded on the sales order. When they thought about it, the owners agreed that writing up the sale was the most time consuming aspect of the entire process. Thato and Mpumi then use a calculator that is (usually!) on the Sales counter to add up the subtotal of all the items purchased. Unless the customer is tax exempt, such as a school, church, or charitable organization, they then refer to a sales tax table that is taped to the Sales counter to calculate sales tax. If the customer is located more than 20 kilometres away, and if their purchase is less than R750.00, then there is also a R250.00 delivery charge added to the sale. The person writing up the sale uses the calculator again to calculate the total amount due from the customer. After a quick check that everything was written correctly, the customer is asked how they would like to pay for the purchase. If the customer pays by cash, Thato and Mpumi recounts the cash, uses the calculator to determine the amount of change due, and gives the change to the customer. If the customer pays by debit card, whoever is handling the sale will “swipe” the card, enter the appropriate information, wait for an approval code, and write this code on the top of the sales form. This process is the same if the customer wants to use their credit card. They will confirm with the customer the delivery address, date and time, and write this at the top of the sales form, also. The top copy of the Sales Order form is given to the customer, and the second copy is physically filed in a “to-be-delivered” file.
When the owners need to acquire additional inventory, they refer to various manufacturers’ catalogues and promotional materials, as well as industry reports and evaluations. They currently stock productsfrom Whirlpool, GE, Kitchenaid, Maytag, Frigidaire, Tappan, Amana, Hotpoint, Roper, White Westinghouse, Sony, RCA, and Toshiba. If a customer prefers to special order a product, they can alsoaccommodate them. Most special orders take 2-3 weeks to arrive. For regular stock items, Thato and Mpumi completes a two-part Purchase Order and mails or faxes it to the manufacturer’s regional sales manager.
After all the information has been entered, they calculate the extended price for each line item, and totalthe purchase order. The top copy is sent via mail or fax, and the second copy is filed in the “OrderedInventory” folder. When the ordered items arrive, Thato and Mpumi pull the second copy of the Purchase Order out of the “Ordered Inventory” file and confirms that what they received was what they had ordered. If there are any items that are backordered (they ordered something but it didn’t arrive with the rest of the shipment) they write a note on the purchase order, make a copy, and place this now third copy back in the “Ordered Inventory” folder. The second copy showing the items that were received is placed in the “Update New Inventory” folder. Before the end of the day, Thato or Mpumi goes through the “Update New Inventory” folder and records all products they received that day in a three-ring notebook – one notebook for each manufacturer.
When a product is sold and after it has been delivered, Thato and Mpumi goes through the “Sales” folder, and for each product that was sold, selects the appropriate inventory notebook, matches the solditem with the listed item based on product number and serial number, and write down the date of the sale in the notebook. At the end of each week, one of the owners will also go through the “Sales” folder,and create a “Weekly Sales Report” of everything that was sold during the week. This report lists theproduct, manufacturer, product number, serial number, cost, and price. This report is then totalled to provide a record of weekly sales. Thato and Mpumi would like to be able to see sales by product.