The development of corporate retail information systems

Date of publication: April 1, 1974


A general strategy for application development is first defined to balance short-term benefits with longer-range development of systems to aid decision making. Then, to simplify description, a grid of applications of increasing sophistication is defined to assist in the control of the three key retail resources: money, merchandise and people. Basic applications are defined as those linked to a store system including electronic point-of-sale devices, so the IBM 3650 Retail Store System is very briefly described, followed by its applications. This foundation is then built upon for each of the three resources above. Money control is developed to sales budget planning and full credit management. Unit reporting is developed through computer-assisted merchandise administration to automated merchandise management. Work load recording is developed through labour scheduling to a personnel information system. Finally a possible corporate model is outlined based on combining the three developed applications. The model is simple in objective: to project stock, buying and personnel expense budgets from detailed sales budgets which are themselves derived with computer assistance. By-products of the process are detailed parameters for subsequent operation of the agreed plan.

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