Friday, December 12, 2008

Supermarket Checkout System

Stakeholder and Goal of each stakeholder in relation to the system
The stakeholders of the supermarket are Consumer, Owner, shareholder, Vendors, Government and Supermarket employee.
With the implementation of the checkout system the goals of the stakeholders are as follow.

  1. The checkout time to be cut short
  2. More flexibility, for example, 24/7 shopping hours
  3. More cost and time saving
  4. Safe to use with no health hazard
  5. Easy to use even for commoners
  6. Shorter checkout queues, a faster checkout process
  7. More privacy and greater control for the customers. New automated Supermarket Checkout Systems allows shoppers to scan, bag, and pay for their purchases with very limited help from store personnel.
  8. Customer must be able to scan, weigh and pay for their groceries via cash (notes and coins), credit or debit cards.
  9. The system should allow the customer to get cash out, buy and top-up mobile phone card, and provide consumers with the options provided at a full-serviced, manned lane.

Owner and Shareholder
  1. More profit because less employees needed. One cashier is now able to serve multiple customers simultaneously. Staff time is used more efficiently. Displaced labour could be used to improve the service in other areas which really help the customers without incurring extra cost.
  2. Able to cut other operating costs in middle/long term.
  3. Able to bring in more business.
  4. Checkout system able to prevent or reduce theft (crime), especially from stolen credit cards.
  5. The raw sales data collected by the system can be analysed to discover customer preferences and purchasing habits.

Vendor of the Checkout System
  1. Able to let more people know about the system
  2. The system can attracts other supermarkets to implement similar system
  3. Acceptance from the end customers
  4. Valuable feedback from users
  5. Introduce new technologies in a live environment
  6. Demonstrate to retailers not only that the product works, but that it will bring real business to benefit their stores

Supermarket Product Vendors
  1. More orders from the supermarket
  2. Better payment terms from the supermarket, for example, 60 days credit reduced to 30 days.

  1. The system does not in any way inhibit the progress and stability of the country
  2. It should have minimum or no political implication
  3. It has the characteristics and attributes to support the policy of the relevant ministry, especially in relation to human’s right and well-beings
  4. More value added goods and services produced (More GST collections)

Supermarket employee
  1. Still have a suitable job.
  2. The amount of efforts and scarifies to be rewarded promptly.
  3. System must be easy to maintain with supports and helps available from the vendors.
  4. Minimum Health hazard (less stress).

Characteristics or attributes must the system have in order to satisfy each stakeholder

  1. Electrical Safety standard according to IEC 61000-4-2
  2. Comply with ISO standards
  3. Durable and able to last for a long time. High Mean Breakdown Time Between Failures should be achievable.
  4. Accurate in all the process. System is calibrated, for example to measure small paper-packet items.
  5. Automatic Operations – automatic error detection and correction
  6. Ergonomic - User friendly and comfortable to work with
  7. Self recoverable from most problems
  8. Modern appearance and not intimating
  9. Expandable – for future increase in capacity
  10. Able to cope with Ad Hoc tasks and activities and work 20% beyond its capacity
  11. Uses at least the current state of art technology, for example, Windows Vista operating System and Core 2 CPU. The system should use familiar technologies such as touch screens, scanner, and credit and bank card readers. The touch-screen monitor gives the customer both visual and audio prompts, and guide them through the process step-by-step.
  12. Very Good Energy Efficiency Rating
  13. Acceptable size and does not occupy too much space
  14. Provide Credit Cards verification

Can the objectives of each stakeholder be satisfied simultaneously?

  1. Newer system and technology ensures better accuracy for everybody. Everyone benefits except for the crooks. An example, the checkouts work by using bar code information to get product weight as well as price. Customers scan the items and place them in a shopping bag mounted on a set of scales, which checks that the total weight of the bag matches that of the scanned goods.
  2. Lower crime rate as more security measures are in place. Lesser headache for the Government, supermarket owner and shareholders.
  3. Lesser cashiers are now needed to serve the same number of customers. There is no drop in customer services, but there is saving for the supermarket owner. The supermarket can operate with a leaner workforce.
  4. Some of the suitable displaced labour could be used to improve other customer services (helping, directing and informing people where to get the items) without incurring extra cost. For example, previous cashiers can become sales and marketing staffs to introduce new and existing products.
  5. More privacy and greater control for the customers with the use of the automated self-checkout system.
  6. Less energy consumption with the most modern state of art technology. This means lesser demand for oil, which is a commodity that can be used to manipulate the world.
  7. The Checkout System reduces waiting times for those in a hurry, or only needing to purchase a few items.

  1. Owner and shareholder in order to maximize profit will cause customer service to suffer by cutting quality help to those in need. Customer is being “penalized” by the system.
  2. There will be job lost when automation takes over. The normal cashier is unable to take over the sophisticated technical tasks of maintaining the system. Without a job means there is more difficulties to survive.
  3. Customer does not like to use the checkout system but prefers to use traditional checkouts. Reason being they feel that their skill is not sufficient to operate even the basic functions of the system. One generation period may be required for the younger customers to grow up to use it. The mindset of the older customer is difficult to change.
  4. The Checkout Systems is unable to prevent hi-tech criminals with stolen credit card details. Supermarket will suffer lost.

No, base on the above arguments, not all objectives of each stakeholder can be satisfied simultaneously.

  2., Checkout station to reduce retail theft, by John J. Bogasky