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Clothing Store Inventory Management System Essay


The emerging technologies have redefined the manner in which inventories are managed by business entities. Firms have realized that the best way of managing inventories and assets is to use automated systems instead of using manual labor. The clothing store for my sister is growing fast, and that is why she gets frustrated with the issue of managing her inventory.

The only solution to her current frustration will be to automate her inventory management system to allow her to monitor her assets without necessarily leaving her office. Her limited budget will make it necessary to go for less-sophisticated equipment that may be costly. In this plan, the researcher will identify the equipment needed, associated costs, and how the system can be managed and maintained once it is installed.

Necessary Equipment for the Inventory Management System

The budget that has been set aside by this clothing store for the inventory management system is relatively small. It is so because the firm is also small. As an upcoming clothing store, this clothing outlet cannot afford expensive systems that are commonly used in large retail stores. It means that it will have to go for a simple but effective system that will meet the current needs in the best way possible (Alpert, 2004).

To be considered relevant for this firm, the system must detect the changes in the inventory in real time, and give a record of the rate at which each product is sold. The system must also issue a warning when a given inventory is about to run out in the shelves in good time. The administrator must be able to program the system in a manner that suits the local needs within the firm.

According to Müller (2011), Asset Tracking and Inventory Management (ATIM) is one of the most popular tools of inventory management that many companies are currently using. This tool manages the assets and employees by tracking their locations and the tasks they are handling. The information is stored just in case it may be needed in the future.

For the assets, Misra (2004) says that ATIM manages their entire lifecycle, from the time they are purchased or manufactured to the time they are sold, stolen, or disposed. This technology helps the managers to know the path that a given inventory has taken out of the firm. If it was stolen, the system would indicate the employees who were handling or expected to handle it at the time it went missing.

It means that this clothing store will be in a better position to protect its assets than it does currently. The employees will be more responsible because they know that all their activities are monitored in real time. They know that the system will hold them fully accountable for any error of omission or commission.

The new system will be very helpful in managing the current assets on sale. The manager will no longer be forced to make a physical visit to the store to count the assets that are available for sale. This information will be readily available at her desk because of the automated system. For the management to install ATIM, the following are some of its essential components that must be purchased.

  1. Barcode scanners
  2. Mobile computers
  3. Printers
  4. Radio frequency and identification tags
  5. Radio frequency and identification readers

When every product is purchased or manufactured by the firm, it will be given a barcode to track its movement within the store. If it is sold, the sale will be captured using barcode scanners. The information will be stored for future reference. A product may be given radio frequency and identification tag.

This technology makes it easy to track the position of the product in real time within the store (Morley, Parker, & Parker, 2010). Radio frequency and identification readers help in tracking the goods or assets within the shop. In case one makes an attempt to leave with a given product without legally purchasing it, the radio frequency and identification readers will detect the irregularity and an alarm will be sounded for appropriate measures to be taken.

The system is designed in such a way that once a product is passed through the barcode scanners at the point of sale, it is eliminated from the database. This way, it is possible for one to leave the store with the product without the alarm going off (Narayan, 2008). A mobile computer is necessary when managing goods on transit. It not only helps in giving the location of the products but also their quantity and any changes made along the way. The printers will be necessary in case a hard copy of the information is needed.

Costs Involved in the Creation of the System

The budget has been limited to the necessities of this system. The table below shows the cost of the equipment needed to make ATIM run normally.

Table 1: The Budget for ATIM EquipmentXItem Cost {$}
Cost of barcode scanners 49.99
Cost of mobile computers 396
Cost of printers 140
Cost of radio frequency and identification tags 15.77
Cost of radio frequency and identification readers 445
Cost of software for RFID and barcode scanners 144.9
Cost of hiring the experts 170
Grand Total 1361.66

As shown in the table above, my sister will have to spend $ 1191.66 on the items needed for the ATIM system. The cost of hiring experts is estimated to be about $ 170. It will bring the total cost of installation to $ 1361.66. The current financial status of this clothing firm can sustain the proposed budget. All these items are available at Amazon.com online shop.

Maintenance That Will Be Required

The new system will have to be regularly maintained to operate efficiently. Maintenance will be undertaken in two areas. The first area will be the maintenance of the hardware. The scanners, mobile computers, printers, radio frequency identification tags and readers will have to be regularly maintained (Bose, 2006).

Some may need replacements from time to time based on how well they are handled. It is important to note that all the equipment will be brand new at the date of installment. When well-maintained, they can last without the need for replacement. The second aspect of maintenance will be the software. The software for maintenance may not cost anything if the firm takes it from the company that sold the original software used for installation. However, if an upgrade is required, it may come at an extra fee.

Workflow Diagram

The entire process is expected to take about three to six months based on the request of the business owner. The table below shows a timeline of activities

Table Timeline
Table 2: Timeline

References

Alpert, M. (2004). Inventory management: Handheld missiles are vulnerable to theft and undetected losses. New York, NY: Diane Pub Co.

Bose, D. (2006). Inventory management. New Delhi, India: Prentice Hall of India.

Misra, K. (2004). OSS for telecom networks: An introduction to network management. London, UK: Springer.

Morley, D., Parker, C., & Parker, C. (2010). Understanding computers: Today and tomorrow. Boston, Mass: Course Technology Cengage Learning.

Müller, M. (2011). Essentials of inventory management. New York, NY: AMACOM.

Narayan, P. (2008). Inventory management-principles and practices. Wiley & Sons, NJ: Excel Books.

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