Kudler Fine Foods: Computer Information System Brief
Kudler Fine Foods is a gourmet food company operating in La Jolla, Encinitas, and Del Mar California. The owner has plans to extend its services to additional markets. The Kudler Company offers the highest quality products to its customers in gourmet foods and fine wines. In analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of Kudler’s computer system and technology use improvements are necessary. Furthermore, there is also a need for improved accounting practices. In order for the company to continue to thrive, consideration of growth opportunities will also be analyzed. In addition, the threats that Kudler may encounter if changes are not implemented will also be discussed throughout this evaluation.
The owner of Kudler Fine Food stores offer gourmet foods and fine wines all within one location. All store locations offer baked goods, meat, seafood, produce, cheese, dairy products, and wine with little or no preservatives added. The success of Kudler Fine Foods is in part from the systems that the stores have in place. For example, the current computer system is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the owner provides training to all employees and is, therefore, understood by all employees. This understanding of the computer system enables the daily operations of the business to thrive as sales increase. As the company moves forward and introduces changes with technological advances, continued employee training is a must with the installation of new hardware and software programs.
The number of products that must be accounted for, on a daily basis, at the Kudler locations is extensive. Presently, Kudler’s accounting data is collected by point-of-sale (POS) terminals in each store. The terminals are used as cash registers when customers check-out. The POS system records all sales, items, quantities, prices, taxes and totals for all transactions. “These intelligent terminals use keypads, touch screens, bar code scanners, and other input methods to capture data and interact with end users during a transaction, while relying on servers or other computers in the network for further transaction processing” (O’Brien & Marakas, 2008, p. 81). Furthermore, functions are available for various types of sales reports to be created with the current system. However, the current system does not meet the needs of the business as the computer system is outdated. Furthermore, the founder of the company, Kathy Kudler, is having great difficulty with monitoring the needs of the three stores and the situation will soon become overwhelming with further expansion. Ms. Kudler needs a computer system that will accommodate her current and future needs for her growing gourmet food business. Currently, each of locations operates with a stand-alone POS system. Ms. Kudler must travel between stores to ensure the managers are meeting her high standards and creates a substantial loss
in productivity. The lack of remote access also presents an issue for the future expansion plans for the business. With no way to access accounting, inventory, and sales information, successful expansion will not be possible. Ms. Kudler’s presence is a daily requirement at each location to manage the operations, inventory, sales, etc. and without updated computer technology the company cannot see any further growth.
Not only is the company facing limited expansion possibilities, but current security measures are not sufficient. Although Kudler’s present system is password protected and has backup capability, financial information may be in jeopardy. With the implementation of a new system can easily remedy this situation giving added security to the company. In addition to the company’s financial information, protection to the company’s customer base should also be of great concern. In particular, the customer’s credit card information is at high risk. Additional security measures addressing such concerns as passwords, employee identification numbers, and restricting employee personal use must be applied. For example, a proxy server can limit the employee’s internet access to approved websites (Bargranoff, Simkin, & Strand, 2008). Not only will a proxy server prevent counterproductive activity from employees, but it will also limit the exposure to threats from viruses, theft, and internet hackers.
There are both strengths and weaknesses with Kudler’s Fine Foods current computer technology practices. Kudler Fine Foods uses the POS system to record sales, items, quantities, prices, taxes and totals for all transactions. However a continuous challenge Ms. Kudler faces is the purchasing of additional inventory. The company uses forecasting, which allows the company to replenish its inventory based upon historical sales information. For the company to monitor its supply, a system must be implemented that will track individual items and allow managers to re-order necessary inventory from this information. The issue with a forecasting inventory system is that the decisions are based upon past performance, 2 to 3 years old. Unfortunately, sales do not follow the same pattern from year to year. In addition, sales from holidays, birthdays, weddings, and the like are not accounted for under the forecasting system. Every year orders will continue to change depending on the economic stability of the state. Furthermore, holidays will not always be on the same day and will subsequently affect the forecasting information. In the event that too much inventory is order, the excess is donated to charity if in good condition, if not the excess is thrown away. Inventory management is crucial due to the perishing potential of the inventory items. It is a delicate balance because to satisfy customers, there must be enough on hand merchandise to avoid sales losses.
It is imperative that Kudler Fine Foods increase the use of technology, if the company is to continue to grow and thrive. Most importantly
that is a definite need for a network to assist Ms. Kudler with her communication needs between her stores and add updated software to handle the company’s inventory needs. To implement the new technology, funding and training will be required. The procurement of new software will be required for Ms. Kudler and her employees to run effectively and efficiently. As Ms. Kudler’s continues to expand her business, the new computer system must be able to easily join the network. Ms. Kudler will be able to work more efficiently, thus allowing her additional time to interact with her customers. Furthermore, written policies must be put into place to ensure the security of the accounting and finance operations. Segregation of duties must also be considered for further security.
The growth of Kudler Fine Foods has been significant and is continues to expand their services. To meet the demands for gourmet foods and fine wines the company will need to improve its efficiency through technological advances. Furthermore, attention to proper security measures must be a priority for the business in protecting the company’s financial information and in protecting the company’s customer information, such as credit and debit card information.
Bagranoff, N.A., Simkin, M.G., & Strand Norman, C. (2008). Core concepts of accounting information systems (10th ed). New York: Wiley & Sons.
O’Brien, J.A. & Marakas, G.M. (2008). Management information systems (8th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.