Case Study of Mrs. Fields Secret Ingredients

There are six questions including a diagram question, three table questions and two Q&A questions. Please read the two-page case and finish those questions.
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Mrs. Fields Secret Ingredient (v4)
On a typical morning at Mrs. Fields Pier 39 store in San Francisco, Lui, the store manager,
unlocks the store, calls up the Day Planner system on his computer, and answers
questions the computer puts to him such as what type of day is it: normal day, sale day,
hot day, school day, holiday, etc. The computer communicates this data to the Day
Planner application on the corporate servers and retrieves sales for this time last year from
the corporate servers, which are adjusted, for growth trends and for Lui’s answers to then
come up with a forecast for today’s sales.
Say, for instance, it’s Tuesday, a school day. The computer goes back to the Pier 39
store’s hour by hour, product by product performance on the last three school-day
Tuesdays. Based on what you did then, the Day Planner tells him, here’s what you’ll have
to do today, hour by hour, product by product, to meet your sales projection. It tells him
how many customers he’ll need each hour and how much he’ll have to sell to them. It tells
him how many batches of cookie dough he’ll have to mix and when to mix and bake them
to meet the demand for fresh cookies and to minimize leftovers. He could make these
estimates himself if he wanted to take the time and had the skills. The computer makes
them for him.
Each hour, as the day progresses, the Day Planner at corporate tracks his progress from
POS data entered at the register. The computer revises the hourly projections and makes
suggestions. The customer count is OK, it might observe, but your average value of the
sale is down. Are your crew members doing enough suggestive selling? If, on the other
hand the computer indicates that the customer count is down, that may suggest the
managers will want to do some sampling – fish for customers up and down the pier with a
tray of free cookie pieces – or try something else, whatever he likes, to lure people into the
store. Sometimes if sales are just slightly down, the machine’s revised projections will
actually exceed the original on the assumption that greater selling effort will more than
compensate for the small deficit. On the other hand, the program isn’t blind to reality. It
recognizes a bad day and diminishes its hourly sales projections and baking estimates
accordingly.
Hourly sales goals?
Well, when Debbi Fields was running her first store, she set hourly sales goals. Her
managers should, too, she thinks. Rather than enforce the practice by command, Randy
Fields (Debbi’s husband who helps run the company) has embedded the notion in the
software that each store manger relies on. Do mangers find the machine’s suggestions
intrusive? Not Lui. “It’s a tool for me and allows me to focus on my customers and crew
and know the freshly baked cookies will be there and I can meet my revenue goals.” he
says.
Lui’s computer can also help him schedule his crew by accessing the Crew Scheduler
system running on the corporate servers using a browser. The scheduling system projects
sales for the next two weeks and combines that with the standard times Debbie herself
would take to perform the mixing, dropping, and baking chores. Using the roster of store
employees and their skills the program gives back a schedule of which people with which
skill levels he’ll need during which hours. A process that done manually consumed almost
an hour and often produced a sub-optimal schedule is now automated.
That’s a lot of technology applied to something as basic as a cookie store, but Randy had
two objectives in mind.
First, it’s no accident, even if Lui isn’t consciously aware of why he does what he does,
that he runs his store just about the same way that Debbi ran her first store years ago.
Even when she isn’t there, she’s there – in the standards built into his Day Planner and
Scheduling system, in the hourly goals, in the sampling and suggestive selling. The
technology has “leveraged,” to use Randy’s term, Debbi’s ability to project her influence
into more stores than she could ever reach effectively without it.
Second, Randy wanted to keep the store managers managing, not sweating the
paperwork. “In retailing,” he says, “the goal is to keep people close to people. Whatever
gets in the way of that – administration, ordering, and so on – is the enemy.” If an
administrative chore can be automated, it should be.
Of course, headquarters learns what every store is doing daily – from sales to staffing to
baking. All of this data is transmitted to headquarters where it is stored. Randy pushed the
organization toward automated “exception reporting.” The Store Status system compares
actual results with expected results and flags the anomalies, which are all management
really cares about anyway. Seven store controllers are working at headquarters with this
information. If a store’s sales are dramatically off, the store controller covering that
geographical region will be the first to know it. If there’s a discrepancy between the daily
report of batches of cookies baked, and the sales report, the controller will be the first to
find it. And they will communicate with the store manager and others to determine the
problem and how to best correct it.
Randy sums it up “these systems give us the information that leads to better decision
making, keeping store managers focused on customers and team while supporting our
corporate goals of revenue growth and profits”
Instructions
Read all the questions to get a sense of the problems and then as you tackle each
question make sure you read the whole question and answer it fully and specifically. Be
prepared to go back and revise previous answers as you answer later questions and learn
more about the case.
Read the case carefully and make sure you have identified the three (and only three)
information Systems that are described. They are in capital letters! Also understand that
they are closely related and share information.
Use the tables provided and keep your answers to one page in length using an 11 point
font or larger. Any part of the answer that is more than one page will not count towards
your grade! Short and specific answers are best. Bullet lists or a list of short
sentences/phrases are best in the cells in the tables. Start each question on a new page.
Submit all the following pages (but not this page and the previous page) with your
answers.

MISM 2301 Final Case (Russell)

Q1. For the 3 Information systems described in the case (they are in capital letters in the
case) and fill in the following table.
Information
Systems
Day Planner
Crew
Scheduler
Store Status
Who is
the main
user
List the data the IS needs
as input.
List the Information/data
the IS produces as output
Q2. The columns are business needs/drivers. Fill in the table describing how each of the 3
needs is or is not supported by the IS.
Information
Systems
Day Planner
Crew
Scheduler
Store Status
Good product
Good service
Profits
Q3. List and briefly describe the role the Information Technology components play for all
these systems. Use one list since the role played in each system is basically the same.
Also use the full page but only one page and structure your answer.
Q4. Fill in the table.
BI Systems
Describe a specific example of
how each is used in one of the
3 ISs or if not used how it could
be.
What would be the business benefits of
such a use?
Simple
Reporting
OLAP
Analytics
Knowledge
Management
Q5. Complete the following system diagram for the Day Planner (DP) and Store Status
(SS) systems with the following circles. Show only the information flows needed for these
systems on the diagram. Note that these systems share data. If one system has produced
some data/information it then shares it with the other systems through the shared DB at
HQ if needed.
POS
DP at
store
DP at
HQ
Store
Mgr.
Shared DB
At HQ
SS at
HQ
Q6. Give 2 specific examples of data at Mrs. Fields that should be made secure and briefly
explain why. List and briefly explain four technologies you could use to enhance the
security of this data? Structure your answer.

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