Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

For many small businesses, creating a captivating retail experience is the key to success, and finding the right technologies to enable that experience is crucial for sustaining a competitive advantage. This project is a case study designed to evaluate and select a Point of Sale (POS) system and Inventory Management (IM) system for a small business based upon its specific industry needs. The project creates a three step framework leading up to the real world implementation of these systems and uses the Rhode Island based company - Wildwood Inc. - as the subject of the study. Wildwood Inc. is a garden center and nursery that uses manual processes for both its checkout and inventory management practices, but due to its growth is experiencing difficulties in serving its customers effectively. The project looks at specific challenges facing Wildwood and creates a roadmap for POS and IM implementation that can be generalized for businesses looking to upgrade their systems. The framework for the implementation includes (1) initial research and current process analysis, (2) new system evaluation and process comparison, and (3) a final recommendation for management. The project explores the necessary capabilities of POS and IM systems within the retail agriculture industry; creates a comparison matrix of potential product offerings based upon hardware components, software features, technical support, and price points; and develops a final recommendation for Wildwood considering its specific needs. Upon completion, Wildwood will have the information necessary to purchase a computerized system that can: (1) Maintain a database of all inventory, including plant characteristics, units in stock, price, supplier, and SKU number, (2) facilitate a more efficient checkout method that eliminates handwritten receipts of purchases and digitally records all sales within the system, expedites the checkout process for both customers and employees, and 4 communicates with the IM system to allow for real-time inventory updates upon completion of POS transactions, and (3) runs a variety of reports on the collected data so that management has greater accuracy and success when making business decisions.