Information Systems for Business
Case Study Client Scenario
Sam's Office Plants
Industry Sector: Retail Office Plant Hire
eCommerce Focus: B2C cart, B2C eMarketing
Sam's Office Plants is a small business that commenced in 2013 by former VU graduates and operates in the suburb of North Melbourne, close to the Melbourne CBD. Currently, the company operates from two locations, the head office located in North Melbourne which also has a small warehouse, and an open horticultural section which is located on a large property in Lara, west of Melbourne.
The business sells and rents office plants both large and small to company offices to improve their décor and interior landscaping for both staff and clients visiting the businesses. The plants are also rented along with stylish contemporary pots for proper effect. The Horticultural centre in Lara grows new plants and nurses others back to health for placement in other sites and is the logistics centre.
They commenced in 2013 and have recorded good growth.
year Staff size Sales units Sales revenue
2013 7 550 42,000
2014 9 680 56,000
2015 10 1500 125,000
2016 15 2500 212,000
2017 18 3400 289,000
2018 proj 22 5000 350,000
Apart from the owners there are two IT specialists and a training officer who have advanced IT knowledge.
The head office in North Melbourne is the sales centre for the business and handles all sales quotes, requests for replacements, and bookings for plant maintenance services which form a large part of the business.
Business has been growing steadily over the last few years due to the boom in construction of office space in the CBD, and the growing awareness in the business sector of the positive effect of plants on the health of office workers. Sam has recently put on two new sales people and both they and the existing sales staff spend all day traveling to clients and potential clients across the CBD and to outer suburbs where office blocks may be located. In order to provide a competitive advantage over other rivals in the business, Sam has recognized the growing need to modernize the information systems currently utilized and is interested in developing an eCommerce presence.
Competitor Online Sales Site
Sam wants to expand the business and needs possible strategies to provide better services to new and existing customers. However there may be some problems with expansion in terms of the IT systems they currently use. When Sam and the other sales people are out of the office they record all work, new sales, increase in existing orders and plant maintenance, using a simple application on their respective lap top computers.
At the end of the day, the information on these lap-tops needs to be consolidated and incorporated in the office data systems, spreadsheets and schedules. Expansion will only increase this problem. Some sales staff are away all day and sometimes do not get a chance to return to the office at the end of the day, leading to synchronization issues with the head- office files. Additionally, margins are tight and Sam is worried about the cost of major IT infrastructure upgrades.
Your consulting company has been approached by Sam's Office Plants for advice on how to tackle these problems. You have been asked by your supervisor to prepare a report highlighting the issues and possible e-commerce solution in developing a broad strategy. Your advice needs to be well researched and not based on your own personal views or experiences.