Jai Rodriguez

Professor Robert Hofkin

Systems Analysis and Development

January 14, 2018


My sister owns a small clothing store. She mentioned being frustrated and tired because of having to manually input the store’s inventory while also tracking which items are selling best, least, or not at all. She suggested that she needed an automated system, but she doubts whether her budget can afford one. Being that she is family, I agreed to design and develop a system to automate her manual business transactions by utilization of efficient equipment that fits her budget. She explained all the services that she renders in the small clothing store. She also mentioned how the goods reach the market. That was necessary information that will help me in designing an automated system towards the clothing store goals and objectives. Inventory forms a very vital part of a business. Given that these are the products that the clothing store deals with, it is then vital that my sister be able to keep track of the inventory at all times. So, we will set up a system to track from ordering all the way to making the sale ensuring a smooth operation.

Necessary equipment

A portable data terminal will be needed as data will need to be input into the system regularly and a dedicated data terminal will also come in handy. With a data terminal, my sister has the capabilities of data entry while on the move. These data terminals are also made to be durable with rugged features that can withstand harsh condition for a long time (Siewiorek, 2014). Most of the portable data terminals have touchscreen displays to ease the data entry process and also have cellular and wireless connections for communication.

A portable computer may be used to hold the inventory management software that is needed. I have decided to use an HP laptop instead of data terminals, which can be more costly. Using the laptop, my sister gains the capability of accessing wireless networks as well as wired. The computer comes equipped with a preloaded Windows 8.1 operating system which provides the platform for the inventory software to run as well as offering a graphical user interface to interact with the users. It also has Bluetooth drivers which can be used to connect to other inventory equipment.

Barcode scanners will be required for scanning items for entry into the system; barcode scanners will be primary data capture technique for the products. The barcode is meant to provide products with their own unique identifiers. With that, all the transactions involving a particular will be done using its id. This will be the very first step of inventory management. With a smartphone, all one does is downloading a barcode scanning app from Google Play Store, Windows Market or App Store. The smartphone utilized will be a given that it is pre-owned meaning that is of no cost at all. Should a proper barcode scanner be needed, the internet has various sites where one can find quality second-hand items for a fraction of the price of same or similar devices.

Barcode printer – items will need to be labelled and this will be by barcode labels. These will be made using a barcode printer. The barcode can be used for scanning the product into the system and also at the point of sale. A second-hand thermal barcode printer can be used to make the labels. This printer can produce thousands of barcodes in hours and do so at a low cost.

Smartphone – while this has been aforementioned as a good candidate for being a low-cost scanner, it can also be used for creating and maintaining a spreadsheet of the data collected from the items. Mobile spreadsheet applications work just as well as the desktop versions and can provide most of the same functionalities. With online storage available, the data can be stored and accessed from any internet connected device in future. The phone can then be installed spreadsheets application from an app store which will come bundled with other document applications. This means that queries can be made to it and reports can be generated on demand.


To keep the costs as low as possible, the items purchased for the inventory system will be second hand. By opting to buy these things from reputable online sites that should ensure that they are in good working condition and capable of doing what is meant for them (Natarajan, 2013). They need to be strictly inspected to check if they are in an excellent working condition and can comfortably fulfil their purpose for use. My sister can use the current smartphone that she is instead of having to buy a new one. This will help in maintaining a low-cost budget.

The low-cost options for a barcode scanner include a smartphone and a second-hand barcode scanner. The barcode scanner application will be downloaded from the app store. By buying a second-hand bar code scanner from a reputable site, the budget conscious user should get access to a capable device that should work just as efficiently. Most barcode scanning apps will also provide you with the capabilities for scanning and reading QR codes as an added option. If at all my sister chooses to go for the handheld barcode scanner, then it should be got from an online retail shop. Most of these barcode scanning is free, able to be used by anyone. There are also paid for options which will come with options for future upgrades. They should be in good working condition and as such ideally suited for the low budget cost as my sister wants it.

Buying a barcode printer can be done either way as most users with a low budget prefer a second-hand barcode printer. It will create a professional look by creating barcodes which can then be placed on products. A portable data terminal can be connected to an inventory database which will be an excel spreadsheet as stated before; this too can be second hand. Its purpose will be eliminated for a full-on computer for which to place inventory data. Connected to an inventory database which will be an excel spreadsheet being used on the smartphone in the retail shop. A second-hand laptop will be purchased from an online retail shop to cut down the cost of creating the system for my sister’s retail shop.


The barcode printer will require that it be stocked with blank labels that will be turned into barcodes. It should also have its software upgraded too. Dust could even gather up inside the printer which can be wiped or at least stored in a place where not much dust builds up. This equipment is few but it will still require proper maintenance. Since new equipment is usually more long lasting and in perfect working condition, the second hand equipment will need more attention. To ensure that they remain in use for longer they will have to be handled with utmost care.

The smartphone owner should backup spreadsheets online just in case the smartphone is lost or misplaced. A cloud option, like Office 365 or mobile, can be used to preserve the data. Also, it should have its drivers updated to be compatible with the rest of the hardware. The handheld barcode scanner should have its drivers upgraded every once in a while to conform to any changes. Also, the scanning part should not be broken to ensure that barcodes do not appear distorted when scanned. It should not be exposed to extremes heat or cold. The laptop will need an antivirus program and daily update of the antivirus firmware to ensure it can recognize the new definitions of viruses which are emerging day after day. When a virus attacks a computer, it can slow it down or even freeze it. Also, the maintenance also involves performing a backup of files to external hard drives, USB discs or web-based storage; this is to ensure the system can easily recover in case of an attack or system crash.

The portable data terminal should have its software upgraded, and installed with antivirus software. Other maintenance activities include keeping the screen clean and avoiding dirty areas (Mackenzie, 2012). However, given the rugged nature of the device, most of its maintenance activities will be concentrated on its firmware. Online backup of all data generated should be made a priority. As it is, Google offers up to 15GB of free online storage, and this should come in handy to provide a secure place for essential data. The smartphone should be carefully handled to avoid breakage, and the user should avoid accessing and downloading harmful content to protect the device and the data in it.


The conjunction of the low-cost automated inventory system will help save budget and create a controlled method of quality for the retail shop. Sales, shipments, and production are tracked appropriately, which, in turn, creates an awareness surrounding which products are selling most and those that are not selling most. It also helps in predicting the entire supply and the demand curve. Shipments and deliveries are adjusted to precisely meet the needs of the business or retail owner. Inventory costs will be reduced thus helping in improving profitability. Over and understocking issues will be a thing of the past. Changes in the inventory need to be prioritized as well to enhance its effectiveness.

How the Inventory Management System Works


Natarajan, B. (2013). U.S. Patent No. 4,887,207. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Salvo, J. J., Mackenzie, P. D., Bennett, J. S., Relyea, H. A., & Thomas, A. M. I. (2012). U.S. Patent No. 6,341,271. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Siewiorek, D., & Swarz, R. (2014). Reliable Computer Systems: Design and Evaluation. Digital Press.