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Edexcel in Applied Information and Communication Technology

Sales information collected from the EPOS terminals is stored at the mainframe computer at Stockley Park for six weeks so that the analysts and statisticians can calculate what is selling quickly and what products are not selling well. This information is needed to update stock levels held at the distribution centres and . if necessary. Generate orders for products which are selling well. If the analysts identify any products which are not selling as well as expected, action can be taken to address this. For example, by reducing the price or moving them to another store where they are more popular.

Customers can use credit cards to pay for goods. Magnetic stripe readers at the terminals read information from the credit card and get authorisation from the customer.s bank to accept the payment. The number of sales improved for Marks & Spencer when it began to put cafï inside some of its stores. These provide tired customers with an opportunity to rest and, if they.re hungry, a chance to have a quick snack or maybe even a full meal. Also, it can bring in more customers. As they make their way to the cafï (which can be positioned at the back of the store) the customers can see what products are available and

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on offer. Once they.ve satisfied their hunger, they can then go and buy items they noticed on their way to the caf�. This strategy has increased Marks & Spencer.s sales by mixing architecture and psychology, and has proved to be very effective.

Customer can also use the website to purchase products from home. Orders from the website are recorded at the mainframe computer. Credit card payments over the internet are authorised by using the same method as the EPOS terminals, or those delivering the goods will have a record of outstanding payments so that the person can pay upon delivery. Data from the charge card system and other external sources such as surveys can be used to find out what sort of customers live where, how much they.re willing to spend, and what products they prefer to buy. This information informs Head Office what items are selling well in various regions of the country when combined with internet sales and sales information from all its branches. They can then redirect surpluses of these items to the stores where they seem to be selling well from stores that are not selling as many of them.

ICT is used for purchasing stock from suppliers. It is essential that the company does not run out of goods to sell. If it does then customers will go elsewhere to find what they want. Some of the goods needed by the stores will already be available at the distribution centre, others will need to be ordered from suppliers. ICT is used to work out what can be supplied directly from the distribution centre and what needs to be ordered in. Orders from the website are added to orders from the stores to produce orders to suppliers. Orders are then relayed via EDI to the suppliers, who can quickly dispatch the goods to the nearest distribution centre. The system records incoming stock deliveries and generates payments to suppliers. ICT makes it possible to order goods just in time (JIT). This cuts down on wastage especially of food items with a limited shelf life.

Suppliers send their goods to the distribution centres, where ICT is used to organise them into separate orders for each store and to work out the loading sequence and route for each truck. At the distribution centres, the internet ordered products are added to the products heading to the nearest store. Trucks carry the goods to the stores that UG013289 . Portfolio marking guidance . Edexcel GCSE in Applied Information and Communication Technology (Double Award) . Issue 1 . July 2003 17 need them. To ensure maximum efficiency, the delivery trucks are monitored on their journey from the distribution centre to the stores using Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) software. This means that supervisors know where they are and can ensure that they don.t waste time, because time = money. Using ICT to organise delivery routes means that best use is made of the fleet of trucks and avoids trucks going out to stores half-empty. This is also better for the environment.

At the store, the products ordered over the internet are separated from those needed by the store and delivered to the people who have ordered them. Staff at the stores use drop plans to check what goods should be at certain areas. They are then able to put the right items on the right shelf. This means that customers don.t have to spend more time trying to find the product they.re looking for because it.s always in the same place in every store. The Universal Product Code (UPC) shows what time the goods need to be put on the shelves. There are three numbers in the code: 1 = immediately, 2 = at 12:00pm, 3 = at 4:00pm.

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