Automated Products Distribution Management System

Project and Seminar Material for Computer Science and Computer Engineering

Automated Products Distribution Management System


Abstract


A product distribution monitoring system is a computerized system that enables organizations to monitor the distribution of products to different customers. The aim of this study is to develop an automated product distribution management system using Siba group of companies in Ikot Ekpene as a case study. It presents the research methodology, system analysis of the existing/proposed system and system design. The case study also provided useful information for the development of the system. The proposed system is such that it provides an interface so that customers can order goods and it is saved to a database. The system also provides a field called “distribution status” to monitor delivery. The advantages of the proposed system are; it saves time and cost, it makes the monitoring of products distribution easy.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.0 Introduction

This chapter on automated products distribution management system presents theoretical background, statement of the problem, aim and objectives of the study, significance of the study , scope of the study, organization of the study and definition of terms.

Distribution refers to the steps taken to move and store a product from the supplier stage to a customer stage in the supply chain. Distribution is a key driver of the overall profitability of a firm because it directly impacts both the supply chain cost and the customer experience. A product distribution monitoring system is a computerized system that enables organizations to monitor the distribution of products to different customers. The information it provides enables the organization to know who has been serviced and who has not been serviced. Good distribution can be used to achieve a variety of supply chain objectives ranging from low cost to high responsiveness. At the highest level, performance of a distribution network should be evaluated along two dimensions: Customer needs that are met, Cost of meeting customer needs. The customer needs that are met influence the company’s revenues, which along with cost decide the profitability of the delivery network. Customer service consists of many components that are influenced by the structure of the distribution network these include: Response time, Product variety, Product availability, Customer experience, Order visibility and Returnability.

Response time is the time between when a customer places an order and receives delivery. Product variety is the number of different products / configurations that a customer desires from the distribution network. Availability is the probability of having a product in stock when a customer order arrives. Customer experience includes the ease with which the customer can place and receive their order. Order visibility is the ability of the customer to track their order from placement to delivery. Returnability is the ease with which a customer can return unsatisfactory merchandise and the ability of the network to handle such returns. An automated product distribution system helps in keeping record of products ordered for distribution and also making provision to indicate if it has been delivered or it is pending. This information is vital to management and will aid in identifying customers that has not received the product and those that have. It will serve as a decision support system for product distribution [2].


1.1 Theoretical Background

Most producers use intermediaries to bring their products to market. They use a set of interdependent organizations in the process of making a product or service available for use or consumption by the consumer or business user. This process is what has been known as distribution channel. Distribution describes all the logistics involved in delivering a company’s products or services to the right place, at the right time, for the lowest cost. In the unending efforts to realize these goals, the channel of distribution selected by a business play a vital role in this process. Well-chosen channel constitute a significant competitive advantage, while poorly conceived or chosen channel can doom even a superior product or service to failure in the market. Effective distribution provides customers with convenience in the form of availability (what, where, when – the right product, at the right place, at the right time), access (customers’ awareness of the availability and authorization to purchase), and support (e.g. pre-sales advice, sales promotion and merchandising, post-service repairs). In the world today, manual systems of operations are gradually being replaced by automated or computerized systems [3].

The technology used is database technology, Microsoft Access 2003 was used as the database while Visual BASIC 6.0 was used as the front end. For instance, the source code below shows how adodc1 control is used to update product distribution record to database.

Private Sub Command1_Click()

On Error GoTo AB

Adodc1.Recordset.Update

MsgBox “DONE”

Exit Sub

AB:

MsgBox “1NVALID OPERATION”

End Sub

Private Sub Command2_Click()

On Error GoTo AB

Me.PrintForm

AB:

End Sub

Private Sub Command3_Click()

Unload Me

End Sub

Private Sub Form_Load()

Adodc1.Recordset.AddNew

End Sub

Fig. 1.1: Product distribution form


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The following problems were identified:

Many organizations that engage in the distribution of goods and services, find it difficult to manage the supply of products ordered.

This absence of a monitoring system brings about losses to the organization as most products may never be delivered to customers that placed order for them, thereby discouraging them to continue business with the organization.

The consequence of this is a drop in patronage which in turn impacts on the financial strength of the organization involved.

It is in view of these problems that this study is set to implement a product distribution monitoring system.


1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study

The aim of the study is to develop an automated product distribution management system. The objectives are;

  1. To implement a product distribution management system
  2. To develop a database system that will aid easy capturing of customers orders of products
  3. To develop a system that will enable the management of the organization to get needed reports pertaining to product distribution
  4. To develop a system that will aid monitoring of the distribution of products.

1.4 Significance of the Study

The significance of the study are:

  1. It will provide a convenient and effective system for monitoring the distribution of products.
  2. It will enable organizations to maximize their profit and improve daily reports of distributions made.
  3. The study will also be of immense significance to other researchers seeking for information on the subject.

1.5 Scope of the Study

This study covers automated product distribution management system using Siba group of companies in Ikot Ekpene as a case study. The data used in the research work was collected from the same source.


1.6 Organization of the Research

This research work is organized into five chapters.

  1. Chapter one is concerned with the introduction of the research study and it consists of, theoretical background, statement of the problem, aim and objectives of the study, significance of the study, scope of the study, organization of the research and definition of terms.
  2. Chapter two focuses on the literature review, the contributions of other scholars on the subject matter is discussed.
  3. Chapter three is concerned with the system analysis and design. It presents the research methodology, analyzes the present system to identify the problems and provides information on the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed system. The system design is also presented in this chapter.
  4. Chapter four presents the system implementation and documentation. The choice of programming language, analysis of modules, choice of programming language and system requirements for implementation.
  5. Chapter five focuses on the summary, conclusion and recommendations are provided in this chapter based on the study carried out.

1.7 Definition of Terms

Automation:

A system in which a workplace or process has been converted to one that replaces or minimizes human labor with mechanical or electronic equipment

Product:

Something that is made or created by a person, machine, or natural process, especially something that is offered for sale

Distribution:

The handing out or delivery of stock to a number of people

Management:

The organization or controlling of the affairs of a business.

Monitoring:

To check something at regular intervals in order to find out how it is progressing or developing

System:

A combination of related parts working together to achieve a particular aim.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.0 Introduction

This chapter presents the constraints of the study summary, conclusion, and offers useful recommendations.


5.1 Constraints of the study

In carrying out the research work, some challenges were faced that limited the study such as:

Time:

The time given for the completion of the research work was too short hence the researcher had speed up the research work to meet up and this has an impact on the study.

Limited Materials:

Few materials were found pertaining to the research area and this limited the bulk of the literature review.

Finance:

The high cost of textbooks, internet browsing and transportation to different libraries to gather materials stood as a constraint to the research work.


5.2 Summary

An automated product distribution management system is a computerized system that enables organizations to monitor the distribution of products to different customers. The information it provides enables the organization to know who has been serviced and who has not been serviced. Good distribution can be used to achieve a variety of supply chain objectives ranging from low cost to high responsiveness. The following are the benefits of applying computers in product distribution: It saves time, it keeps record of customers, records can be retrieved from the database, customers can book for products to be delivered easily.


5.3 Conclusion

Product distribution monitoring is a very important system for organizations. It enables management to get instant reports of distribution activities. Manually monitoring product distribution is time consuming and involves a lot of paper work. However, with an automated system it will be easier to place order for products and update product distribution status. Management will also get to easily know products that have been distributed and those that have not been distributed. This will enable then to make timely decisions.


5.4 Recommendations

The following recommendations are offered based on the objectives of the study;

  1. Organizations that engage in supply should make use of distribution monitoring system
  2. Computer programmers should be employed in organizations to develop and maintain a product distribution system
  3. Experts in the field should be contracted for ways to improve product distribution monitoring
  4. Staff should be trained to be computer literate.

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