The supplier group failed to present and even implement the second half of the system which had to deal with the other end of the this suppermarket chain. The second half of the project was for the warehouse to accept the orders and send back an invoice along at the time of the delivery and then CSO will either pay for the shipment or sends back a list of discripency in the order form and the shipmwnt form.
This was clearly part of the original design document and the supplier group failed to address it.
Most of the requirements were met, however there are some important requirments that weren't met. In the requirments it was stated that the number of items ordered were to be displayed with the product ordered. This would save the stocker a large amount of time if he or she could see all the items and the amount recieved. However, Level 10 made it so that you have to click on the item to see how much was ordered. This is a very tedious and time consuming task, espesially if there is in excess of 1000 items.
A feature that was put in above and beyond our requirments was an item number. This only cluttered up the screen and confused us as to whether it was the id number or the amount ordered.
We found that batch ordering did not have editing capabilites. We also found that the aspect of over ordering was not in the system. It was either just not demonstrated, or it was not implemented at all. This is very important to have just in case it arose that the order was sent twice. This would give us a large problem that should have been taken care of. The over all ordering part was poorly demonstrated.
Overall the number of bugs and glitches made it very hard for us to judge the delivery of our expectations.
Overall, we feel that the process used hindered, rather than facilitated, the creation of the desired product.
Far to much time was spent writing and reading documents. The time could have been much better spent consulting with the supplier group and, if possible, testing prototypes. A cooperative approach, where we worked with the supplier as they used some sort of fast prototyping process in design of the system, would have ensured that we got what we wanted and that they knew what was expected of them. As it was, the process encouraged an adversarial relationship where the supplier spent a lot of valuable time producing a document that we in turn, as the customer, were expected to find fault with. Under a more cooperative scenario, the paperwork generated (in the later stages) would simply serve to document what had already been agreed upon.
The required lengths of the documents, further hampered communication. Good communication practice requires that no more words be used than those needed to state clearly what needs to be said. The documents produced, supposedly, were for our benefit as the customer. Yet, as customers we would have preferred that what correspondence that was necessary be concise and to the point.
To sum up, we feel that the process used in the project portion of the course would be better if updated to reflect the common availability of rapid application development tools and allow the groups to modify the process, if they wish, to direct more of their efforts towards joint development, and less towards "cranking out" lengthy documents (that nobody wants to read).
The first thing that we would do is put alot of focus on co-operating with the suppliers rather than competing. It seemed that both sides were too defensive in respects to their ideas. We think that the customer and supplier should work together, since we are working on a common goal. If both sides worked together then more would be accomplished in a shorter time span as both sides would be open to suggestion and would not be biased or as biased. Therefore both sides should work as a team to accomplish the same outcome. If both sides were at ease with one another then they might also come up with better ideas and the finished project would be alot improved. The course seems to put a competitive edge on the customer/supplier relationship by always asking the customer to find the negatives in the suppliers work. We think that if you get can get past this early on, then you can accomplish much more.
The second thing that we would do is have closer communication. This can be broken down to closer communication amongst ourselves and with our supply group. Between ourselves, we would meet more often to talk about how we feel things are going concerning the project. Our current meetings were very quick and we only met when there was something that was due. When we did meet it was always criticising the suppliers work. If we set meetings every week or so then we can keep the design going and evolving as we come up with new ideas, and if we keep in close contact with the suppliers our evolving can be reflected in their work. We agree that there has to be an end sometime in the evolving from a customer's sense, but we feel that we can still discuss the project and make sure everyone has a common picture.
Closer communication with our supply group is essential in improving our project. If we are in close contact with them, then we can see exactly how they are interpreting our ideas. If we see a problem then we can correct it right away and move on. Where as right now, we don't see their interpretation for at least a couple of weeks, and by then it could have severe consequences in trying to change it. Alot of time can be saved writing useless material if both sides keep talking to one another. We think that there should be set meetings between the customer and the supplier.