Pine Valley Furniture Company Background-Managing the Information Systems Project




Pine Valley Furniture Company Background

Pine Valley Furniture (PVF) Company manufactures high-quality wood furniture and distributes it to retail stores within the United States. Its product lines include dinette sets, stereo cabinets, wall units, living room furniture, and bedroom furniture. In the early 1980s, PVF’s founder, Alex Schuster, started to make and sell custom furniture in his garage. Alex managed invoices and kept track of customers by using file folders and a filing cabinet. By 1984, business expanded and Alex had to rent a warehouse and hire a part-time bookkeeper. PVF’s product line had multiplied, sales volume had doubled, and staff had increased to fifty employees. By 1990, PVF moved into its third and present location. Because of the added complexity of the company’s operations, Alex reorganized the company into the following functional areas:

  • Manufacturing, which was further subdivided into three separate functions—fabrication, assembling, and finishing
  • Sales
  • Orders
  • Accounting
  • Purchasing

Alex and the heads of the functional areas established manual information systems, such as accounting ledgers and file folders, which worked well for a time. Eventually, however, PVF selected and installed a minicomputer to automate invoicing, accounts receivable, and inventory control applications. When the applications were first computerized, each separate application had its own individual data files tailored to the needs of each functional area. As is typical in such situations, the applications closely resembled the manual systems on which they were based. Three computer applications at PVF are depicted in Figure 3-2: order filling, invoicing, and payroll. In the late 1990s, PVF formed a task force to study the possibility of moving to a database approach. After a preliminary study, management decided to convert its information systems to such an approach. The company upgraded its minicomputer and implemented a database management system. By the time we caught up with PVF, it had successfully designed and populated a company-wide database, and had converted its applications to work with the database. However, PVF is continuing to grow at a rapid rate, putting pressure on its current application systems.

FIGURE 3-2 Orders Department Accounting Department Payroll Department Three computer applications at Pine Valley Furniture: order filling, invoicing, and payroll.

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Pine Valley Furniture Company Background-Managing the Information Systems Project

The computer-based applications at PVF support its business processes. When customers order furniture, their orders must be processed appropriately: Furniture must be built and shipped to the right customer and the right invoice mailed to the right address. Employees have to be paid for their work. Given these tasks, most of PVF’s computer-based applications are located in the accounting and financial areas. The applications include order filling, invoicing, accounts receivable, inventory control, accounts payable, payroll, and general ledger. At one time, each application had its own data files. For example, PVF had a customer master file, an inventory master file, a back-order file, an inventory pricing file, and an employee master file. The order filling system uses data from three files: customer master, inventory master, and back order. With PVF’s new centralized database, data are organized around entities, or subjects, such as customers, invoices, and orders.

Pine Valley Furniture Company, like many firms, decided to develop its application software in-house; that is, it hired staff and bought computer hardware and software necessary to build application software suited to its own needs. (Other methods used to obtain application software were explained in Chapter 2.) Although PVF continues to grow at a rapid rate, market conditions are becoming extremely competitive, especially with the advent of the Internet and the World Wide Web. Let’s see how a project manager plays a key role in developing a new information system for PVF.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Ans: Reuse is the use of previously written software resources in new applications. Because so many bits and pieces of applications are relatively generic across applications, it seems intuitive that great savings can be achieved in many areas if those generic bits and pieces do not have to be written anew each time they are needed. view more..
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Ans: Once you have decided to purchase off-the-shelf software rather than write some or all of the software for your new system, how do you decide what to buy? Several criteria need consideration, and special ones may arise with each potential software purchase. view more..
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Ans: We can group organizations that produce software into six major categories. view more..
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Ans: Pine Valley Furniture (PVF) Company manufactures high-quality wood furniture and distributes it to retail stores within the United States. Its product lines include dinette sets, stereo cabinets, wall units, living room furniture, and bedroom furniture. view more..
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Ans: During project initiation the project manager performs several activities that assess the size, scope, and complexity of the project, and establishes procedures to support subsequent activities. view more..
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Ans: The next step in the project management process is project planning. Project planning involves defining clear, discrete activities and the work needed to complete each activity within a single project. view more..
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Ans: Project execution puts the baseline project plan into action. view more..
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Ans: The focus of project closedown is to bring the project to an end. Projects can conclude with a natural or unnatural termination. view more..
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Ans: A project manager has a wide variety of techniques available for depicting and documenting project plans. view more..
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Ans: Project scheduling and management requires that time, costs, and resources be controlled. view more..
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Ans: One of the most difficult and most error-prone activities when constructing a project schedule is the determination of the time duration for each task within a work breakdown structure. view more..
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Ans: lthough Pine Valley Furniture has historically been a manufacturing company, it recently entered the direct sales market for selected target markets. view more..
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Ans: A wide variety of automated project management tools are available to help you manage a development project. view more..
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Ans: Defining the general project information includes obtaining the name of the project and project manager and the starting or ending date of the project. view more..
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Ans: A wide variety of automated project management tools are available to help you manage a development project. view more..
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Ans: Project identification and selection consists of three primary activities: identifying potential development projects, classifying and ranking projects, and selecting projects for development. Each of these activities is described next. view more..
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Ans: Many activities performed during initiation and planning could also be completed during the next phase of the SDLC—systems analysis. view more..
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Ans: Most information systems projects have budgets and deadlines. view more..



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