sears_proposal1

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					Martin Pitzer

English 15 Section 2

Dr. P. Froehlich

11/29/07

                                        New Sears System

        I have been working in the stock room at Sears for about six months now, and the overall

experience is excellent, but there seems to be one reoccurring problem us stock room workers

encounter on a daily basis and that is battling an out dated computer network. The stock room

employees are the heart of the entire store, without us the trucks would not get unloaded, the

shelves would not get stocked, large items would not get delivered to customers. In addition to

this stock room workers need to be in top shape to lift and load heavier items such as

refrigerators into a customer’s vehicle before five minutes, which is the Sears pledge. Stockroom

workers are also often the last person a customer encounters before they leave so making a good

impression is crucial. To solve the problem of this very outdated system used today in Sears, I

propose to give it a new 2007 update. This would mean updating everything software updates,

new printers, and hand-held organizers from their current status in 1995 to 2007. I am tired of

dealing with old faulty technology it’s time for a change and this is the best most profitable way

to do it.

        Every day at Sears presents a new struggle for stock room employees. The system used at

Sears today is comprised of four horribly out of date units the first unit is the computer. The

computers at sears are literally deplorable in just about every category you can imagine.

Although sears has updated them numerous times, the basic functions, programs, and hard drive

of all the computers is still windows 1995 running with high speed internet. This is a horrible
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combination causing frequent crashes of the entire sears system putting the store in a sense of

black out where no work can get done until the system is back online. Along with the system

crashing, programs often freeze, and with all the service forms to get a customer’s item prepared

to be fixed having to be submitted through the computer it can set you back hours trying to get

their items ready to fix. The only possible solution to this is updating the system the whole way

so it can keep up with all the new functions of 2007.

       The most important unit to a stock room worker is the SNC and it has more problems

than any other item at Sears. SNC stands for Secure Network Chat, these SNCs are the size of

Cell phones from the eighty’s and are just as reliable. They are found at every cash register,

manager’s office and in the hands of every stock room worker (Secure Network Chat). SNCs are

basically big pagers, when the fashion booth needs more bags they send the stock room a page

the SNC beeps you read the message on the screen and they receive their bags, when someone

from the floor sells a product that will be picked up from the stockroom the item is staged in the

front of the stockroom ready to be picked up using the paging of the SNC. SNCs are also used to

alert a worker that a customer is there to pick up their merchandise, and from this point on the

worker receives the message they have five minutes to scan the item, scan the receipt and load

the item into the customers car or give out a coupon. These devices are also used to replenish

stock counts, check item numbers, and verify that the truck being unloaded is the right one. This

is a simply revolutionary idea compared to the intercom system of Wal Mart, and it truly makes

everything so much easier, that is if the SNC world ever works right. The SNCs are also from

1995 but unlike the computers they have never been updated (Lysokowski, Carol). SNCs run on

battery but the batteries only last about six hours and at that point the SNC gives a loud Beep and
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you have about fifteen minutes to get a new battery or suffer missed messages, and possibly have

to give a coupon. The radio transmitters that keep the SNC online with the store are also old

causing the SNCs to go offline in certain parts in the store not allowing the worker to receive

messages. SNCs also occasionally tend to have a mind of their own, as they casually shut off

from time to time, sometimes they don’t beep when there is a message, and frozen screens is also

a very common site to see on a SNC.

       The third faulty unit at Sears is very essential in delivering items to customers but seems

to never work right is the printer. The printer is a small wireless printer that is stationed by

merchandise pick up, which is where customers pull their car around and pick up their purchased

merchandise. At the printer, requests of items that have been sold are printed out via the SNC,

and the backs of these small tickets, featuring the sales check number, the customer’s name, and

the item number are peeled off and stuck on the sold items reserved for the customer. Equipped

with the trendy 1995 technology these printers seem to be getting worse every day. Along with

the SNCs the printers often have trouble staying connected to the network receivers, even though

one is located less than fifteen feet away. While the printer is offline with the network nothing

can print and stockroom workers won’t know what to prepare for customers. The main problem

with the printers though are the batteries, these bulky batteries take up at least one third of the

printers size, and on a good day a printer battery which takes twelve hours to charge will only

last about two hours tops. This causes the stock room to always have back up batteries right next

to the inconvenient printer.

       The Last unit in Sears that is technologically obsolete is the MPU Kiosk. MPU stands for

Merchandise Pick Up and at this kiosk the customer scans their receipt to pick up, turn in a
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broken item for service, pick up an item from service, or make a return. The Kiosk most of the

time runs perfectly, on occasion it freezes or won’t scan a receipt, but the real problem here is

not the kiosk. The kiosk was updated to windows vista recently and with everything else in the

store being connected to the kiosk being of 1995 technology it confuses the kiosk’s main frame.

In result, while the SNCs are freezing, the printer is dying, and the computer is crashing, more

and more items get scanned into the computer that need to be delivered under five minutes

without the people in the stock room even knowing about it.

       With the world’s population growing and the level of technology increasing something

can easily be done to fix the problem. First as a result from all of these units going bad, Sears

now has two hourly waged workers in the stock room at the same time rather than one because

there has to be someone there to help if something goes wrong. Secondly SNCs and printers cost

the company untold amounts of money every month being repaired and replaced. In Conclusion,

a new system must be put in place of the old one and the sooner it happens the less people have

to work in the stock room at the same time and more work can be getting done finally helping

Sears Holding to make more money.

       A New computer and network system is the only way to improve the situation, and it is

not only profitable for the worker but also profitable for the company. For each item I have an

affordable solution which would make the whole store run smoother and more efficiently. For

the Computers simply buy a slightly out dated version of Windows XP, Windows 95 is not

capable of handling high speed internet and more and more updates will only keep on costing the

company more money every time the system freezes. Windows XP is more than capable to

handle the high speed internet and various applications used by sears all at the same time, while
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providing more service and improved network signal. In addition it is much cheaper than vista

and immensely cheaper than replacing the entire system and computers.

       The solution for the printer and the SNC are the same and that is complete replacement.

Technology has come a long way since 1995 and replacing the SNCs and printers might be

costly but with the mother board located in them today updates are close to useless they simply

need to be scratched and started out from scratch. Cell phones today have reception hundreds of

miles away from the network tower, their system never really crashes, and batteries one eighth

the size can last for day, but overall they are very inexpensive. Printers now run on simple cords

the plug right into the wall completely eliminating the need for batteries all together, and are

getting cheaper everyday. With new items that work the way they were meant to work, the

company will not have to keep on paying fees every month to fix the old items, in result saving

money. With all the units operating at the level they were meant to operate on the kiosk will not

be a hassle anymore and fit right into the new and improved system.

       In Conclusion, with the small investment of $1,500, and a night to install everything as an

experiment can be run at any Sears applying the ideas that I have into a reality, just to see the

results after a few months. Fixing certain components of the computer network of sears might be

costly but it will pay off in the end. Updating the computer system and replacing the SNCs and

printers is the best way to improve the dreaded work environment of the stockroom workers have

to encounter every day. As well as improving the company’s profit by only having one stock

room worker working at one time instead of two. All of this working toward Sears’s goal, “Make

money, create lifetime relationships, and improve every day.”
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                                       Works Cited

“Secure Network Chat.” Freedownloadcenter.com. 06 Aug 2006. 25 Nov 2007

       <http:www.freedownloadscenter.com/Network_and_Internet/Text_Chat_Clients/Secure

       _Network_Chat_html>.



Lysokowski, Carol. Personal interview. 21 Nov 2007

				
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