New system for a real estate company

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he aim for this coursework is to design a new system for a real estate company called Holmes agents. The owner of the company is Mrs. Tempest Daze. She set up the business in the year 1999, in Florida, and for the first 2 years business has been booming. In 2002 business has been slow. Many customers have been lost due to improper service and information.

Current status:

They collect information of properties that are for sale. When enquiries are made, they search for the particular properties satisfying the criteria set. Currently the company is using a manual based system to manage their finances, a lot filing cabinets are used to keep the current data about the properties such as number of bedrooms, garden size, price etc. This method isn’t very accurate and it takes up a lot of space, time, calculations, etc.

All the information is written on paper and is put into cabinets. The filing cabinets are sorted according to different areas; if any information needs to be changed then one of the staff will have to do it manually. When they receive an inquiry for the properties, depending on whether the customer has specified the area, if it has then they find the properties in that area with the required criteria. If the area hasn’t been specified then all the areas have to be looked at to find a property matching that specification. This can take a lot of time and the company is losing out. Their service isn’t up to standard and may not satisfy the needs of the customer at the same time she has to pay the staff for all the manual work they have to carry out.

For the last 3 months Mrs. Daze has been deciding to expand her business and open up another branch in upstate New York. Due to the company expanding the various department would find it hard to cope with the extra collection of information. Especially the sales and accounts department. Mrs. Daze had decided to hire more people but that would mean extra salaries to be paid for.

Instead she has decided to computerize the whole system for the company that would be more efficient, faster and easier to use. This means that time will be saved and the customer will hopefully be satisfied. At the moment Mrs. Daze is paying her staff for doing a small task, which takes a long time, but with this system their work will be simple and she will save money. The departments: There are 3 departments involved in the whole process.

First the customer sets up an enquiry in the sales and marketing department, which is entered to the dairy or daily book. Then they must search the file for the details required to prepare quotations. Once it is found, the details are entered into the diary. The quotations are then prepared (handwritten). The areas file is opened and the payment details, and tenancy contract is prepared. After concluding the sales and received payment the areas’ file is passed to the customer service department in order to follow up. The customer service maintains all the details of all the requests, and complaints in the dairy.

The accounts department receives the payments (cash/cheque) from the customer service, and makes the entries in the ledger. Disadvantages of a manual system: The company currently files all the information about the houses that are for sale or rent. They are all organized by the area that they are in. If any customer inquires about buying a house and doesn’t specify the area, but sets other criteria then all the files have to be studied to find a house meeting the criteria set. If information about the area is given then it is a bit easier because only houses in that area have to be searched. Searching for the right houses can take hours because a lot of files have to be sea looked up.

House prices are constantly changing and it isn’t possible for the company to manually change the prices for each house. Even if they did it would be messy and many people would not be able to understand the handwriting. When a customer inquires for a house which has to be between a certain price range is made, many houses cannot be made available because the current price hasn’t been updated and the latest price may be out of range. The company is losing a lot of business because it takes a long time to find the right properties for the buyers; the company also needs to employ many extra staff because excessive manual work is required.

Possible solutions: I feel there is no possible way to improve the manual system. Instead the best choice would be to computerize the whole system. The various options are, Microsoft word, Lotus, Macintosh (Apple). A software package is needed where all the data can be inserted. A very popular and user-friendly package is Microsoft Access. It will enable them to search and amend their database. Advantages of a computer system: Computers are very accurate and can work continuously 24 hours a day.

Less paperwork involved, it is all stored and easily accessible from the computer. Low risk of data being erased as it can be stored on various backups. Not a lot of energy is needed to get data; this saves time and is efficient. Data can easily be presented in tables, graphs etc. Changes and corrections can be performed at the touch of a button. Validation check minimizes the chance of any errors. But there can be drawbacks. The hardware and software can be very expensive, however it is worth it.

It saves money for the company in the long run. Employees will need to be trained regarding usage of the computer. This can be expensive however it would be recommended to hire people who are already familiar with the usage of computers. If the computer crashes or there is a power cut, access to data in the computer is lost, to take precautions Mrs. Daze can save the data on floppy, disks etc.

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