Video Rentals Shop Database

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For this project I am going to design and make a database to fit the requirements of a local video rentals shop. The video shop I used for research was STRIKE video rentals, and unfortunately for them they are still on a manual system, this is due to the cost of the computer and other requirements like soft and hardware required to set such system. I need to create tables that can be extended and upgraded as the years tick over, with new videos coming into stock and new customers gaining membership.

I will be required also to make a table of rentals, for the manager and workers use, so they can check which customers have currently rented which videos. It will also be important to have the customers address so if encase a customer has a video over their allowed rental time, a letter can be sent to their home indicating that their video is overdue and that they will have to pay a small fine which will obviously vary depending on the length of time the particular customers video is overdue.

The current system under use is far from faultless. With files all being kept together they can infact be prone to getting misplaced which can cause a delay in the running of the shop. If a video is overdue, it could be incredibly time consuming to write out a letter to every customer who is overdue and, with the files in the filing cabinets being all kept together, it is infact prone to error in that the letter can be sent to the wrong address or the wrong details could be contained in the letter. Taking a stock check would be made worlds easier as instead of having to close the shop for one or two days (loosing a lot of business) to count every video and compare them to the records, you could simply click a button and the computer would do the stock check for you in seconds, allowing a stock check to be done on a far more regular basis making any loss of videos known within one or two days of it happening as well as showing which customer has the video.

Description of Problem: The current system under use in the video shop is infact a set of filing cabinets that is only maintained by all the employees who also have to concentrate on serving customers as well taking stock checks etc. A photocopy of a pre written letter is used to mail customers who have rented videos, which are overdue. This is a serious inconvenience because the employee who is working at a particular time must take time to get a photocopy of the pre written letter and fill in the required in formation, Name, Time film has been overdue, price of fine which has been enforced etc. Following the employee doing this, he or she would have to put every letter into an envelope, and write the customers address on the envelope, apply a stamp and leave it for the postman to pick up, or even more time consuming, have to take the letter down to the post office themselves.

All these actions are error-prone, the employee could put the incorrect name on the envelope or the wrong address the wrong fine could be put also, particularly if the employee has more than one letter to write. If a customer wishes to enquire about weather or not the video shop has a video in stock, a manual check has to be done, which is also prone to error. A manual check is not only prone to error but it is a manual check prone to error; it is also incredibly time consuming which can result in the possibility of a customer losing interest in renting the particular film or even an extreme, customers joining another video rentals shop because they may consider the service to be poor.

From looking at the above reasons it is made relatively clear that a computerised system would be hugely beneficial to the video rentals shop and although it would be relatively expensive to set up the system, I will be regarded as almost essential in the next few years to keep up with the demands and competition of other video shops. By using a computer-based system, it would allow the rentals shop to expand in the future, for example it would enable the shop to expand and have other outlets in the future and if the computer possessed a CD re-writer or if the shop or manager owned a laptop computer then information could be transported if required.

Investigation and analysis and specification of solution: After visiting STRIKE video rentals, I asked if it would be possible for them to show me how their current system is operated, following this a time was arranged when it was convenient for the system to be shown and explained to me. When a new customer wishes to gain membership, the customer is required to fill out a data collection form containing various details (Name, Address, Phone number etc.) after the customer has filled out the form they are given a file in the filing cabinet and a membership number. Into the file also goes their rentals card which is an A5 size card which has the customers details across the top and a table printed on it, when a customer wishes to rent a video, the employee takes the customers card out of their folder and puts the date in the box on the empty row on the right hand side of the table and to the right of the box containing the date is a long box where the title of the film is entered, below is a copy of the table:

Date Film Title Date returned As you can see, the table and method is rather basic. The system of hand writing in the date, film title, and the date the film is returned, along with the form having to be taken out of the filing cabinet manually is that the employee could always get the wrong card, or enter the wrong information into the table. If the system was computer based then input masks could be used to make certain that correct information is inputted to prevent error.

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