An example of a digital system that supports a business would be the use of automated stock/inventory control systems, which are commonly used in many businesses, such as warehouses, retail stores and distribution centres.
In this lesson, we’ll learn about:
A digital system is a combination of both hardware and software within an organisation. As discussed in the lesson introduction, they help the business to operate more efficiently, faster or more economically.
How does a digital system support automated stock/inventory control though?
Imagine we were running an online business selling physical products, such as laptops. When an order comes in, either directly or from the company website:
The system that manages this process is called an Inventory Management System (IMS).
The overall process is shown in figure 1 below.
Research an inventory management system online and see what kinds of hardware and software services it provides.
The functioning of an automated stock control system will rely on a number of different pieces of hardware & software. We’ll look at each of these now.
Research portable data terminals. What other functions can they provide?
A process is defined as an operation of a system that takes a set of inputs and produces one or more outputs.
The processes of the Inventory Management System might include:
Can you think of any other processes that might be carried out?
An automated stock control system needs to be able to communicate with a variety of other systems to work effectively. Many of these will be other systems within the business, but often they will need to also communicate externally, such as to suppliers and customers. This external communication will usually happen via the internet.
Some of the different ways the stock control system will communicate include:
Research an eCommerce system online and see if they are designed to work with an IMS. If not, how do you think the two systems communicate?
So to summarise what we’ve learnt in this lesson: