A web based hypermarket supply chain management system
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The current level of maturity of Web technology in application development has led to Hypermarkets exploiting it to solve some of their logistical problems like supply chain management. Web technology can be used to improve the efficiency of business processes through on-line means of communication within a distributed environment. This on-line means of communication enables coordination and collaboration between the different stakeholders within the supply chain, that is suppliers, third party providers, and customers. Through research we found out that most applications developed for use in retail business have focused on Point of Sale software, which mainly monitors sales, customers and inventory. However, the needs for hypermarkets go beyond sales, customers and inventory management since these establishments deal with different suppliers hence a large chain of suppliers. Planning, coordination, collaboration, distribution are among the common problems these establishments face, needing a new system to put these into consideration. We focus on implementing a web based system to improve on the daily operations of Hypermarkets in order to satisfy customer requirements through establishing user and system requirements for developing such applications. In addition, we designed a model that enables hypermarkets to keep track of their large and diverse stock as well as obtaining supply and demand forecasts. We present a methodology that follows already tested and commonly used approach for software engineering projects.This approach was chosen because of the nature of the study and the objectives we aimed to achieve. We focus on establishing user requirements through literature review, direct gathering of information and direct technology testing using currently installed POS systems. After a review of our findings, we developed a prototype that could be used by big retail establishments to do their day to day business and manage supply chains. Notable in this research is the need to exploit new client/server architecture like service oriented architectures which allow different applications to exchange data and participate in business processes. Standardized data exchange formats like Extensible Markup Language(XML) could also be considered since these facilitate sharing of structured data across different information systems particularly via the Internet unlike the popular EDI.