Three years ago Emrys Plum, moving on from his role as plumbing engineer for a local housing association, founded a small plumbing company called Plumrite. Initially this consisted of the Emrys and his son and daughter taking on small domestic plumbing jobs. Today, Plumrite has grown to employ six additional full time plumbers and a part time office administrator.

Due to the rapid growth of the company, admin procedures have not kept up with Plumrite’s needs. Emrys initially set up a simple administrative system on a standalone PC, but it is not keeping up with demand. In fact most of the invoicing, stock control, scheduling and invoicing is completed manually, with Emrys having to give up around two days work a month to help the admin worker with paperwork. He used to be able to schedule jobs using a paper diary system, but he now carries a diary bulging with extra appointments and amendments. The result is that sometimes jobs are not started on time due to poor scheduling. Increasingly, Plumrite is taking on jobs for business as well as domestic customers, resulting in a need for professionally produced invoices and a system for tracking payments. At present Plumrite relies on listings in local Web directories for their online presence.

As a result of the problems and inadequacies of the current system, Emrys is considering the introduction of a new computer based admin system. At the office, a network of 3 PCs would be needed. Laptops with mobile internet access would also be needed for all 9 staff who travel out to work. A basic Web presence is needed urgently, with an online booking system being added on next year. Emrys’s daughter Ceinwen has completed an HND in Computing and has some expertise in database, coding and Web development, and would be prepared to work on the new system instead of her normal work. The office administrator would need to work additional hours in order to implement the new system.

Emrys is weighing up his options: he has other possibilities for investing in the business such as a new van and is not convinced that the new computer systems will be worth the money. He would like to you to conduct a Feasibility Study for the proposed new computer system taking the next two years as your time frame.  

Emrys wishes to consider the use of E-Commerce technology to support the needs of the growing business and to provide a business as well as domestic service.  As well as geographically wider sales opportunities, Plumrite could provide more business installations.

You have been selected to build a prototype e-commerce site for Plumrite and a report on your proposed solution.