Barry's Bean Company is a small company that imports coffee beans from various coffee producing countries, grinds and blends beans to produce their own line of coffee blends, and then sells and distributes the coffee to their customers. Barry's Beans has its head office located in the suburb of Mascot in Sydney, along with its bean blending and packaging facilities. Last year, Barry's Beans opened a small coffee house on the ground floor of its head office primarily for the enjoyment of its employees and local residents and to promote the company product. The coffee house was hugely successful and following on from the success of this retail endeavour, Barry's Beans has opened a coffee house in Sydney Central Business District as well as in the CBD of the other Australian Capitals, Melbourne, Canberra, Hobart, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Darwin.
Barry's Beans now has two streams to the business, the selling and distribution of the coffee blends, and the coffee house retail outlets. The retail outlets are doing well but given the growing popularity of the 'coffee set lifestyle', competition could be a problem and margins are tight. Barry's Beans has an information system for the blends and distribution arm of the business and is currently in the process of implementing an information system for the coffee house retail outlets. Barry's Beans recognise that they need to ‘value-add’ the coffee experience by providing better services. They want to introduce an expanded range of speciality blends and provide more information and special offers to their customers in a more timely fashion, as well as offer loyalty cards and other
The management at Barry's Beans knows they need to be more competitive by ensuring that they are providing their customers and members information and experiences better than that of their competitors in order to differentiate themselves. Despite their existing systems, the staff at Barry's beans recognize that in both the distribution and coffee shop arms of the business they have a loyal base of customers. With the increase in competition in the industry, they also regignize the need to modernize their computer systems to help manage the customer base and prevent customer loss.
Additionally, in the distribution component of the business, the sales representitives need more support in dealing with their high value customers, and also to help them attract new customers. Your consulting company has been approached by Barry's Beans for advice on how to tackle these problems. You have been asked by your supervisor to prepare a report highlighting the issues and possible software solutions in developing a broad strategy. Your advice needs to be well researched and not based on your own personal views or experiences.
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