DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION OF AN AUTOMATED INVENTORY CONTROL SYSTEM FOR NIGERIAN BREWERIES PLC

CHAPTER ONE 12

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Nigerian Breweries Plc., incorporated in 1946, is the pioneer and largest brewing company in Nigeria. Its first bottle of beer, STAR Lager, rolled off the bottling lines of its Lagos Brewery in June 1949. Other breweries were subsequently commissioned by the company, including Aba Brewery in 1957, Kaduna Brewery in 1963, and Ibadan Brewery in 1982. In September 1993, the company acquired its fifth brewery in Enugu state, and in October 2003, its sixth brewery, sited at Ama in Enugu. Ama Brewery is the largest brewery in Nigeria and one of the most modern worldwide. Operations at Enugu brewery were discontinued in 2004 leaving the company with five operational breweries.

The company has a portfolio of high-quality brands, including Star Lager Beer (launched in 1949); Gulder Lager Beer (1970); Maltina (1976); Legend Extra Stout (1992); and Amstel Malta (1994). The company also re-launched Heineken Lager into the Nigerian market in June 1998.

Justifiably, the company has the problem of keeping adequate record of goods transfer and since it is done manually, associated problems of insecurity, high cost of operation and delay in supply arise. Data processing in Nigerian Breweries PLC is presently carried out using people, pens, and paper to control stock and inventory therefore, I decided to embark on this project to design automated inventory control system software that will help eradicate these ugly measures

An inventory control system contains a list of orders to be filled and then prompts workers to pick the necessary items, and provides them with packaging and shipping information. Inventory control may be used to automate a sales order fulfilment process and also manage in and outward material of hardware. 13

Automation is the replacement of human workers by technology. For optimal sales and inventory management process, robust functionality is needed for managing logistics facilities. Warehouse management functions for inventory control cover internal warehouse movements and storage and its support helps in the recording and tracking of materials on basis of both quantity and value.

This application takes care of all supply orders reducing cost for warehousing, transportation while improving customer service. It significantly improves inventory turns, optimizes flow of goods and shortens routes within warehouse and distribution centres. It also improves cash flow, visibility and decision making providing efficient execution of tasks using this fast and reliable computerised method.

The design and development of an automated inventory control system for the Nigerian Breweries PLC will no doubt bring immeasurable relief from the problems associated with the manual system.

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS

The Nigerian Breweries PLC is to an extent manually operated and reveals a number of problems.

v The recording of sales and cash received are done manually on a book that appears rough. Thus, the books are exposed to physical damage, information can be lost and dust particles are accumulated.

v The long list of supply orders waiting to be attended to on daily basis.

v The control system is time consuming, less accurate and less efficient, and the environment is not user friendly.

v Inaccuracies often ensue from human error.

The manual system is quite tedious and can be reduced or eliminated with the introduction of the proposed system.

1.3 AIMS/OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT

The purpose of this study is to improve current operational process in the Nigerian Breweries PLC to its full capacity by developing efficient computer software that can handle inventory in a computerised fashion.

1.4 JUSTIFICATION FOR THE PROJECT

This study is primarily aimed at increasing efficiency in operations, reducing maintenance and running cost, monitoring the supply of goods and its distribution and increase profit in the Nigerian Breweries PLC by introducing an automated inventory control system.

The new system will among other things help to;

v Maintain accuracy in database handling.

v Improve flexibility.

v Increase efficiency and reliability of the system.

v Provide a user friendly interface.

v Save time, manpower and paperwork.

These, no doubt will possibly affect the quality of services rendered to customers.

1.5 OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT 15

The main objective of this study is to develop a computerised inventory control management system. Others include;

  1. To provide total asset visibility.
  2. To allow reduced inventory stocking levels giving full inventory history.

iii. To reduce lead time, shelf space, and errors due to damage, fatigue of staff and overall cost of operations.

  1. To facilitate “just in time” deliveries.
  2. To provide full process control for products.
  3. To provide higher level security as the system would be passworded to prevent unauthorised access.

vii. To shorten cross docking time and speeds up sort/pick up rate.

viii. To help the management plan, monitor, optimize resources and ascertain their financial position at any time.

1.6 SCOPE OF THE PROJECT

The scope of the project covers the development of a computer based database application for use by the three sections (Automation – Packaging, Utilities and Brewhouse) at the Ama brewery to replace their old paper notebook recording system.

The requirements include designing a user interface for the application and providing options for a user to log into the application by supplying the correct username and password combination; register new customers and view a list of already registered customers; to keep track of stock going out and coming into the company’s warehouse; view users registered on the database; create, delete or edit the information for a user, etc. It also covers writing the background programming to ensure that the interface works with the database through the underlying codes to perform the required actions. If also involves the testing, improvement and optimization of the application. 16

1.7 DEFINITION OF BASIC CONCEPTS

Automation: This is the use of technology or computers to control and process data reducing the need for human intervention.

Database: This refers to a large store of related data on a computer that a user can access and modify.

Password: This is a secret code that must be entered into a computer to enable access to its applications. It is made up of numbers, letters, special characters or a combination of any of the above categories.

Inventory Control System: A list of orders to be filled, and prompts workers to pick the necessary items and provides them with packaging and shipping information.

Computerization: This is the conversion of a manually operated system to a controlled, organized and automated system.

Research: A careful study of a subject to discover facts, establish a theory or develop a plan of action based on the facts discovered.

System: A set of computer components functioning together.

Technology: The study of techniques of mobilizing resources such as information for accomplishing objectives that benefit man and his environment.

Software: A computer program or set of instructions that direct a computer to perform processing functions.

Information System: A collection of procedures, people, instructions and equipments to produce information in a useful form.

Processing: This is dealing with something according to an established procedure.

1.8 Project Report Organization

This report is organized into five chapters. The first chapter takes care of introduction: background, aims and objectives, justification and scope of the project. Chapter two talks about the literature review of this work. In chapter three, the project methodology, data collection, analysis, limitations of the existing system, system design, system flowchart and top down design were done. The input, processing and output modules are critically analysed.

In chapter four, system implementation, testing and integration: choice of development tools, system requirements, and testing were carefully done. Finally chapter five closes up with summary, recommendations and conclusions: limitation, Bill of Engineering Measurement and Engineering (BEME), bibliography, appendices.

Computer Engineering

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