Office Automation and Group Collaboration
Office Automation and Group Collaboration
Dollar General relies on a Wide-Area Network (WAN) that is based on satellite technology to ensure collaboration between its stores and headquarters, and this network forms the basis of much of the collaboration within the company. Dollar General chose to invest in a VSAT (very small aperture terminal) satellite technology as a means to upload sales results in real time as many of their stores are located in geographically remote regions of the country (Carr, 2004). This has also formed the basis of Dollar General’s approach to integrating their IBM Point-of-Sales (POS) terminals into the reporting network as well. The company does not rely on expensive collaboration platforms to communicate with stores; they use voice mail for the majority of store communications (Nash, 2004). All of these decisions are aimed at driving up profits achieved per store, a decision which has given the company the ability to grow despite a global recession.
The advantages of creating a satellite network for sharing sales data daily with headquarters are that logistics and supply chain planners can quickly react to changes in demand, better manage pricing, and ensure a higher level of profitability per store. Store managers are left voice mails on recommendations for pricing and product mix changes. The disadvantages of a satellite network are that first it can be seriously impacted by bad weather, is expensive to repair and maintain, and has security risks from advanced hacking approaches (Carr, 2004). Despite these limitations however Dollar General us successfully using their satellite-based WAN to collaborate on what matters most, and that is pricing management, revenue management and product mix decisions that have a direct impact on the company’s ability to stay in business for the long-term.
David F. Carr. (2004, July). Gotcha! Ups and Downs of Satellite Networking; Very small aperture terminal satellite networking has long been a favorite of retailers seeking rapid geographic expansion, from Dollar General to drugstore chain Walgreens. Baseline, 1(32), 32.
Kim S. Nash. (2004, July). 8 Days to ‘Go’; Dollar General opens two new stores every day. The secret isn’t miracle grow. Instead, there’s a well-honed choreography of human muscle and precision logistics that sets up each new outlet in little more than a week. We give you an inside look at what Dollar General doesn’t want you to know. Baseline, 1(32), 32.
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