According to Sauter (2004), a system can be defined as a process of interactive parts that operate together to achieve a specific objective. A system is designed to "absorb" inputs, process them in some way and produce outputs. Furthermore, outputs are defined by goals, objectives or common purposes.
In this fable, Cafeteria is a physical boundary of the system. The purpose of the system is to maximize its profits by increasing the sales volume.
- 1) He puts hot tea in front of the entrance door when it is cold and he puts cold ice cream when it is warm to draw attention from people!
- 2) So he can have a constant demand.
- 3) Oh, that's a strategy. Any other?
When there is an environment change (favorable sales situation vs. unfavorable situation-cold vs. hot weather), the system (café) has employed a different processes to have a constant demand (its goal or objective). Here, the environment represents everything that is important to understand the functioning of the system, but is not part of the system. Either is an environment and different times (hot tea and ice cream) in front of the door can be processes.
- 1) And this café has a flexible donuts production machine so that it can meet the variable demands at any time!
- 2) What grade did he get from Vicki?
- 3) C-!
- 4) Tough world!
Not only the change of environment, but also the change in production quantity can be important factors for the system above. A system may have five critical components: people, organization, data, technology and type of decision (Sauter, 2004). In this analysis, the components of the system can be people (CEO, staffs, and customers), organization (café), data (sales volume), technology (variable production capability), and type of decision (in cold weather-hot tea display vs. in hot weather – cold ice cream display). Based on this analogy, we can apply system analysis disciplines to this café business.
These stories are adapted examples written in my class, IS 6840 (formerly MSIS 488).
© Vicki L. Sauter. All rights Reserved.