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Introduction section of the Terms of Reference (slide 3)

The introduction section of the Terms of Referemce for Acme Fashion, s3
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You are now reading the Terms of Reference. This is the document that authorised the progression of the Acme Fashion project into the Feasibility Study phase.

This is the Introduction section in it.

Introduction

Background

The Company

Acme Fashion Supplies provides fashion goods, aimed at Euopean and traditional UK tastes, on a sale or return basis to shops and other retail outlets. It has an annual turnover in the region of £15.5M with plans to expand this.

The current business processes for operations have limited and ad-hoc IT systems to support them. The processes are mainly manual and the inter-departmental communication of information is largely paper-based. There are a number of issues with operations, recognised by the staff running the processes, that interfere with smooth running of their departments.

Board Strategy

The board has declared a strategy to expand the business's operations to embrace the internet and the opportunities it presents. This is likely to include a website beyond the purely brochure-style one already in place.

The strategy requires that the sales and stock operations are given automated, integrated support to achieve efficiency gains and the ability to inter-operate with any internet opportunities to be taken up.

The Board wants a phased implementation to realise benefits quickly and to minimise the risk of interuption to its core operations.

Special Terminology

Customer
Acme Fashion Supplies' customers are retail outlets such as traditional high street shops and also shops within shops (aka concessions). More recently some new customers have been gained that operate purely as on-line shops. Acme Fashion Supplies does not sell directly to individuals.
Sale or Return
A retailer is supplied goods that, if they don’t sell, they can return and have their account credited with the full value.
Returns Note
When a customer returns goods, the goods have to be accompanied by a multi-copy piece of paperwork that says how many of what are being returned. The various copies are used by different departments. This is the 'Returns Note'.
Advertising Campaign
Every month or six weeks and for seasonal pushes (see below), Acme Fashion Supplies focuses on certain product lines and takes out advertisements on radio, television, magazines and street posters. Most target the high street shopper but some are targeted at gaining new retail outlets / shops
Mailshot / emailshot
As part of Seasonal Pushes and Advertising Campaings, Acme Fashion Supplies send postal mailshots of brochures / offers to their customer base. More recently they have been collecting email addresses of their customers and have been sending emails to them.
Specials
When the decision has been taken to withdraw a product or product line, the remaining stock is moved by creating special offers and discounts. These are known as 'Specials'.
Seasonal Push
In preparation for, and during the spring, summer, autumn and winter seasons, certain fashion lines are advertised very strongly. This can also apply to the holiday festivals such as Easter and Christmas / New Year.

If you have a long list of special terms, put them into alphabetic order. For short lists, like here, put them into a sequence that makes sense to you, building knowledge in the reader as they go from top to bottom. This also minimises the need to say 'see below' when using a special term not yet defined at that point in the list.

Stakeholders

The following have a direct or related interest in the successful progress of this piece of work:

  • Juno Howmutsch, Financial Director
  • Seenya Cumming, Sales and Marketing Director
    Seenya obviously is keen to see improvement in the efficiency of the sales operation but is also interested in how the work might inform aspects of what the new website (out of scope) may and must cater for.
    Seenya is also the Project Sponsor
  • Martha Henn, Personnel Manager
  • Celia Parsell, Operations Staff Representative
  • Pylem Hye, Stock Manager, will be Ambassador User Representative (primary representative for helping with the analysis or arranging access to operational staff)

There can be some confusion as to what makes someone a stakeholder.

The guidance I use for myself is that to be a stakeholder, they will be in a senior position and their area of responsibility is likely to be affected by the work being undertaken. Note that their area may not necessarily be a benificiary of the work delivered.

A stakeholder can also be someone outside the operational organisation such as a shareholder, pension board or trade union representative.

Finally, stakeholders effectively can have a veto on, or strongly influence, decisions about the developing business requirements.


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