Zara had an IS department located in La Coruña consisting of only 50 people, they had no chief information officer or a formal process for setting the IT budget. The department's responsibility was simply to support all Inditex stores worldwide from that location and develop the applications used in the company. The IT employees weren't even needed in the process of opening a new store because all it required was a packet of floppy disks that were simply copied to the point-of-sale terminals and the PDAs by the store manager. The information systems supporting Zara's operations in La Coruña included applications responsible for:
preparing the offer, distributing it, than receiving and aggregating orders
comparing the order with the available inventory and alerting if the demand for a specific item exceeds the supply
tracking the "theoretical inventory".
The applications used in factories instead of creating optimal plans for production simply informed about the quantities and the deadlines for specific products so the managers could easily place jobs in order. The most computerized and automated parts of the company were the distribution centers with humans only packing the garments at the last stage of the process. The stores relied on two devices, which were identical in every store:
PDAs (personal digital assistants)
POS (point-of-sale) terminals.
There were no other computers used in stores besides these two devices. The PDAs main purpose was ordering, but could also be used for managing the returns of outfits to distribution centers and receiving information from the headquarters. They were introduced in 1995 and constantly upgraded. The POS terminals remained unchanged since introduced. They were still running on the DOS operating system, which was not supported by Microsoft since 2003. Zara had no internal or external network. The only way to transmit data from a store to headquarters was at the end of the day through a modem that was...
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