Implementing automated decision systems to optomise customer life cycle management in the retail furniture industry in South Africa.
Yon, Paul Marcellus Anthony.
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The origins of the retail furniture industry commenced with family run stores, traditionally known as "momma and poppa" stores as they were entrenched in certain families. A feature of these stores was that they traded with people that they knew and enjoyed a great deal of loyalty. As the businesses grew there was a need to supply furniture to their clientele with a facility to repay the full price over a number of months. Such arrangements were typically concluded on trust as the customers were well known by the owners. The industry has evolved from this type of operation to a multi-billion rand industry. In terms of the size of business that is transacted and the size of the major furniture retailing organisations, it is simply not possible to continue doing business in accordance with the same ethos that prevailed during the early days. However, given the decentralised nature of the industry, the philosophy of knowing their customers has prevailed and this notion of wanting to conduct business on this basis has largely been responsible for a many critical functions remaining under the control of the individual stores within the broader network. In terms of the high volume of transactions that are currently concluded, it is extremely difficult to ensure that the application of policy and risk-based decisions are made on a consistent basis. From a cost effectiveness and productivity point of view, it is not possible to realise efficiencies and economies of scale that could be enjoyed if certain business processes were centralised. The intention of this research is to evaluate how the introduction of automated decision making business processes can contribute towards managing the organisation's exposure to risk with the view to achieving required levels of organizational performance and also sustainable value creation through a customer-centric philosophy.