This paper's intent is to answer the questions found at the end of the case study "IT Helps Keep
Frito-Lay in the Chips." We plan to identify the key input and output devices used in Frito-Lay's
information system. Also, the steps that the IT professionals at Frito-Lay took to create a system that would
be easy to use as well as what steps we would take as managers to introduce the employees to the
information system that will be discussed. The question of "how will Frito-Lay's information system help it
achieve its goals" will be explored.
At Frito-Lay they use a variety of input devices, among those are keyboards, mice, terminals,
trackballs and bar coded scanners. To understand fully the extent they have gone to at Frito-Lay, the types
of input devices needs to be examined. One of their key input devices is the "brick." The "brick" is a
handheld computer, which will be discussed at greater length in the next paragraph. The next important
piece of input hardware is the receiving end of the "uplink." The "uplink" transfers data from the truck to
the mainframe where the data can is inputted. Once the mainframe has the data, it can be analyzed.
Analyzing the data includes determining the order replacement stock and calculating replacement stock.
The "user friendly graphical interface" is another
important input device that Frito-Lay uses. This device allows employees with very little computer
experience to work with computers. The bar code scanners are optical code readers. These devices read the
universal product code (UPC) from the package. Output devices include visual displays (monitors), printers
and transmission devices
linked to satellites. The monitors are found on various computers, from the handheld to the to the typical
PC that most of us are familiar with. Monitors probably provide the most visible output device for Frito-
Lay. The monitors undoubtably come in a wide range of sizes, colors, graphics standards, resolution and bit
mapping capabilities. Like the monitors, the printers are found in various roles and places. In the truck
there is a printer that is used for a localized effort producing an itemized sales ticket. This specially
designed printout is geared toward spotting problems and targeting sales. These are two very important
business activities, where success is calculated "bag by bag." Throughout the company their are printers of
a more conventional nature. It would be expected to find impact printers as well as nonimpact printers. The
nonimpact variety is more common today, however you might find the impact variety in the truck where
multiple copies might lend itself to be!
ing preferred. Of the Impact printers you might encounter consider dot matrix, character, and line. The
nonimpact devices include laser, ink jet and thermal printers. The company may also include plotters,
which are handy for charts and graphs, line drawing and blueprints. Another device that the company uses
is the uplink. The uplink allows the truck to transmit real time information back to the mainframe for
The IT professionals at Frito-Lay created a system that would be easy to use. First they created a
color-coded chart for all region of the country. When a region showed red, it meant a loss of sales. This
helped them track down their problems when sales were eroded in specific areas. They also made it easy to
input the raw
information. The information came from two sources. The primary source came from the hand held
computer, the "brick." This device is carried by 12,000 employees who sell and deliver Frito-Lay products
to the stores. Once inside the store they log inventory, determine replacement stock, and determine
promotional discounts. At the truck the computer is plugged into a printer that produces an itemized sales
ticket. All the sales information is transmitted at the same time via satellite to the mainframe. The second
way that the raw data is collected is by the bar code scanners that they have in 400,000 stores. Within a
week they can break down sales of corn chips by brand in a region or specific store. They can also judge
other products or review promotional events. Frito-Lay has teamed up with Lotus and designed a graphical
interface that is easy to use, even for employees who are not computer literate.
If we were managers in charge of training at Frito-Lay, we would introduce new employees to the
handheld computers on site,