Figure 9.7 shows the systems flowchart for our hypothetical batch processing system. Again, please ignore the control annotations, P-1, P-2, and so forth, until we discuss them in the next subsection.
Processing begins in the first column of the flowchart with picking tickets that have been received in the shipping department from the warehouse. Let’s assume that accompanying these picking tickets are goods to be shipped to customers. Upon receipt of the picking tickets, a shipping department employee assembles them into groups or batches. Let’s assume that the employee batches the documents in groups of 25 and takes batch totals.
The batch of documents is then scanned onto a disk. As the batch is recorded, the data entry program calculates one or more totals for the batch and displays those batch totals to the shipping clerk. The clerk determines if the displayed totals agree with the ones previously calculated. If they don’t, error-correcting routines are performed. This process is repeated throughout the day as picking tickets are received in the shipping department.
Periodically, the file containing the shipment data is sent to the computer for processing by the shipment programs(s). This program records the sales event data and updates the accounts receivable master data to reflect a new sale. Invoices are printed and sent to the customer. Packing slips are printed and sent to the shipping department where they are matched with the picking ticket before the goods are sent to the customer. “Further processing” includes packing and shipping the goods.
One of the system outputs is usually an exception and summary report. This report reflects the events—either in detail, summary total, or both—that were accepted by the system, and those that were rejected by the system. Even though the keyed input was edited and validated, some data still could be rejected at the update stage of processing. In our system the totals on this report are compared to the input batch totals.
In examining the systems flowchart in Figure 9.7, how would you discern from the symbols used (or perhaps the lack of certain other symbols) that the system (a) employs online data entry; (b) uses data communications technology; (c) processes events individually, rather than in groups of similar events; and (d) updates master data continuously?