Monday, 27 November 2017

Technical Report (Final Draft - Introduction)

1 Introduction

1.1 Situation background

In SIT@Dover, there are two canteens where students and staff commonly have their meals before their next lesson. However, the canteens are always packed during lunch break due to the overwhelming population of approximately 2,500 students and staff members in SIT@Dover. As a result, there are very few seats available during said periods in the canteens of SIT@Dover, with a total seating capacity of around 600 people. Some students might even opt to skip out on their lunch, which could lead to negative health effects. Skipping lunch can lead to individuals being distracted from their work and other effects such as “drowsiness, fuzziness, and fatigue” (Hyatt, 2017). As such, it is crucial for SIT to address the lack of seats at the canteen during lunchtime.

According to a survey done by 66 students and staff members in SIT@Dover (Refer to Appendix I), 97% of the participants consume their lunch in the canteens within SIT campus, and 98% of them will be in groups of two or more. Furthermore, 78% usually have to wait for more than 5 minutes to get a seat during lunch break. As 68% people finish their meals within half an hour, the turnover rates for the tables should be high, yet the students and staff still have problems finding seats during peak period. It has been observed that the cause of this issue is patrons are occupying the seats after their meals.

An email exchange with a staff member from the Division of Estate revealed that there are plans on improving the crowd during lunch period, from 12noon to 1pm, at the canteen. (Refer to Appendix II)

There should be available seats in the two canteens of SIT@Dover for students and staff members during lunch time, removing the waiting time spent on finding a vacant seat.

1.2 Problem Statement
There is a lack of seats at the canteens during lunch period due to patrons who do not leave after consuming their meals, resulting in students and staff members to be unable to find any available seats. An online reservation system at SIT@Dover could facilitate the turnover rate of seats in the canteens, helping students and staff members to cut unnecessary time waiting for unoccupied seats.

1.3 Purpose Statement
The aim of this report is to propose to SIT’s Division of Estate the usage of an online booking system for the canteens. This system will allow students to reserve a seat without having to spend time waiting for one, as well as allowing the management of the canteen to better facilitate the lunch crowd at SIT@dover.

Technical Report (Final Draft - Proposed Solution)

3 Proposed Solution

The proposed solution is for a system to allow students and staff members to reserve a seat in advance. The reservation of seats will be independent to the current system that is implemented in the canteens, making it an optional choice for patrons to use to obtain a seat.

3.1 Technical specifications
The system will be integrated with SIT’s website, to allow for better management of the system. As students and staff members are familiar with SIT’s website, it will be more convenient for them to use the system as opposed to using an external platform to reserve the seats. (Figure 2)
Students and staff members can log in to the app through the SIT booking system. Once logged in, students and staff members will be able to view their reserved seats, check out their cash balance and create a new reservation by clicking on the “NEW” icon located at the top right corner of the picture (Figure 2)
Doing so will bring them to the reservation page where users will have to fill in the following.
  • Canteens they want to reserve a seat in.
  • Preferred Date and Time
  • Number of Pax and their respective matriculation number.
Clicking on the “NEXT” icon located on the top right corner will bring them to the final page.
On the third and final page, users will be shown a layout of the seats with 3 different colour highlights.

  •  Grey (Taken)
  • White (Available)
  • Blue (Your allocated seating)

Users can then click the “BOOK” button located on the top right corner of the screen once they acknowledged and the reservation is done. A confirmation email will be sent to the user.

Figure 2           User interface for the system

A deposit will be required to use the reservation system, which will be refunded if the users do not abuse the system. A penalty will be incurred if people do not show up after booking a seat through the system. Students and staff members need to use their matriculation or staff ID to account for their usage of the system. Upon arriving at the seats at the canteen, the user is required to scan their ID card before going for lunch. (Figure 3)
Figure 3           Tables with scanners
Penalties would be imposed on users who have reserved seats but fail to show up. This is to prevent the users from abusing the system and denying others from having a seat in the canteen.

3.2 Other considerations
To maximise the number of seats in the reserved area, users will be assigned seats instead of giving them the choice to select their own. This will minimise the number of empty seats between users, resulting in the efficient use of the limited space. This approach would also prevent patrons from putting their bags on chairs, resulting in a wastage of seats during peak period.

At the start of the implementation, the ratio of reserved seats to free seating would be 1:4 to observe the response from the staff members and students. (Figure 4)
Figure 4           Area plan of proposed solution

3.3 Benefits of proposed solution
The benefits of implementing an online booking system would be having little to no waiting time to find seats at the canteen during lunchtime. The turnover rate of seats would be at its optimal as patrons would have to adhere to their timeslot booked. With the online booking app, the reserved seats would be able to hold the maximum number of patrons possible during lunchtime.
With a better turnover rate of seats, there will be more students and staff members going to the canteens for lunch, which results in an overall increase in people purchasing from the canteen vendors. The revenue generated during lunch period will increase, benefiting the vendors at the canteens in SIT@Dover.
Another benefit to having a reservation system for seats is that students and staff members will have a stronger sense of belonging in the school, as they would be eating in SIT@Dover as opposed to travelling out for lunch. With this, the student life in SIT@Dover will become much more pleasant, ultimately fulfilling one of the division of estates’ goals; to improve on the student’s life within the campus.

3.4 Limitations of proposed solution
The online booking system is limited to the tables that are reserved for the system. Thus, only 20% of the total seats in the canteen will be used for the system in its initial stage. In addition, there are still majority of seats which are not subjected to the regulations of the system. As a result, the issue of patrons not leaving after their meals will still be present in the regular seating plan. Scheduled maintenance and updates will be required for the reservation system, preventing users from accessing the system during such period.