A Multimedia Solution to Productivity Gridlock: A Re-Engineered Jewelry Appraisal System at Zale Corporation

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Abstract

Zale corporation once melted down most of its damaged, returned, or repossessed jewelry, resulting in substantial lost revenues. It was determined that additional revenue could be produced from salvageable jewelry if the value of the items could be accurately determined. This meant the jewelry had to be appraised by experienced gemologists to determine the most profitable disposition. The gemologists’ productivity suffered because the appraisal was extremely labor intensive. To address this problem, an automated multimedia system utilizing electronically linked measuring instruments, voice recognition, and interconnected LAN databases was developed. Although the unique voice recognition feature of the system was later abandoned, the use of the system enhanced productivity. This paper describes the systems development, its subsequent evolution, and the lessons learned form the process.

Additional Details

Author Julie Newman and Kenneth A. Kozar
Year 1994
Volume 18
Issue 1
Keywords Human-machine systems, multimedia, voice recognition, business process reengineering, user/machine dialog design
Page Numbers 21-30