Information management system
Information management system involves an overall attempt by the firm’s management in the establishment of internal checks and controls. The system generally establishes quick application of human resources, documents and technologies following a stipulated firm’s procedure. The system also improves operational efficiency within the firm. The Aalsmeer Flower Auction currently uses the manual technique of pricing, documenting, selling and relating to its customers. The system has nevertheless led to huge loss as most of the firm’s businesses have been taken away by competitors who have attractive, efficient and better systems. With the adoption of the new management information systems, the firm will be able to efficiently automate some of its decision making thus speeding up the operations. This paper seeks to assist the Aalsmeer Flower Auction firm to adopt a new information management system in it operations.
Why the Aalsmeer Flower Auction needs to adopt the information management systems
The system will ensure improved decision making within the firm. This is because the system ensures speedy communication within the various firm departments. The system enhances equitable information dissemination which assists the firm’s personnel function effectively. Since it incorporates a computer based information system, efficiency is guaranteed. Overall integration of man and machine operations assists the firm not just to build its portfolio but also to cut on its costs. There will also be a great reduction of paperwork within the firm’s offices, a move which will enable it to save on stationery expenses. The monitoring and supervisory cost will also be reduced as the system can be centrally controlled. The centralization of information in a number of computers will also save the filing and storage costs.
The Aalsmeer Flower Auction therefore will greatly save on its administration expenses since few employees will be required to oversee the new system’s operations. The data maintained in the electronic device will be more reliable to the firm since the system requires accurate entries. The efficiency and accountability in the firm’s operations will be emphasized since error detections will be easy with the new system. The operation integration will enable the Aalsmeer Flower Auction to properly coordinate its financial, storage and logistic facilities. More interactive operations between the firm, its suppliers and the buyers will be facilitated through the new system. The system will enhance the firm’s competitiveness in the market. By adopting the management information systems, Aalsmeer Flower Auction will be able to effectively compete with its flowers rivals in the market. The system will also actively enhance the firm to develop and implement a workable strategic plan which will assist the firm realize its vision, missions and objectives.
The required infrastructure
The firm will be required to set aside a well ventilated computer room which will be used as a central control unit. The room should be properly air conditioned in order to ensure that the computers don’t over heat while running the overall information management system in the firm. At least two computers should be installed in the central unit so as to efficiently facilitate the firms operations. The computers however should be interconnected in order to ease the monitoring process. Then the firm will also have to install one computer in each of its departments where the data entries and recordings will be made from. The various computers will be centrally manned from the control unit which in this case will act as a server. Other transmissions media will also have to be incorporated in the firm’s system in order to improve the efficiency of the system. Such Medias includes the telephone lines and satellites.
The firm should also proceed further and encourage the use of wireless cell phones among its employees. The wireless connections will enable the firm to track the movement and operations of its employees throughout the day. The wireless connections will also reduce time wastage in communication process. In order to emphasize on the employees accountabilities the firm may opt to use the GPS enabled cell phones which can detect the preprogrammed off-limit places (Tschabitscher, n.d.). Through such enabled gargets the employees will efficiently utilize the working hours by doing what they are required to do. In order to ensure a user friendly information system, the firm should consider establishing a library within its administration block. The library will be used to keep all the soft ware manuals and other information and communication technology materials which might assist the workers to efficiently perform their tasks. Through this library, the firm employees will be able to equip themselves adequately and hence improve on their career. The library will also enable personal growth and development among the firm’s employees.
In order to ensure proper monitoring of activities throughout the firm, the Aalsmeer Flower Auction should establish a post office protocol (POP) within its system. The POP will enable the central unit of the firm to at least store the messages that the staffs conveys within their course of duty. The protocol will therefore necessitate the operator to trace back a transaction which causes a problem during the normal operations. The retrieval of the message therefore improves the smooth running of activities with the firm. This is because a loss of an important message might result to a huge problem within the firm (Sciannamea, 2004).
Computer access, software and data backups
The Aalsmeer Flower Auction firm should to restrict computer access through the use of access codes and passwords. The restrictions will ensure only the required administrators accesses the computers. The move will also make it hard for the subordinates and staffs to sabotage the system. The administrators should also be required to withhold their access codes and passwords with confidentiality. This is because they will be solely responsible and accountable for whatever happens in their respective work stations.
The firm should build a strong, fire proof safe box where all the system’s soft wares and company information backups will be stored. The access to the safe box should be safely maintained by the information technology administrator. The information and systems files and folders in this case should be burned in compact disks in order to greatly reduce minimize the storage space.
The firm should plan to launch its own website which will enable it to reach out to its diverse market around the globe. Although website development will be expensive to initiate, the firm will greatly benefit from it. The site will provide the detailed information concerning the firm, thus creating the awareness. Through website the company will be able to effectively address the needs of its consumers as their feedback will be conveyed direct to the relevant authority. Through the website the firm will effectively utilize the information and communication technologies (ICT) to operate its businesses. The trade will not only improve the firm’s market share but will also increase its profitability level.
Since the information and communication technology will enable the firm to actively participate in e-business, an advanced pricing strategy will have to be introduced within the firm’s systems. The firm may opt to use a random price testing where a high price is quoted and then the customer visit to the website is crosschecked. If quit a good number of people continues to stream into the website then the company may consider raising it price. Conversely, the firm may lower the price and check the visit frequency, if it raises then it means that more will be willing to purchase the products at a reduced price. The firm can also use the boo-to-look ratio to determine the number of people who regularly visit the website and abandon it and who look with some buying intentions. Although the strategy has some challenges as it concentrates with qualitative and quantitative visits on the site. The system enables the firm to identify the people whom after logging into the website proceeded to seek more information regarding the products. And after the comprehensive scrutiny who actually placed the purchase order. The strategy assist the company know whether the information placed in their website sufficiently satisfies the answers of the consumers out there.
The analysis actually enables the firm to actually identify the potential consumers in the global market. The strategy also enables the firm to trace the locations which there is great potential of consumers. This knowledge assists the firm to direct it resources into the right places. The firm may also go ahead and open up a distributional channel in such a region in order to meet the consumers demand. The e-pricing strategies can greatly boosts the Aalsmeer Flower Auction sales volume. Considering the fact that many wholesale and retail venders had opted to seek the competitors bid since due to their impacts on the prices. The use of these strategies will also enable the firm to let the demand and supply forces determine the price of their commodities. Once the price is determined it is important to integrate it into the overall information and communication technology of the firm for easy monitoring and evaluations. The system will therefore ease the accounting process as the entries will be accurately entered into their respective ledgers.
In order to incorporate technology is all departments, it is important that the firm selects a suitable accounting software like sage, pastel or QuickBooks. The soft wares will not only ensure accuracy of the statements but will also ensure the reliability of the statements. The soft ware will also simplify the manual task which greatly increased the accountant tasks. The errors detections will also be improved since the soft ware will not accept fraudulent figures. The software will be set in away that only the acceptable figure limits will be accepted into the system. This therefore emphasizes accountability and transparency among the accountants.
The plan analysis using the McFarlan & McKenney Strategic IT Grid
In order to effectively ensure that the system work out well it is important that the Aalsmeer Flower Auction performs a performance evaluation analysis using the McFarlan & McKenney Strategic IT Grid.
|High Channels vital to the consumers’ |
Future tastes and preferences
|Potential successful channels that the consumers may use to determine their tastes and preferences|
|Low The currently successful |
channels that are used by the
|Valuable but not critical channels|
This grid is also known as the customer channel benefits portfolio model (CBP). It enables the firm to identify some of the current and future channels that serves the existing consumers. According to the CBP, the Aalsmeer Flower Auction should prioritize the new information management system as it will improve the current pricing system that has greatly affected the firm. Since the new system will enable the firm to meet both the current and the future tastes and preferences of the customers, then by adopting it the firm will greatly benefit. The firm in this case will be required to use qualitative interviews in order to actually be able to fully dig on the customer choices in the market. With the new IT system the company will be able to connect and extract that information from its consumers all around the globe. It will be therefore easier for the firm to actually meet the consumer satisfactions as their choices are met. The grid will also limit the company from directing its resources in unproductive areas. In this case the current channel will be done away with considering that the firm has lost its many consumers to its competitors. The firm will therefore seek to replace the current channel with the new one for efficiency and profit maximization (Wöber Frew & Hitz, 2002, p.19).
The Aalsmeer Flower Auction should also perform a thorough market analysis which will enable it to strategically position its operations in the market. Among the analysis that the firm can utilize to undertake the task is the SWOT analysis.
The company should seek to utilize its economies of scale and the broad customer base as some of the strengths that it continues to enjoy over its competitors in the market. Its past reputations with the suppliers should also be used by the firm to increase the supply as the demand rises. Among the opportunities that the firm should also capitalize on includes the new pricing system that is likely to attract the retail and the wholesale vendors in the industry. The new information management system will also enable the firm to effectively overcome the previous pricing weakness that dominated in the current system. Like wise the adoption of the new system will enable the firm to overcome competition threat (Applegate & Johnsen, 2007, p.28). This is because the firm will enjoy similar pricing, management and marketing process with its competitors.
Value chain analysis
The firm should also consider improving its delivery services, a move which can be enhanced by opening up some new distributional channels to serve the needs of the rising consumers. As the company also seeks to improve its material handling and storage facilities, there will be less wastage which consequently leads to the incurrence of loss. The new information management system will also provide the firm with more valuable and reliable information which can effectively enhance growth and development in the firm. The company should understand that by breaking the flower bundles into smaller units, more value will be added to their products. They should therefore count it as a benefit since it will increase the firm’s profitability level. The new system will also reduce the administration, monitoring and supervisory cost of the firm thus boosting of the firm’s value. Additionally, the development of a website will also enable the firm to greatly market it products at a lower costs. The overall effect of the website will be sales maximization which adds the firm’s profitability.
This is a political, economic, social and technological analysis that seeks to enhance the operations of a firm. The Aalsmeer Flower Auction should maximize on the reduced corporate taxation that requires a lower tax of 20% for the first €275,000. This tax reduction will not only act as a savings to the firm but will also increase its profitability. The economic size of the company should enable it enjoy economies of scale. The large economies of scale will also enable the firm to fully dominate the market since it will be able to slightly lower its product price and thus winning many consumers in the market. The firm can also maximize on the current reputation that it already possesses within the market. Its past corporate social responsibilities will enable the firm to effectively penetrate the market (Applegate & Johnsen, 2007, p.28). Since the firm has a perfect relationship with the farmers, then it can easily maximize its operations since the supply expansion will not be hard for them. And technologically with the adoption of the new information management system, the firm stands at a better position since the system will not only lower the costs but will also improve the current relationship between the firm, suppliers and the buyers.
Porter’s five forces
The analysis acknowledges the suppliers and buyers power, the threat of substitutes and the entry and exit barriers as the five major forces which dominates every firm’s market.
It is very important for the Aalsmeer Flower Auction to greatly consider the impacts of the five forces which mainly dominate the market. The supplier’s power being one of the forces which greatly determines the effectiveness of the firm in the market should be greatly considered. Since the firm enjoys a perfect relationship with its suppliers same should be continued even after the adoption of the new information management system. Having experienced the threats of the competitors, the firm should ensure that its new system properly deals with the pricing threats. This is considering the fact that many retailers had accused the firm of not effectively breaking the flower bundles into smaller and affordable units. By letting the forces of demand and supply to determine the flowers prices the firm will effectively win over its buyers (Kurtz, MacKenzie & Snow, 2009, p.56). The re-branding strategy which will enable the firm to split its packaging into smaller units will give the firm a new look thus increasing its buyers. Considering the large size of the company the entry and exit into the market will not be such a big threat to the firm. Since the firm has been in operation, then it will be best if expansion strategy should be considered in future.
The company’s future
The company should seek to enlarge its customer base as with the new information system it can effectively enter into the global market. It should seek to maximize on its website by subletting other small firms which sells complementary products to market their product through it. Considering its large size, the firm should invest a proportion of its income into research and development program which will assist the farmers reduce the greenhouse effects that they are currently having. In order to build up its reputation, the Aalsmeer Flower Auction should consider investing more on corporate social responsibility. The move will not only contribute growth in the current period but also in the future periods.
The new information management system in the Aalsmeer Flower Auction will effectively enhance growth and development both in the current and future periods. It will also significantly save the costs of operations and marketing which have been currently on the decline. The new pricing strategy that will be supported by the system will assist the firm to capture more customers in the market. This is considering the fact that forces of supply and demand will be left to determine the price. The firm will also be able to monitor and supervise most of the firm’s operations with ease as the system will be centrally manned. A thorough market analysis that the company has done will effectively enable it to not only ensure its competitiveness but also to strategically position its operations in the global market. Its positive relationship with the suppliers in the past will enable the firm to effectively expand its operations in the near future. Moreover, its intended split of flower bundles into smaller units will enable the firm to increase its customer base and also value as the price will be slightly higher than when it was selling in large bundles.
Applegate, E. & Johnsen, A., 2007. Cases in advertising and marketing management: real situations for tomorrow’s managers. London, Rowman & Littlefield. (Online). Web.
Kurtz, D.L., MacKenzie, H.F. & Snow, K., 2009. Contemporary Marketing. London, Cengage Learning. (Online). Web.
Sciannamea, M., 2004. Companies increasingly use GPS-Enabled cell phones to track employees. (Online). Web.
Tschabitscher, H., N.d. POP (Post Office Protocol) Basics. (Online). Web.
Wöber, K.W., Frew, A.J. & Hitz, M., 2002. Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2002: Proceedings of the International Conference in Innsbruck, Austria. Austria, Springer. (Online). Web.