Below are brief summaries of the information needs, opportunities, users and any constraints for all departments within Jackson Office Furniture (JOF). Executive There are three joint executive owners of JOF, and a new finance director working in collaboration with the executives. Their main objectives are to ensure that the performance of the company is maximised utilising existing operation and exploring future planning. Executives are also considering expansion of their business into new geographical locations and new product areas.
Purchasing The manager of this department has full responsibility of the whole purchasing department. Responsibilities include staffing, supplier performance monitoring, selecting new products and any new suppliers to the company. With suggested orders arriving from the supply analysts, the purchasing manager has to approve them while monitoring how the company’s products are performing with the information that is provided by the sales clerks.
Company ordering clerks are responsible for placing and tracking of all the paper, telephone and fax based orders for new stock, the company needs copies sending of such orders to both the warehouses and to the finance clerks. Supply analysts maintain and analyse all of the spreadsheet information holding current stock levels for the company which enables the opportunity to forecast future demand from customers and suggest new orders to the purchasing manager.
Special (one-off) orders for customers are placed and tackled by the special orders clerk, who then sends a paper based copy to the warehouses. Warehousing The manager of this department has the responsibility of all warehouse processes including staffing, layout of the warehouse, stock quality and maintenance. Deliveries from suppliers are checked by the receivers against an order confirmation provided by the companies ordering clerks. The receivers are also responsible for all stock within the warehouse, paper copies of all the delivery information are sent to the ordering clerks, supply analysts and finance clerks.
The dispatchers pick and assemble all the customer’s orders from the copies that are provided to them by the sales clerks, and then they send copies of all the customer orders delivery notes to the sales clerks, supply analysts, delivery schedulers and the finance clerks. The quality and quantity of the warehouse stock is regularly checked by stock checkers. This process is performed using a spreadsheet report that is provided by the supply analysts. If there are any changes to stock, details are sent back to the supply analysts on hand-annotated reports.
The sales managers job entails the general running of the department, including staffing and negotiating any discount terms to major customers. Any approved credit limits to customers are also confirmed by this manager. The placement and production of the companies advertising is handled by the marketing manager who alongside this monitors the success that is generated from new sales. All the sales representatives are responsible for visiting and contacting the companies existing customers, enabling them to generate new sales and address any major problems that may occur. These visits are required to any potential customer for the negotiation of initial contracts. Appointments for the sales representatives are either made by the sales manager or themselves.
Whether a customer’s order is received by telephone, paper or fax, it is processed and tracked by a sales clerk. These sales clerks also send the customer order information onto the warehouse, finance clerks and if appropriate, the special orders clerk. Customer services respond to all of the customer’s queries and complaints, while liaising with other departments when needed. Delivery A current area of concern for the fleet manager is the overall running of the delivery department, staffing, the purchase of vehicles, monitoring performance of drivers and the utilisation of vehicles.
The delivery fleet carry out any general maintenance to vehicles that’s required, MOT’s, vehicle performance monitoring, vehicle maintenance logs and also servicing schedules. Delivery drivers are responsible for the loading and delivery of all the customer orders, copies of the deliveries are completed and sent at the end of each day to the finance and sales clerks. The company’s delivery scheduler decides which orders are delivered, by whom, which vehicle and where they are to be based each day. The drivers are informed by the end of the previous afternoon of all appropriate information. Finance and Human Resources The finance manager controls the overall running of the department where such position deals with staffing, preparation of annual accounts and the preparation of spreadsheet based financial analyses for the executives, they are also accountable for the management of ICT.
Updating the accounts system, paying invoices from suppliers, preparing the customer invoices, processing all customer payments are undertake by the companies finance clerks. These finance clerks also prepare spreadsheets or reports for the finance manager. Payroll is responsible for processes needed in the payment of all the company’s staff. The human resources manager is in charge of recruitment and the career management of staff. Company credit clerks check/approve the credit of customers and also monitor customer accounts. Possible Information Systems to Meet Needs.
Executive To meet the needs of the executives, Jackson Office Furniture could adopt an executive information system (EIS). This would provide them with high level views of the company by combining data from a variety of internal and external sources. Top level management performance data and trend analysis are provided from ad-hoc enquiries. An important feature of the EIS is how easy it is to use, any enquiries can be carried out without detailed knowledge of the underlying data structures. This is made possible with the use of graphical user interfaces (GUI) which enables the user to request reports and queries without the need of any programming.
Purchasing With the implementation of a transaction processing system (TPS) it allows the company to collect, store, modify and retrieve any data created from transactions within the organisation. A transaction is classed as any event in the organisation where data is generated or modified before it is stored in an information system.
As with any organisation, reliable processing of transactions are required to make sure that the customer’s orders are fulfilled on time, also companies partners/suppliers receive their payments. Transaction processing systems have now become a vital part of effective business management and they are led by organisations such as the “Association for Work Process Improvement” and the “Transaction Processing Performance Council”. The transaction processing system offers the company a means to process transactions rapidly to ensure that the flow of data and the progression of processes throughout the organisation are smooth. The typical characteristics of a TPS are rapid processing, reliability, standardisation and controlled access.
Warehousing A warehouse management system (WMS), plays an essential part in the supply chain and aims to control movement and storage of all materials that are within the companies warehouse and processes any associated transactions, this includes shipping, receiving, stocking and picking. The WMS will utilise Auto ID Data Capture (AIDC) technology. These can be barcode scanners, mobile computers, wireless LANs (local area networks) to monitor the flow of products. When all of the data is collected, there can either be a “batch synchronisation” or a real time transmission, both completed wirelessly to a central database. This database then provides useful reports regarding the goods status in the warehouse.
Sales As with the purchasing department, a transaction processing system (TPS) would prove to be a major improvement in how the sales department handles any transactions made by customers. The essence of the TPS is that it will manage any data that must be left in a consistent state. For example if a payment is made, it must be withdrawn from one account and added to the other or none at all. If there is a case of failure that prevents the completion of a transaction, the partially executed transaction must be rolled back by the TPS.
This type of integrity must be provided for batch transaction processing, it is also particularly important for any online processing. If the company does not have proper transaction monitoring, double orders may occur. Some other functions that can take place during transactions include deadlock detection and resolution. A deadlock situation is where two or more competing actions are waiting for the other to finish, and thus neither ever does. Another function is transaction logging, in journals, that in case of a massive failure in the organisation can be used for real time recovery.
Delivery Warehouse management systems (WMS) can either be a standalone system that is separate from all the others or it can be a number of modules in an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. The systems primary purpose is controlling the movement and storage of all materials within the company’s warehouse. In the WMS simplest form, the data can track products throughout their entire movement.
As it’s explained in the warehouse department, the WMS will make the most use of tracking technologies such as AIDC and GPS. This will then not only allow the company to track products and vehicles, but it will also allow customers to track ordered goods. The delivery department could alternatively implement a Management Information Systems (MIS). MIS are a subset of all the overall internal controls of the company. This covers the actual application of people, technologies, documents, and procedures, to solving any problems the company may face, such as costing a product, service or even a business wide strategy.
MIS is also a planned system in the collection, processing, storing and disseminating of data in the form of any information that is needed to carry out the functions of management. Distinct from regular information systems, MIS are used to analyse other information systems that are applied in any operational activities within the organisation. MIS are commonly referred to as the group of information management methods that are tied to automation or the support of human decision making, (e.g. Decision Support Systems, Expert systems, and Executive information systems).