Management Information Systems are the automated processes which can be designed to suit the needs of a particular business and hence be applied in order to increase the operational effectiveness. It has been identified that despite the various choices of the MIS available in the industry, the most suitable MIS needs to be applied based on the needs and requirements of the industry (Sousa and Oz, 2014). It has also been identified that an effective implementation of the Information management systems is a determinant of the increase in productivity and satisfaction of the employees.
This paper aims to assess the case study of Millennium Furniture company and drafts an implementation plan for the company.
Analysis of the Scenario
The Millennium Furniture Company is a family owned business and can be classified as a medium sized enterprise employing 30 people. Situated in a factory setting in Melbourne, the company has a core business of supplying manufactured furniture to retailers throughout the areas. The process of procurement is conventional and manufacturing is still based on the machinery that has been accumulated over the years. Biannually, the company send product and services brochures to the retailers who place the orders which are then manufactured. It is only after the order is received that the manufacturing and delivery processes are initiated. Each piece of furniture which is manufactured has its own serial number for identification and uniqueness of the product. Some of the highlights of the business processes undertaken at present are as given below:
The process of manufacturing is approved only when 10% of the cumulative amount of the entire order placed is deposited within the accounts.
The remaining invoice is generated when the order placed is completed and delivered to the retailer.
Payment receipts are generated for the payments which are received and the customer end is expected to retain the bills for the warranty provided
For procurement a Bill is generated listing the raw materials which would be used in the manufacture.
Stock and inventory checks are then made in order to identify the availability of the materials. The lack of the raw materials is then proceeded for procurement
For procurement from the suppliers, written orders are placed. And Millennium is invoiced once the orders are delivered and obtained from the suppliers. Payments are made through cheques, the receipt of which is acknowledged by the vendors through receipts which are sent to the company.
While the monthly transactions are conducted from the same current account, the statements which are obtained monthly do give a fair idea about the transactions which have been made but do not indicate the margin of profits or revenues which are generated.
At present there are two Computers which are at the company and while one machine is used to store the details of the orders which have been received, the other computer is primarily used for financial accounting. Hourly working hours are calculated for each employee and the wages are thus paid.
Each employee works on an individual contract where in the individual terms and conditions of employment are applied and a homogenous policy for employees has not been yet floated in the company. Taxation is regularly conducted and the taxes are deducted and all the salaries are paid through the same current account via cheques which are issued.
There are different problems which have been identified in the company and based on the analysis which has been conducted, it has been observed that the solution to such problems would aid in the growth and development of the company which, at the moment, is limited due to conventional business methods and operational processes (Wardand Peppard, 2016). Some of the major problems which are faced by the company are as given below:
Turnaround time between the orders received and the goods delivered is longer than expected by the retailers.
The information of the expenses incurred and the costing made is available through the bank statements but the calculation of the net profits and margins which need to be maintained is not available
There is also a marked delay between the expenses incurred in manufacturing and delivery and the payments which are received. This further adds complexity to the business transactions which are made
There is not provision for the partial delivery method where in some part of the order which has been placed by the retailers would be delivered before time.
There is also complete lack of predictions and forecasting based on the market trends. This prevents the company from making furniture in advance
Orders and receipts also fall into errors where in the maintenance of paperwork is one of the most tedious tasks which has been identified.
Clerical assistance is increased at the time of payroll accounting and yearly taxation
This report aims to identify the viable solutions which can be applied to the present business scenario in order to streamline the issues which have been impacting the growth and expansion of the business. Based on the Pareto Analysis which is based on the Pareto Principle, it has been identified that an increased effectiveness of conducting the business by only 20% can lead to increase in productivity by 80% (Laudonand Laudon, 2014) While the problems faced by the company have been identified in the earlier section, the root cause of the problem may be identified as the conventional business methods and processes which are still being used. While it is possible that such methods were suitable to the business earlier, it is now observed that with the changes in the external market, the processes and operational effectiveness of the company would have to be aligned with the external needs and market trends.
Also, based on the issues which have been identified the most suitable solution which can be recommended is the implementation of an Information Management System suited to the needs of the company. A business Information system can be applied to measure the current processes and hence improvise upon the business processes which have been identified. It would also help in assimilating the information which is needed at a single location such that the access and rights of access can be uniformly distributed (Galliersand Leidner, 2014). Also owing to the self-calculating ability of the system which tends to be automatically updated at all points in time, the clerical expenses and needs of the company would also be reduced.
The scope of the project refers to the wide array of functions that it is expected to perform. In this case it has been identified that while the present systems have been suitable in earlier times, the changing market needs have generated the need to ensure that the Business Management Information Systems are to be applied (Friedman, et.al, 2013). The project Scope of this Management Information System is as given below:
To collate and assimilate the past data and information and locate is locally in order to provide an updated and automatic access
To ensure procurement and manufacturing management such that the processes can be well automated
To evaluate the market demand and conduct the forecasting and predictions aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of the business
To reduce the turnaround time between placing and information and locating information
To reduce the customer order turnaround time
To ensure that the clerical interventions in Payroll accounting and taxation are automated and hence reduced
To reduce the inventory costs with effective demand and supply chain management
Specify functional and non-functional requirements
There are two types of requirements which need to be fulfilled before the Business Information Management System is implemented in the company (Motroand Smets, 2012). Based on their nature, they may be classified as functional or as non-functional requirements.
A functional requirement refers to the functions which a system being implemented is supposed to perform (Power, Shardaand Burstein, 2015). Some of the functional requirements which are required for implementing the Business Information System at Millennium Furniture Company are as given below:
These rules are intended to cater to the main business which is to be conducted and should be fed into the system to identify errors and complexities if and when identified.
Transactions and cancellations
This would help the management keep a record of the various financial transactions which are made and the cancellations of the orders which have been placed.
This would refer to the need for the specification of the various authentication rights, levels of access, and the administrative functions which need to be carried out (Willcocks, 2013).
This refers to the ability of the system to conduct the Audit functions such that manual calculations and scope of errors are reduced
This would refer to a set of interfaces which are to be catered to in terms of the management of the processes to be undertaken. This may be a vendor or a supplier interface which may be used to connect effectively with the vendors and suppliers.
This would refer to the type and frequency of the reports which need to be generated in order to evaluate the present business and thus forecast the future needs (Baskervilleand Wood-Harper, 2016).
As a contrast to the functional requirements, the non- functional requirements, specify the main methods of the practical working of the system (Laudonand Laudon, 2006). For the Business management system to be implemented, the following can be applied.
Response time and Throughput
This has to be confined at the least levels in order to attain the targets which have been defined.
Scalability and Availability
This refers to the scalability of the processes such that the same model may be replicated for a larger number of employees or more than one locations if needed
Recovering data and reliability
This requirement would cater to the recoverability of data in case of accidental damage or loss to the data (Fayard, et.al, 2012)
Security aspects and Integrity of data
Data Uploaded onto the system would have to be ensured in terms of safety and security and this element would define the security and safety protocol of the system
Usability of the system and interoperability
This element would specify the ease of use and the types of access which need to be granted to different users at different hierarchical levels. Also in order to increase the effectiveness of the system, it is required to ensure that the remote access is granted (Lucey, 2005)
Develop project plan
A project plan refers to the various steps which have to be taken in order to ensure that the projected plan is properly implemented and that the expected outcomes are attained. For the implementation of the Business Management Information System the following steps have been identified.
Step 1: Stakeholder involvement and support
Before a plan is implemented it is important to ensure that the impact associated with the change to be introduced is not only known to the stakeholders but is also accepted by the. Hence a written document and a presentation of the projected plan is imperative to the success of the plan to be implemented (Abdelaziz, et.al, 2015)
Step 2: Determining the key roles and responsibilities
Each individual in the organization has to be a part of the implementation process in order to make the implementation successful. Hence, it is important to define the roles and responsibilities of the individuals associated with the process. The following roles need to be defined in Millennium Furniture Company:
The project sponsor which in this case would be the owners
Project experts: the third party service providers who would provide the system and ensure effective implementation
A project Manager needs to be selected in order to ensure that the project being implemented is being managed effectively
A team needs to be selected and should be able to run the project once it has been implemented (Kerzner, 2013)
Step 3: Holing a Ratification and Brain storming meeting
Once all the roles have been identified, it is necessary to re-evaluate the decisions which have to be taken in order to ensure that the faults if any with the decisions made can be well and easily identified (Marchewka, 2014). It is in this meeting that the following should be discussed:
The project plan
Vision and mission of the company
Revised vision and mission statement
Expected risks and mitigation
Step 4: Developing a Scope Statement
This is a very helpful tool which can be used to identify the various aspects of the system being implemented. In this case, it may be observed that the project Scope aims to list the functions which would be performed by the Management Information System to be applied. It is this statement which describes the outcomes which can be associated with the project and the main ideology behind the conviction of the teams which have been identified. Also with a detailed Scope of the project, the lack of communication and confusions can be eliminated. It has also been observed that an effective Scope of the Project aids in the process of implementation as well as it can be considered to be a formal agreement between the service provider and the company (O’Leary, 2013). It includes the following:
Needs generated after an analysis of the problem which is identified
Present objectives and aims of the business and the expected aims and objectives such that the Gap can be easily identified
Benefits which can be attained once the project is implemented
Milestones to be achieved and the targets which have to be attained
Any Changes which are to be made in the project Scope would have to be approved by the CEO or in this case the owner of the company.
Step 5: Developing the Work Schedule and Costing plans
It is important to identify the various activities which have to be undertaken in the process. For this the following needs to be carried out:
Work breakdown structure of the project has to be made
Estimate the time required to complete the task
Analyse the hindrances and limitations faced
Develop the interdependence of the tasks
Identify the critical path
Developing a time schedule based on a period of eight weeks
Estimate the costing incurred
Step 6: Analysis of the plan and test run
It has been considered imperative to the success of the project to be referred after a test run has been conducted (Heldman, 2013). This would allow the company to ensure that the processes which are to be implemented are not only in sync with the requirements but also the best among the alternatives which are available
Step 7: Implementing the new MIS
Once the test run has been successfully completed, the project then needs to be implemented such that the new process can be made a standard part of the operational procedure. In this case a review of the project is also suggested where in the changes required should then be incorporated into the newly applied system.
Estimate Project Cost and Benefit
There are different costings which can be incurred in the implementation of the business management system as give below:
Vendor selection and choice of the package
125 / user / year and with 30 employees it amounts to 125 *30= 3750 $
Procurement of Software and hardware components needed
Implementation down time of processes
Effective training and capacity building
Assess Project Risk
Project risk refers to the various risks that are associated with the project in terms of the new elements of functioning which are introduced. In this case the following risks may be identified:
Risk of new system: This refers to the risk of the implementation of the new system where in the employees and the processes are more aligned with the earlier system which is in place. It has a tendency of temporarily disturbing the normalcy of the processes. It is also identified that if this risk is not corrected, it may have negative effects (Schwalbe, 2015)
Risk of loss of data: there are chances of loss of data and sabotage while the new system is being implemented. This means that while there is a permanent threat to the data which is uploaded on a system, there is also a chance that the data would be lost while it is being uploaded.
Another major risk which is identified is the resistance of the employees which has already been witnessed. It has been identified that the employees of the factory were not even in favour of the two computers which were placed. This project would include the introduction of a new system altogether and hence the employee resistance to change can be projected as a risk
Risk of lack of suitability: This would refer to the risk where in the system which has been designed is not suitable for the needs of the company as identified (Leach, 2014)
Specify Project Work Breakdown Structure
Activity to be undertaken
Time in weeks
Assessing the limitations of the present system and choosing the new system needed
Identifying the data and information to be uploaded on the system
Designing the MIS to be used
Week 2- 4
Testing the system
Making the changes as per the review
Effective training of the employees
Running the system independently
Calculate Project Critical Path
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