In an organizational setting, the main application of information is in making sound decisions and finding the best remedies to a problem. These practices are closely related, and form foundations of all successful companies (Oz, 2008: p.8). In order to achieve this, most organizations have embraced different information systems.
By definition, an information system is a collection of related company resources, which aid in retrieval, processing and distribution of information that supports the decision making process. (Heijden, H., Heijden, M. and Govardus, 2009: p.3). It obtains data as input and uses it to process and output useful information for decision making. In this paper, we explore on the application of Management Information Systems by Access Fulfilment Limited, a distribution company for a wide range of products, based in Kent, U.K.
Management Information Systems at Access Fulfilment Limited
According to Sadagopan (2004: p.1), management information systems (MIS) are computer based systems which provide access to data, which is speedy and flexible. There are several management areas where the management information systems have been used to make strategic decisions at Access Fulfilment Ltd.
Management Information Systems for Decisions on New Warehouse Locations
In an effort to expand the company, new offices and branches are often opened in different locations. To identify the most ideal locations, management information systems often aid in this analysis. Before a final decision is made, internal company information, as well as environmental information is generated by a management information system. This information includes both the shot and long term aspects that should be considered before setting up the new branch. These include the market and changeability, which is a prediction of the possible market response at the tine the branch is set up and the government policy, among others.
For the warehouse branches that have been opened in the recent past, which are at Suffolk and Bristol, this system has provided the management team with the necessary information they need to execute the correct strategic decisions. As stated by Sadagopan (2004: p.14), strategic management information systems require mechanisms necessary for the assimilation of environmental information. This is necessary for influencing strategic decisions systematically.
Management Information Systems for Decisions on Alternate Financing
In every business, the decision for alternate financing is one of several strategic decisions that need sufficient information before being arrived at (Depamphlis, 2010: p.209). At Access Fulfilment Limited, a summary of status information about the internal financial status of the company is made. This summary is then referred to when such decisions are being made. This summary includes details on payrolls, the company budget, overruns, and variance analyses. In addition to this, external information, which is critical to the long-term status of the company, is also considered.
The knowledge of these components of the business environment has enabled the managers of the company to make strategic decisions on this issue. This strategic decision, which applies the management information system, has turned out to benefit the company. For more than ten years that Access Fulfilment Limited has been in business, it has experienced substantial growth. One of the contributions towards this is alternate financing decisions.
Management Information Systems for Decisions on Maintaining Competitiveness
Competition is one of the major challenges faced by every business organizations (Waters, 2010: p.6). For Access Fulfilment Limited, the main sources of competition are other distribution companies that were in business even before it was founded. Having an advantage of a broader customer base as compared to Access Fulfilment Limited, these companies were difficult to compete with. Thus, decisions that had to be made by management to overcome this were very significant for the company.
Management information systems aided in making decisions. Through the application of this information system, vital information about these competitors was obtained. This information comprised of the competitors’ present and future strategies for their distribution businesses. This information was quite helpful to the company. Since the managers were aware of what their competitors had planned, strategic decisions about advertisement and all other marketing functions of the company were arrived at.
This enhanced Access Fulfilment Limited’s competitiveness in the market. It has also helped the company survive and grow for the period that it has been in the market, as is hopeful for further growth. For this reason, the application of the management information system has been beneficial to Access Fulfilment Limited.
Management Information Systems for Decisions on Employee welfare Policies
Any decision that concerns an organization’s welfare policy is among the strategic decisions that are taken by personnel management. In order to execute this decision successfully, internal information about the staff members is vital (Sadagopan, 2004: p.15). At Access Fulfilment, the information that influences such decisions includes staff size, quality of staff, their salary enumerations, motivations, and many more.
However, what really governs this decision in the organization is the future vision and plans that the managers have. It is also governed by the probable labour market conditions in the business environment. By the application of management information systems, both the internal and external information needed by Access Fulfilment is obtained. This system has been quite resourceful in terms of setting the salaries for employees and motivating them. This strategy has enabled the company to retain most of their pioneer employees. Had the company failed to apply this system, probably the external job market could have been promising for the employees without the knowledge of the management team. Thus, failure or delay in adjusting the welfare of the employees to match or surpass the external market could prompt some of them to leave.
The Relationship between Management Information Systems and Other Information Systems
At Access Fulfilment Limited, several information systems are applied. Apart from the management information system (MIS), there is the executive support system (ESS), decision support system (DSS) and the knowledge management system (KMS), among others. One common thing about these information systems is that they all contribute towards the making of sound decisions that will see the company grow. What differentiates these systems is the level of management in which they are used and when they are used.
The executive support system, for instance, is used by top level executives in decision making (Stair & Reynolds, 2011: p.446). Thus, for this company in as much as management information systems are used on various management levels, executive support systems are exclusive to the top management. Decision support systems, on the other hand is a support system for the management, with more capabilities than the management information systems (Janakiraman & Sarukesi, 2004: p.26)
Access fulfilment has been experiencing reasonable growth ever since 2000, when it started business. Although this cannot be entirely attributed to management information systems, it has been shown that these systems have had their contribution to its success. As aforementioned, this support system has been of great aid to the company in terms of strategic decision making.
The aim of management information systems is to offer the right information from company reports (Sarukesi, 2004: p.26). Among the several strategic decisions that this system has helped make, this paper has addressed decisions for new locations, employee welfare policies, alternate financing and maintaining competitiveness in the business. On evaluating of this system at Access Fulfilment Limited, it can be concluded that it has been of a positive impact to the company.
Depamphlis, D. 2010. Mergers and Acquisitions Basics: All You Need to Know. Oxford: Academic Press.
Heijden, H., Heijden, M. and Govardus, J. 2009. Designing Management Information Systems. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Janakiraman, V. S. and Sarukesi, K. 2004. Decision Support Systems. Delhi: PHI Publishers.
Oz, E. 2008. Management Information Systems. Massachusetts: Cengage Learning.
Sadagopan, S. 2004. Management Information Systems. Delhi: PHI Learning.
Stair, R. and Reynolds, G. 2011. Principles of Information Systems. Massachusetts: Cengage Learning.
Waters, T.J. 2010. Hyperformance: Using Competitive Intelligence for Better Strategy and Execution. California: John Wiley & Sons.
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