Information Systems in Business

Many large businesses such as manufacturers or suppliers, factories or distribution centres have many Information Systems set up and designed to handle the large quantities of processes involved in conducting their function.

Large Information Systems

Some businesses are so large that their processes may require information systems to handle day-to-day business processes. One such example is order processing. Businesses with large order systems or large quantities of products to manufacture may only handle order processing through information systems.

One such information system used in a logistical setting is one that would be used to record inbound goods. Physical product businesses for example need to record incoming raw materials or ordered products to process them and turn them into a product. Without a centralised information system it can be very hard to keep track of stock levels, although maintaining the whereabouts of goods used by the business can be useful but in the real world some of these goods can go missing, be wasted, damaged or arrive having already being damaged. This is why information systems must be able to handle losses and inform stock keepers when the product is becoming depleted and must be re-ordered especially on systems that involve Kanban or Just in Time systems. This is one such example of where information systems must be able to handle all scenarios that an employee will encounter.

Examples of Business Information Systems

Business information systems have different requirements throughout the various departments;

Human Resources must be able to use information systems to 
handle processes such as,

  • Employee Payroll.
  • Employee Performance.
  • Hiring and Job Roles.
  • Staff Records and Employee Contracts.
  • Holiday Management and Illness.
  • Training Programs.
  • Attendance and Absenteeism.
  • Staff Disciplinary Records.

Senior Management may not always use information systems as their roles may be too strategic or sporadic to construct an information system, however they may have daily or even business cyclic tasks such as,

  • Monitoring performance of the business or business processes.
  • Maintaining customer relationships through relationship management software or CRM.
  • Assess generalised performance of a store or business through warehouse management software or employee performance.
  • Make strategic decisions about business processes by using sales data or reporting software.
  • Identify problems with processes or business cycles.
  • Generate Reports for Sales, Product Development or Manufacturers.

General Management may use information systems to,

  • Distribute work to employees.
  • Identify problems with processes or business cycles.
  • Monitor Employee clock-in times.
  • Monitor Employee processes or performance.
  • Record Paying Hours or Overtime.
  • Action directions from higher up.
  • Discipline employees.
  • Correct or Normalise Data on the System.
  • Query or edit the database.
  • Prioritise.

Employees may use information systems to,

  • Action Jobs tasked to them.
  • Query a database.
  • Create orders for customers.

Some of the advantages of using an information system

  • It may aide the speed a process in a business can be completed as all of the data needed is centralised and managed in one place.
  • The information system may enable employees to manage large orders or information as a batch.
  • The information system may be able to prioritise important jobs on the system.
  • Mistakes could be identified by the system and prompt the user to rectify it.
  • The system may improve or identify bottlenecks in the business process.
  • The system may allow for customers to interact with it directly and therefore reduce the time it takes for a business to fulfill a customers desires.
  • The system may be compatible with other systems through an API which can link systems together.

Some of the disadvantages of using an information system

  • If the system is custom or highly specialised making changes to it can be hard or expensive or slow.
  • The information system may be slow which could frustrate users.
  • The system may not have all the features an employee desires or,
  • The system may not allow some of their users to change data that they need to change.
  • The information system may not be suited for its use case.
  • Employees may have preferred the previous method or may not be it savvy enough to use the system.
  • The system may be designed in such a way that mistakes become a problem.
  • The system may be abused by employees for gain. (clocking out early, marking work as completed when it isn’t)
  • If it breaks a business may not be able to function if they are reliant on it.
  • If it breaks it may corrupt data that may be unrecoverable.

Custom Information Systems

And there are many more examples of businesses using information systems. Many of them my abe trivial or bespoke, however there are programs designed to make information systems at a higher level than writing a program for them, One such example is Microsoft Access.

Many businesses will use Microsoft Access or custom programs to create their data and manage company process. Added advantages of using a custom program is that the company may use a single program (or a single database) for a large business process are,

  • Having a custom program allows the business to construct the data they wish to use when they need to, such as recording information that other companies may not.
  • Using a custom program may allow for the business to create specific access control levels.
  • Customisation like company logos or specific company colors or themes.
  • Many Many more…

 

How Customers Associate Quality with a Brand

brand qualityWithin any business there are multiple factors that a customer can imprint on to recognise a brand and associate with quality. Businesses can use the customers intuition to their advantage, targeting on the key aspects of a quality product in order to maximise return. Here is a list of the common points a business can tailor in order to maximise their revenue;

 

trusty tea co allows product association quality brand reputation

  • Profitability, Businesses must decide how much profit each product or service should undertake, whether it be a large return or a small one. Customers may be willing to buy a product purely on its premium price point.
  • Customer Service, Businesses may wish to place the quality of their product on par with the quality of its customer service. Poor customer service could reflect badly on a quality product and vice versa.
  • Competitiveness, Businesses may wish to use pricing in order to undercut the cost of its competitors. Businesses may also want to take on new locations and footfall in order to maximise profitability.
  • Supply Chain, Business may cut costs and use cheaper suppliers, however unethical or environmental considerations could be overlooked and come back to haunt businesses later.
  • Reliability, A product that is unreliable or prone to failure may mean that customers look elsewhere for new products, defined obsolescence could damage the perceived quality of the product as well, If it were to fail after a certain time because of a weak part, customers may feel frustrated having to buy new ones.
  • Brand Image, For some customers a brand could be vital to what product they purchase, If a brand is damaged, it could affect the sales of businesses massively. Some businesses may also struggle to maintain a positive reputation if the business specialises in cheap services, such as transport or hotels and may not be too affected by bad publicity as the cheap price point means the demand for the product does not change (it is inelastic).
  • Quality Control could also mean that products are of a constant high quality and should in tern allow a business to work effectively on producing high quality products for the consumer, who will hopefully repeat purchase. Kaizen and Total Quality Management can allow a business to excel at creating a quality product that is lean and high quality as it forces the product to be a standard that the business expects and what the customer wants.
  • Brand Awareness, A customer who does not know a product exist may not buy it, additionally any customer who recognises a product may choose to buy it over a generic product because of it. Advertising and promotion can artificially create the connection between the customer and the brand of trust and safety in a product, that this is the product they should buy.