OPERATIONAL MANAGEMENT: this type of management focuses on the present day to day activities of producing services and products and works directly with the customers and suppliers. It is at this level of management that profits are either made or losses are incurred as seen in the case of Tykes Ltd when the profits fell steadily over the last few years. The operational management activities are directed at controlling people, products and machinery as seen in Tykes Ltd where the head of departments are the ones controlling the employees of the production lines. Decisions are made infrequently and demands are in the form of commands or orders. Operations are relatively well ordered and managers are expected to analyse problems and fix the quickly. (Licker 1997)
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TACTICAL MANAGEMENT: this type of management involves the creation of mechanisms that ensures operations continue no matter what happens to the firm’s environment. Tactical management responsibilities include some of those of operational management and some of that strategic management. The information concerns schedules, profits, costs and other economic indicators but in Tykes Ltd this type of management was not visible. (Licker 1997)
STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT: the strategic management level includes executives, boards of directors and high level consultants. Tykes Ltd had the board of directors starting from the managing director to the production director all the way down to the financial director. This management focuses on the future that is; the decisions made by strategic managers are long term. The strategic level works are more creative than the lower levels because it concentrates on planning rather than controlling. The executives are meant to work together and also bring ideas together but in the case of Tykes Ltd it was more of controlling rather than planning. (Licker 1997)
B (ii). INFORMATION SYSTEMS AND TECHNOLOGIES CONSIDERED NECESSARY TO PROVIDE THE INFORMATION REQUIREMENTS:
First and foremost, there is a need to understand what Information system(s) is all about;(Laudon and Laudon 2010) believed that “Information system” can be defined technically as a set of interrelated components that collect(or retrieve), process, store, and distribute information to support decision making and control in an organization. An information system entails information about important people, places and the things within the organization or in the surroundings of the environment. However, explaining information we mean that data have been shaped into a form that is meaningful and useful to human beings.
A practical example of information system is Data- Input-Process-Output. Input is a collection of raw data from the organization or its external environment; whereas Process converts the raw input into something meaningful and Output is the transferring of processed information to the people that will make use of it.
Information systems also require feedback, which is output that is forwarded to appropriate members of the organization to help them evaluate the input stage.
(O’Brien 2008) stated that an information system can be any organized combination of people, hardware, software, communication networks, data resources, and policies and procedures that stores,retrieves,transforms, and disseminates information in an organization.
(Laudon and Laudon 2010) defined Information technology as a term that consists of all the hardware and software that a firm needs to use in order to achieve its business objectives.
In order to ensure the operations of Tykes Ltd efficiently and effectively there is a need for a full usage of appropriate and necessary information systems. The managing director, John Tyke needs to invest in the company’s information systems and also the procedures involved in the day to day organizational work activities in the production lines in Sheffield and Leeds; because this will be very helpful for the better performance of the company.
However, since there is an increase in demand for quality and organic products I will recommend to Tykes Ltd to put in more efforts with the branding of their production lines in both towns; and also that customers should pay their debts at the stipulated time to avoid shortage of profits.
Furthermore, introduction of information systems in Tykes Ltd will lead to efficiency because one of the main functions of information systems is to gain competitive advantage over their rivals (Hicks 1993). The information systems will help in terms of staff recruitment and management, provision of the company’s sales and accounting package which supports the production of monthly accounts and sales reports.
INFORMATION SYSTEMS AND TECHNOLOGIES CONSIDERED NECESSARY TO PROVIDE THE INFORMATION REQUIREMENTS SUGGESTED IN (A) ARE AS FOLLOWS:
1. HUMAN RESOURCE INFORMATION SYSTEM (HRIS)
2. EXECUTIVE SUPPORT SYSTEM (ESS)
3. MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM (MIS)
4. TRANSACTION PROCESSING SYSTEM (TPS)
5. OPERATIONAL USE OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS
6. DECISION SUPPORT SYSTEM (DSS)
7. COMPUTER BASED INFORMATION SYSTEMS (CBIS)
HUMAN RESOURCE INFORMATION SYSTEMS
Kavanagh et al (1990) define the human resource information systems as a “system used to acquire, store, manipulate, analyze, retrieve, and distribute information regarding an organization’s human resources. An HRIS is not all about computer hardware and other associated HR- related software, although HRIS involves hardware and software, perhaps it also includes people, forms, policies and procedures and data.
However, as seen in Tykes Ltd, the company did not really have a computerized system because they were still making use of the paper systems and this really slowed down things for them in the company. For example, the company’s information relating to the management of production and staff is not readily available on time. Any analysis is normally performed in separate Excel spread sheets. This is one of the weaknesses faced by the company; a human resource information system needs to be introduced to Tykes Ltd so that the management of employee information will be done as quickly as possible in a computerized system.
Kavanagh et al (2012 pg. 17) states that the primary purpose of the HRIS is to provide service, in the form of accurate and timely information, to the “clients” of the system. Furthermore, there are several potential users, as information for Human Resource may be used for strategic, tactical and operational decision making that is, planning for useful employees. There are certain reasons why Tykes Ltd needs HRIS:
Collection of important suitable data and then converting them to quality information.
Production of greater numbers and current HR- related reports
Improvement of employees’ satisfaction by delivering of HR services in an accurate and effective manner.
Enhancement of the efficient and effective management of the administrative functions or bodies.
EXECUTIVE SUPPORT SYSTEM
The executives falls under this category, that is John Tyke(managing director), and the other management team members like the production director(Paul Tyke), the commercial director(Jayne Wheatcliffe) who is responsible for distribution and sales and also the financial director (Sunhil Gupta). Tykes Ltd need this support system to enable them act well in the company’s strategies.
Hicks (1993) believes that Executive support system provide for the communication of summary-level information to executives. Most executives make use of this system often to keep track of information concerning the factors that they consider critical to their company’s success.
However, different authors use this system interchangeably. Some authors call it Executive support system whereas some refers it as Executive information systems.
Watson and Rainer (1991) Executive support system is a computerized system that provides executives with easy access to both internal and external information important to the success factors.
Sang and Jim (1997) suggests that most executive support systems are designed to support the executives’ information and communication needs.
O’Brien (2008) states that the executive information systems provides the critical information from the Management information system, Decision support system and other sources designed for the information needs of executives. For example, in Tykes Ltd this system is very needed for easy access and also to analyse the company’s performance and the actions of competitors they face from larger companies in the market.
MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS
The MIS provides middle managers with reports on the organization’s current performance. This information is used to monitor and control the business and predict future performance. Management information system summarize and report on the company’s basic operations using the data supplied by Transactional processing system. Laudon and Laudon (2010).
Tykes Ltd senior management can be seen to be affected with limited information of the costs or profits with the four production departments that is; the two production departments in Leeds and the other two production departments in Sheffield. There were certain problems Tykes Ltd company faced due to the prices dictated by market conditions and the large supermarkets. Tykes Ltd needs Management Information System especially when John Tyke (the managing director) became aware of the lack of quality information to support decision making, planning and control in the company.
Hicks (1993) believe that Management information systems generally refer to a system that provides recurring information about routine and anticipated business events. These systems produce summary information about normal business activities to middle and upper level management.
O’Brien (2008) states that management information systems are a type of system that provides information in the forms of reports and displays to support business decision making. For example, in Tykes Ltd there is a need for this system so as to help out with the analysis of sales, the production lines performance and also their reporting systems on costs or profits within the production departments.
TRANSACTION PROCESSING SYSTEMS
Laudon and Laudon (2010) believe that a transaction processing system is a computerized system that performs and records the daily routine transactions necessary to conduct business, such as sales order entry, hotel reservations, payroll, employee record keeping and shipping.
However, in Tykes Ltd it can be seen that the use of Transaction processing systems was made used of when the company uses an integrated sales and accounting packages which supports the production of monthly accounts and the sales reports.
Furthermore, the principal purpose of systems at this level is to answer routine questions and to track the flow of transactions through the organization.
O’Brien (2008) also believes that Transaction processing systems are important examples of operations support systems that record and process the data resulting from business transactions. In Tykes Ltd, any analysis performed is normally undertaken in separate Excel spread sheets.
DECISION SUPPORT SYSTEMS
Tykes Ltd acquired this particular type of information system when John Tyke (the managing director) took over the position of managing director after the retirement of his father in 2011. He invested in the decision support system when he became aware of the lack of quality information to support decision making, planning and control in the company.
McLeod (1994) states that the decision support systems would assist a manager or group of managers in making a single decision. Whereas in a firm it will only be a single Management information systems but it would have many Decision support systems.
The concept of DSS was only to assist in terms of decision making; the DSS is a representation for both the managers and computers to work together in a problem solution.
Hicks (1993) the basic idea of involving the decision support systems is the provision of the computer based tools so that management information systems (MIS) can produce information to support semi structured and unanticipated decisions.
OPERATIONAL USE OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS
These are systems used for the monitoring of day to day activities and transactions. For example, sales, receipts, quality measures, material flows and payroll etc. for the answering of routine questions such invoices paid and credit decisions.
O’Brien (2008) there have always been the need to process generated data and used in the operations of the business. The operation support systems provide a wide variety of information products for both external and internal use.
Tykes Ltd need to apply the Operational use of information systems because it will help in the smooth running of the company in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. It will give the company the capability to process their business transactions in the production lines and also give them the confidence to face the several challenges and also to support the company’s collaborations and communications.
COMPUTER BASED INFORMATION SYSTEMS
McLeod (1994) information comes from both computer and non – computer sources. The computer portion of a complete information system contains each of the application areas – a management information system, decision support systems. All of these systems work together to provide the information for problem solving.
This comprises the computer hardware technologies and the computer software technologies. The computer hardware technologies includes the microcomputers and the big mainframe systems, input, output and storage devices like flash drives, hard disk whereas the computer software technologies comprises of web browsers, database management systems and software drivers (O’Brien 2008)
Parker and Case (1993) states that computer based information systems is an information system in which the computer plays a major role. The system consists of both the hardware and the software. The hardware refers to the machinery. That is, this category includes the computer itself and which is often referred to as the Central Processing Unit (CPU) and the software which is referred to as computer programs and the manuals.
Boddy et al (2008) believes that computer based information systems is the linkage of computers with other telecommunication systems which makes it quicker and cheaper to exchange information with little regard to distance.
C. ISSUES THE MANAGEMENT OF TYKES LTD NEED TO CONSIDER BEFORE IMPLEMENTING RECOMMENDATIONS.
1. Staff recruitment and management
2. Lack of quality information to support decision making, planning and control
3. Lack of proper documentation of information.
4. Loss of profits
5. Poor performance
6. Brand problems/brand names
7. Issue of selling prices
8. Production of the party – time range cakes
9. Issue of information systems
10. Co-ordination and communication issue
Staff recruitment and management: this has mostly been the realm of the line managers with the support of a personnel officer. Tykes Ltd needed to recruit a human resource manager to help them oversee the strategic roles in the business. A young human resources graduate was appointed in the company and she was very keen to develop the human resource support given to managers across the company and also for human resource to assume a more strategic role in the business. Also, a business analyst was appointed to recommend ways in which information systems and technology might be effective and efficient in the company.
Lack of quality information to support decision making, planning and control: there was a need for Tykes Ltd to bring up the introduction of information systems in the company so as for the departmental heads to know which information to pass around and also to know which kind of information is available to the managers.
Lack of proper documentation of information: this is a very critical issue in Tykes Ltd and this can be related to the management of production and staff; information is not readily available and the analysis of the company is normally undertaken in separate Excel spread sheets. Even the senior management have limited information of costs and profits.
Loss of profits: Tykes Ltd sales and profits persistently fell over the last few years and this is due to the increase in demand for quality and organic products over the same period.
Poor performance: the company performed poorly because of the severe competition they faced from larger companies in the market as well as a few issues which involved the production of the Party – time range cakes.
Brand problem: the production lines for the cakes is supposed to be branded with just Tykes cakes instead of trying to separate the everyday cakes from the celebration cakes with different brand names. This is a big issue because confusion is definitely going to set in and people will not even know that it is the same Tykes Ltd that is producing both the everyday cakes and the celebration cakes.
Issue of information systems: the information systems been used in Tykes Ltd does not really conform to accepted standards. There was a need to introduce the major types of information systems like the DSS, MIS and the ESS.
However, introduction of information systems was really needed in Tykes Ltd because they lacked information to support decision making, planning and control.
Issue of selling prices: the selling prices are beginning to get dictated by the market conditions and the large supermarkets.
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