In this assignment you will respond to a series of questions that relate to contemporary
aspects of ICT that affect organisations. The assignment allows you to extend your
knowledge and critical thinking about ICT beyond what is strictly in the textbook or
You need to reference external material other than the textbook in order to
complete this assignment successfully. Use Harvard format for all citations
and the bibliography.
Case Study: Emerson Transaction Hub: A Bright Idea That’s Paying Off
A couple of years ago, some executives at Emerson asked themselves a question:
Why pay to send inventory from one supplier on one ship and goods from a second
supplier on another ship, when both deliveries are coming from the same place and
could be loaded into a single container?
It was an aha! moment that ended up saving millions for the St. Louis manufacturer
that regularly ships supplies from Asia to North America and Europe. In late 2005,
the company started a pilot program in which a logistics provider that specializes in
transportation management for freight carriers worked with two Emerson divisions to
consolidate multiple orders into the same shipping container. Not only did the pilot
save money, the business units were able to tighten their global supply chains by
better tracking shipments and managing inventory.
Naturally, Emerson wanted to expand the program, but here’s where things got
complicated: Emerson has 70 separate business units that purchase goods from
35,000 suppliers. Each unit communicates with its own suppliers via a combination
of e-mail, spreadsheets, faxes, and phone calls. Asking a logistics provider to step
into the middle of this tangled transaction web simply wasn’t feasible. “It’s a brittle
system, ”says Steve Hassell, VP and CIO at Emerson. “If a provider or a business
unit makes changes, you have to go and touch tens or hundreds of connections.”
Instead, Hassell’s team envisioned a single hub that everyone would link to using
common communications mechanisms and data formats. It would serve as a unified
gateway that Emerson’s business units, logistics providers, and suppliers could use
to exchange information. Of course, for a single communications hub to work,
everyone has to speak the same language. Emerson decided to conduct
transactions via two data formats: EDI, using the ANSI ASC X12 format, and OAGIS
Here’s how the system works: A business unit initiates a transaction, such as a
purchase order, through its ERP system. The order is sent to the transaction hub,
which translates the message into OAGIS XML. Providers and suppliers then
coordinate shipping, and the providers communicate shipment status to the Emerson
division through the hub. The hub is processing about 10,000 transactions per day.
Once all business units are on board, Emerson expects to see that number jump to
Hassell estimates that Emerson invested about $500,000 in the hub and has
recovered those costs more than several times. Putting 10 suppliers in the same
shipping container cuts costs by 35 percent. The company has saved millions in
transport costs alone by consolidating shipping. Also, with information such as
purchase orders and shipping notices in a common format, Emerson has more
visibility into its supply chain, increasing inventory control efficiency by ensuring that
materials aren’t over- or under-stocked.
Finally, whereas Emerson used to look like 70 smaller businesses to its suppliers, it
now looks like one big customer. Suppliers can streamline their business processes
through the transaction hub while Emerson gains better leverage to negotiate prices
Source: Adapted from Andrew Conry-Murray, “InformationWeek 500: Emerson Transaction Hub: A Bright Idea That’s Paying Off in Efficiency, Savings,” InformationWeek , September 18, 2007.
Emerson is a typical example of a global manufacturing company. Manufacturing in
China and South East Asian regions and customer markets in America and Europe.
In the following questions you may use Emerson or any other global company in
your research and examples.
To complete this assignment answer the four questions below after reading the
instructions and case study above. Further instructions are after the questions.
1. Briefly describe the business processes supported by a Supply Chain Management (SCM) information system. In a global business like Emerson what are the advantages and disadvantages of using a SCM information system? With Emerson’s many divisions using different suppliers, what would be the benefits of using a single SCM information system for all of its divisions?
2. Global companies like Emerson have suppliers, manufacturing, distribution, and retail operations. List and briefly describe the technologies and devices (used for input, output, and communication) that are used with SCM information systems.
Choose two different input devices and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each. Discuss the benefits that they provide to the business.
3. Consider that you have to implement a new SCM information system for Emerson. Describe each of the different implementation options. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the different implementation options. Make a recommendation and justify.
4. Modern SCM information systems and with the use of other technologies have supported businesses in improving environmental sustainability by reducing carbon emissions. Research and find an example. Briefly describe the system and how it works and how carbon emissions where reduced. Discuss what decision making is performed and how does the SCM information system contribute to the decision making. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages to the business.
What you need to submit
You are required to submit a single document in Microsoft Word format (.doc or .docx).
If you use any other word processor, you will need to save your work in Word format
(.doc or .docx) before submitting it. Most word processors allow you to do a Save--â€As to
Use the Word template available from the course website (Assessment page) as a blank
document into which you can insert your details and assignment response.
Warning: penalties are severe for plagiarism. Plagiarism includes copying the work
of other students, using purchased answers from Internet services, or un-referenced
copying from any other sources. All submitted files are processed through TurnItIn, a
copy detection service.
Try to limit each response to around 500 --â€ 600 words. If you can say what you need to
say in less, then that is fine – don’t write for the sake of writing. There is no single
“correct” response. You need to give a considered view or opinion as appropriate and
justify your response based on the case and external literature. You may use the course
news forum to ask or to discuss the issues with others.