The success and future of every organization are driven by information as without proper, accurate and adequate information a business organization will fail to take correct decisions regarding its businesses which eventually leads in downfall of the company. Every business organization focuses on the collection, analysis and interpretation of data and information which are collected from various sources in order to take eventful and effective decisions for the business organization. This report focuses on the importance of information system in manufacturing sector as information system in the manufacturing sector collects, stores, analyses and interprets various data and information starting to the procurement of raw materials to the delivery of the products to the end customers of the company. This report specially focuses on Ford, a leading global manufacturer of cars, SUV’s and trucks. The report proceeds with the identification of the critical success factor of the company and the primary objectives of the company and then gradually proceeds towards identification of the current information system of the company and its drawbacks and accordingly proposing a new information system for the company which will help in addressing the weaknesses of the current information system of the company and help the company to achieve its objectives and to maintain its market share in the global automobile industry.
Ford Motor Company founded by Henry Ford is a global manufacturer of cars; SUV’s and trucks with leading fuel economy, safety, technology and quality. The success of Ford in the global automobile industry is mainly due to the excessive focus on research and development by the company in order to develop innovative, environment friendly and affordable automobiles for their customers.
According to Misra, Rana, Verma, Kumar and Kumar (2017) the critical success of Ford is dependent on various factors which have contributed to the overall growth and development of the company in the global market. The various critical success factor at Ford are efficient distribution channel of the company, good brand image of the company in the global market, healthy cash flow management of the company, compliance of the products of the company with various local and international standards, being flexible to the changing needs of the customers, efficient production procedures implemented by the company, efficient cost planning by the company, effectiveness in organizational size management of the company, joint ventures and mergers done by the company, focused strategy of the company, un-served markets in various parts of the world mainly in Asian countries such as India and China, the globalization plan implemented by the company, cost savings achieved by the company through effective business operations of the company, operational excellence of the company, the bargaining power over suppliers of the company as a result of greater number of suppliers of the company, constant focus on research and development of the company regarding design of the products of the company and sharing of knowledge between the strategic business units of the company.
The Ford Motor company has developed separate objectives in various areas such as sales, research and innovation and safety and sustainability. The objective of the company in the area of sales is to increase the global sales of the company and to achieve more balanced geographical profitability by the year 2020. The objective of the company in the area of research and innovation is continued investments in improved materials and technology. The objectives of the company in areas of safety and sustainability is increasing the fuel efficiency of its entire fleet and decreasing the emission of carbon dioxide emissions from its manufacturing processes, reducing water use and manufacturing wastes, decreasing the amount of volatile organic compound emission arising from vehicle painting, increased use of recycled and renewable materials in its vehicles interiors.
The types of information which might be helpful in evaluating the business objectives are global sales report of the company of the last 2 financial years and the sales report and market growth report of the company of the various geographical locations in which the company is based such as Asia-pacific, Europe, America and Africa. As stated by Karla Torres and Paola Lamenta (2015) the other information which might be helpful to the company are the quality report of the various materials and technology which are being used to manufacture the products of the company and its compliance reports with various national and international standards and also quality reports of the technology and materials which are utilized by other competing companies. The other type of information which might be helpful in evaluating the business objective of the company are the sustainability report of the company based on the sustainability index of the company for the last 2 years and reports on the emission rate and emission quality of the products of the company and report regarding the various organic materials used in the interiors of the automobiles.
The mission statement which is appropriate for the company is “Single team. Single Plan. Single Goal” as it is suitable with the ‘One Ford’ plan of the company.
The formal organizational chart of the Ford Motor Company is as follows:
The current information system which is used by Ford is Ford Production system which is one of the major re-engineering projects undertaken by the company in 2000. The Ford production system was an information system which was developed to achieve a close relationship with the suppliers of the company. The main of the Ford Production system, information system was to improve the process of making the motors of the company in order to be pull-based system in nature with synchronized production, continuous flow and stability throughout the production process of the company. According to Aburub (2015)in order to achieve stability the could tell their suppliers with the help of the information systems when and where particular components of the production process would be required in sufficient days in advance and therefore which resulted in the reduction of the buffer stocks of the company which in turn benefitted the supply chain of the company.
Another information system which is currently being used at Ford is order to delivery information system, which is also a part of the Re-engineering project of the company which aims to develop the customer relationship management of the company. The main purpose of the order to delivery information system of the company was to reduce the time of the order of the products to the customers to the delivery of the products to the customers to 15 days. The vision behind the order to delivery information system of the company was to create a lean, flexible and predictable process which helps in harmonizing the efforts of the company’s component in order to be able to provide the customers of the company with the right products at the right places and at the right time which also helped the company in achieving the just-in-time technique. As opined by Wang, Greasley and Albores (2016) by utilizing the information system in the form of order to delivery, the company firmly believed that they would be able to provide better quality products to the customers, gain higher customer satisfaction from the customers, and will also help in improved selection of customers, better productivity of the manufacturing plants of the company, stability for the supply bases of the company and lesser dealer and company costs.
Ford uses SAP software as basis of information system of the company which helps the company to achieve total supply chain visibility in real time which helps in increasing the performance of the supply chain of the company. The use of information system also helps in increasing the performance of the customer relationship management framework of the company.
According to Mazareanu (2013) the weaknesses of the current system of the company is that it is very expensive in nature and therefore using the software as an information system incurs higher costs for the company and therefore the company must look for alternative information system at affordable costs which will not only help in achieving the aims objectives of the organization and gain a competitive advantage in the market but will also lead to higher profitability of the company due to savings of a resources and money. Another weakness of the current information system of the company is the complexity of the information system of the company as the company is able to implement a single feature of the company at a time and therefore it will take significant amount of time to implement all the features of the information system at a single time. As stated by Christ, Mintchik, Chen and Bierstaker (2015) another weakness which is associated with the current information system of the company is that it requires expertise to operate and work on the information system of the company and therefore the company needs to train their employees regarding effective use of the information system of the company which involves investment of a significant amount of resources and time. As stated by Jeong, Kang and Kim (2018) another weakness of the current information system of the company is that it is very difficult and complex to set configuration in the current information system of the company as the current information system of the company has its own interface and therefore it requires the company to change their existing business interface and replace it with the interface of the information system of the company which may create disruption in the business operations of the company.
The document flow chart of the current information system of the company is as follows:
The information system which can be proposed to the Ford Motor company which will help in addressing the weakness of the current information system of the company is Manufacturing Information system. Manufacturing Information Systems are defined as powerful software platforms which are capable of tracking the progress of raw materials in to finished goods. An integrated Manufacturing Information System enables the control of multiple variables such as inputs, support services, machines and personnel in real time so that the management of an organization despite their location can optimize the production of the company and also can reduce the in-efficiencies of the company. As opined by Eker and Eker (2018)the Manufacturing Information System perform the essential work of providing information to the key decision makers of the company which they require to facilitate the smooth functioning of the operations of the company and to increase the productivity of the company. The Manufacturing Information System also helps the companies in the creation of artificial intelligence which cannot be obtained from other methods. The Manufacturing Information System has the capability of performing multiple tasks and functions for an organization and is very vital and indispensable for organization belonging to various sectors and industries.
As stated by FarajollahRahnavard and NahidBozorgkhou (2014) the various benefits which are associated with Manufacturing Information system are streamlined product production process of the company, reduced costs and re-works of the company, increased efficiency of the company in set-up times, Assessment of correct order priority by the company, effective assignment and re-assignment of inventory according to the requirement of the company, the evaluation of optional times regarding the turning on and off of the machines of the company, proper scheduling and re-scheduling of the equipment of the company, helps in embedding best practices in the organization, helps in the improvement of reaction time within the supply chain management process of the company, efficiency in making and measuring parts, effective assigning of personnel’s in various tasks of the company, smooth movement of inventory from one location to the other, effective management of the suppliers of the company, incorporating process such as lean and six sigma in the operations of the company which helps in increasing efficiency of the company, increase in the overall efficiency of the company by elimination of wastes and reduction in resource wastage, increases the transparency in the record- keeping processes of the company and also helps in preparing the audit of the company, helps in increasing the total output of the company.
The other information system which can be implemented in the company in order to address the weaknesses of the company and to achieve the aims and objectives of the company is Management Information System. According to EwaZiemba and IwonaOblak (2015) the Management Information System provides necessary information to the managers of an organization regarding the performance of their organization in the market which helps them to take important decisions regarding the companies. A Management Information System gather, analyses and provides information to the top management of an organization regarding various areas of the organization such as sales and marketing, human resource management, control of inventory, profits, expenses, taxes, debts, cash balances, accounts payable, accounts receivable and document flows.
As stated by Rezvani, Dong and Khosravi (2017) Management Information System helps in providing the top management of an organization with detailed data and information which are way beyond standard reporting procedures being followed in the company and those detailed information and data helps the top management of an organization to take effective decisions which will help in increasing the effectiveness of the organization.
The benefits of a Management Information System to an organization are as follows:
- The application of Management Information System helps in achieving a higher level of efficiency for an organization as it provides the top management of an organization, information regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the company.
- Management Information System helps in improving the quality of decision made by an organization as it provides better information to the organization which helps in reducing un-certainty regarding a decision.
- Management Information System helps in improving communication between various levels and departments of an organization as sharing of information takes place at all levels which helps in avoiding chances of mis-communication.
- Management Information System helps in exploring different scenarios for different alternatives as the top management remains in a position of analysing the consequences of different situations based on the information available.
- Management Information System helps in increasing the productivity of the employees as they remain equipped with better quality of information which improves their work efficiency and productivity.
- Management Information System helps in strengthening the competitive advantage of an organization as availability of better information helps in taking better informed decisions which helps in strengthening the competitive advantage of an organization.
- Management Information System helps in providing more detailed information about the customers which helps an organization to design their products, services or different kinds of strategy which satisfies the requirements of the customers and helps in increasing the profitability of the company.
Materials requirements planning (MRP) and Manufacturing Resource planning (MRPII) are actually the predecessors of the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) which is a business information integration system. As stated by Marnewick (2016) the development of the above mentioned manufacturing co-ordination and integration tools such as MRP and MRPII paved the way for the development of the current day ERP system. Both MRP and MRPII were developed from commercial database management process and are still now being widely used in independent way or in modular way of more comprehensive ERP systems.
According to Paulo Eduardo Mondin and Cristina Dai Prá Martens (2016) EDI or Electronic Data Interchange is defined as the electronic interchange of business information by utilizing a standardized format and the process allows one company to send information to another company electronically rather than using paper and the entities which conduct business in an electronical format are termed as trading partners.
5a.The technology platform which will be used in the new system is computing platform which will help in enabling interactions between the platform users and the third part developers and this platform will own the user. The main reason for the use of computing platform is that it will help in developing strong bi-directional effects once the platform reaches critical masses.
The financial attributes which will be present in the ER diagram are common equity, capital requirements and earnings per share and capitalization ratios.
The non-financial attributes which will be present in the ER diagram are market requirement, procurement cost, transportation cost and operating cost.
According to Theorin et al. (2017) the new proposed system of the company will consist of four views among which the first view will contain data about procurement, scheduling and Net Requirements calculation, the second view will contain data regarding valuable fields which will be mostly used for planning functions, the third view will contain data about various indicators which can be used to optimize various processes in some modules, whereas the fourth view will contain information about the various purchasing group of the company and their frequency of purchase along with inventory level.
Apart from the advantages which the new information system in the form of management information system and manufacturing information system offers to the company, there are various threats which are associated with the implementation of new information system in the company in the form of security threats and data breaches as security threats and data breaches in the information system of a company leads to disruption of the private data of the company and its consumers which creates various types of issues and risks for the company. Therefore the company needs to take appropriate steps in order to reduce the chances of security risks and data breaches such as by providing extra security to sensitive information of the company, reducing the transfer of data, restricting the volume of download in the system, shredding files and folders before disposing a storage device, banning the use of unencrypted device in the system, securing the process of data transfer, providing a strong password to the system, changing password within short time intervals, initiating automate security, monitoring the leakage of data, providing security training to all the employees of the company, preventing incursion by preventing access to sensitive areas of the system, adopting cyber security measures and having a breach response plan in place.
From the above report it is clear and evident that the new proposed information system at Ford will help in increasing the efficiency of the business operations of the company which will help the company to sustain the competition in the market and also to gain a competitive advantage in the global automobile market. From the above report it is also clear and evident that the current information system which is being utilized by Ford, though has been productive in nature but it lacks certain advanced features which would help the company in gaining more efficiency in the business operations of the company. The proposed new information system of the company will help in reducing the excessive costs and resources of the company which will contribute towards the profitability of the company. The proposed new information system of the company is also capable of achieving the various business objectives of the company which will help the company to increase its market share in the automobile industry and it is also effective in addressing the various weaknesses of the current information system of the company.
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