1. The current organizational structure
2. What operational problems (e.g., inefficiency, errors) do you think the organisation could experience because of this structure?
3. What is the most likely system acquisition method— commercial software, custom software, or ERP?
4. Describes and prepare a system flowchart of the sales procedures for the chosen organisation (company)
5. Identify any control problems in the system and what sorts of fraud are possible in this system?
1. Development and adoption of the accounting software packages,
2. The current market size,
3. Identify the leaders in the market and what gives them the competitive advantage,
4. Identify the current gaps or challenges encountered by users or customers of accounting software/packages and make relevant suggestions or recommendations.
Organization devises strategic systems of information for effective transfer and flow of crucial data across various platforms (Chapman, 2009). Strategic information systems enable valuable transfer and flow of information allowing for managers and other stakeholders of the organization to take important decision for the organization. Such information systems allow integrating useful concepts that might be relevant and useful at various organizational levels. The scope of the current report is to evaluate and analyse such information systems that are used in Coles, Australia. Coles in Australia is a retail branded store that has multiple branches across all locations in the country (Coles, Retrieved on 20th April 2017). Thus, the various operational systems and structures and ERP systems are evaluated in the study. The structure of the Company is vast and the various operations are handled by way of strategic information systems to manage flow of information in and out of the system. The report evaluates the operational functions and efficiencies of the systems in the Company (Gogan, 2011).
1. The Company operated throughout Australia and has a multi-layered structure (Hill C. a., 2013). Though the warehouse of the Company is centralized information flows through all the various departments enabling customer handling and satisfaction levels. Coles has a highly structured organizational framework consisting of various layers headed by the CEO and Managing Director (Heath, 2008).
Figure 1: Coles Organizational Structure
The Company headed by the CEO and Managing Director has departmental heads as accounts and finance department head, marketing department head, Inventory head and human resource manager (Ansoff, 2007). The centralized departmental heads are located at headquarters of the Company, while the store level managers are at each store. Hence, all store level managers receives instructions from their heads which is then percolated to employees at the shop floor level. Then there are various departmental managers, below which are employees at the shop floor level.
2. Coles has a vast organizational structure and spread across multiple locations throughout Australia. Due to its vastness of scope and area of operation there are multiple number of operational inefficiencies that occur in the organization (Arvidsson, 2014). One of the major organizational inefficiency that occurs in the current organization pertains to product handling and unavailability of parallel products across all its stores. The city stores of the Company has always multiple products available of various brands but suburban stores seldom has availability has all products. It is due to operational inefficiency as the central warehouse system cannot cater to all its branches across the country. The current challenge faced by the organization is due its organizational structure and hierarchy (MLA, 2014). The hierarchical structure of the organization further imposes challenge of following of orders. While a management decision percolating down to the bottom changes rather rapidly leading to various work related disorders.
3. Coles in order to manage and maintain its systems and management has to implement a suitable software such that it is able to easily attain results (Dimitratos, 2011). The Company should ideally install a typical custom-made software system to handle its resources and handle all its branches. For dynamic product allocation across its branches and to maintain a steady flow of products a information system needs to be installed. Such an information system has to accommodate all relevant information and cater to them such that it can be assessed at any point in time and at any location (Bechor, 2010). Commercial readymade software are available in the market but they might not meet the specific requirements as specified by the organization. Hence, the Company has to get designed a customer made software solution for managing of its resources such that it is able to emerge as a leader in the handling them.
4. The Company Coles sales its products at various location throughout Australia through its various store models (Dawson, 2006). The Company produces a number of private label branded products along with brands of other well-known companies with which it has tie-up. The company procures various products from companies in its warehouse and also its own private label branded products. From warehouse the products are loaded in specific trucks then then reach their requisite store location. At each store location the products are unloaded and then arranged in various shelves by store representatives. Once a store does not have a relevant product that customer requires then he is asked to place an order which is then replenished from the company warehouse (Boonstra, 2013). The below flowchart depicts the sales cycle of several of the company from procurement till it reaches end customer.
Figure 2: Sales Procedure of Coles
The sales process however does not end with customer purchasing the product from the store. For Coles there is presence of online sales of its various products as well. The Company caters to its various customers who orders online and is served by nearest store located to the customer. Thus, when a customer orders for a product online it gets triggered in its local store as well as warehouse located at a nearby location. From such location trough its supply chain, the product reaches the customer.
5. The system that Coles operate is a highly sophisticated system yet there is prevalent a number of challenges. Currently the Company is facing control problems in its multiple stores located in suburban areas (David, 2016). The type of control problem existing in these particular stores relates to incoming products. While the Company sends across various types of products to each of these stores there is often reporting of damaged or less number of goods. It has been identified that this is a level of fraud that exists in the system hence the company is taking relevant steps in overcoming the same. There still remain risks of multiple other frauds in the system in regards to product misplacement, theft and other possible issues by hampering product quality (Hubbard, 2014). Thus, the Company needs to instill proper mechanisms to reduce such types of frauds in the system.
1. The Company needs to adopt a dynamic software package that can accommodate for various types of order procurement (Galliers, 2014). The Company makes use of various systems yet there remains a pertinent need for an integrated accounting software package development and adaptation. While the Company remains vulnerable to various challenges such an integrated system will help overcome these challenges for attaining flexibility and security of its business. In order to attend to the diversified needs and challenges of the organization, it needs to adopt a dynamic software as well as accounting package for strategic flow of information and data management. Such diversified and voluminous data can only be handled by means of software such that there are no lags in the system. The process will also allow for centrally order processing and transaction systems, by reducing for misses and lags.
2. The current market size of Coles is huge and hence has to adopt a suitable accounting and software package for its us (Lai, 2008)e. Coles at the present enjoys high levels of customer satisfactions along with a high market share of almost 12%. Presence and introduction of various international companies has reduced market share of the Company and led to reduction in market share. Thus, to accommodate for such huge data inputs and processing, Coles needs to adopt a versatile accounting and software package to handle large amounts of data flow (Berman, 2013).
3. While Coles occupies leadership position in the market, there are others who enjoy similar share as Coles. Some competitors of Coles include Woolworths, Metro, Tesco and so on (Hall, 2012). These companies enjoys immense competitive advantage in the market, their competitive advantages arises from their discounted price, customer coupons and other offers from time to time. Another pertinent factor that sets these competitors apart includes their high quality products (Brown, 2013). Coles also derives its competitive advantage from low cost strategy, but due to opening up of the market to foreign players, there is immense competition in retail. Further the new companies in order to gain market share introduces new schemes and products for enhancing customer satisfaction. But the key driver behind Coles market leadership is the quality products that it provides its clients. Coles also enjoys high levels of customer brand loyalty due to it being an Australian Company.
4. While there are pertinent challenges faced by the organization in procuring and maintaining relevant stock of products, the customers also often faces multiple challenges (Gable, 2010). Users of accounting package as in this case Coles, often encounters some challenges. These challenges can be in the form of no help from software companies. No guidance to handle their packages. Outputs of undesirable manner which cannot be altered easily. Misrepresentation and malfunctioning of accounting systems and software packages and so on. In order to overcome these challenges the Company needs to adapt packages that are designed to cater to the purpose of the organization only (Hill C. J., 2014). This will enable the Company overcome its challenges in particular to the issues faced by the Company and in overcoming them.
Recommendation and Conclusion
The above analysis of various strategic information systems of Coles reveals various operational level challenges that the Company is facing. The Company needs to overcome such relevant challenges in order to implement a software and dynamic ERP mechanism by which products can easily be ordered. As the Company is facing major issues in handling of its resources and business, integrating in software will help tackle the major challenges as faced by the Company. Further the company needs to timely update its various software and packages from time to time to keep up with market trends. The frauds and other serious challenges in the Company can also be overcome by way of integrating all relevant software and management cycles such that flow of product from one place to another can easily be noticed. Thus, the Company will have to finalize and incorporate and system and then gain relevant feedback on the same for systems applications. The Company already is the market leader with its competitive advantage hence by use of various strategies it can further enhance and incorporate diversified and cost effective strategies such that it can attain its aims in a better way.
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