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Preliminary Investigation Report using Case Study
Precision Electronic Parts is experiencing a higher demand, which has resulted to the inability of staff to efficiently complete the orders. The company’s Financial, Ordering/Shipping, Sales/Marketing departments are falling behind as a result of a huge influx of orders. Specifically, the department of Ordering and Shipping Department and the Inventory Management Department are bearing the bulk of the strain since, unlike other departments; they have not received any increase in personnel. The marketing team has been expanded to handle the demand while the Finance Department is lagging behind in handling the financial processes and functions. The Business Administration Department is attempting to correct the situation, albeit being almost unable to mitigate the demands of the current situation (Whitman & Mattord, 2011).
The current system is a Microsoft Access based. The system is used in the management of payment transactions and is run by the IT department. The Sales department together with the Invoicing manages all new and current clients. The Invoicing department identifies accounts with overdue fees of 30or 60 days, which are sent to Accounts receivable for collection of delinquency. The payments to customers are done on the 10th day of each month and a 2% overdue fee is applicable to any invoice that is late by 30 days or more (Whitman & Mattord, 2011). Currently, the invoices are mailed as opposed to being emailed.
Problem to be solved
The system utilized currently requires that information for each order is added manually. Besides, the overdue fees are currently spread out and managed by multiple departments, which waste resources. Further, the current system sees the management of customer data done by one department and the system is quite rigid as it can only be used by only few individuals who have direct access to it. The new proposed system enables automation of information which can be manipulated, stored and retrieved by many users within the company allowing the various departments access information almost immediately it is uploaded by another department. The result is efficient running of the organization with a reduced workload for employees and subsequently positive outcomes.
Scope of Proposed System
The proposed system is a virtual desktop solution that shall go a long way in complementing the already existing MS-Access based system. The proposed system should be able to streamline the software to all units that require it while avoiding regular updating of each system. This will ensure that the maintenance resources required for each system are reduced drastically. Besides, using a dual layer/ firewall solution will guarantee the security of the information shared through the system (Whitman & Mattord, 2011). The proposed system will have the capabilities to offer volumetric discounting and electronic based invoicing, payments and receipting as well as system generated identity numbers for the invoices. The reporting mechanism of the system will need to be generated automatically to modernize the solution for efficient processing of information and enable easy access to the said data for various users.
There is a limitation to what the system may be able to accomplish. Specifically, automatic report generation on a timed loop for certain periods of time where a report needs to be generated for a given entity may not be achievable using this method. This is the case because the MS-Access component does not support such a feature. However, using manual systems where the entities using the system at a given time, the reports can be generated. The challenge, therefore, is that the entities must be alert and remember the specific points to manually start the process of generating the reports.
The execution of the proposed system will improve the high demand situation, but because of the stretched workforce in the financial processes, I suspect that the company may still fall short of optimum operations. The solution once executed, would provide more options in dealing with a large amount of data that is coming through for the benefit of customers like those with large batch orders (Laudon, Laudon, & Brabston, 2011). As it has already been mentioned, the Administration Department is coming to help the Financial Department simply shows that the number of employees needed to successfully meet the increased demand in the company is insufficient. Besides, as more data will be available, the number of employees needed to handle it may need to be added.
The cost of the current system is in the Accounts Receivable, which informs the Administration Department to help the clients that are more than 60 days delinquent. Besides, Ordering and Shipping is notified to stop any further shipments until a full payment of the outstanding invoices has been made. These situations are uncommon. Further costs come in the form of installation services, which are fixed for small businesses like offices for doctors and small pharmacies owned by individuals and billed at a pre-determined hourly rate for larger installations like hospitals. Currently, the volume rebates are not offered, although the marketing team has planned to roll it out in the next six months. However, we do not have the exact costs from the case study to confidently report the figure for the purpose of this report.
The solution, once implemented will be of benefit to the company both technically, financially and behavioral. The firm will record improved efficiency in the storage of information concerning the clients, enhanced security, and cheaper maintenance costs. These technical benefits translate to both long term and short term financial relieve as there will be reduced stress when handling large orders and shipments.
The major software is stored centrally within the same main network to allow easy access to various departments that use it. The software will also be available to any user who has a computer with a pre-allowed access. The users of the software are enabled to work separately and remotely (Laudon et al., 2011). Another benefit of the proposed system is that the virtual machines (VM) networks are configured with high-security protocols and are only seen and accessed by people within certain pre-set parameters. The files will be stored in one location, the server, and can be retrieved, and moved to the various locations that use that server. The advantage of this configuration is that it allows people with the required access to the server to obtain a file that belongs to another department, thus reducing the time required to move from one location to another to access the file (Whitman & Mattord, 2011). The configurations will be done such that only a few people will be allowed to carry out extensive maintenance functions to avoid unnecessary interference from unauthorized individual accessing the servers and compromising the security of the stored data.
In analyzing the financial feasibility, an examination of the potential benefits in reducing costs and increasing the market share is studied. A cost-benefit analysis will be done to establish the present value of each alternative (Whitman, & Mattord, 2011). The project is projected to decrease the operating costs by at least 10% in the first year and consequently increase the market share by at least 8% per year for the next three years. The faster response time for all inquiries made will lead to an intangible benefit of a satisfied clientele who are less likely to move to another product from a rival company. Theoretically, there should be observed an increase in productivity as the system will allow for batch order processing, discounting and overdue fees.
The most important aspect to consider in the investigation and implementation of a new technology is the response and reaction of the staff towards the new change (Whitman, & Mattord, 2011). In most cases, most of the employees do not welcome the changes that are implemented. It will be expected that before the implementation is done, the management should involve the staff that will be affected by the technology to be trained from the beginning to ensure they acquire familiarity with the system. It is also expected that with the robust technological addition, the staff will respond well as their work will be cut out (Laudon, Laudon, & Brabston, 2011). The employees will be afforded a reduced workload in their daily operations. A satisfied employee is one that receives the tools and equipment that make his/ her work easier and enjoyable.
It is vital that the Precision Electronic Parts keep an upper hand by ensuring that they support their clients. As it stands, the company has managed to do just that, however, there seems to be an impending danger that the increased demand will outdo the company’s ability to satisfy all clients and their orders. We suggest that the firm looks into the fine details concerning the implementation of the said technology and determine its feasibility. A cost-benefit analysis would be a good point to start from. Before the implementation, the executive management should seek to get the buy-in of all employees that will be affected by the technology. They achieve these by involving them in every stage beginning from designing, testing, and implementation. Besides, budgeting for the training and maintenance should be factored when drawing up budget estimates.
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