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Management Information Systems

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The JIT system pushes for the elimination of waste by simplifying production processes, reductions of machine and process set up times, controlling flow of material, and stressing on machine preventive maintenance. These are ways of eliminating excess inventories and utilizing resources more efficiently. Inventory incurs costs instead of value addition. The reduction of inventories levels brings challenges thus JIT calls for ways to modify the system to use limited inventories and to allow habitual stock management methods. JIT methods leave suppliers and downstream consumers open to supply shocks due to large supply or shifts in demands.

Implementing an ERP system is extremely challenging and requires tremendous amounts of resources, the best IS and businesspeople, and plenty of management support. Unfortunately, ERP installations occasionally fail due to: lack of user involvement during system implementation hence using system becomes a challenge to main stream users; Poor requirement definition, this is when an ERP system is designed but can’t perform the task expected by the main users. These problems are solved by engagement of experienced project managers, clear ERP scope and requirement definition before design. An ERP system should be flexible to adopt correction changes on the system. If a system is not working to expectation it should be re-designed to satisfy requirements or be replaced because an ERP is a value addition system.

 In response to the RFP, the consultancy's proposal is to install a new management information system to be used by the firm in managing data collection, cleaning, storage (warehousing), and mining. The information system will include software to email, collect data, develop and send frequency reports to management. The project design and work plan sections show the methods we will use to use to carry out the proposal and timelines for achieving various stages of the proposal. The proposal has a section showing the major features, and main benefits of using the system, particularly how well the system fits the company's business needs, and the cost savings to be made by implementation. The proposal also has a section on the consultancy's key personnel, qualifications, skills and experiences. Additionally, this section includes a company profile showing why the consultancy is most suitable to do the job, and testimonials/references from past customers.

The second mover advantage is a good business strategy as a firm learns from the mistakes of the first mover to gain an edge with respect to marketing and pricing. This gives the 2nd mover firm an upper hand on competitors and the product market positioning. Additionally, the firm may revise rather than create new strategies use by the first; have an element of surprise; take a share of the market rather than develop one, all of which save on cost. The key ways to differentiate from rivals and prospective entrant is to adopt a strategy that gives the firm a competitive advantage. This is either through product differentiation, cost leadership or cost focus strategies. The front runner can set a firm foundation build customer loyalty by focusing on customer satisfaction to keep his market share intact away from threats of new entrants.

Decision support systems emphasize actual decision and decision making. DSS capabilities include support for different decision frequency, and support for different problem structures. To prepare managers for 'fact based' decision making, they need to have skills in deciphering outputs(reports) of management information systems from routine business transactions and external data sources; data mining skills to collect only relevant information, critical thinking and analytical skills for turning data into relevant insights, and technology skills. These skills will help managers to use financial and marketing reports to make decisions based on numbers (facts) as opposed to using gut feelings.

Business intelligence chiefly simplifies information and eases decision making, helps in aligning organization objectives, and helps with the attainment of key performance indicators. It a system that can collect data from multiple sources, analyze and distribute results efficiently. The main challenges of business intelligence are long implementation time frames; it could be costly and time consuming to integrate such a system with organizations processes. It also piles up a lot of historical data making the process of managing the data in the system is a complicated task. The role data and business process play in the business intelligence system is crucial in giving accurate results. Proper implementation of the system and adequate training improve the productivity of the business intelligence system.

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