Information Systems in Organizations

Monthly Archives: May 2015

Supply Chain Managers Mine Field of Problems!!

Supply chains are a collection of companies and processes involved in moving a product from the suppliers of raw material to the suppliers of intermediate components, then to final production, and ultimately, to the consumer. These supply chains are normal very large and complex and include many companies located around the world. A single disruption no matter the size will cause many supply chains to fail. These could be anything from loss of power which is common in Brazil to deflation which Japan is currently facing. These disruption will can cause supply chains to fall apart and products and service to be delayed which will cause companies to lose potential contracts and services with customers. Companies that use supply chains that are located in areas that are still developing have no easy answer to the problems that they face of potential shutdowns.Supply chain managers have a tough job of finding ways in which to insure that production does not cease because event s that are out of their control.  One way that companies can combat these scenarios is by being on the leading edge with their suppliers by developing a strong and intimate relationship with them. This will allow them to be able to work hand in hand with them to find and avoid potential disasters.


Discussion Questions:

1)Do you think that with the current amount of natural disasters and economic situations that many of these countries are facing that companies begin to relocate elsewhere?

2)Do you think that if Japan and Europe are stuck in a prolonged period of deflation that they will have to adjust their supply chains to be more cost effective? If so how will they do so?

3)Since disruptions are being calculated in as part of the supply chain operations what do you think companies are doing to ensure that their business is not hindered?

Takata Air-Bag Recalls Expand to 34 Million Cars in the US

A large focus of Chapter 8 focuses on Supply Chain Management and how it effects business-to-business relationships. An advantage to having a supply chain management system in place is to maintain good corporate social responsibility. A common issue that many organizations face is product recalls. Having an effective supply chain management system in place can help manage where the products being recalled have traveled in shipments. When business is being conducted on an international basis it is a possibility that defects that occur at the beginning of the supply chain filter out to other countries and often go undetected until a consumer purchases the product. This is why it is important for companies, especially suppliers, to know where their products travel and who those products have been sold to.

Many of us are familiar with the most recent consumer product recall to hit the United States, the Takata Air Bag recall. The United States Transportation Secretary believes this to be the most complex and largest recall for a consumer product in United States history. Back in the 1980’s Tylenol’s recall scandal only called for a recall of 31 million products; Takata’s number has reached 34 million vehicles and this number could potentially keep growing. Takata’s airbags are said to be overly aggressive when they explode and sometimes eject sharp metal fragments into the car when they explode. So far six people have died and over one hundred have been injured when the airbags have ejected. Takata believes the airbag defects could be a result of high humidity and moisture in the air but are not certain. Takata has sold millions of airbags to car manufacturers over the years, especially Honda, Toyota, and General Motors. It is believed that Takata air bags make up 14% of current airbags on the road in the US. It could take months to years for this recall to be fully resolved.


Discussion Questions:

1. Have any of you been a victim of this particular recall or another recall in the past? Were you satisfied with how the company resolved the issue and did it alter your opinion of them?

2. Why do you think product recalls go unnoticed until the consumer receives the product?

3. What changes if any, could Takata make to its supply chain management to ensure that another recall such as this one does not occur again in the future?


The Importance of Cultivating Customer Relationships


Chapter 8 in the Valacich textbook gives us information about customer relationship management (CRM) and how it is important for businesses to attract new customers and keep existing customers happy. This article talks about the importance of cultivating customer relationships for a business. In this article, six different entrepreneurs give their intake on what they think are the best practices when building customer relationships. One of the key points that were mentioned in this article is that if you keep your current customers happy, they will more than likely refer your business to others. Another thing that was talked about was that a business should follow through with the expectations that they set for customers and to always ask “what can I do for this person?” Responding to customers promptly is also very important in building customer relationships because it shows the customers that you truly car about them and what they have to say. This was a good article that showed how important building customer relationships can be for businesses.



  1. Have you ever encountered a situation where you, as a customer, left a certain company because of poor customer relationship to a rival company? If so, what happened?
  1. What do you think is the most important key to a successful business-customer relationship?
  1. Have you ever been so satisfied with a business’s customer service that you have referred that business to friends or family? If so, what company was it?

New Personnel for Supply Chain Management

One of the main areas of focus in chapter 8 is supply chain management, and the strategy, benefits, and organization involved with it. A supply chain is a collection of companies and processes involved in moving a product from the suppliers of raw materials to the suppliers of intermediate components, then to final production, and finally, the customer. This article by Loretta Chao of the Wall Street Journal talks about the massive shift in strategy regarding the management of organization’s supply chains. This area of business is becoming increasingly dependent on technology, and is more prominently taking place on a global scale as time goes on. Due to these factors, companies are searching for people with the technological capabilities to consolidate the roles of logistics, procurement, and management all into one position. However, companies are struggling to find the right people with a broad enough background to do this, as 71% of companies are having difficulty recruiting senior leadership for their supply chains, with many believing that the current strategic thinking and problem solving skills of their supply chain managers is not up to par. Cisco Systems Inc. President of Supply Chain Operations John Kern believes that companies that do not invest in cultivating talent in this area now will “get caught flat footed two to three years down the road.”





  1. What do you think are the most important skills and/or qualities to have in managing a supply chain?


  1. In what emerging ways do you think technology will impact supply chain management in the future?


  1. Aside from technology and movement towards a global realm, do you envision any other changes to supply chain management that companies will have to prepare and recruit for?

ERP Software: Highly Social Or Unsophisticated?

The article explain  how ERP needs to change, when the study turned to examine the software’s future effectiveness.This suggests that ERP platforms must become more collaborative and responsive to users’ needs if they are going to meet future demand.However, the ERP systems were recently derided as ‘unsophisticated and ineffective’ by their UK users, suggesting that many organisations are still struggling to get what they need from these pivotal software systems designed for business management.  According to data,  ERP was considered to be ‘state of the art’ by just 11% of them. In contrast, 60% rated their ERP as just adequate, or lower. Moreover, the lowest performing aspects of ERP amongst UK businesses – cited as ‘very simple and basic’ – were finance, accounting and invoicing (by 27%), maintenance and overhaul (by 25%) and HR and payroll (by 24%).

To become more effectiveness in our business, The ERP system still need to change and improve.

1) What is the common issue for company using ERP system ?

2)How to change to be a new ERP system ?

3)How do you think about ERP system in our business?

Heavy ERP customization no longer in vogue, experts and customers agree

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ERP customization has been seen as a crucial part of ERP, especially for large companies, customized ERP can meet complex and various business requirements. However, this article examines the disadvantage of customization. Generally, customization is pricy, complicated and unique designs often need heavy budget to support. Secondly, heavy customization might lead to loss of identity. Some common business culture and characters are disappeared during customization. Thirdly, customization is difficult to maintain and manage because of distinctive designs. Also, the article discusses the method that how to cope with customization, such as using vendor services to manage customization and building emergency plans.


1). Do you agree with the article that customization is no more in trend, and configuration is replacing customization?

2). What factors must be customized when developing ERP?

3). Which industry do you think really needs customization, which not?

The End of ERP

ERP, or enterprise resource planning is software which consists of integrated applications which help to manage businesses and organizations. In this article, Tien Tzuo talks about ERP and the proposed decline of its use in the future. Anticipating that we, as a society, will be continuing towards a “services-based ‘subscription economy’”, Tzuo expects that ERP will be less useful to businesses. With a shift towards more service-oriented purchases like Netflix and Pandora, being a successful business is not about the amount sold, but in how much a service is used. As an example, the article mentions Dell which instead of creating more products, decided to offer more services.

Given that ERP is product oriented, it cannot properly answer key questions that are becoming increasingly important to businesses and organizations.Overall, because of the shift from product-based to service-based, ERP is becoming less relevant in today’s economy.

1) Do you agree that this is the end of ERP?
2) Is there a way that ERP can adapt to the shift from product-oriented to service-oriented? Or is it unnecessary?
3) How else does the shift from product-oriented to service-oriented effect business practices?

Hospital Overhauls Information System


This article from InformatonWeek talks about a hospital group in California, Hoag Memorial Presbyterian, which transformed their previously “unconnected applications” into a streamlined, easy to navigate dashboard.

Information gets fed into a data warehouse, which translates the data and presents it in a user friendly format on the hospital’s dashboard.

The article points out that the company needed to go through cultural as well as technological change to implement this system.  The system now connects the IT team with the other business units throughout the hospital: finance, clinical, and administrative; all of which collaborate more easily with the system in place.

At the time of implementation, “intense data usage” was not the norm, and the staff needed to be educated on the processes. Once the system was fully in place, the employees had a much better understanding of the resulting data, mainly because of the user-friendly dashboards.  Any employee, from medical to business staff could “make inferences on the data from previously unconnected and unrelated systems.”

Prior to the overhaul of the system, the Electronic Health Record (EHR) was only used by 2.5% of the clinicians. The percentage of use is now in the high 90’s!


1. Does the enterprise information system seem sustainable for the future?

2. Are there any disadvantages to an enterprise information system?

3. Examples of an enterprise information system?

Beyond Reality, Web 3.0, and Applications We Can barely Imagine

Posted for Miller Harris:  Miller Harris Class Reader


Beyond Reality, Web 3.0,  and Applications We Can barely Imagine


Included below is an interesting TED Talk from 2007 that describes a program named Photosynth, which can crowd-source passively shared photos online, and use them to render composite navigable models of 3-D landscapes, that can potentially be embedded with enriched semantic information.  Essentially this program has the capacity to map the earth virtually (and historically).  I believe this is part of the technology that will be used in the bridge between Web 2.0 and Web 3.0, in that intelligence and inert data are being connected in a new and usable fashion.  Programs such as Photosynth will be necessary building blocks in the foundation of technologies such as those mentioned in the following article.


Follow this link for TED Talk on Photosynth:



Secondly, included is the article “How Magic Leap’s Augmented Reality Works.” Magic Leap was recently invested in by Google, and has filed patents for augmented reality technology, wearable technology that allows the user to see 3D images overlaying what is in the field of vision.  These types of technology combined with programs like Photosynth have enormous potential as far as what they can be used for; such as information embedded in the world around us.  We could virtually explore place we have never been, or enrich the places we physically inhabit, we could intuitively manipulate things that are a continent away, we could face time without the screen, we could virtually walk into a store and browse a virtual representations of actual saleable items.  What if “auto-fill” could recognize your true size and match clothing to you, streamlining the virtual browsing, shopping, and transactional processes, while improving your overall satisfaction as a customer.  Perhaps you are purchasing a living room set, and you could see them in your home before you purchased.  These are very limited applications, and realizations of all things sci-fi; however as businesses traverses the tech-landscape searching for improvements in the way we do business and consume, incredible leaps will be made, but what will be the net effect to consumers?


Can you imagine looking in your own mirror to see how a shirt or dress you hadn’t purchased looked on you?

Can you imagine seeing the inside of a car around you that you aren’t inside?

Can you imagine road signs, and directions illuminated in your own field of vision without referencing a hand-held device?

Can you imagine vision impairment being solved?


1.  Beyond the sales and income generated by the actual product, what applications can you think of in which these technologies might be applied to create economic benefit?


2.  Do you think there are dangers associated with augmented reality, and our increased dependence on technology?


3.  Do you think augmented reality will become unavoidable, like the ubiquity of electricity, TV, cell phones, home computing and the Internet?  Will you adopt early, or late?

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence may be known through typical science fiction movies such as star wars. AI involves technology doing tasks that humans can do. AI is the science of enabling information technologies such as software, to simulate human intelligence. This article goes over the benefits and the risks associated with AI in our everyday lives. One huge benefit that should be pointed out is the fact that AI methods have been employed recently to discover subtle interactions between medications that put patients at risk for serious side effects. Also, there are the more known benefits of AI such as the common GPS or the features of SIRI on the IPhone. However, there are plenty downfalls to AI such as error or relying to heavily on these AI methods. 1. Would you prefer a cell phone with an artificial intelligence such as SIRI? 2. What do you believe is the biggest breakthrough in artificial intelligence? 3. How dependent do you see society relying on AI methods in the future?