Currently the businesses are selling different ranges of cards

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Currently the businesses are selling different ranges of cards to specialist shops and retailers. The business out sources the card’s designs from a graphics company called ‘Graphsoft’ who make the designs then send it to the company who upload the designs and prints the different designs. This card company has a well spell out hierarchy structure consisting of three managers viz: Purchasing manager, Sales manager and Manufacturing manager. Using information technology to improve the way in which the business operates. Strengths of the current Business System

The business current information system includes three industrial printing machines, a PC, three laptops each belonging to one of the managers who have basic IT skills. The business has already secured twenty five contacts thus they have secured some sales if the orders are met and if its customers are satisfied with the service they receive. Weaknesses of the current Business Information System Limited Access to Internet There is limited access to the internet where by the purchasing manager is the only one connected to the internet via his laptop.

This is disadvantageous to the business as only one person can access the internet at a time therefore time will be wasted by other managers if they want to use the internet as they will have to wait for the current person to finish using the internet. Time will be wasted this way which could be used productively. In addition to the purchasing manager’s laptop malfunctions as it is the only one connected to the internet, the business will not be able to access internet. Hand written reports

The information currently provided is in the form of printed graphs and handwritten reports. These reports can contain errors such as grammar errors and spelling errors which could lead to some words loosing meaning, calculations errors which could lead to the data not being reliable and portraying misleading figures. All these errors could lead to the information not being accurate and reliable, which could lead to managers making wrong decisions based on these reports e. g. if the remaining stock in the report falsely shows that stock needs re-ordering whereas there is enough stock, purchasing manager will buy more stock which will tie the business’ cash and increase expense like more storing space will be required for the extra stock. As the reports are handwritten, it is difficult to modify the reports.

Reports need to be flexible as the business is always dynamic. If a small change is required in the report, it will have to be re-written which is a waste of time and resources. Design sent via CD-ROM

The greeting cards design is outsourced to company Graphsoft who make the design and send it to the businesses on CD-ROM via post and then it is uploaded to a PC and printed. This is very disadvantageous to the business because the CD-ROM sent via post is time consuming which could result to production being put on hold because designs taking long to arrive and reduce production thus reduce sales. Also the CD-ROM could get damaged on the post thus all data lost and Graphsoft will have to send the design again resulting in production being put on hold and loss of time.

The CD-ROM could also get lost in the post and results are same as when it gets damaged. And it is not safe as competitors may maliciously get hold of the CD-ROM and copy the design. Single point of failure The business only has a single personal computer controlling three critical printers. If this single computer fails to function or malfunctions, all production will be halted, loss of sales, reputation and customer satisfaction. There is too much depending on the single computer. No network

There is no network in the business and file sharing is difficult e. g. if the sales manager wants to forecast sale based on amount of stock available, it would be difficult. It is also expensive t license individual laptops with software programs. Also data files on all the managers laptops are very vulnerable and if lost, the company will face serious difficulty. Slow Communication As only one laptop is connected to the internet this means that this is the only laptop with email capability. This will reduce communication.

Also the business only has meetings once a month, this reduces communication and makes the company less efficient as they are unable to respond to changes, miss out potential opportunities. Recommendations Installing Broadband As for the limited internet access, the businesses can solve this problem by installing broadband with a router. This will enable simultaneous access and faster access to the internet. The business can have wired access or wireless access to the internet however wireless access is most suited because there will be less wires around, hence lesser chance of accidents by tripping over wires.

Managers can access internet any where in the office within certain radius (normally 50 metres from the router). However installing wireless internet can be expansive, especially if the laptops don’t have wireless cards, if they don’t have, wireless adaptors need to be purchased. The business has to scramble encrypt the wireless signals so that no unauthorised persons can access the internet using the signals omitted from the router. And when many users are accessing the internet, it may slow down but new technology devices are available for buffering the traffic flow.

Using Microsoft Office to produce reports and Graphs The company should purchase Microsoft Office XP small business. They can use Microsoft Word to write up reports. This is more efficient because it is easier to format the reports by correcting the spelling, adding or deleting text and reallocating entire blocks of text. The business can set up a template through Microsoft word for the reports that are frequently produced, this will save time and effort needed to write a report. Microsoft Excel can be used to forecast sales and cash flow by setting up a simple workbook on Excel.

If the managers have not got the skills to set up a simple spreadsheet, they can purchase a book on Excel that is self- directed learning and they can learn at their own pace. Database The business should set up databases for its clients by using Microsoft Access. Microsoft Access will be able to create and edit tables that will contain customer information, create relationship e. g. , relationship between customer and order invoice. Creates queries to search customer information, print user friendly reports. These will reduce data redundancy and increase efficiency. Sending Design via email

Instead of the outsourced company sending the CD-Rom via post, the business can request Graphsoft to send the design for the card via internet using email. This can be done by sending zip files that are password protected thus no one can access the files. This method is very fast and reliable therefore reduce postage time and chances of data being lost or damaged via post. Setting up LAN The business should set up a Local Area Network (LAN) which will resolve most of the current problems. By setting up a network, the business can share resources such as printers, fax machines and modems.

Files can also be shared by managers via their laptops. Individually licensed copies of many popular software programs can be costly. Networkable versions are available at considerable savings. Sensitive files and programs on the network can be passwords protected to restrict access to unauthorised users. Once the LAN is established, the company can use Workgroup software such as Microsoft BackOffice that allows many users to work on a document or report concurrently reducing time spent on any single report. The network will also enhance faster communication.

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