Managing Systems

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CA Group is a sheet metal fabrication and engineering assembly company that produces steel products assembled from a wide range of components, for customers in the building industry. Their business strategies over the next five years are ~ ( I ) Improve product turnaround and reduce delays and product remakes. At present when an order is received on the shop floor, the assembly workers through the knowledge and skills they have acquired over the years within the organisation, manufacture the products from the required components held in stock.

Currently the stock level of the components is manually checked and items purchased when they are required, by 4 stock control staff. Problem ~ Due to the business expanding its customer base, the range of products produced and their sales quantity has increased and hence the variety and turnover of the components has also increased. Resulting in component types running out of stock and delivery dates not being achieved. To deal with the increase in work extra staff have been employed, although due to their lack of knowledge, products are being produced with the wrong components.

( II ) Improve customer relations, in respect to confirmation of delivery dates and information on products sold. Currently an order is received on the understanding that the requested delivery date can be achieved. This is confirmed by the sales desk staff, through a simple production scheduling program. Problem ~ As the turnover of products has increased, the sales desk are unsure if all the components required to manufacture the requested order of products are currently held in stock.

Also more customers are enquiring which components are used to build their product, knowledge the sales desk do not have. ( III ) Implement a cost analysis computer system. Although sales have increased due to the expanding customer and product base, the overall profit margin has reduced. Therefore senior management want a detailed cost analysis done on each product, to evaluate the quantity of products sold and target items producing a loss. Problem ~ The staff in the accounts department have no knowledge on which purchased components produce the products.

Hence the various component costs cannot be set against the sales price of the product. ( labour costs are minimal and will be excluded from the exercise ) Also due to the mass of information which the system will produce, the data is required in a summary report format. To solve the above problems and achieve the business strategies set out by the senior management, an information system is required to do the following tasks. ( a ) Computerised Stock Control System ( b ) An instructive “Bill of Materials” database. ( c ) Product Cost Analysis report.

What data / information qualities must it have ? In respect to the stock control sub-system the information held in the stock file will be accessed by all the various users ( Sales Desk, Production staff and Accounts ) for different reasons. Therefore the quality of information required will differ between users. The sales desk will enquire if a product can be manufactured from the components presently in stock, without the knowledge of what components are required. This will assist them in scheduling and will determine whether a delivery date can be achieved.

In this case communication time is an important factor, the system should provide regular updates throughout the day on the stock level of components. To make the system simple for the user a computerised “Bill of Materials” should be adapted, in the form of a database. Listing all the components required to manufacture a certain product. The production staff will require a high level of detail from the system, again in the form of a “Bill of Materials” to ensure the correct components go into manufacturing the chosen product by the customer.

Also the staff needs to be confident the stock levels are correct as re-ordering will be done automatically on this information. In reference to the accounts department, they also will require detailed information on components used per product and the various purchasing costs involved. To establish if a certain product increases or decreases the overall profit value of the organisation. As costings and sale prices would be listed this information needs to be secure and access forbidden to the other uses. Non-profit making products will be encapsulated in exceptional reports.

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