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Management Information Systems Research Project

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Management Information Systems Research Project

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

June 13, 2017


Abstract

Business practices have changed in a dramatic fashion over the last few years as computers and technologies have matured. No longer is it necessary to maintain paper balance sheets, file thousands of paper invoices, customer records, or employee records in large filing cabinets, or manually calculate the time and cost to ship an item from point A to point B. Employees today are greatly enabled by technology if their employers are willing to invest the resources into new management information systems. An electronic records management system would essentially eliminate paper records and the associated filing and record retention processes.  A customer relationship management system would greatly improve the customer experience and help to acquire new customers and retain the existing customer base. A transportation management system would greatly reduce the cost of shipping our products thanks to an expanded vendor list and the ability to fully optimize each shipment. A system combining computer integrated manufacturing and supply chain management would dramatically improve our manufacturing efficiency and overhead related to inventory management. Investments in these technologies provide the potential for exponential increases in customer and employee satisfaction as well as the profitability of the company.


Management Information Systems Research Project

        This paper will research and discuss the operational requirements and benefits of five separate management information systems which will benefit the company in several different ways. The five sectors of management information systems are Electronic Records Management (ERM), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Transportation Management System (TMS), Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM), and Supply Chain Management (SCM). Implementing these systems into the daily operation of the company will increase productivity and efficiency, increase customer service and satisfaction, and decrease overhead expenses. As a result, the long-term profitability of the company should increase significantly.

Electronic Records Management

        With the planned expansion of our company into government contract work, an upgrade in our records management process is critical. Our current record keeping process is rather inefficient and labor intensive thanks to our reliance on paper copies instead of electronic records. Managing paper records is labor intensive, inefficient, and prone to errors. To be eligible to bid on government contracts, we must meet the records management requirements set forth in Depart of Defense Directive 5015.02 (Department of Defense CIO, 2015). There are several items required in this directive that our current records management processes do not meet. Among those items are the requirements for all permanent records to be managed in a digital format by 2019 and emails must be managed digitally in an electronic records management system by 2016 (Bailey, 2013).  

        As of the writing of this report, the only open source ERM software available which is certified to meet the requirements of DoD 5015.02 is Alfresca. The document governance services offered by Alfresca are shown below:

[pic 1]

Figure 1. Alfresco Governance Services (Alfresco, n.d.)

        The records management and discovery features of Alfresco meet the DoD 5015.02 requirements. The management portion performs and controls all electronic filing, indexing, and record metadata information. The discovery features ensure that the legal holds to document changes, document retention, and availability meet the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The classification and security features work together and ensure that document security is never compromised while at the same time allowing easy access to those documents by individuals with the appropriate security clearance and network credentials. At creation, each document is coded with the appropriate classification and security level needed to access it. An individual’s access to the document is granted based upon the security roles and capabilities held by the individual.

The engineers at Alfresco will work closely with our company to determine the features and functionality that would best meet our needs and will build the system accordingly. Full time dedicated engineering support is available either onsite or remotely from the Alfresco headquarters during the initial launch of the system and continuing as long as needed. Role specific training will be offered onsite to all company personnel using and maintaining the Alfresco system.

Pricing for the design, launch, and maintenance of the Alfresco system will depend upon the features and capabilities we require for our operations. No consulting or engineering costs will be incurred during the initial planning stages. A final price quote will be presented for our approval before the build commences.

Customer Relationship Management

        Customer Relationship Management (CRM) refers to consolidating all customer related data including contact information, recorded telephone calls, emails, social media interactions and other customer interaction into a single database. This consolidation allows a streamlined process, beginning with the initial contact lead, conversion to customer, and continuing with customer maintenance, to be available and accessible to all business users within the system. The data is then available to be analyzed to determine trends, customer satisfaction, and customer service improvement.

        Salesforce would be a great platform for our company to use to meet our CRM needs. Salesforce is a cloud-based modular CRM solution which we can scale to meet our needs; now and in the future. The available Salesforce modules which would fit our company’s needs include:

[pic 2] 

Figure 2. Salesforce Cloud Modules (Salesforce, n.d.)

        Each one of these modules is accessible from workstation computers and laptops or from mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. The mobility, flexibility, and customizability of this software package will precisely meet the immediate and future needs of our company.

        The pricing structure of Salesforce is calculated per user/per month/per module and is entirely scalable based upon our needs month to month. No special equipment is needed as the Salesforce modules are entirely app and cloud based. In house training is also available by Salesforce representatives at no extra cost with a service contract of at least one year.

Transportation Management System

        The current logistics processes at our company are very tedious, labor intensive, and inefficient. All the procedural steps for researching, quoting, booking, confirming, and tracking product shipments are currently done manually by our shipping clerks. All the information relating to product shipments is currently maintained in spreadsheets. When a product order comes in, the first step required in the shipping process for the shipping clerk to measure and weigh the packaged item. Next, the clerk must call each one of our 23 approved shippers to get shipping quotes containing the cost and delivery schedule as well as any special handling for fragile items, items requiring temperature control, or hazardous materials. These quotes include multimode transportation options including road, rail, sea, and air. This information is then entered into a spreadsheet for cost comparisons. The clerk will then make the decision on which shipper will provide the fastest, and most economical service while meeting all extra requirements, and then call that shipper back and schedule a pickup time for the product. When the shipper picks up the product and produces a tracking number, the clerk enters that number into the spreadsheet and also sends the number to the customer via an email.

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