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Wal-Mart is one of the world’s largest retailers that make up high amounts of profits. The business organization has grown top great extends from a single store to a large retail store with branches in many parts of the world. The main purpose of the business organization has been to provide value to its customers as well as empowering its employees to perform effectively in the business activities. The business organization is committed to meeting the needs of its customers effectively as well as providing quality products and services (Steven, 2008).
The business operations and management at the Wal-Mart promotes a culture that is based on obtaining effective information that is most current. The information is usually based on the customers needs and wants in the market, obtaining the best business ideas from the employees on how to run the business operations effectively and ways of maximizing profits. The way in which the business organization carries out its operations has influenced the performance of the company in a positive manner since it has increased the productivity and the speed of operations in the business set up (Steven, 2008).
Information application systems
The organization has managed to succeed and gain the competitive advantage in the competitive business market through use of effective business information systems applications. Information systems are very important in the running of organizations and for that matter it is important to ensure that information systems applications in any business organization are followed. Information technology enables the business organizations to increase productivity through effective transfer of information from one department within the organization to another (Steven, 2008).
Information technology has been the backbone of success of the Wal-Mart and has enabled the business organization to grow to greater heights. In order to ensure that all the information concerning the organization is followed up and is made available for references the business organization has been using different information technology strategies that have enabled it to succeed and gain competitive advantage in the competitive business environment. The organization has been using point-of-sale system that is computerized in order to catch up with all details in its operations (Steven, 2008).
The computerized point-of-sale system enables the organization to identify each commodity sold in the organization in a given duration of time either a day or even within hours. This helps the organization to keep proper records of what has been sold for given period of time and what is remaining. This kind of information is very important in running of the organizations’ operations since it helps avoid some of the inconveniences that take place in business organizations. For instance without provision of such information it is very easy for the business to run out of stock unaware.
Also the system works in such a way that it provides the prices of the items sold in a database. This enables the business organization to keep track of what has been sold and at how much. Also it provides a good opportunity for the business organization incase of any problems in calculations and balancing of the book accounts, this database can be consulted and clarity of the matters found. This is one of the important aspects of the system and which enables the business to ensure that maters of accountability are maintained and encouraged. This gives the business competitive edges since operations are transparent hence raising enough income to cater for the other aspects of the business operations hence enabling it to gain competitive advantage (Steven, 2008).
The system also provides the customers with accurate sales receipt, the receipts are very essential to the customers since some use them for the reference as well as for other major purpose. Provision of such receipts gives customers confidence in the organizations’ products since through use of the receipts the customers can claim back if they have any complaints. This gives customer’s confidence in the organization since they gain trust and confidence in operations of the organization. This on the other hand gives the organization an added competitive advantage over their competitors in the business market (Steven, 2008).
The system is capable of storing item-by-item sales information, this kind of sales information is used by the management to come up with clear analysis of the sales as well as other operations in the organization. Also, the information provides an easier way of reordering of inventories, this is because based on the information it is possible to know the quantities of the product that have been sold and what is remaining hence being possible to know the reorder level as well as the appropriate time of reordering (Steven, 2008).
Provision of the information is not very important as it is the implementation of the information. In order to ensure efficiency the organization has ensured that the available information is used fully and effectively to avoid under stocking as well as overstocking of inventories. Effective implementation of the information systems and the information collected through the use of the systems the organization has been able to gain competitive advantage and remain to be the largest retail organization. The organization has invested a lot of finances in the information systems and because of the inventory and distribution system the business organization has managed to be a world leader in the business operations (Steven, 2008).
Together with the point-of-sale information system implemented in the organization there are also other system applications that have been implemented to enable the organization succeed in its operations. Wal-Mart also implements and uses telecommunications to create a direct coordination from the organizations’ stores to the fundamental computer system which is the central point in the operations of the organization. Telecommunications enables the organization to create a good connection between the main departments in the organization and the stores (Steven, 2008).
The departments like finance and purchasing and supplies are able to get the right information on the inventories from the stores at the right time. This helps in ensuring that there are no stockouts or high inventories that are maintained in the organizations’ stores. This coordination between the stores and the telecommunications systems are very important for the success of the organization.
Also the telecommunications system creates an effective link between the stores and the suppliers. This is because information is moved on inventories is moved directly from the stores to the suppliers. This helps the organization in ensuring that the organization’s operations are maintained at a higher level throughout. This is because the system enables an automatic reordering of the inventories from the stores to the suppliers computers. Also it helps in making sure that operations within the organization are coordinated effectively (Scavo, 2006).
It becomes easier when there is proper coordination within the organization since it is easier to know what is selling and what is not selling in the organization. Through this it is easier to make wise decisions regarding essential factors within the organization. The organization has avoided tying up its inventories in the stores without selling through this information systems implemented in the organization, this has helped the organization in great extends to gain competitive advantage over competitors (Scavo, 2006).
The organization has computerized warehouses whereby the inventories as they come in and as they are dispatched they are recorded. The information in the warehouses is then dispatched to the other departments in order for the movement of the inventories to be monitored effectively. The organization through computerized systems in its operations and warehouses it has ensured that there are no gods that stored for a long period in the warehouses as this increases the cost. The system used ensures that as the inventories enter the warehouses they are not stored in the shelves since they are distributed to the appropriate departments. Through this the cost of maintaining inventories are reduced hence the total cost incurred reduced. This gives the organization a competitive advantage over its competitors in the market (Scavo, 2006).
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The better coordination through telecommunication systems in the organization has played great role in the success of the organization. This is because it has resulted to better coordination between the key departments in the running of the organization. Suppliers have been able to have reliable manufacturing flows, reduced costs of production and also the general organization manages to make profits and savings that are transferred to the customers through reduced purchasing prices and high quality products (Scavo, 2006).
Computers and communications equipment used in the organization have helped the organization in gaining competitive advantage. Apart from this the point-of-sale system used in the organization uses is based on certain technology that provides the high technical advantage of the system. Bar code provides the technical basis of the system and it helps the organization in making of clear sale records for all the items, in addition to this it makes the information to be available immediately that is used for reordering of other inventories as well as carrying out sales analysis. (Scavo, 2006)
Bar code scanners have been used for more than thirty years and for that period of time with enough experience it is the perfect system that ensures accurate inventory tracking especially for large organizations dealing with many different products. Wal-Mart being one of the largest business organizations it has managed to gain a competitive advantage over its competitors by use of the bar code scanners. This is the reason the organization is the leading business organization and for the competitors to gain a competitive edge this is the best system (Scavo, 2006).
In order for the bar code scanners system to work well in an organization the first thing is the development of Universal Product Code (UPC) system. This is a method that is used to identify products by use of numbers; the numbers are then coded in a way that each group of numbers represents certain item. This means that each item has its own code that is used to recognize it by the bar code scanners. Application of this system has enabled the organization to reduce the cost in the running of the business operations. This is because labor required in stamping of the prices and other manual work is eliminated hence the cost being reduced (Scavo, 2006).
The bar code system though a competitive tool used in the organization it also presents certain disadvantages like elimination of jobs since manual work is reduced. Though this is a disadvantage to the society to the organization is an added advantage since cost is reduced which is translated to increased profits. Also the organization in certain cases uses the radio frequency identification which is a technology used to track inventories. The system is faster and easier to use than the bar codes, this is because it provides more information than the bar codes (Dillman, 2004).
Radio frequency system has enabled the firm to manage inventories effectively since it is easier to keep track of inventories that are in the stores as well as the ones the organization orders from suppliers. This has enabled the organization to avoid stockouts and long lead time that bring in inconveniences in the running of the operations in the organization (Dillman, 2004).
The organization has also implemented the UCCnet, it is formed in such a manner that it represents a set of technical standards that the organization and its suppliers use to come up with product data in a faster way. The system is in such a manner that the supplier sends information to the organization regarding new products electronically instead of use of fax or even email. Through use of this technology it has been possible to cut down the new product data entry time between the ranges of two weeks to only two days. Reduction of the time used is translated into cost reduction as well as efficiency in the operations since that time is implemented in other areas hence efficiency and effectiveness in operations (Dillman, 2004).
Inventory management in the organization is very important since it gives the organization a competitive edge over the rivals in the market. Because of the sensitivity of the issue the organization has implemented other effective techniques of monitoring inventory to maximize the sales as well as profits. The organization implemented First In and Still Here (FISH) reporting system. This is a kind of a system that is used to outline how long the different inventories in the organization have remained in the shelves. The major purpose of this system is to know the kind of inventories that take long in the shelves. From this it is possible to know the products that are selling and the ones taking long to sell, this helps in inventory management since it is possible to adjust the levels of inventory accordingly such that much money is not tied in the inventories that take long to sale. This system has enabled the organization to save high amounts on cost and to increase the sales of the organization as well as the profits (Sullivan, 2004).
In conclusion information technology systems are very vital in the survival of business organizations in the competitive business market. Information systems enable the business organization to keep track of every activity in the organization and also make the operations within the organization to be very fast. Wal-Mart has implemented efficient and effective information systems in its business operations and it has managed to gain a competitive edge in the competitive business environment. In addition the organization has managed to cut costs and increase the profitability levels within the organization hence being referred to as the largest discount retail stores in the world.
List of references
- Dillman L, 2004, The IT Marksman at Wal-Mart.
- Scavo F. 2006, The Enterprises System Spectator. Web.
- Steven Alter, “Information systems, A management perspective” Wal-Mart: attaining competitive advantage from information technology.
- Sullivan L. 2004, Wal-Mart Team of the year, Information week. Web.