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Almost 21 Pte Ltd is a company dealing in one of the most sensitive industries or areas of business in terms of nature and customer type. The fact that the company deals in young adult female fashion is one factor that cannot be ignored. From its establishment, the company has risen to good ranks attaining the $50 million turnover mark and more than 50 stores under its name within Australia. This effective growth is associated with good management and product quality deployed by the management. Despite the positive trend achieved by the company, it is important to take note of the need to take to higher levels. It is on this basis that effective Supply Chain Management (SCM) and Consumer Relationship Management (CRM) is needed to take the company to another level in terms of supply network. Many growing companies in any industry can confirm the impact of positive CRSM and SCM.
- CRM and SCM analysis:
Embracing CRM and SCM is a big step away from the traditional way of management in an organization setup. Traditional management systems have been proven ineffective in enabling businesses achieve a competitive edge. For example, traditional management systems used a volume based costing approach when ensuring availability of products and services to customers. This is an approach that has been deemed ineffective in today’s management as it can lead to businesses, products and services that are not needed by customers. Supply chain management uses an activity based costing which is more effective as it only concentrates on what is needed by customers (Wisner & Tan ,2011). The same case applies to CRM programs as their major aim is to learn more about customers and providing products and services that serve their needs in the desired way. Deploying CRM and effective SCM will allow Almost 21 attain high levels of efficiency and cost saving. With effective CRM and SCM, Almost 21 will now be able to limit its products to what is needed by the customers. This unlike the traditional management systems that involved producing products in bulk without considering customer’s thought in relation to the same. (Fjermestad & Romano, 2012).
1.2 SCM analysis
- Product flow:
SCM has will enable Almost 21 to deal with the trade-offs between efficiency and effectiveness during the production. For instance, Almost 21 will be able to develop a number of metrics that are normally used to monitor the supply of products and services. Such metrics (key performace indicator?) allow them to purchase raw materials in a manner that ensures quality products to customers. Traditional management systems did not place any emphasis on the quality of products. Basically, traditional managers were concerned with the quantity, hence ensured products were produced in bulk and await customers to purchase or consume them (Wisner & Tan, 2011).
- Information flow:
SCM enables businesses to develop collaborations or chains they are able to work with effectively. The interconnected businesses work together to ensure the success of the firm. Almost 21 were also simple sturctuce before, as they were only handling a few activities or products. However, things have changed as businesses are now very complex; for example, they are operating in many markets.(not even a example, need real company example) Multinational businesses are more complex as compared to local ones. As such, they need to create a network to be able to manage their activities in the most effective way. This will also enable them to gain access to materials and information needed to compete effectively. Fundamentally, there is no way a business can be able to survive in today’s market place without having the connections (Prakashan ,2011).
- Financial flow:
SCM uses software applications that provide managers with enough information to enable them make more informed decisions in relations to procuring supplies. This enables the management to carry out an accurate investigation and elucidation of information and as a result they are able to plan for the future. They are also able reduce costs, improve manufacture schedules, and eliminate any bottlenecks (Wisner & Tan 2011).
1.3 CRM analysis:
CRM is needed to help Almost 21 build the much-needed customer relationship or connection. CRM systems ensure that customers can access adequate information that will enable them decide on whether or not to consume the products or services provided by a particular business (Cheng & Choi, 2010).
CRM systems are concerned about how the customer perceives a company’s products and services. This includes ideas on whether or not the products are serving customers in the desired way. With this being the case, the company in question can address all the issues raised by customers in a timely manner. As a result, the customer becomes loyal to the company, hence will be willing to consume its products and services in the future (Malik & Choudhary, 2011). The company can use the internet, for example, social media to engage customers hence learn about their concerns. (Mukerjee, 2012).
In addition, loyal customers enable Almost 21 Ltd to realize new deals on the market. This is because they can give the company tips on how to improve on its business activities. This implies that the company can better its supply management systems as a result of customers who may act as clients. the company can improve on its competitive edge as well as its profitability.
For example, the internet to interact with customers, hence enabling a business solve problems, take orders, and engage in new businesses. Basically, CRM and SCM systems have modernized the way businesses are handled (Prakashan, 2011). CRM systems able to learn about the changes in customer demands and expectations to enable the company come up with new products and services that serve customers in the desired way (Grant, 2010).
SCM allows the management in a company to discover new ways through which it can be able to enhance its operations (Cheng & Choi, 2010). CRM on the other hand, enables the management to know exactly what is needed by customers hence they are able to develop the matching product.
2.0 Analytical CRM:
2.1 Customer satisfaction:
2.2 Customer retention
2.3 Product Mix
Supply chain management has also enabled companies to interlink all their departments. For example, they are able to link human resource management department with procurement department, accounting department, and finance department among others. This can be achieved using enterprise resource planning (ERP) application. ERP is an electronic software with the ability to connect all departments in an organization with an aim of ensuring they are able to share information. This is unlike the case with traditional management systems where the departments worked alone and could only share information when the need arose. This is also a strategy that cannot work in the current marketplace. All departments in an organization need to access information to be able to make more informed decisions. This is also the only way a company can be able to eliminate delays that might arise as a result of a department waiting for another to provide certain information as this will be readily available in the system (Wisner & Tan 2011, 32-37).
Application of SCM and CRM in any organization requires the engagement of other key business application. One of the key areas towards the improvement of is the business intelligence applications. Business intelligence applications involved advanced application of IT with the aim of going higher with regards to quality services. Almost 21 as a company serving the youths in a fashion industry must be on top of its game to achieve the quality mark in terms of product and customer services. In order to understand the need for this leverage, it is important that Almost 21 develops a wider understanding of consumer management and supply chain. Almost 21’s management should start from the point of viewing customers as a key part of the organization. The company’s management should embrace the fact that their operations start and end with the customer, an indication that the products recognize the existence of the customer.
Almost 21 needs to apply the use of business intelligence application to help in profiling customer records and needs. With rich data on customer needs and records, Almost 21 Ltd will be well-placed to know the right supply chain strategies to meet such needs. Business intelligence application gives the company another step away from the traditional management system. Business intelligence application is an important tools when it comes to profiling, reporting and analyzing among others.
There are a number of times when the company will be required to offer quick response to consumer needs in terms of distribution speed and availability of products at certain points. Almost 21will use business intelligence applications as a key tool towards data collection. This will include using effective website data collection to gather information on quality and any other changes required by the customers. From a keen analysis of the websites’ metadata, the company is in a position to collect a significant amount of information regarding the users of the website. One such piece of information pertains to how often a particular section of the site is visited. As such, the company will be able to deduce important information contained in those segments, thereby make strategic decisions on how best to improve the information contained therein. The analysis is also able to gather information regarding the type of products that are viewed most often thus stand a better chance of making informed decisions on the products by relating that to the demand (Lang & Tudor 2003).
The website through other data collection tools is also able to gather crucial information regarding how often an advert placed on the site is seen by the potential customers and relate that to how the number of views of an advert converts to sales. The company website also provides important information on the adverts that are most attractive to the users of the website as well as the adverts that do not appeal to the customers. The links to other avenues for interaction facilitates the propagation of the information pertaining to the appeal of the adverts, for instance, the response to an advert on the social media platforms of the company (Chamberlain 2004).
The website also enables the users to personalize accounts and make reviews about their experiences with Almost 21. From the reviews, the company can assess the suitability of its products and services to the customers hence divert synergies to the segments with the best reviews while strengthening the weaker areas. The website also delivers demographic data about the product offerings such as the suitability of particular brands to specific age groups. It also offers information on specific gender, people within specific localities as well as the demand patterns for particular products (International Finance Corporation 2013).
The information systems strategy of Almost 21 aims at centralization of the global operations of the company so as to develop a common scheme of conduct which can be replicated and utilized efficiently in all the retailers’ stores. The information systems enshrined in all aspects of business conduct from the basic inventory information accumulation ranging from the customer relationships to the supplier relations which Almost 21is best known for (Heijden 2009).
According to the company’s website, technology touches on every aspect of the day to day business of the company. It is indeed the successful application of the technology and the gathered information from the website that has helped Almost 21in their pursuit for low cost leadership. For instance the most notable technological advancement made by the company with regards to 5the management of the supply chain is the evolution of the information gathered from the universal bar code system. The company is one of the most effective organizations with regards to organization of the data gathered from its online platforms and converting it to important premises that can be relied upon for decision making purposes (Bocij & Chaffey 2003, pp. 41).
Utilizing the information collected from the website, the company is strategically positioned to track the sales patterns and trends at any given time through identifying each of the items as individual entities bearing unique characteristics. Once an item for, example has been purchased online, Almost 21 has an immediate access to the information pertaining to the sale such as the product type, the price, quantity etc (Tomlinson, Murdick & Moor 2000). When this is blended with advanced telecommunications; it permits high speed information transfer from the specific branches in order to maintain an up to date database having full information on the inventory levels and assortment. This gives the company a competitive advantage over the business rivals since Almost 21is in a position to completely tell what the stores need, when they need it and for how long can they last when the orders are being processed, thus they are strategically positioned to forecast the demand and supply (Bocij & Chaffey 2003, pp. 41).
The information in business information systems also helps the company to reduce the risk of running out of inventory since the technology carried in the company’s business information systems facilitates removal of spikes in the demand in order to avoid cases of disappointed customers. The information also helps the company to identify the products that are not profitable to the business, thus make informed decisions on the viability of discontinuing the products from the inventory lines (Select Knowledge 2001). This together with acquired knowledge on advanced communication methods enables the company to accurately and precisely prepare for the future.
3. Ethics and Privacy Issues on Information System:
IS/IT security this part missing
The leveraging process will only be successful or effective if ethics and privacy issues are well taken care of. Ethical and privacy issues entail control on external and internal users of the company’s information. On the ethical issues of ethics, the company must train its members on how to profile customers and information. It is important the top management and any other junior employees know the well set protocols and a code of conduct (Duquenoy, P., Jones, S., & Blundell, 2008). To attain high ethical standards, it is important to train employees on ethical at every section or department (Stair & Reynolds, 2013).
On privacy, Almost 21 Ltd must encourage data security through data encryption, passwords and reserved rights. Such privacy actions will ensure the company protects it data. One of the reasons as to why data privacy is important is based on the fact what customers comment on sites and any data captured by the company should used by authorized groups. As much as customers and other stakeholders are important to the success of the company, it is important to take care of company from people who can corrupt or misuse such data in one way or the other (Sofroniou ,2009).
4.Recommended Software Solutions:
Based on the target customer and nature of the company’s business, Almost 21 must deploy effective software to aid its development. In choosing software solutions, it is important to consider key factors like nature business, target customers and market size. The company must also consider issues of cost and package. It will important to consider softwares with wide package in terms what they offer. Based on this analysis it will be prudent for Almost 21 Ltd to consider the following Software applications;
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
- Online purchasing system
Although the company can have accesses to various softwares, the above proposals can serve the company better based on its target customer. ERP will steer the much needed departmental connection and allow the company work with unity towards its goals. This is very important for the company as it needs to have all its departments or sections running to meet the targets of the customers. The top management of this company is very much aware of the fact that its proposals of CRM and SCM cannot be successful without good flow within the company.
Oracle as a software is important towards recording and profiling customer records. Based on the fact that Almost 21 Ltd is on growing trend profiling its customer will facilitate good marketing thus giving room for image building. Companies which use oracle have confirmed its efficiency and high levels of compatibility. Oracle as software is incorporated in total quality management. As the top management decides on the best software, it is important that cost effectiveness, compatibility and package being points of key consideration.
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