The world is considerably very small because of globalization. The virtual closeness of the countries has made the trade and commerce an international event. Global businesses make every community more closely around the world. The discussion in this report shall involve the strategic role and analyze the information requirements of an organization operating in a competitive global environment, decision making at each of the managerial levels, the critical relationship between the Business strategies, Information System (IS) strategy and the Information Technology (IT) strategy in an organization and the latent ethical issues of information systems. In this case, the situation surrounding Unilever will be taken into consideration. The following annotations and propositions discussed in this discussion are supported by claims on journals, books and Unilever website.
The modern technology is really helping those businesses where is using a Management Information System in the various level of managerial approach. The chosen company is Unilever to describe in this report how Unilever is benefitting using Management Information System in various level of the company.
The discussion in this report shall involve the strategic role and analyze the information requirements of an organization operating in a competitive global environment, decision making at each of the managerial levels, the critical relationship between the Business strategies, Information System (IS) strategy and the Information Technology (IT) strategy in an organization and the latent ethical issues of information systems.
Table of Contents
Executive Summary 2
Table of Contents 3
Background of the company 4
Analyzing Mission Statement 4
PESTEL Analysis of Unilever 4
Political Factors 4
Economical Factors 5
Socio-Cultural Factors 5
Technological Factors 5
Environmental Factors 5
Legislative Factors 5
SWOT Analysis of Unilever 5
Recommended Information Systems 7
Strategic Level 8
Management Level 9
Knowledge Level 9
Operational Level 9
Ethical issues related in using Information System at Unilever 10
Background of the company
Unilever is a Dutch-British multinational company which acquired many consumers’ product brands in foods, ice-creams, beverages, cleaning agents and personal care products. Unilever got two headquarter one in Rotterdam, Netherlands and other one in London, United Kingdom. The Unilever is a dual listed company which has same directors and runs effectively. The current non-executive chairman of Unilever is Michael Treschowand and Paul Polman is Group Chief Executive. The main Competitors for Unilever are Proctor & Gamble, Nestle, DANONE, Reckitt Benckiser, Kraft Foods, S.C Johnson and sons’ and Henkel.
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Analyzing Mission Statement
The mission statement of Unilever UK represents two dimensions of their company, one is how Unilever products attached to the people everyday life and the other part is what Unilever wants to do in the nearest future. Everyday around the world, more than 150 million people in over 150 countries using Unilever products because people know they can help themselves feel good look good and can get more out of life, a few examples, Flora helps keep hearts healthy, a cup of PG Tips refreshes, Magnum gives an indulging treat, Persil to clean family’s clothes, Domestos keeps germs free, Sure helps unbeatable protection and hair wash with Sunsilk helps looks great also gives confidence to take on life. The company is committed to provide a healthy lifestyle, variety, taste, quality products, enjoyment supporting increasingly precious commodity. The company is also committed to the vitality of the environment and the communities. The Unilever doing business in a responsible way has a positive benefit also working in partnership with governments, international agencies (such as, UNICEF) and nongovernmental organizations (such as, WWF) to make a difference.
PESTEL Analysis of Unilever
Unilever operating their businesses in globalise environment around the world. Unilever now operates their business over 150 countries around the globe. The performance of Unilever is highly influenced by legislative and political conditions of individual serving countries. If consider the employment legislations, the rules is different for every countries there need to be followed a rules for providing a mix job opportunity including flexible, lower paid locally based jobs, higher paid centrally located jobs etc. Also there has to be meet a demand from vast population categories like students, working parents and senior citizen, disabled people.
Unilever is concern about economic factors because this is related with demand, costs, prices and profits. There is another most influential factors of economy is high unemployment which is directly related with the demand of many products and adversely affected on that may products. Those kinds of economic factors can not be controlled by the Unilever
The consumers demand the type of goods and services on the basis of consumer’s social condition, consequent attitude and beliefs. Now a day, the consumers are more aware of health related matters and the attitudes towards products are constantly changing.
Technology is a macro-environmental variable which help the development of the Unilever products. The new technologies are beneficial for both companies and the customers; customer satisfaction rises because products are readily available. Unilever uses latest technologies for example wireless devices, intelligent scale, radio frequency identification etc. The use of Electronic Point of Sale (EPoS), Electronic Fund Transfer systems (EFTPoS) and electronic scanners have greatly improved the efficiency of distribution and stocking activities etc. (Finch 2004)
There are some issues threatening the producers and retailers have been environmental factors. In 2003, there was an increased pressure on many companies and managers to acknowledge their responsibilities to the society and act in a way which can help society (Lindgreen & Hingley 2003). Unilever corporate social responsibility has to be concerned in this way where any organization exceeds minimum obligations to stakeholders specified through the regulation. (Johnson & Scholes 2003)
There is the law of land and policies have a direct impact on the performance of Unilever. There is an enforceable Code of Practices have to be followed to set up banning many of current practices, for example, the payments from suppliers and changing agreed prices . (Mintel Report, 2004) The powerful competitors established brands creates a threat of intense price wars and a strong requirements for product differentiation. The government’s policies for monopoly controls and reduction of buyers’ power can limit entry to this sector such controls on license requirements and limits on access to raw materials. (Mintel Report, 2004; Myers, 2004).
SWOT Analysis of Unilever
Successful businesses build on their strengths, correct their weaknesses and protect against internal vulnerabilities and external threats. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis helps businesses to understand overall business environment and exploit new opportunities more faster than any other competitors.
The market Share is increasing day by day because of playing a great profitable contribution the world economy.
High reputations for quality products are a key strength.
Unilever got excellent product safety in health, beauty and foods.
Unilever is a global business which do business more than 150 countries around the world.
There is a high performance of distribution where the suppliers are located around the UK.
Competitive pricing is also a key strength in Unilever.
Unilever uses latest technology which helps the company to introduce consumer’s good products.
Unilever got experienced and qualified research and development team for product development.
Brand image some time affect the common customer.
High pricing for various products causes low earning customer to buy another company’s less price products.
Customer Relationship Management must be a qualified team as there have no retail shop company business always depends on sole distributors.
Lack of market research in Unilever reduces total sales figure in a financial year.
They do not have retail and online shop, it some time causes high pricing of products in the distributors retail shop.
Depends on the distributors where some time does not take proper initiative to increase the sales.
Increasing market share comparable to the competitors is really a good opportunity which can help company to increase the growth rate.
Unilever can open retail shop which will help to approach direct consumer.
Increasing brand value by providing good quality of products.
Unilever can acquire more company’s brands and services which can be a key step to increase the value in the market.
Greater promotion of some products can get more customers to use their products.
All successful businesses attract competition so the competitors would be a threat.
International competitors may also intrude as Unilever expands.
Every products can not be marketed every countries because of different race of people around the world.
Natural disaster could damage many area of the business, for example, earthquake in Haiti and Chile.
Recession causes loss of jobs where people less use of branded products, for example recent recession in USA, UK and Europe caused a vast impact in world economy.
Recommended Information Systems
The following cross-functional system concepts and how they can provide significant business value to Unilever will be discussed in this document:
The operational level is for taking day to day decision. Transaction Processing System can help to take operation level decision like supermarket, Biometric device etc.
The knowledge level of decision is takes for research, design and procurement. Knowledge Work System can help to take knowledge level decision.
The tactical or managerial control level decision takes for 1 to 3 years, it is for resource allocation. Management Information System or Decision Support System can help to take the managerial level decision.
The strategic level decision takes for 3 to 10 years, it is for long term. Executive Information System can help to take the strategic level decision.
Complex Mathematical Model: Unilever can use a Complex Mathematical Model for monitoring operations, costs, revenues, market shares, share prices etc. Unilever is categorized as fast moving consumer goods, quick acquisition, processing of market information. The information of market is usually collect from research companies, historical data and individual analysis.
Enterprise Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence Solution: In order to gain a clear view of business performance across Unilever’s companies in around the world.
Unilever Information Program: When transformation is taking place in the organisation, information systems are inevitably involved. Currently Unilever is reshaping operational responsibilities for greater clarity between what is better done by the local company, at regional level or global organisations. The Unilever Information Program (UIP) is to develop an infrastructure to support the Path to Growth strategy, with the key priority of finding a quick data integration solution to allow user access to any number of data sources for in-depth analysis.
Supply Management Information System: Unilever can integrated a supply management information system which will helps local, regional and global supply managers make appropriate sourcing of decisions, allowing them to collate and analyze information’s more quickly and easily. The system enables managers to negotiate with suppliers in a transparent and efficient way where benefiting both parties.
Procurement System: The procurement is inevitability for future supply chain optimisation the supply market, particularly in Europe is still suffering from under-development. The Procurement System can help total supply chain operation rather than just transactional activity. The Procurement System provides a catalyst for positive improvement in supply management profiles.
Supply-Chain Management Systems: The using of a variety information system and several other supply chain management technologies, Unilever can enhance the usability of the supply chain.
Research & Development System: Used for formula development
Specifications System: Specification System will help in packaging, formula, raw material, finished products and process specification.
Manufacturing Planning System: Manufacturing Planning System can help in production orders, purchase orders, standard costs, inventory, financial transactions, and production reporting.
Planning System: Planning system can help in Demand Planning (DP), Demand Requirement Planning (DRP), Constrained Product Planning (CPP), Finite Scheduling.
Order and Cash System: Order and Cash system can help in order entry management, terms of sale, deduction tracking, stock allocation and invoicing.
Finished Goods Management System: Finished good management system can be used for shipping, warehouse, transportation, production and traceability.
Ethical issues related in using Information System at Unilever
A new technology introduces some new ethical dilemmas. Computer technology is used for gathering, storing, manipulating data and spread the processed data which is information. Information system uses local and global networks, databases, programs for processing information. Information is a key to prosperity and it is a source of power also. This is very important to think about ethical considerations, how information will be used in an information system because there is social and political issues involved. There are severe social problems exist today because government and business organisations have failed to uphold the highest ethics standard in Management Information System use. These problems exist in such forms as invasion of privacy and software piracy. The most widely publicized classification of human rights in the computer area is Richard O. Mason’s PAPA. The letters in PAPA stand for Privacy, Accuracy, Property and Accessibility. (McLeod and Schell, 2001)
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Privacy: The right of privacy is threatened by two forces. One is increasing ability is of the computer to be used for surveillance and other one is the increasing value of information in decision making. Decision maker sometime invade someone’s privacy to get the information. Unilever need to do market research in need to know what type of products customers really need or what they use. There is a ethical issue concerned because of Data Protection Act, UK 1998.
Accuracy: The Management Information System is given credit for making possible a level of accuracy and which is not unachievable in manual system. Most of the time errors cost much greater.
Property: There is some intellectual property like computer programs. The software or the systems Unilever using are they copyrighted, agreed to use from the vendors.
Access: There are some information is available to the general public in the form of printed documents or microform of images stored in libraries which includes news stories, results of scientific experiments, government statistics and so on. Access right is required to access some other databases to get information. A right to access is a Modern-day ethical issue.
Finally it can be said that Unilever can make their market position stronger than before by using different information system at different level. But Unilever must have enough consideration in various sectors to use Management Information System.
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