Business / Ford Information System

Ford Information System

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Autor:  anton  10 March 2011
Tags:  Information,  System
Words: 2399   |   Pages: 10
Views: 695

Introduction

An information system consists of input, processing, output, and feedback. With these activates the information system helps to produce the information that associations need to get better decision-making, problem solving, controlling operations, and creating new products or services.

The information systems can assist a business in that they contain important information about an exacting client, place, or event that get place in the organization or the environment nearby it. Information systems are not as important for smaller stores as it is for the larger corporations.

A Management Information system (MIS) can be distinct as an organized assembly of resources and procedures required to collect and process data and deal out information for use in decision-making. It serves the management echelon of the organization, providing managers with reports and, in some cases, with on-line access to the organization’s current performance and historical records. Generally, a MIS is dependent on fundamental transaction processing or operational systems for their data. It is important to differentiate between information and an operational system. MIS as an information system will gather and collate data and distribute information from the current operational systems like the depot systems. Management information is a tool to be used and will never replace common sense. (Chappell, 2005) It is supplemented by other management tools and not used in separation. A single management report from a MIS is never used to make a policy decision. A number of reports over a period are used to establish a propensity and that is used as a basis for investigation.

Problem Identification of The Management Information Systems of Ford

Advances in information technology and perceived dissatisfaction with MIS performance is leading users to take over their own systems development work. This does not mean an end to the MIS department, but a staff rather than line responsibility will be required as users become the dominant developer of information systems. For a successful transition, HRD will be expected to operate as a change agent helping both groups adjusts to their new roles.

The introduction of microcomputers into the workplace during the 1980's ushered in a new era which is having a profound effect on organizations. (Chappell, 2005) More specifically, users are taking greater control for systems development in their organization. This change requires user departments to prepare for new responsibilities and the Management Information Systems (MIS) department to adapt to a new role and purpose within the organization. Furthermore, the Human Resource Department (HRD) needs to help manage the conversion from an MIS dominated to a user controlled environment. (Allen, 1987)

Technology Factors

Expensive computers, and the need to have a FORD employee program the computer, centralized computing in one department where the mainframe was the centerpiece of the operation. In the 1970s the development of smaller computer systems (e.g. minicomputers) made it possible for user departments, which had specialized functions such as research or development, to acquire some of their own computer equipment. In fact mid sized and small computers are often referred to as departmental computers to signify their use by user departments rather than CMIS. Nonetheless, in terms of the total volume of computing being conducted, FORD easily remained the major information systems organization during the 1970s.

One of the obvious changes that end user independence precipitates is a decentralization of the information system function. In addition to the affordable price of hardware, which places computers within the reach of many user departments, the efficiency of PC's relative to mainframes is an important consideration for a cost conscience government. This economic consideration also favors acceleration in user departments justifying their own hardware.

States are also anticipating further technological and managerial changes which are indicative of a strong user's orientation - greater use of powerful small computer systems, growth in user computing and an increase in computer networking and data sharing. (Bennis, 1967)

Organizational Factors

The primary issue is the performance of FORD as perceived by users. A survey by The Partnership for Research in Information Systems Management or PRISM illustrates the type of disenchantment users experience with FORD. The survey found that 75% of users, who had acquired their own systems, cite unsatisfactory performance by FORD as the most important factor in wanting their own system. These users also justify their independent systems on the grounds that they can produce systems more quickly and better tailored to their needs than FORD. Furthermore, functional managers perceive FORD as unresponsive to their needs. Adding to the Duties of User Departments

The most pronounced change for user departments is the opportunity to develop their own information systems. As Allen observes, users are in a better position to evaluate and acquire their own information systems than CMIS. Specific information systems functions will fall to departmental staff with more specialized training in the discipline - tasks familiar to FORD such as planning strategic departmental information systems, determining information needs, obtaining hardware and software within guidelines established by CMIS, assessing whether systems are in conformity with regulations and policies, and evaluating the exposure of risk from information systems failure. Restructuring the Role of FORD, a change in FORD duties appears inevitable. (Gauch, 1992)

Planning and Standards Development

FORD is the most reasonable place to locate the information planning and control responsibility for the organization as a whole.

Technical Leadership

The background and experience of the professional FORD staff is particularly well suited to perform the technology tracking function within organizations.

User Support

The change in user department FORD roles places a greater responsibility on FORD in the area of user support. The establishment and maintenance of local area networks represents another area for user support.

Computer Operations

A viable data center operating the mainframe and ancillary equipment will remain an integral part of FORD. It is noted that there is a controversy over the future of the mainframe and visualizes its eventual replacement by PCs. In the future, PCs will be capable of running the applications that are now run on the mainframe. However, for the immediate future, mainframes will be part of the information architecture of large organizations.

Systems Development and Maintenance

Although there will be a decrease in systems development work, the manpower required for systems maintenance is expected to increase. On the other hand it creates a personnel problem within FORD since systems maintenance is perceived by FORD professionals as de-motivating, low level work.

The Situation in State Governments

Most states have drawn up an overan statewide plan for information systems. Furthermore, progress in preparing privacy and security plans within state governments are minimal.

The growing importance of user training in state governments is reflected in the percentage of FORD resources devoted to this function. (Currie, 1999)

Managing the Transition

As users take control of their own systems and MIS decentralization proceeds, employees in FORD become less sure of their futures. User departments will be staffed with people, possessing not only technical skills in their functional area of responsibility, but with a proficiency in a second discipline, MIS. Managerial issues also need to be addressed including overcoming resistance on the part of FORD to the decentralization of the MIS function and changing traditionally defined MIS jobs.

As user departments assume responsibility for MIS professionals, it is appropriate to ask whether MIS personnel can be handled the same way non-MIS personnel are supervised or should departmental administrators be prepared to modify their management style? The motivational patterns are similar for MIS and non-MIS personnel within each of three occupational groups (Clerical, technical and managerial).

The HRD Role

To initiate the process, HRD needs to communicate with FORD and user departments to ascertain the extent to which the MIS role is changing. A working group with representation from all involved departments and HRD create, problem solve and manage an action plan.

Determining the type and number of MIS positions required for each Department.

Creating job descriptions and a salary structure for new positions.

Matching current staffing versus needs and identifying areas of under and over staffing.

Developing training and development plans. Beyond the technical training, a plan to "socialize" individuals who transfer to a new department need to be considered. As the program evolves HRD should also be sensitive to the need to hold team building exercises within a department when appropriate.

Discussing with current staff their interest in a career change. In many cases individuals lack an understanding of the career choices within their present position and, even if they choose not to take on new responsibilities, they will profit from an understanding of their current options. Individuals opting for a career change need to be fully informed regarding the training needed and sources for the training (e.g., in-house or through outside organizations).

Instituting and monitoring individual plans. No matter how carefully thought out a plan may be, it does not guarantee success. HRD should retain contact with transferred individuals and depending on circumstances; HRD may wish to sponsor workshops which address problems or successful outcomes. (Henderson, 1986)

Marketing has gone online. It has taken many forms, and Ford has effectively utilized service companies that help retailers sell cars and manufacturers build brands through marketing, advertising, and customer relationship management tools and programs. Ford has strived to create a direct online presence through recent alliances made with America Online Inc. and Yahoo Inc. Ford’s marketing strategy is extremely integrated with product development. An information technology called Focal Point collects data from customers and in turn allows Ford to make better conclusions about data and gives greater capability to focus on specific groups in the marketplace. (Barkholz, 2005) The luxury vehicle segment has grown more competitive, yet maintains large profit margin potential. American buyers have been showing increased interest in European and Japanese manufacturers. A study in 1990 revealed 11% of Americans wanted to purchase European luxury cars, a number that has increased to 23% in 1999. (Barkholz, 2005) The Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV’s) segment has emerged as one of today’s hottest markets through its increased sales. North-American consumers in higher income brackets are choosing, with increasing frequency, to put SUV’s in their garages. Minivans market share was 8% in 1998, which was down 12% from 1991. (Barkholz, 2005) This is a result of a shift in consumer demand away from these vehicles. Overall market analyst consensus is that minivans have entered the mature stage of the product life cycle. Pick-up trucks, uniquely American vehicles that span all of the consumer target markets, show good potential for domestic manufacturers.

In 1980, Ford introduced the Escort, which was their first attempt at a car that could be globally marketed. The 80’s were also the decade in which the Taurus made its first appearance. Ford then developed the “global car” referred to as CDW27. (Barkholz, 2005) It was a highly sophisticated car that sent all over the world with only slight modifications for various regions. In 1987, Ford earned record profits of $4.63 Billion and three years later they suffered their largest one-year loss of $2.3 Billion. (Barkholz, 2005)

Ford is striving to make advances that will keep it competitive in a global market during the information revolution. Ford has product lines whose breadths and depths make it possible to reach all target markets. Ford has shown a steady pattern of sales growth from 1994 onwards, growing at 5-7% each year. (Barkholz, 2005)

These days, luxury has taken on the mass market. The Americans are even getting into the six-figure game. Ford Motor Co.'s Ford GT, derived from the world-beating GT 40 of the 1960s, will sell for more than $100,000. It shows Ford competitiveness in mass marketing. (Barkholz, 2005) Ford offers competitive luxuries and markets it through both primary and secondary sources.

The strategy of Ford is to touch every segment. Ford Motor Company, of late, has named Witeck Combs Communications, Inc to craft market strategy for gay and lesbian consumers. Ford motor company is actively pursuing this niche market of more than 14 million consumers, with a buying power estimated to be more than $450 billion, by developing a tailored message to speak directly to this consumer segment.

HRD should retain contact with transferred individuals and depending on circumstances; HRD may wish to sponsor workshops which address problems or successful outcomes.

Conclusions

It is clear that in state governments the transition from a FORD controlled environment to a user dominated environment is occurring. An early step in this process is for HRD to join forces with FORD and the user departments. In a joint enterprise HRD can be instrumental in identifying career paths and opportunities for both FORD professionals and user personnel.

Ford, as a company, has devoted a significant amount of time and money in improving quality within their operations as well as their products. They recognized the foreign car makers were perceived to be much more technologically advanced and had achieved a level of quality that American car makers had not. Ford also realized they were unable to keep up with the quickly changing technologies and unable to meet the demand for new and innovative car designs. By focusing on Quality, Ford is now able to react more quickly to consumer demands because they can produce their product more efficiently without sacrificing product standards.

Ford is very effective at targeting their advertisements for their viewing audience. When developing advertisements for the Ford Probe, Ford consulted with a psychologist who bases product color advice on the theory that certain colors and shades appeal to woman more than men. Based on the recommendations offered by the psychologist, Ford ran advertisements with hot red colored cars for men and cooler colored cars for woman. Through their advertisements, Ford is announcing that they have achieved a high level of quality and their products are technologically advanced. They are running advertisements which don’t necessary focus on a specific make or model of a Ford vehicle.

References

Allen, B. (1987) "Make Information Services Pay Its Way". Harzard Business Review, 65 (January-February).

Barkholz, David. Ford Motor. Automotive News, 2005, Vol. 80 Issue 6169.

Bennis, Warren (1967) "Organizations of the Future, "Personnel Administration, 30 (September-October).

Chappell, Lindsay; Truett, Richard. Ford Motor makes peace with suppliers. Automotive News, 2005, Vol. 80 Issue 6169, p1-40.

Currie, Wendy; Galliers, Bob (1999) Rethinking Management Information Systems: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. Oxford University Press.

Gauch, Ronald R. (1992) The Changing Environment in Management Information Systems: New Roles for Computer Professionals and Users. Public Personnel Management, Vol. 21.

Henderson, John C. and Michael E. Treacy (1986) "Managing End-Use Computing for Competitive Advantage." Sloan Management Review, 28.



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