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For Your Comfort (FYC) knowledge management - corporate strategy

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Corporate strategy essentially focuses on achieving the highest top line (profit), reducing the bottom line (expense), increasing margins, differentiating products to match the VoC (Voice of the Customer), and incorporating best practices such as lean manufacturing and zero inventory to gain competitive advantage.

You want to demonstrate that it is indeed possible to tap vital information from a well-organized IS set-up.

PROBLEM:

List the important information and metrics that are deliverable through knowledge management/business intelligence systems for Donna and Debbie's formulation of FYC's corporate strategy for the current year. These metrics and information should be retrieved internally from the various departments and externally from the company's suppliers, customers, and wholesalers.

Categorize them into line functions (sales and marketing, manufacturing and distribution, and customer service) and staff functions (administration, HR, sourcing, finance, and accounts).

Your task can be in the form of a Word document report with not more than 4 paragraphs, a diagrammatic representation (flowchart, process diagram, fish diagram, DFDs), or a simple list of bullet points categorized into subtopics.

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Knowledge management refers to practices used by companies to create, store and distribute information for reuse by the organization for its improved functioning, awareness of problems and learning to cope with the environment. In several companies this is a part of information technology or human resources management department. In case of FYC there is great scope for the use of knowledge management. Important information can be collected from the point-of-sales at its stores. This information can be used to improve customer service, reduce inventory costs and streamline the supply chain. Similar information can be garnered from every process at FYC and the results analyzed to give insight into FYC's business process.

By using knowledge management FYC can be transformed into a learning organization. FYC employees need to be trained into knowledge workers and learn to use intellectual capital. FYC will need to use enabling technologies like expert systems, extranet, content management and document management. If FYC wants to implement knowledge management properly it must appoint a Chief Knowledge Officer who will provide leadership in this area. Even though there are three approaches to knowledge management, namely techno-centric, ecological and organizational, it is recommended that FYC use the organizational approach to knowledge management.

Business intelligence system refers to functions and information methods that are used to collect access and utilize information about company functioning. In case of FYC if companies if the company can have a detailed knowledge of its functions then ...

Solution Summary

This solution talks about information and metrics deliverable through knowledge management/business intelligence system. These issues are discussed in the context of For Your Comfort (FYC).

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Information Technology in Business Management

Scenario:

For Your Comfort (FYC), an ergonomic furniture manufacturing company was a dream founded by Ronald J. Dirksen and Richard Woodart in 1947, the year after World War II ended. War veterans were returning home and wanted to lead a life of material comfort; FYC's trademark Easy Couch was a seller! The company expanded its line of furniture into both residential and commercial office furniture but remained largely a small-town family-owned boutique for many years. In the early 1980s, FYC introduced "mail-order" selling which increased its revenues substantially. FYC gained gradual recognition with its introduction of an "ergonomically friendly" office and home furniture line in the late 1980s and opened 2 branches in different cities during the decade. It also started sourcing timber from Canada and South East Asia and some hardware, hinges, saws, and fasteners from China. The 1990s saw FYC branch out to new territories by owning and operating branch stores. There are currently 16 stores throughout the USA with the manufacturing plant at its base. The biggest store in each city is equipped with a clearance floor, which holds items that are rejects, used returns, or items that are simply out of style but are marked down consistently until they are sold. In 1999, Ronald J. Dirksen, CEO, passed away, leaving the business to his daughter, Donna Dirksen, a smart Berkeley-educated mechanical engineer.

Donna had several challenging tasks on her hands: sorting out the operations and finances of the company; knowing her employees; riding through the recession of early 2000's; and getting the company out of the red. Before she took over, the company's sales had been slipping, and it even suffered a small loss one year due to increased competition. With Donna at the helm, the company's profitability and product line visibility grew but still functioned in an old-fashioned way. Both fixed and variable costs were very high in comparison to industry averages, and Donna had some concerns: high paper-based transaction volume; delayed processes (especially in invoicing and collections); expensive overhead costs in managing different locations (franchisees and employees), internal departments, ineffective marketing campaigns; and lack of latest technology (old POS systems and applications).

Donna, who is quite technologically savvy, has analyzed many furniture and other retail organizations which have shown remarkable profitability through a well-managed technologically-upgraded IS strategy. She wants to invest in new technologies and a sound IT strategy aligned with FYC's business to turn the company around. She has hired you as the IT leader in the organization who will spearhead the alignment of IT and business goals; capitalize on the latest emerging technologies, e-business, and IT management; and harness that information to aid corporate growth.

Task Name: Phase 3 Individual Project
Deliverable Length: 3-5 paragraph memo
Details: E-business has birthed new paradigms of operations. IT has changed business processes to reduce costs, increase productivity and efficiency, and add shareholder value. Your goal is now to work with each individual department head and strategize an effective way of operations using ISs. Choose one of the departments of FYC (below), analyze the department, research the various emerging technologies, and write a memo to the department head suggesting various technologies or generic software in the market today suitable for FYC, without comparing/contrasting specific ISV products:

Sales and Marketing
Customer Service
Production
Sourcing and Supply Chain
Human Resources
Finance and Accounts
Administration and Operations
Corporate Planning and Strategy

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