Application of MIS in the retail sector
The management of information is key to business efficiency. Well-managed information helps organizations in preventing unauthorized access of information to the wrong persons. Unauthorized access may lead to information going to the wrong persons or being accessed by unintended persons. This may have adverse effects like stealing confidential data, hacking of information, or theft of information. This is dangerous because any data in the wrong hands may dispose or leak personal information and other company’s data. It is therefore important to manage information systems (MIS) so as to safeguard an enterprise’s privacy. Management information systems entail people, technology, organizations, and the relationship that exists between them (Khosrowpour 958-61). MIS is a people-oriented undertaking and helps to safeguard an organization’s processes, businesses, and personnel to realize full benefits and achieve a competitive advantage over other business operations. Management information systems provide individuals with the necessary data that is critical in decision making. This concept is applied in various circumstances, including decision support, IT, internet security settings, CRM (customer relationship management), and other applications. In general, MIS helps organizations to spot weaknesses and strengths and to give an overall picture of the organization, thus acting as a communication tool and can act as a tool for effective management of the organization’s data. In the retail sector, MIS helps in the exchange of information within the organization and the stakeholders and this helps the organization to effectively control the operations of the retail sector. It is easy to track business transactions, analyze the information as well as reconcile data that may be having discrepancies. This helps to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the business operations. For the purpose of this paper, I will try to explain the application of management information systems in the retail sector.
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MIS is the systematic use of technology, processes, organization, equipment, and people to manage the flow of information. In the retail sector, it has several applications which include point-of-sale data collection, logistics, inventory control, and internal communication in the retail (Khosrowpour 958-61). All these functions affect the operation and marketing of the retail operation.
Customer relationship management
Customer relationship management is a system that companies employ in the point of sale terminals to set up accounts of customers based on their purchase history. Under the CRM method, the front office staff performs the sales transactions while the relationship software collects and stores that information. The buying pattern helps the management of the retail section to understand the customer wants thus, acting as a decision-making tool for the improvement of services for the organization. This gives the retail chains a competitive advantage over large firms since the retail owner is able to know the customer’s needs and can fulfill these needs as the customer requires them. Management information systems help in the identification of the top clients/customers. With such identification, targeted marketing promotions can be offered and this can improve the total customer experience. An example of CRM is a situation where customers who have done prior purchases of certain goods can be targeted for information on how they would want the product improved, or given special offers. Regular clients who have not purchased from the retail shop for some time could be reached through direct mailers and other services. This helps the retail business to remain competitive. It should be noted that the buyer surveys help the marketer to improve the effectiveness of the retail sector operations. CRM helps in the characterization of the customer buying pattern at the point of sale. It also indicates the buying proportion of the regular clients and mystery shoppers as well as the sales assistants’ behavior. The feedback obtained from customers and the point of sale associates can help in the improvement of retail business. In general, management information technology helps businesses to design customer-oriented retail in their outlets. It also helps to identify the customers motivating factor and the best strategy a retail business can implement in order to meet the business and customer expectations. Some other details that can be found in the CRM include the accounts receivables which contain the list and amounts of debtors, the account payable which indicates a list of all creditors, the general ledger, and the human resources management. This helps in safeguarding the clients’ data and the employees’ privacy.
Supply chain management
SCM is the systematic and strategic coordination of the traditional business functions and tactics across these business functions within a particular company and across the business within a supply chain that is aimed at improving the performance of the companies under consideration and the supply chain (Hugos 1-3). In retail, MIS can be used in purchase management, demand forecasting, performance evaluation of the supply, inventory management, the implementation of the just-in-time processes, and the ERP systems. In the distribution process, the retail industry may not be able to use the complex technology that large company uses. This being the case, to manage the distribution of goods in the supply chain, computers can be linked directly to key suppliers and other distribution centers. This helps the various suppliers to get data automatically from the retail outlet and fulfill their requests within the required time. At the same time, the supplier can submit the orders electronically alerting the retailer that the orders have been released by the supplier and are on the way. In purchasing management, the retailer can use the electronic data interchange to improve the purchasing process. The retailer’s use of e-procurement reduces the tedious work that the traditional manual method used to perform. The retailer is, therefore, able to forecast demand based on the buying pattern.
JIT (just in time processing) is an inventory strategy that is used to improve the returns on investments by reducing the in-process inventory and other associated costs (Waren 968). JIT has the capability of increasing efficiency and quality as well as the return on investment. The strategy reduces lead time performance through the integration of the ERP systems
Store management entails the aspect of selling profitably and satisfying the retail customers, while at the same time keeping the store associates motivated. With MIS, a retailer is able to make strategies on how to serve the customers better while focusing on store management. In this, the retailer will be able to store what the customer wants at the right time. Store management helps in reducing stock-outs, helps when receiving inventory and other services. In-store management, the retailer is able to swift checkouts, provide the products and services that the customer wants, and at the same time, provide the right personnel. In the store’s management, the retail personnel are able to maintain and manage the rental outlets since documents will be well kept. At the same time, the retailer is able to track prices of various items as well as inventory management. Proper store management will help the retailer to manage the perishables since their sales and movement will be easily tracked from the store and inventory records. The return orders and sales audits can also be done in the store management, thus helping the retailer to be to maintain the number of orders in the store.
MIS technology is quite advantageous for internal communication. In the retailer setting, the system computers could be programmed so that they could display messages and other information for the staff in the organization. Through the advent of technology, employees in various departments and who works in different locations and time can communicate through emails and other social media services. This helps the different departments of the retail industry to share important information. With information technology, retailers are able to provide online training programs and other tutorials that help the new employees as well as the existing staff to learn conveniently. Through discussion boards and message boards, a retail business can communicate to staff that operates from different locations at different times.
Management information system in the retail sector serves a key role in the sustenance of the business. Effective MIS helps to incorporate the various retail departments such that the final customer is satisfied. At the same time, it helps the retail business to get the right products since customer surveys can be done to identify the customer needs. At the same time, it helps the retail business to position the product in the market and control product traffic. In the retail sector, MIS is used in various applications that include CRM (customer relationship management), ERP (enterprise resource planning), logistics, store management; point of sale, and technology,, and supply chain management among other departments. With MIS, a retailer is able to anticipate the needs of the retail business as well as anticipate the evolving needs of the customers. Proper execution of the MIS helps the retail business to achieve a competitive advantage in that at the point of sale; checkout time is reduced thus preventing the potential customers from diverting to the competitors. At the same time, there is a faster approval rate of the inventory by the supplier and the stock-outs can be identified easily. Linking the store and the point of sale helps in easier capturing of the product descriptions. Through the MIS, the incorporation of the POS helps the retail person to capture and store the customer’s information as well as the automatic storage of credit and purchase patterns. To the workers, it helps them to properly manage their time since they will be able to show the time when they reported to work and the time they left as well as the overtime earned and the days one ought to be off duty. It is also possible to know the customer traffic pattern, therefore, helping the retailer to know when to add/increase the shop floor assistants. In the various applications, challenges ranging from training, installation costs, and education capabilities are some of the challenges that retailers may face as they implement and execute management information systems.
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Hugos, Michael H. Essentials of supply chain management. Vol. 62. John Wiley & Sons, 2011.
Khosrowpour, Mehdi. Managing Information Technology Resources in Organizations in the Next Millennium: 1999 Information Resources Management Association International Conference, Hershey, Pa, Usa, May 16-19, 1999. Hershey, Penn: Idea Group Pub, 1999. Print.
Warren, Carl S, James M. Reeve, and Jonathan E. Duchac. Accounting. Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning, 2009. Print.
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