Consumer preferences and demands are changing, and people now prefer a supermarket and shopping malls experience more over traditional retail shops, to fulfil their needs and wants. All the companies of such supermarkets and retail chains, constantly try to enhance their customer experiences and emerge a market leader by optimizing and enhancing their business processes. In order to gain a competitive advantage it is important for the companies to implement all the available resources optimally, and have efficiently defined strategies and plans in place to achieve the organizational goals. Information systems are a significant part of any company. Thus, it is essential for the company to develop strategies and implement good efficient information systems, which greatly helps increasing the performance and productivity of the company. The presented article discusses about the information system strategies used by Coles Supermarket, Australia.
Table of Contents
Information system strategies- overview..
Background of Coles Supermarket, Australia.
Previous IS strategies of Coles.
Current IS strategies of Coles.
IS strategy of Woolworths.
Importance of IS strategy management plan.
Challenges faced by Coles and the proposed strategies.
The retail sector is growing rapidly due to the economic growth. Increased income and high spending power of the people has contributed significantly to the development of supermarkets and the retail sector (Kampen & Ross, 2018). However, due to rapid globalisation the business world is now well-connected and organizations operate all across the globe, domestically and internationally. This industrialization has also resulted in increased competition among the businesses. This highly competitive business environment and the changing and rising demands of the consumers, has compelled the businesses to adapt and implement efficient process systems and strategies of information system and all other resources in order to survive the competition and gain a competitive position in the market. Sophisticated information systems such as stock control, accounting systems, employee management systems, and so on are essential to increase the productivity and performance (Prasad & Green, 2015).
The following report thus explains the information strategies used by Cole’s supermarket in Australia. After giving the overview of this company, the report discusses about the information strategies of its competitor Woolworths, and also elaborately discusses about the importance of information systems in organizations.
Information systems are important operating requirements of any company or business. For the functioning of a successful organization quality information systems are essential for the processing of all the financial and organisational data and statistics (Prasad & Green, 2015).
Inefficient information systems in a company can cause data issues related to accuracy and reliability and can slow down the workflow of the company to a great extent. Using efficient information system or information technologies helps in the development and improvement of growth of an organization. Strategic information systems are critical processes of businesses by which the company can benefit by successfully integrating all of its processes and achieving a wider application and utilization of all the resources for attaining the organizational goals. The most efficient strategic information system assists the organizations in attaining the organizational goals and objectives (Prasad & Green, 2015).
Various information systems are used in an organization, for example a software of accounting and finance will be used by the finance department which will assist the company in dealing with accounting transactions. Such improvised process systems for implementing the strategies within any company are very significant as well as critical. The organizations nowadays are investing heavily on such improvised information systems.
Any type of problem within these processes and information systems within the organization can cause a failure and the company can experience large losses at times (Prasad & Green, 2015).
Coles Supermarket Australia is a very well-known retail chain for consumer services operating in Australia. The founding organization of this company is Wesfarmers. It is headquartered are in Melbourne (Coles Supermarkets). The primary operations of Coles include selling of food and grocery items through its chain of supermarkets. The company also has some business ventures in the liquor and petrol industry as well (Coles Supermarkets). Cole’s supermarket was established 1924 and presently it operates more than hundred supermarkets in the region of Australia. This supermarket has a large workforce of about one lakh and the Cole’s has gained the second position in the entire market of groceries and food supplies after Woolworths, its principal competitor (Kampen & Ross, 2018).
One of the essential goals of any company is reducing human error and increasing work efficiency of the organization. In order to achieve these goals it is important to have good and efficient information system in place. These information systems should be such that they are capable of providing the data in the minimum time possible. Thus, investing in efficient company information systems is crucial for all companies.
Information systems can be described as any computer-based tools and systems that the companies use to work within formation and support the information processing needs. Similarly, Cole’s supermarket uses information systems to enhance its functioning and gain a competitive advantage. The company is facing major problems since the last five years like operational inefficiencies, conflicting employee relations, low productivity of the company, and so on. To counter these the company implements various information system strategies. Information systems provide tools to automate business, analyse performance and manage relationships with its customers. Information systems also helps the retailers to connect with the customers, vendors and suppliers. The historical information system strategies used by the Cole’s supermarket mainly focused on this vendor and supply management. Another major use of information system by the Cole’s group was applying information systems at their retail outlets and supermarkets for the purpose of billing and inventory management. However, these traditional information systems comprised of limited features only. To be more competitive it is important for Cole’s to alter their current information system strategies and adapt and apply to the new ones as per the changing needs and demands. With these IS strategies Coles was able to achieve some important milestones of the business environment like customer satisfaction, loyalty, performance, goodwill, and competitive advantage.
New information system strategies can help the company to speed up the up stock replenishment, reduce costs and also minimize duplication. It also helps in elimination of any error or disruption in processes and digitalize and synchronize the intra – enterprise data. Along with these, information system will also improve the inventory management, provide better services and will enable effective decision-making. Information system strategies helps in making better, faster and informed decisions.
Coles Supermarket has achieved a good market share in the market of Australia by providing various goods and services. The application of information system in this company can give many advantages (Cassidy, 2016). Some significant benefits of a new efficient information system can be listed as decrease in redundancy of data, error minimization, and increase in performance consistency, huge data integration, improved data access, enhanced data security, reduction data entry time and amount, reduced data storage and minimization of all types of retrieval costs. Several new and updated types of information system strategies are implemented by Coles today. Some of the new IS strategies usually used by most of the companies and also Coles are enterprise resource planning, commercial software and customer software. Amongst the three, Coles Supermarket has adopted ERP as an information strategy for system acquisition (Cassidy, 2016). It is the most appropriate strategy for Coles and the company benefits from this by gaining all advantages of ERP. The important advantages of this information system ERP is streamlining business processes and improving productivity. Coles Supermarket is providing various products to the clients.
Some of the information system strategies used by Cole’s supermarkets suitable in the current market situations are as follow (Delone & Mclean, 2017):
These current strategies are suitable in the business environment, as these systems help to incorporate technology with the prevailing market and consumer demands.
Woolworth is the major rival of Cole’s supermarket, and has emerged as a leader in the grocery and the supermarket industry. The information systems used by this company has contributed largely to the success of this organization. The software used for accounting purpose by Woolworth is Xero/Myob. Both of these software’s have different benefits and cost benefit. Xero more preferred due to its lower pricing strategy however systems options given by Myob are relatively much more (Kampen & Ross, 2018). Xero system is a quick, intuitive and responsive Myob is slow in speed at times Xero offers easy invoicing. It gives customized invoicing while with Myob this facility is not available. Myob is generally used for payroll support. Xero gives the feature of multiple reports running at the same time while in Myob one report runs at a time. Inventory management is carried with the help of Xero (Cleary & Quinn, 2016). Multicurrency support is present only with Xero and it is not available with Myob. For employee login and availability Xero is used (Ahmad & Mehmood, 2015). This company uses both the software for the features they are best at.
Woolworths use two different information systems to fulfil different purposes. These make the information system management more complicated. Time consuming and more cost is involved in it. However, Coles is presently uses ERP system to fulfil its information system needs. This Enterprise resource planning tools is a very useful information system tool which incorporates almost all the different software’s to meet the organizational needs. It helps in the technological integration and management of all the important business processes under one software. Thus, this system used by Coles is more cost effective system, and also saves much time and efforts of its employees.
Information system strategies and plans play a key role in the success of the organization. These information system strategies and plans helps the company to achieve competitive advantage. The importance of these information system strategies and plans that will assist Cole’s supermarket to gain competitive advantage are as follows:
The function of efficient organizing is essential for any company for its success. With an efficient information system, Coles can be well organised, and will be able to come up with quick and appropriate solutions to the errors and problems and make faster and strategic decisions. Having employee management information systems the workforce will also be able to manage and access all their information (Ahmad & Mehmood, 2015). Organized data will also assist in enhancing the execution of all the company processes. All the information can be stored in a database consisting of all the organizational data of the employees, financial information, inventory and stock data, etc. MIS or Management Information System are an important type of quality information systems used by almost all the organizations today. MIS has features which are enable the companies in database organization. Thus, enhances the productivity of the company. Without data organisation, the company’s data can be prove to be useless and can cause hindrances in the performance of the company.
The company’s management who has a goal to improve and be a leader by establishing a broader perspective for future. This can be achieved with goof information systems like MIS. Therefore, an MIS can track the complete organisation and helps in analyses of independent processes easily (Laudon & Laudon, 2016). Any company lacking a well-designed and coordinated information system will barely be able to compete with other competitors in the market. By integrating an information system, the company can follow latest business trends of the market. It helps to speed up the progress of your company and also work in accordance of the future goals. It helps the companies to prevent the unnecessary expenditure and time on the insignificant activities and the company is able to focus on the important goals ahead and future organizational objectives.
Information systems are significant when it comes to storing data that the company needs regularly and in future. Storing information manually in hard-copy formats in very time consuming and expensive process. When in need for specific information searching for it also becomes difficult. An efficient information system organizes and categorises this important data in relation to various aspects like date and time, and makes the search process convenient (Laudon & Laudon, 2016). Every valuable information is stored in a database which is can be used by the company’s official anytime and anywhere.
The traditional business methods of the companies do not allow the companies to analyse business trends like the share market and their financial position in the market, the future trends of the market, etc. which at times may result in a business crisis. With the help of good information system, the company can analyse stocks and performance which helps them to predict the potential crisis. The MIS keeps a track of margins and profits and stores all the data necessary for analysing and avoiding a crisis (Laudon & Laudon, 2016).
The information systems evaluate information and come up with the best conclusions, thus suggesting which steps the company should take (Laudon & Laudon, 2016). In absence of such quality information systems the company will not be able to reach its goals and might waste of time and efforts in decision making
The MIS plays an important role in the planning process and allows the company to manage all data and think of a better alternative to plan your business goals. Good planning is difficult to achieve without an effective information and a good management information system (Peppard, 2016). Also, with help of the competitor analysis feature of the MIS, companies like Coles can improve their business capabilities and compete efficiently with their companies using unique and strategic analytical methods (Peppard, 2016).
It is essential for the companies to have a complete control over the company’s information to ensure the safety and stability of all the business processes (Yildrium, 2017). The modern information systems are developed and some of the already in use information systems of an company have in-built features, and thus enables control and monitoring of the data (Yildrium, 2017).
Thus, information systems are essential for the growth and productivity of Cole’s supermarket. However, with the present information system strategies the company at times experiences many operational problems and issues. One of the operational problem that Coles Supermarket faces is with the online shopping system (Abdat, 2019). This method is the most proffered method by the consumers today and is one of the key units generating a large business income of the company. However, Coles has been unsuccessful in leveraging from this method and is facing problems and loss of income. This is mainly due to the inefficient online supply chain of Coles, as most products are not available online and thus customers avoid this supermarket for their online purchase.
To address this problem, one of the strategies that Coles can use is developing strong alliance with companies like Microsoft (Abdat, 2019). Using such high-tech information system will help the company to use artificial intelligence and other digital systems to overhaul its supply chain, product range, customer engagement (Ahmad & Mehmood, 2015). The company can use Microsoft’s systems like Azure cloud platform, Dynamics 365 enterprise resource planning for increasing profits. These software’s with the use of advanced analytics and AI can help to improve the performance of stores. The software will enable the store managers to forecast and determine the on-shelf availability and also customize their approach as per consumer preferences. These partnerships will accelerate Cole’s digital platform (Cassidy, 2016).
Another problem that Coles faces in its productivity is the rising conflicts between the management and the employees (Abdat, 2019). The organization has relatively a large workforce and managing such a large number of employees without an effective systems is impossible. Thus, to avoid such conflicts it is essential for the company to integrate quality information systems with its human resource management. Thus, to avoid such problems the company can apply another strategy to partner with Microsoft to develop systems for employee engagement and management. These information systems will enable application of modern workplace policies.
Effective strategies are thus important for the success of an organization. Like the marketing, finance and employee management strategy information system strategies are also important part of any company. The two information strategies mentioned above are equally important for the company. The tie up with tech giant Microsoft is the most useful information system strategy that Coles can adopt presently. With its partnership with Microsoft and other tech companies Cole can implement well-established tools which enable the tracking and transactions of the organisation, helping them to implement their strategies with the minimum time and expenditure and also allows for their monitoring, control and review. Such tools will also help the company to forecast the eventual crisis possibilities in the future. Systems like MIS reports help to predict and prevent business crisis and reacting promptly. The level of protection and the efficiency the company can achieve to be an important and worth investment. With Coles facing problems related to operational inefficiencies presently, the company should immediately introduce these strategies to counter these inefficiencies.
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