Last Updated 06 Jul 2020

A Critical Study of Sainsbury’s Managing information systems (MIS)

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INTRODUCTION:

Managing information systems (MIS) is a process which provides information to an organization to manage effectively. managing information system(MIS) is a system that combines both the human and computer based resources which can be used to collection of raw data, retrieving data, storing the data, processing the data and converting it in to the information which is able to communicate with all levels of management using the information technology. MIS enables the user/organization to manage things effectively. it provides the base to an organization to make better decisions and to handle critical problems, controlling and coordinating the organization successfully.

Information system is not a option but it is a essential requirement by any organization. it is also the mediator between different levels of management. it plays very important role in organizational level. it also makes easier to communicate each other effectively. it is also updates the information across various levels and gives a chance to rethink of future plans. it gives the external information about other firms to stand in the competitive environment successfully. it is not only a useful tool but it must be included in any organization to run their business. MIS in any organization is supposed to provide information to their customers.

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MANAGING INFORMATION SYSTEMS ACROSS VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS IN J.SAINSBURY’S SUPERMARKET:

Information systems is very crucial factor to any organization from top level management to employees, manufacturers, suppliers, retailers, marketing analysts, warehouses, supply chain management.. Etc. Based on the information system, an organization management could include planning, organizing, directing, controlling, evaluating and reporting etc..

An information system is the heart of any organization to assess the companies past review’s and performance and to plan the present and future organizational objectives. Information system uses the database to store large amounts of data, statically analyzing the data, and to produce it in to useful information that can be used by various levels of management. Information system is used by the managers of their own departments to identify the critical issues occurred in the past activities, discussing about the issue with the other team members of the department and planned to solve and overcome the problems.

Managing information systems in Sainsbury’s stores: Sainsbury’s supermarket is the uk’s largest major food retailing chain. It has 525 supermarkets and 303 convenience stores, a Sainsbury’s bank. For the big corporate organization like Sainsbury’s, it is essential requirement to managing information systems in an efficient way. Information systems is used in Sainsbury’s at various levels of management and various departments.

The information systems are used in a supermarket stores at various levels from stock handling & controlling to maintain appropriate temperatures in fridges and freezers. In the supermarket stores uses the several computer systems which can be called LAN (LOCAL AREA NETWORK). These computer systems are aims to operate the stock control and checkout systems. These are one that incorporates the functionality of multiple devices. Every authorised person can access these data base systems. In stores, hand held devices are introduced and allow the administration staff, shop floor colleagues and stock control staff to change the price of products and creating price labels, and for future deliveries. The hand held devices are also called shelf edge computers (SEC). Every individual product has unique code to identify the product details; the item has a unique barcode which can be scan by the hand held scanners. Electronic point of sale (EPOS) is a machine located at every checkout. EPOS contains a digital display to display , a keyboard, a scanner which can read bar codes, a set of scales, a printer, a debit card reader and a till drawer. All of these components are attached to a till. Each and every item should have a unique code number that is independent of all other product. Even the same product of different sizes needs a unique code to identify the product. The unique bar code numbers are printed on the outside of the product packaging or attached label to that product which is shown in the figure (a) below.

Figure (d): hand held system

Barcodes are combined with a set of thick black lines and white lines. Ex: Figure(c).

Figure (e) : EPOS

Information systems in checkouts:

The EPOS reads the product barcodes at the checkouts till machine, and identifies the product and it finds the cost of the product, after scanning the product the machine gives an option to the customer whether they have any nectar card, staff discount card, any voucher card. After all it charges the customer appropriately. Each card mentioned above also has barcode on it, and the machine identifies it uniquely. All till machines are connected together with a branch server system via cables. Each and every product information stored in the branch system, it gives the information to tills when it needed. When scanning an item by the scanner the machine sends the product details to the database. So that the server system can identify that how many remaining items of the same product are available in shelves, it gets the information about that particular product such as how many number of items are sold out, how many are left in the shelves, how many product details are totally sold out. After getting the information about all products it stores the information about that product in the database. It helps to identify the number of product are totally sold out, and in out of stock. So the store can order the delivery of that product. Also the system checks that the product has any special offer and it gives discount where it is needed. Each and every product and service related details are stored in the database and it communicates with all the other systems including tills, it exchanges the information at all the times. When scanning the item it tells the customer that it has been read correctly by giving beep sound. If it not gives any sound one can assume that it has not been read correctly. And there is also an option on the screen that without scanning a product, by entering the code number by using the keyboard can identify the product. For example any reduced items that mean the item has short life and store reduced the cost of an item. After billing the customer receives a paper bill which is made by the printer. The printer is attached with every till and it shares the information and prints on a piece of paper. the customers are allowed to pay by cash or debit card. When the customers use the card, he/she is supposed to put the card on the reader, it also use the information system, whether the card is authorised and it is from authorised bank. The card reader shares the information with all associated banks, and assesses the card information and the debit the amount correctly. The processes of using debit cards are called electronic transfer funds.

Stock control: the information systems play an important role in stock control in the super market stores. In the process of billing customers it is known to the server that the number of remaining products is available in the store. in fact, there are also some damaged products or expired products are remained on the shelves. Stock fillers dispose the expired one and use the reduced price labels with new barcodes on it , if the product has short life. Stock control department uses the information system, and it orders the products where it is needed, and stores the information about the number of products are delivered to the store when they get the delivery. The price labels are usually placed on the shelves borders, and the stock controllers scans the price labels where it is empty. Stock control is useful asset in finding the stores profit assessment. The assessment is based on the number of products are delivered to the store and number of products are sold out, the number of the products are damaged, the number of products expired. This is the important information stored in the database by the stock control team.

The each computer in the store is linked with branch server system, which is connected with a head branch of a supermarket computer sever. All the database of an individual store is stored in the head office server system. It maintains the chain of computer systems effectively via extranet sources. Extranet is like a internet but, completely private database network and is connected to internet via satellite. It is because of the process of exchanging information and managing information system of all the stores of the Sainsbury’s stores. Sainsbury’s head office is located in the heart of city of London. It has the database over nearly eight hundred store branches.

Figure (f): branch computer link to headquarters visa satellite.

Inter communication between the branch stores to head branch of the store:

Every day the individual store sends the information about sales of the stores to main branch, the head branch estimates the number of items needs to be delivered to the store. The head branch also gets an overview of the sales of the individual store, and estimates the performance levels and suggests the improvements to the branch stores.

Figure (g) network model

Every individual store sends the daily report to the head quarters.
Based on the store information head branch database system stores the updated information such as stocks, performance levels, etc..
Using the updated information the head quarters estimates need of improvement levels and stock deliveries to the stores.
The information about stock deliveries are communicates with distribution of warehouses via information systems.
The warehouse department which has large chunks of ready to deliver material delivers the stock immediately to the required stores.
The whole Sainsbury’s maintain the same price levels and it updates any change of product prices are communicated to the branch stores.
The product price changes are affects the branch stores immediately and followed work by the overnight workers.

Human resource management information systems: information systems plays very important role in human resource department in any organisation. Maintaining the thousands of employees in a big organisation like Sainsbury’s is not a simple thing. The HR department uses the information system effectively to employ the staff to their needs and providing them training. Sainsbury’s HR department in all stores sends the information about new employees that the store employed, the employee details, employee position, contracted hours, employee salaries. Sainsbury’s HR department uses their website to employ the new staff that they required. The each and every individual store of Sainsbury’s sends the information about the need of staff resources in their store, the hours of work required, which department require the new staff. The head office then receives the information about all stores vacancies and posts on line at their website. It updates the information day to day as required. The hr department of head office sends the information to IT department in the head office about vacancy details and need to be posted on line. The IT department then receives the data and posted on their websites. It works effectively by the IT department. The IT department designed the website in an easy understandable form. When the candidate’s checks that there are any vacancies arise, and found their suitable position, they can apply immediately online. The website asks the candidates to register in the recruitment website. The registration in the recruitment website is very easy by following instructions. After registering in the site, they can progress their application. The website stores the candidates registration details and gives them unique id which is useful for the forth communication, the candidates information submitted on the site is very confidential and not known the third person, because of the successful maintenance of the information and database systems. The Sainsbury’s website allows the number of candidates applying for a given position is set to a limit. So as to reduce the huge applications for the position that they might cause problem to selection department. All these limitations are set by the department by the use of the information systems. The website asks the candidates to attempt an online exam, which is used to tests candidate’s abilities as a preliminary test.

The number of all limited allowed number of candidates attempts the exam and finish their application. The stored database system can get the result of the candidates test details automatically and sends to the HR department. HR department then assesses the candidate’s ability based on their test further forwards application to progress. All successful candidates information is stored once in the database available to head office hr department. The HR department assigns each successful candidate with a unique id to identify the colleague.

Information systems in Accounts department: The HR department maintains the daily report of employees attendance, and their working hours each day and sends the information to accounts department for payrolls. The HR information systems maintains a report of each employees, that the contracted hours of the employees, holiday pay booked by the employees, the salary of the employees, and premium pay of work, bonus of the employees and their eligibility. Every week of the employees details in all individual stores accounts department sends the information to the head office HR department. The head office assesses the information and pays the employees every four weeks based on the information.

Online shopping: Sainsbury’s is also become popular with their internet shopping facility. Sainsbury’s online shopping is responsibility of each store online department. The online department in the Sainsbury’s is called STY(Sainsbury’s to you). Sainsbury’s supermarket online shopping efficiently works with the support of Sainsbury’s IT department.

The information systems use of this department is more compare to other departments of this organisation. Sainsbury’s online shopping is easy way for customers to shop their needs by clicking on the computer instead of walking to store and taking the risk of delivery of the goods to their home. It provides the customers a way of easy shopping online, the company’s website provides the online shopping tool. All and every product that available in the individual store are available in the internet online shopping.

The customers are expected to type in their postcode on the site, to find out which store is available nearly to their home. After typing in their postcode, clicking the access button the website tells the customer that the store is available to their home. The database of all postcodes and addresses are stored and processed by the information systems. Based on the customer information, the information system decides that which store is to be take care of the customer needs. When customer shops online and pays by card, the information first stored on the database of head office, then the assigned store. In the store, STY department automatically gets print out of the shopping list.

The shopping lists are then stored in to the store database, and assigns the work to online shopping workers. The online shoppers in the STY department picks up all the items by the help of handset systems. The handheld systems are designed shortly for the use of wireless information exchange system. The manager of the STY department assigns the work into handheld systems, then the shoppers get order details one by one. The information about product details and in which aisle it is located is displayed on the handsets. So the shoppers are expected to scan the items and followed to delivery room. The information systems is more important in the department because of it is totally depended on the Information Technology.

Decision making at three tiers of management in Sainsbury’s:

There generally three tiers of management in any organisation. (1) top level management, (2) middle level management, (3) low level management. We can understand the management work at different levels by considering one example:

When an organization is supposed to launch a new product, various people’s involvement should be included in the project. For an example, Sainsbury’s supermarket wants to introduce a “ready to eat sandwich” into their stores. This is not a simple thing and cannot be introduced directly into their stores, but various issues should be considered about this product. The sandwich may be a two pieces of bread slices with a cheese and some ingredients on it, it should have different approach than where people can make it on their homes. This should be treated as a advantageous to consumers. Sainsbury’s is a chain of five hundred thirty five supermarkets and a kind of convenience stores included in it. When this big food retailer wants to add this new product to their stores, a detailed research should have made and should communicate with the different parties using the information systems. From it’s product design to sales, a unique code must be assigned to each sandwich to specify the details and allocate value to the product. It is clear that the product designer should specify the required ingredients for the product , and should include right percentage of nutrition values, diets, less fat ..etc. the sandwich design, manufacturer, suppliers through stores requires a shared information system to have a good communication between them. The Sainsbury’s management will create a brief description about the product which the information shared by the manufacturer.

Using of information systems in product life cycle management: product life cycle management is a process of managing a product from its conception through its design, manufacturing, delivering out. Plc gives product details and specifications to companies.

Product design: uses the information systems to assess the features of the product and the requirements for manufacturing of that product, needs of the customers. And it also usable by the product control unit to test the quality control and it again stores the details of the product in to database for further use. The stored data can be accessed by the manufacturing unit and companies to assess whether the design is desirable for company requirements. It gives an overview of the product details i.e the cost of the production, the range of products which can be manufactured and this information available to the all authorised required data bases of the company.

Manufacturing of the product: In recent years, the increasing of information technology in manufacturing increasing rapidly. Information is used to be at every level of an organization. In the competitive environment, there is need to understand the using of information systems and application of information technology in whole the process. In a process, from the raw material to the finished goods and shipping of the goods , information systems must be used to communicate at all levels. The information is important for money flow i.e payments can be paid out when delivery received to the recipient, information is usable by the manufacturer to buy and pay for the material, paying labour charges..etc. invoice can be issued by the manufacturer for right payments when he receives correct payments for the goods.

A majority of manufacturing companies are using multiple computer network systems at their process. It is a challenge for the organizations to integrate the data bases in to their computer systems. Integrating the computer systems and data bases used to be the main priority for these organizations. By integrating these systems, the companies can know the required material, planning , directing and get the knowledge of market position of their system.

Sainsbury’s consists of nearly eight hundred supermarkets and a finance. The head office department is located in the Holborn, the heart of London. It operates the whole Sainsbury’s by the help of middle level management. We can clearly observe the role of decision making of three tiers of management by the above example.

Conclusion:

I conclude that the Managing information systems is important at organisational level, to stand in the corporate competitive environment. It is not an option but essential to run big organisation like Sainsbury’s. However there is no disadvantage of using information systems except system failure, but there is a need to maintain the information system by the effective & efficient team of management. It is clear that the managing information systems give good decision making deal to the managers in any organisation.

References

1) Management Information Systems 9e T. Lucey, bized.co.uk.

2)Bocij, P. & Chaffey, D., (2005) Business Information Systems: Technology, Development and Management in the E-business, Prentice Hall.

3) Chen, S., (2004) Strategic Management of E-business, J Wiley & Sons.

4) Laudon & Laudon, (2007) Management Information Systems, 10th Edition, Prentice Hall.

5) Clarke Steve (2007); ‘Information Systems Strategic Management: an integrated approach’. ISBN 978-0-415-38187-1; Routledge Printing, Canada

6) Fattahi. R and Ebrahim Afshar (2006), ‘Added value of information and information systems: a conceptual approach’; Library Review Vol. 55 No. 2

7) www.sainsbury’s.co.uk

8) information age journal

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