2 – IS/IT competitiveness business report (2500
words; value 25%)
Answer the question below in an
academically rigorous manner, using business reportstyle,
with claims supported by referring to relevant literature. The assignment will
need to be a mix of your own intellectual property (interpretation and
analysis) and evidence drawn from published material to support your arguments,
or the case you are building. You may make
appropriate assumptions about the case as required, but please note
them in your report.
You are the IT/Administration manager in a medium-sized, high-end
build-to-order furniture manufacturer called Classact. The
business has been successful for many years largely because of the CEO’s
ability to work personally with and anticipate the needs
and wants of Classact’s loyal customer base. There are 10
independent furniture retailers who regularly place orders for
Classact products (about 80% of total orders) and a growing
group of individual consumers who place orders directly (about
20% of total orders). The overall aim of the business is to
provide all customers with quality products and
personalised service at a premium price. Classact
currently services the local market only.
However, recent business performance
has suffered compared to the five other manufacturers who
compete in the build-to-order, high-end furniture market and is of some
concern, particularly in regard to sales and profitability. You have conducted
some industry research and have found that:
– Direct competitors are even faster
at anticipating changes in customer needs than Classact and while
the build-to-order model gives some protection against this, the
business is losing orders when trends change strongly in terms
of any new materials that are required and new designs.
– Competitors have far
better inventory management and manage their supply chain at greater speed and
at less cost than Classact. Production and delivery times at
Classact are twice that of competitors and customers are showing impatience with
– Many direct competitors have an online shop capability as part of a sizeable
and strategic IS/IT investment. Classact does not.
Many furniture stores and individual customers are showing
a growing preference for using online channels.
Classact’s CEO has not
seen any value in IS/IT in the past and does not want to invest money in
something that will not improve the business bottom line.
However, you believe there is an urgent need for an aggressive use of IS/IT to
help turn business performance around. As the
IT/Administration manager you are concerned that if
Classact continues to rely on its’ patchwork of PC
applications and even older manual systems, the company will eventually fail
to compete effectively in the market.
Your task here is to produce a
compelling business report and argument to convince the CEO and
other senior management that the use of IS/IT can restore the business to
competitiveness. You should specifically identify at least three (3) IS/IT
applications that would be appropriate for the business in that
regard. You may make any assumptions that are appropriate for the case as
long as you note them in your report.
You should draw on case studies from
other companies, perhaps in dissimilar industries, to help produce a
persuasive, well-supported, superbly referenced, and robust defence of your
position. Remember that your answers are to be demonstrations of the
application of what you have learned in the subject to a real world business.