A) The different types of information systems at Western Chemical are:
a. Operations support systems
i. Transaction processing systems
Transaction processing systems are used to process business transactions. Western Chemical uses the internet and an electronic commerce website to capture data and process sales and order data as well as update inventory data.
ii. Process control systems
These are systems used to monitor and control physical processes. Western Chemical uses sensors to capture data generated by the chemical refinery process.
iii. Enterprise collaboration processes
These are systems used to enhance team and workgroup communications and productivity. They are also known as office automation systems. Western Chemical uses e-mail and videoconferencing systems. They also use intranets and extranets to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders globally.
b. Management support systems
i. Management information systems
These are systems that provide information in the form of specified reports and display to managers. Western Chemical is using text summaries and graphics displays that identify key elements of organisational performance and compare them to industry and competitor performance.
ii. Decision support systems
These are computer based information systems that provide interactive information support to managers and business professionals during the decision making process. In Western Chemicals, managers and business professionals access reports on periodic, exception and demand basis, and use computers to interactively assess the possible results of alternative decisions.
iii. Executive information systems
These systems provide critical information from many sources tailored to the information needs of executives. These are systems for easy access to analysis of business performance, action of competitors, and economic developments to support strategic planning. Western Chemical is using text summaries and graphics displays that identify key elements of organisational performance and compare them to industry and competitor performance
B) How information systems at Western Chemicals support its strategic advantage.
Michael Porters five forces Model
Porter's five forces is a framework for the industry analysis and business strategy development developed by Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School in 1979. It draws upon Industrial Organization (IO) economics to derive five forces that determine the competitive intensity and therefore attractiveness of a market.
Porter's five forces include: three forces from 'horizontal' competition: threat of substitute products, the threat of established rivals, and the threat of new entrants; and two forces from 'vertical' competition: the bargaining power of suppliers and the bargaining power of customers.
Western Chemical strategies
Western Chemical’s main strategy is to grow its business globally through its E-Commerce website. It also improving the efficiency and control of its operations through the use of collaborative as well as process control systems
Below is a description of how Western Chemical is using E-Commerce and other IT systems to support its strategy and respond to Michael Porter’s forces.
Electronic commerce is used to describe doing business over the internet. E-commerce means advertising, selling and supporting products and services using a Web Store around the clock for customers worldwide. This enhances the bargaining power of Buyers and suppliers. It is a powerful competitive strategy. It also reduces the Western Chemicals own cost and thereby intensifies pressure on its competitors.
E-commerce also assists in forming and strengthening Western Chemicals’...
References: 1. Sumner, M. Schultheis, R. Management Information Systems: The Manager’s view, 4th ed. Tata McGraw Hill Edition, 1999.
2. Gloor, P. (2003) Making the e-business Transformation, Gromwell Press, England.
4. Internet and E-Commerce, (2001), Information Technology and Systems, Icfaian Center for Management Research, Hyderabad.
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