Management Information Sys Case Study: Gap Filler
Gap Filler is a recruitment and labour hire company (i.e., ‘staffing solutions’) that services the agricultural and food processing industries in regional Victoria. Gap Filler provides short-term and temporary labour to farmers, horticulturalists, orchardists, vineyards, and a range of food and beverage packaging and processing businesses. For example, during the apple harvest, Gap Filler provides fruit pickers to orchardists and personnel to work in apple packaging and processing plants. Gap Filler also recruits personnel for permanent positions (e.g., farm workers and managers, and supervisors for packaging and processing facilities). Gap Filler started in 1997 as a small family run business based in Shepparton, approximately 200 km north-east of Melbourne. Gap Filler has gradually developed business operations across regional Victoria and has offices located in Hamilton, Swan Hill, Sale, and Warrnambool. The Shepparton office serves as the head office for Gap Filler and this is where the accounts and the senior management team are located.
The company employs 48 staff in a variety of fulltime and part time roles. Gap Filler recorded turnover of just over $16 million for the financial year ended 2013. The Gap Filler sales team have successfully developed ongoing business relationships with a variety of large and smaller businesses. Unfortunately much of this sales information and marketplace intelligence resides with sales team members rather than captured by any company information system. An ongoing challenge for the business is matching its supply of reliable workers available for hire to the seasonal and fluctuating demand of its customers. Keeping up to date records on over 400 workers’ availability, contact details, currency of certifications for operating equipment (e.g., heavy vehicles, forklifts, and loaders), and how well the workers are performing on the job is also a challenge. Currently this worker information is stored on a Microsoft Access database which struggles to meet the business’s needs.
Moreover, Gap Filler’s administrative staff are required to manually transfer much of this worker information from hard copy forms and emails into the Access database. Companies using Gap Filler’s workers email through the number of hours clocked up each week. Gap Filler would like to improve the systems used for managing worker information and recording workers hours.
About eight years ago the company invested in a labour hire and sales system (Filler-IT). Unfortunately the Filler-IT system is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain. The Filler-IT system has also proved difficult to modify for the changing business environment. Moreover, the business wishes to take labour hire bookings, record workers’ hours, and payments via the internet. Unfortunately, the Filler-IT system does not readily support online transactions. The business uses QuickBooks (Enterprise version) to run its accounts. For general computing requirements, the company operates desktop and laptop computers operating Microsoft Vista and Office 2007.
The company’s directors recognise that a review of the Gap Filler’s business information system needs is required, especially given that the Filler-IT system is getting to the end of its useful life. You have been asked by the Gap Filler’s directors to write a preliminary report that: (a) outlines the company’s business information system (BIS) requirements, and (b) makes recommendations on the core systems that would meet these BIS requirements.
Key questions to address:
1. What are the main activities that the business undertakes?
2. Where in the business are the crucial decisions made?
3. What types of information does the business require to operate successfully?
4. What are the requirements for the:
a. transaction processing system?
b. sales and customer relationship management (CRM)?
d. planning and scheduling?
f. decision support and management information systems?
5. What are the different types of business information systems that could be used to effectively meet these requirements?
6. What core information systems do you recommend the business adopt?
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