An information system is a computer system that takes in inputs, processes them and then produces outputs. Management information system is the system that is used by the management team in order to assist them in managing various activities in their establishment. Information systems are very useful in this era, where technology has greatly advanced. An information system is usually useful, when it comes to production of goods and/or services. Information systems are very efficient; this implies that there is very little wastage of the organizational resources. They also improve on the speed of performing the various tasks in an organization, as they are apparently faster, as compared to the human beings. Also information systems are the key cost-cutting measures, since the work that would be otherwise done by many human beings can be done now by a single machine with a unitary operator (Laudon, 2009).
An inventory management system is a computer system that aids in the management of inventories in a business organization. Inventory management is very critical for any business. In order for production of goods and services to be smooth there must be a proper monitoring and management of the inventories. The management team also has to ensure that the customer orders are worked on and delivered either in or on time. However, for the effective delivery of the customer demand, this also calls for effective and efficient management of the inventories. For the business dealing with the clothing, for instance, customer satisfaction is a critical factor for success; otherwise, the business will lose many of its customers to the competitors. This means that the company has to replenish its stock on time, so that the consumer demands can be acted on in time. There are many stakeholders that are involved in the inventory management process. These include the vendors, the business itself, the outsourced vendors, as well as the consumers, who are by far the biggest stakeholders in this process.
The proprietor is faced with the problem of manually tracking and making a re-order, when the inventory reaches a given minimum point at a given time. The owner also is faced with a budget constraint; thus, he or she would prefer a management system that is efficient and effective and yet, its development has to minimize on the costs of development.
The major components of the inventory management system that are required include:
A. The computer
Any information system must utilize a computer for it to qualify as an information system. In fact, computer is synonymous to the information system. A computer accepts raw information, processes it and gives out the output. The output refers to the information that can assist the management in the decision making process. The proprietor will “feed” the computer with the information on the clothes. For instance, the owner can indicate the minimum amount of the stock that should be in the business, below which fresh order should be done. He or she can also program it in such a way that it is possible to see the level of the inventory in hand at any point of time. Moreover, one can make use of a laptop or a desktop computer. The latter is more preferable than the former, because it is not very delicate.
Computer software, or a program, refers to a set of instructions that are fed to a computer, so that it can produce the result desired by the user of an information system. This is also a key component/equipment needed in the development of an inventory management system. The programmer uses software in order to instruct the computer to indicate all information about clothes. Such information includes the minimum stock levels, reorder levels and the maximum inventories to be held at any given time. It indicates the description of the stock, such as the quantity, price and the frequency of the demand of the clothes. The software will ensure that the computer displays all the information about clothes that was requested by the proprietor (Pant, 1995).
This is also a piece of equipment that is needed in the development of inventory management system. The printer is used in order to produce the invoices given to the customers following their purchase of the clothes. It is also used to produce the details of the order that the business wants to make from the vendors. The business will supply the vendors with the details of the reorder quantity.
D. Code scanner
It is in order used to record the details of the purchases made by the customers and produce the receipts. It is useful, since it enhances faster service to the customers and also fastens monitoring of the stock remaining in the business.
E. Internet connection
This assists in online placing of orders by both business and customers.
The aim of the proprietor is to minimize the costs of the development of the system. This is the goal of every other rational consumer in the market. However, he or she has to contend with the following costs:
1. The business has to purchase the computer and all its installations, including the wire cables, for connecting into an electrical outlet. The owner can purchase a desktop, since it is relatively cheap, as compared to many personal computers in the market; this will be in line with the goal of cutting the costs down.
2. The one in charge has to purchase the relevant quality software for installation into the computer. Here the proprietor has to decide on whether to buy proprietary or free open-source software. The latter is the best, since it can be modified to suit the needs of the user.
3. The proprietor has to incur the cost of hiring a software expert to install the software. The business can float a tender, so that it can attract many interested installers and in the process it will settle on the installer with the lowest bid. This will go a long way in reducing the costs of the development of the inventory management system.
4. The proprietor has to purchase the printers, as well as the bar code scanners.
5. There are other miscellaneous costs, such as the electricity bills and the internet subscription funds, which has to be taken into consideration.
The inventory management system requires routine repair and maintenance. This will take place in the following way: the vendor can buy the latest software in the market, which would be more efficient and effective. This will also call for the employment of the services of the software installer. It will also be necessary to buy the up-to-date computers that have better processing abilities, as well as large storage capacities. It will also be necessary to hire an installer routinely in order to check on the effectiveness of the system and suggest any updates that will improve the overall performance of the system (O’Brien, 1999).
The customers’ requests are entered into the system and the information on products and services responses generated. The inventory reports are submitted to the management team for the routine evaluation. The business has to liaise with the cloths developers routinely in order to ensure timely supply of clothes. Interphase data processing segment is in charge of analyzing and processing all the information about the inventory in terms of order and reorder levels and tracking the movement of the inventory levels. The integrated program office brings all the inventory activities under one’s seamless integration that consolidates and controls all the information.
The system, having the information about the minimum stock levels, will track the flow of stock and send the corresponding information, when the inventory reaches the minimum reorder level, in which case the system will display a notification that the stock has reached the minimum level; thus, the reorder is necessary. It will also be programmed in such a way, that it can show the various percentages of the stock in the business as set by the programmer. For instance, if the maximum stock is 1000 pieces of clothes, then this can be programmed as 100% with 100 pieces being 10%, 200 being 20%, 300 being 30% and so on. If 400 pieces is the reorder level, then the system will display it as the reorder level. Upon reaching 500 pieces, which is 50%, it can indicate this as “stock in crisis” to notify the proprietor that the stock is near to the minimum level; this will enable the management to prepare the logistics for fresh order of the cloths, so that they can arrive before the minimum level is attained (Ryan, 2009).
An inventory management system is a game changer in managing of the inventories by a business. This is owing to its efficiency, effectiveness and cost cutting measures, when it comes to the management of stock. This system will enable the owner of the clothing business to manage his or her stock of clothes in a manner that satisfies all the stakeholders, especially when it comes to meeting the expectations of the customers. It will greatly facilitate the ordering of the clothes from the vendors and this translates into timely access and delivery of the clothes to the consumers.