The Minicase Description Supply Chain Management This is a Take-Home Final Exam. Answers should be typed, double-spaced and include the
questions (Not the Minicase Description). two pages each question
1. What are the challenges unique to inter-organizational systems? How would you address these challenges?
What are the advantages presented by such systems?
Discuss your answer within the framework of ‘supply chain management.’
2. Define the concept of a digital economy? What are the forces that have led to the existence of such an economy? How do you see this progressing in the
near and longer term future?
3. Discuss the role of client departments in an organization (in functional areas such as Accounting, Marketing, Sales, Human Resources, Engineering, or
Manufacturing) with respect to Information Technology. Define and discuss at least three issues/challenges related to this role in modern organizations. How would you address these issues/challenges?
4. Describe Decision Support Systems and Executive Information Systems. How do these systems contribute to the decision-making process in business organizations? Discuss how these may be used in supply change management and customer relationship management.
The Minicase Description Supply Chain Management Short Essay
5. Write a short essay to address the major issues in the following minicase and to recommend how to proceed based upon your synthesis of the principles
covered in this course.
Minicase Description. You are employed by a large, multinational firm engaged in light manufacturing and fabrication of transportation products. Most of the products for this firm are custom built in large lots based on unique customer specifications. One of the key employee roles in the selling and
manufacturing process is that of the ‘buyer.’ Buyers track markets for raw materials and subassemblies for each customer’s order in order to determine a
price to be quoted for that customer. Once a price is agreed, the buyer purchases the needed materials and coordinates the manufacturing necessary to fulfill the order. Because prices fluctuate, any breakdown in the currency of information relating to the costs of raw materials and subassemblies can be very expensive for the firm. Accuracy and timeliness of this information are critical for the ongoing success of this business, and failures in this area have
sometimes been a serious problem in the past.
The Minicase Description Supply Chain Management and Project Development
You are working on a project to develop and implement a new technology to improve buyer access to critical information, a leading edge data warehousing technology that you believe will catapult the firm well ahead of its competitors and yield significant competitive advantage in its businesses. A few smaller competitors have implemented similar technology (that you are aware of) and they have had mixed success. But you feel that your firm can learn from their mistakes and you are anxious to proceed. This new technology appears to have a huge ‘upside potential’ for your firm.
The problem is that most of the benefits are not tangible. They are very difficult to quantify on the front end of the project; for example, ‘improve
operational efficiency’ or ‘enhance buyer decision-making’ or maybe ‘strengthen customer responsiveness,’ or the classic ‘improve productivity.’ Your management wants to see tangible benefits (i.e., real dollar savings to offset real systems development expenses) prior to approving funding for your project. Still, you are convinced that the intangible benefits, once realized, will far outweigh developmental expenses, if you could only get your management to recognize the potential, take a chance, and proceed with the project.
Discussion Questions. How would you make a business case for developing potentially highly profitable new systems technologies that are based primarily on intangible benefits? How would you justify funding such a project and convince senior management to proceed with it?