Types of Logistics and Information Technology


Logistics is managing the flow of commodities, information, and other resources, as well as power and people, linking the source and the utilization point to convene the necessities of clients. According to Magee, et al (1985, p. 1), “Management of industrial logistics seeks to maximize the economic value of products or materials by getting and having the products where they are wanted, at the right time they are needed, and at a reasonable cost”.

There has been a development of coordination hypothesis to answer the fundamental question of how the prevalent use of IT will alter the ways people work jointly. Moreover, improvements in IT have considerably changed the way information is processed and passed over, leading to curiosity in the study of interdependencies among companies. This paper will discuss the general types of information management systems and electronic commerce and logistics.

Office automation systems

This is the use of various computer machinery and software to digitally generate, bring together, accumulate, control, and transmit office information required for accomplishing fundamental responsibilities and goals. Office automation system entails storing unprocessed facts, transferring electronically, and managing electronic trade information. For this to happen, both hardware and software must be combined to accomplish the essential functions.

Storage of data entails organization records as well as other fundamental office forms and credentials. Application of data deals with the confinement and expurgation of records, images, or spreadsheets. Software that deals with text and systems cover the entire field of word-processing and desktop publishing. Desktop publishing increases the various ways in which text can be manipulated by bringing together the features of word processors and page design-and-layout features. Another office automation feature is the image handling software which mainly deals with the digitalization of images to a form that cannot be edited thus sealing any chances of manipulation of such images.

Communication systems

LAN plays a key role in allowing data transmission, voice, and mail across the network. “Communication system is a collection of individual communication networks, transmission systems, relay stations, tributary stations, and data terminal equipment (DTE) usually capable of interconnection and interoperation to form an integrated whole” (Schwartz, Bennet & Stein 1996). There are various types of communication systems depending on what they use or how they operate which include the optical communication systems which use optical signals to relay information and fiber-optic communication systems which use ultra-light signals for information transmission (Rappaport, 1996).

In addition to the above, several communication subsystems are used in external communications through the use of radio communication systems. It is made up of a transmitting conductor from which electrical currents are produced. The conductor is arranged in such a way to facilitate currents to be propagated via the free space media from source to destination. The currents are then detected by a receiving conductor that is a distance from the transmitter.

The power line communication system operates by electrifying a modulated signal transporter in a wired system. Every power line has its frequency band according to the characteristics of the signal being transmitted through it. Communication systems that enable communication between two or more devices in both directions are called duplex communication systems. They provide a reverse path for monitoring and adjusting gadgets infield.

The transaction processing system (TPS)

It is a set of information that develops data operation in a database structure that monitors transaction programs. Transaction programs are important as they manage data that ought to remain in a consistent state. According to Bernstein and Newcomer (2009, p. 2) “Each transaction should either return an acknowledgment that it executed or return a negative acknowledgment that it did not execute.” The importance placed on these ac acknowledgments is vital given that failure to do so will provide a dilemma to the user about the transaction. Moreover, a transaction processing application is more flexible as it can be run in a variety of computer systems, as well as in both LAN and WAN mainly because it consists of a moderately small number of predefined types of transaction programs (Bernstein and Newcomer 2009, p. 29).

Management information system

Management Information System operates by processing data of an organization into information which can then be used to make a decision. In other words, it is differentiating data from information by changing behavior in decisions. This differentiates management information systems from data processing systems. In designing a working management information system, the main features to consider are the interaction between management and information specialists.

Hence, “a Management Information System converts data from internal and external sources into information and communicates that information, in an appropriate form, to managers at all levels in all functions to enable them to make timely and effective decisions for planning, directing and controlling the activities for which they are responsible” (Lucey, 2004, p. 2).

The main aim of any organization, profit-making or non-profit making, is to fulfill the desires of the customers or market. In this case, the objectives of every organization will reflect the long-term nature and features of the company. Moreover, objectives show the intensity of achievement and the direction projected from the entire company and, from the departments, sections, and individual parts at lower levels.

Executive information system (EIS)

This is mainly applied in the executive decision-making process, more so because it provides decision support tools that enhance the inflow of internal and external information relevant to the company’s goals. Generally, EIS gives to the firm, reports, and data sourcing abilities that can provide all the information the executive might need, which may include data related to sales, logistics/transport, and inventory management. Moreover, the EIS may be applied in strategy formulation given that information provided may be reliably used to assess the industry and market trends.

EIS was developed as a mainframe computer-based program for packaging company information and providing performance on sales and statistics on market research for those making decisions for the company. The main aim was to come up with computers applications that can highlight data to meet seniors’ expectations. EIS now crosses overall computer hard-wares and integrates data stored in them. Such arrangement has been effective in providing reliable information at all levels of an organization, thus ensuring the attainment of organizational; goals.

Decision support systems (DSS)

According to Power (2002, p. 1), “DSS is interactive computer-based systems that help people use computer communications, data, documents, knowledge, and models to solve problems and make decisions”. It is important in business as it helps managers to understand a lot of business operations as well as performance issues. It assists managers in monitoring business results, check on competitors’ actions, evaluate customer preference data, and realize the position of operation. DSS must give information that is up to date, timely, and analyses that are correct, related, and complete.

There are many forms of DSS like general-purpose DSS and Web-based DSS. General-purpose DSS is designed to support decision duties in particular companies, like crew-scheduling DSS for an airline; it has an important role in solving routine decision tasks. A web-based DSS is vital in management decision-making due to its endowment with support tools that come in handy especially in analyses (Bhargava, Power, and Sun, 2007, pp 1083-1095).

Electronic commerce and logistics

Electronic commerce (e-commerce) involves the conduct of trading operations through computer networks, thus ensuring that the interaction between the seller and the buyer is automated. The contemporary business environment has become more automated, more so due to the availability and acceptance of the internet as one of the most preferred media of conducting business transactions; transactions are concluded in real-time thus providing savings in terms of time and logistical costs.

According to Kalakota and Whinston (1997, p. 3), electronic commerce or e-commerce has enhanced the automation of transactions and contributed to not only solving the issues related to customers and management but also cost-efficient and quality service delivery. Indeed, the consumers can buy from a fast, hassle-free, predictable, and straightforward process of buying while on the other hand, the dealer escapes from paying commissions to the salespersons as he can directly connect to the customer.

The business experience that now is called electronic commerce started in the mid-1990s and grew rapidly in 2000 after a major downturn. In early 2003, e-commerce started coming up with the general economy still staggering; moreover, industries that survived the downturn started showing big margins of profits. Business processes involve a lot of transactions like funds transfer, placing orders, sending invoices, and shipping commodities to clients. This can involve a lot of traveling and walking in and out of offices. By use of e-commerce, it is possible to work more efficiently by allowing employees of many companies to work while at home. With telecommuting, the employee can log in to the computer of the company via the internet other than traveling to the office (Palmer, 1988, pp26-29).

The internet has modified the way by which people carry out business activities like buying, selling, hiring, and organizing in various ways and much more rapidly than any other method in the history of business. Electronic commerce has also been applied for so many years in the banking sector. Indeed, Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) or wire transfer has been in use for 30 years in the bank to transmit account exchange information across secretive communications networks. There has also been another form of e-commerce called electronic data interchange (EDI) which enhances communication and transaction across business entities (Schneider, 2008, p. 8).

The force that is driving the growth of the online business is the ever-increasing number of people that are accessing internet services. This is brought about by the reduction of charges of internet and the lowering prices of computers.

References

Bernstein, P. A. and Newcomer, E. (2009). Principles of Transaction Processing. CA, Morgan Kaufmann.

Bhargava, H. K., Power, D. and Sun, D. (2007). Decision Support Systems, Vol. 43, issue 4, pp. 1083-1095.

Kalakota, R. and Whinston, A. B. (1997). Electronic commerce: a manager’s guide. NJ, Addison-Wesley.

Lucey, T. (2004). Management information systems. Web.

Magee, J. F. et al. (1985). Modern logistics management: integrating marketing, manufacturing, and physical distribution. NY, John Wiley and Sons.

Palmer, C. (1988). Using IT for competitive advantage at Thomson Holidays. Long Range Planning, Vol. 21, No. 6, pp 26-29.

Power, D. J. (2002). Decision support systems: concepts and resources for managers. CT, Greenwood Publishing Group.

Rappaport, T. S. (1996). Wireless communications: principles and practice. N.J.: Prentice Hall PTR.

Schneider, G. (2008). Electronic Commerce. MA, Cengage Learning.

Schwartz, M.., Bennett, W. R. & Stein, S. (1996). Communication systems and techniques. New York, IEEE Press.