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The organization under consideration is FEDEX Supply Chain services. FedEx Supply Chain services are formally known as Caliber Logistics, which is based in Hudson, state Ohio, in the United States of America. It is an organization offering diverse but centralized multi-client worldwide services through distribution centers and warehouses, transport management services, and service fulfillment services among other multiple services. With the integration of all services together in a central region, FedEx Supply Chain puts into considerations customer needs in terms of service delivery on logistics and fulfillment of services and execution. Running such operations has its own challenges and overwhelming cost of operations is the top on the list. It is in line with this that the organization sought ways of reducing the costs. One of the proposals was to computerize operations and extensively use information systems in its operations. The effect of reducing of operations cost gradually benefit the consumer which, in turn, will attract more of them, and, thus, the business will expand. To be able to do this, the organization has to have in place an effective management information system or a combination of many systems to help the management team to effectively manage the activities of the entire organization.

In its essence, management information system is computer software that is installed in a computer system to help the users by providing information that they need to facilitate effective management of the affairs of the company. To be effective, management information system should be able to give the required information support, enhance communication both within and also outside the organization, capture and record the information in line with helping the organization attain its organizational or strategic goals and objectives. In FedEx, all the departments actually have been computerized due to the workload and also for effective management of operations. Effective management in this company entails many components: tracking the movement of cargo, parcels, and employees; good stock management in the chain stores and outlets; maintaining proper records of employees; salaries, wage records, budgets, and other financial records and reports, with bottom line mission to reduce expenses as much as possible so that the organization generates more income.

Before the introduction of different operations information systems which the organization uses today, it is clear that much may have happened to have reduced the organizations income. It should not be also forgotten about constant losses and customers’ complains due to lost or delayed deliveries, employees fearing for their safety while transporting valuables, having ghost workers in the payroll, duplication of jobs, and delayed information to mention but a few. Figure 1 represents net income and total revenue figures which drove the management to adopt different management information systems that are currently in use. Given the diversity of this company’s operations, there are many management information systems that it has put in place. This paper demonstrates how FedEx has employed different operations information systems to improve its business operations and service delivery to customers.

Intelligent Transport Management System

Transport is very essential both for the manufacturer and the consumer, because this is what links the two. According toPons & Perez (2003),to be able to effectively manage transport in the organization, the fleet controls, and timing one should use intelligent transport management system with the help of geographic information technologies and territorial data which help to trace the whereabouts of the fleet or whatever that is being tracked. This is possible by having and maintaining database that is built along the route or geographical location that will be covered with the help of GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) locater which is attached or fixed in the fleets (Pons & Perez, 2003). The manufacturers do not care about how far they are from the consumers; while, on the other hand, consumers are not restricted to consume what is locally produced, because transport will increase their choice. This is on what this organization based its operations, and after realizing the gap, it presented their services delivery chain of operations. It offers order fulfillment when manufacturers are not worried about late delivery, thus, shielding them on possible late delivery penalties, unorganized delivery, and custom clearance arrangements which normally consume considerable time. By doing so, they help in saving the consumer’s time and efforts. The company also offers management services both for goods that are transported within and those to or from international markets. For local transportation, the company utilizes the fleets, which it operates, and this also can be offered on cataract services with customer specifications on request. In as much as transport of goods may be good for the consumer, there are risks, especially when the goods are not in good order, have defects, or are perishable. In the transport department alone, there are numerous challenges which the company faces. Transportation of valuable or costly commodities can be tricky, because such goods can be looted on transit despite their insurance cover. To be able to do the business effectively with the minimum security risks possible, the company uses the tracking devices on the trucks, cargo vans, and through the system in the office. There is a person on the computer, monitoring their movement, thus, being able to even communicate with the owner on the other end.

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Decision Support System

To be able to run supply chain services and to serve huge customer base effectively, FedEx had to involve a group of other companies that have technological expertise as well as modern infrastructure. To be able to use technology, more sophisticated software was required to run these devices, which are all aimed at good customer service delivery, and to translate it to more business and revenues. Decision support system helps in making professional decisions that are needed, and it is from these decisions that the real income can be realized. This move reduced expenditures not only of the organization but also of their customers. Package tracking systems are specifically important for tracking customers’ goods that are on board, helping monitor them both for security reasons and knowing arrivals at their desired destination. This has advantages for both FedEx and its customers. The management is able to track their packages all the way ensuring, thus, security for their fleets and employees, while tracking assists in ensuring safety of customers’ goods on board at the same time. In the year 2002 alone, through its fleets of 643 aircrafts and 48000 vehicles and trailers, FedEx was delivering 3,300,000 packages per day in 211 countries throughout the world. The decision support system through its dialog generation and management systems enables the managers, even those who are not computer experts, interface with it without extensive computer training. There are some towns and cities where FedEx Supply Chain increased its operations through operating world service centers that were located at storefront facilities in areas where there is high traffic and density. According to Scarpati, these drop-in boxes that are normally not guarded with around 40000 of them in US give customers an opportunity to drop their packages at almost every part in their locality from shopping centers to post office, office buildings to industrial parks, and all other strategic locations. To manage these outlets manually, it can be an uphill task financially, and, thus, decision support systems were adopted. This ensured that even those who are not professionals are able to run the operations as if they were qualified. This lead to lower wages, as to hire complete professional managers is more costly than having ordinary people with little information technology knowledge. 

 Inventory Management Information System

In their critical inventory logistics services, FedEx has in place ways through which customers can follow their shipment online. Therefore, the customers can now track their shipments and stock levels from every part of the world, checking the status of the shipment that they may have ordered through logging in to a web application which the company has provided. This system allows also electronic data interchange, which enables the data to be transmitted through it and be delivered in an ordinary and globally understandable message format, thus, adding flexibility of the company and order placement. With this system, anyone can place an order to the supply chain; one does not have to look for their outlets or agents, all what one needs is internet, logging in to the company’s world wide web and doing all those activities online. This is in line with the changing customer needs and enhancing capabilities that are currently being implemented worldwide to be in an equal position with changing world of technology.  Since the new technology of FedEx allows their customers to place orders from any part of the world, it attracts more customers, because one does not need to be where the company has an outlet. For that reason, more people are able to transact and track down the inventory levels online irrespectively of their location and that of their owners.    

Before adopting different management systems in the fiscal year 2002-2003, the company reported a total revenue of $22.2 billion and an after-expense income of $830 million. This attribute led the company management to think of effective ways to manage the cost without affecting the quality of their service, and that was when it presented different management information systems.

Expert Systems and Artificial Intelligence

In the efforts to meet the market demand, more and more complex services are being required in the market as a result of increased use of technology and the fact that the company has motivated the its innovation strategy by creating new services to its new supply chain management services portfolio. These systems are very effective, since they make use of human knowledge which has been technologically stored in a computer system to help in solving problems that would require human expertiseunder normal circumstances. Such tasks include completing or filling in consolidated returns, which is a service that the company has included in the management service category. The main aim of using the service is to assist web retailers or those people who choose to trade online to manage their returns properly and accurately. In the event of preparation of returns, customers or businesses may have a hard time doing so, especially on occasions when the people in charge are supposed to be there physically. This saves them time and prevents from unnecessary travels and inconvenience in general if doing that and paying a monthly subscription to FedEx supply chain. In absence of such a system, the number of errors on those returns would be numerous, and some traders would not even be able to prepare them in the first place, since they might not have the requisite expertise. While citing Clemeons et al. (2009), Ghosh is positive that this expert system is good in that its process of thinking is not rigid, meaning that it can accommodate new knowledge or become advanced.

FedEx’s critical inventory logistics mostly comes in areas where the merchandise consists of urgent supplies like medicine or other life threatening supplies; and on this area, the company uses inventory management information system. At times, it is impossible to have facilities that have the relevant stock which a consumer needs and when the item is urgently required, for example, to save their lives otherwise they may die. The company, with the help its FedEx Critical Inventory Logistics, ensures that such events do not happen by teaming up with the science organizations that may be in need of these urgently required goods and supplying them at the time of need, more so in the life science and high technology. Consumers are now very specific about their needs, and they mostly look for companies that will offer them not only well-timed movement of their products, but the management of their cost during the whole time of transition of the production, adding value to their goods at the same time.

Operations Information Systems

FedEx Critical Inventory Logistics looks at the customer logistics requirements with every order, at the same time looking at the logistical challenges that are likely to face the customer. Operations information systems are good for gathering comprehensive data process in a more organized and understandable manner or format that is useful to the management team.

Upon realizing this, the company puts in place a supply outlet, and where it is not possible, delivery arrangements through their transport service are made to cater for their needs. The pillar of the logistical success of the company is the network of global distribution centers that the company operates taking their services close to their customers through strategic outlets.Also, FedEx Supply Chain services operate forward stocking locations with some being in operation for twenty four hours a day, which increases shopping hours for their customers irrespectively of time when they want to do their shopping or use other company services which include: FedEx Office for office matters, FedEx Express which is in relation to delivery, FedEx Trade Networks, and others. For those commodities that are considered critical, the company has brought them closer to the users in fulfilling their order requirements, and where outlets are not set, quick reliable and cost effective logistical arrangements are provided. Managing such activities effectively, the company makes use of operations information systems. Many of the mentioned outlets are strategically placed in such areas like near-health facilities, business centers, office buildings, schools and colleges, and other tactical locations. All this enables not only their customers but also field agents to easily distinguish any vital product or devices without regard to noticing due to the urgency of the required product, since there are also several FedEx transportation options which are available at the end of the day. The team of managers is at the company headquarters. They are equipped with information that is relayed to them, using decision support systems with the help of which they make the best decisions for smooth running of the organization. Given the size of the organization and complexity of its operations, it is recommended that the company have expert system for each individual line of operation, and artificial intelligence, which would help the users by explaining the logic of the advice which they issue to users.

In nutshell, different organizations employ different management information systems which are based on the kind of operations that they undertake. It is, however, very difficult to have a single system operating in a company that has diverse operations. The system that the company has in place allows also electronic data interchange, which enables that the data that are transmitted through it to be delivered in an ordinary and globally understandable message format. It, thus, adds flexibility of the company and order placement by customers, while the managers use decision support systems to help them make correct decisions. FedEx Corporation has been able to grow through the years due to the technological changes which they adopted. They have been able to reduce the costs, and their income has been on the rise since then. Every aspect of the organizations operation, including twenty four hour service, is possible because there are many management systems that monitor these operations. The company can now state that it has seen the results at which they were aimed, and more systems are incorporated, as they aim to do even better.

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