MBA Dissertation PDF examples provides students with decision-relevant information to pursue the strategic objectives of their organization. In this course, students will learn a broad repertoire of techniques, which facilitates strategic decision-making, organizational planning, performance measurement, and control. The covered techniques include among others product costing, activity-based management, cost-volume-profit analysis, financial planning and analysis, responsibility center accounting, balanced scorecard, transfer pricing, and capital budgeting. By the end of this course, students are equipped to put strategy into action by using management accounting techniques. They will have fostered their business problem solving and decision-making skills, which will enhance their management and leadership capacity.
Learning Outcomes Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
Identify and apply the appropriate management accounting techniques within the canvas composed of economic, political, social, environmental, technological, personal values and ethical issues
Identify, analyze, and adopt effective and efficient strategies of the firm’s mission, goals, and objectives. Thus, adopt a sustainable strategy
Make appropriate business decisions, e.g., selling price, sales mix, sales volume, downsizing, expanding, cost control, or quality
Design appropriate incentive compensation plans that will enhance the achievement of the firm’s goals
Undertaking a MBA dissertation PDF should be regarded as one of the most rewarding academic ventures you will engage in during your MBA degree. It is unlike any other course you have so far taken. It should be seen as the culmination of an academic and intellectual journey that you have been on since arriving in university, allowing you to draw on the full range of subject material covered over the previous two years of study. Past students are quick to reflect that defining, researching and writing a MBA dissertation PDF was one of the most satisfying and interesting experiences of their postgraduate days.
What makes the dissertation different is that it offers you the opportunity to develop intellectual independence while specializing in depth in a topic of interest. The emphasis is on constructing an independent, inquiry-based study. This involves seeking out a research problem, deciding on a relevant literature [and a related set of primary and secondary sources where appropriate], employing an appropriate methodology and drawing your subsequent research together to offer a sustained and analytically reflective argument. By, defining, researching and writing a dissertation you will develop a valuable set of transferable skills: time management, meeting a deadline, initiative in deciding upon and locating relevant academic and empirical sources, problem-solving, developing a capacity for independent research, communicating effectively in writing, and working with academic and empirical
MBA Dissertation PDF examples will help students who writes a politics dissertation will:
Develop deep knowledge about his/her chosen topic
Develop intellectual independence
Learn to define a research problem
Learn to decide upon appropriate academic and empirical sources
Deploy the scholarly apparatus of Bibliography and footnotes effectively
Learn to employ an appropriate methodology
Develop a sustained argument
Develop analytic skills
Learn to meet a deadline
Learn to communicate effectively in writing
Learn to deploy information from academic and empirical sources
The benefits of MBA Dissertation PDF Examples
Although researching and writing a dissertation is hard work, that experience can also be immensely satisfying and rewarding. When you begin, the dissertation will seem daunting. However, despite the inevitable anxiety, students who put in the work usually find that the dissertation is the most satisfying, interesting, and even enjoyable part of their postgraduate experience. The dissertation develops many transferable skills that are highly valued by employers: effective time management, capacity for independent work, using your initiative in finding sources, and problem solving. Together with a good dissertation mark, the development of these skills enables your tutor to write a better reference for you. At the same time, employers will often inquiry about it and how you as a student went about doing your dissertation. It is seen as a contribution that enhances an individual’s CV.
Part of the object of writing a dissertation is to enable students to learn how to define a research problem. Students should consult with their supervisors who will help them develop a topic for their dissertation and to narrow it to a research question. A student will choose a potential topic early in the first semester of a MBA degree in order and then decide upon a final topic by the end of the third week. By then, you will have needed to have read some of the literature about the chosen topic in order to develop or formulate a research question or problem. This is where MBA dissertation PDF examples become very useful.
In addition, in consultation with your supervisor, a student needs to ensure that the chosen topic can be done within the constraints of a MBA dissertation including ethic approval and that they will have access to the required materials, data, and academic literature. On the dissertation questionnaires, students have commented favorably upon Politics’ flexibility with regard to the range of dissertation topics. This flexibility reflects our desire that students define their own topics and pursue their intellectual interest. However, this flexibility also reflects a student’s responsibility for choosing a topic and developing a research problem.
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Problem Solving and Decision Making – Establishing a price for a new product using the law of supply and demand
Scientific methods are very important and help in problem solving and decision making process. Having good problem solving skills is essential and takes an organization to another level. Scientific methods assist in decision making process and are widely used in many businesses to increase productivity. The success of any business depends on effective decision-making and problem solving techniques. Businesses are faced with several problems and challenges including reduction in supply and demand. It is crucial for organizations to make appropriate decision without compromising the terms and condition of the business. The law of supply and demands plays a significant role in micro-economics and businesses. The law of supply states that quantity of a product supplied increases with decrease in prices (Gale, 2015). The cost of a products falls with an increase in supply or high demand. Contrary, the law of demand argues that the quantity of a product decreases as the prices increases. Businesses are limited by the law of supply and demand making forcing them to establish equilibrium. Market-clearing price helps firms to find a long-lasting equilibrium that balances both supply and demand. Proper problem solving and decision-making process using scientific evidence has a significant impact on businesses when establishing new prices utilizing the law of supply and demand.
Problem solving and decision making using the scientific method
It is fundamental for companies and businesses to have good decision-making skills and problem solving techniques. Businesses are required to make the appropriate decision when faced with complex issues. It is also important to establish a good approach that can solve a problem (Doctor, 2011). For instance, the law of supply and demand affects most businesses. The determination of prices should be done using scientific models. Appropriate problem solving and decision-making techniques need the application of critical thinking (“Systematic problem solving and decision-making”, 2016). Whenever a business is faced with numerous issues such as reduction in sales, it is crucial to make an appropriate decision. The law of supply and demand may cause the decline in sales. Solving a problem requires some pragmatics and logical reasoning. Problem –solving has been defined as a cognitive and behavioral process that individuals and organizations use to identify, discover and invent effective means of coping with the problem faced.
There are four main steps used to identify a problem namely: problem definition, generating alternatives, evaluation, and selection of alternatives and implementation of the solutions. Defining a problem is the first step in problem solving (Gale, 2015). The business should start by identifying the issue causing the sales to reduce. It is important to diagnose the actual situation facing the company by analyzing and defining the causes. Generation of alternatives to solve the problem is the next stage. It is necessary to propose several alternatives that will increase the sales. Brainstorming the alternative helps to evaluate the alternatives (Doctor, 2011). Multiple alternatives enhance the value of the final decision. It is advised to generate the alternatives before making a final decision including evaluation and selection of the best alternative. Selection of best alternative is critical in the decision-making process. The best alternative should have minimal impacts compared to the rest. The last step in problem solving is the implementation of the best alternative.
Stabling the price of a new product depends on many factors including the law of supply and demand. The cost of production and demand should be used to determine the prices. The company should decide on the prices based on the demand curve and production cost. The cost of production should be minimal to ensure high returns (Doctor, 2011). It is essential to establish a suitable price that is affordable to customers. The product should meet the needs of the customers. If the demand is higher than production, the cost of the product should be elevated to sustain the supply chain. The company should make a decision using the best model.
Making appropriate decision on the prices of a new product is done systematically. The first step is identifying the problem facing the company. The process involve gathering of information, evaluating alternatives and implementing the final decision. Identification of a decision is the first step in the process. It is important to clearly define the decision and state it down. Gathering relevant information is vital and should be done before identifying alternatives (“Systematic problem solving and decision-making”, 2016). The information can be gathered through research and development. The company should involve customers by asking them what they think in relation to the new product prices. Both internal and external information is needed to improve the sales. Identification of alternatives is necessary. There is need to have many costs and choose one with minimal impacts. Weighing the evidences is also crucial. The alternatives should be considered using scientific evidence and methods. The profit margin and production cost is determined using scientific evidence. Choosing the best alternative is important and is done after weighing the evidence (Doctor, 2011). Taking action and making the best decision is the last stage. The prices of the new product should be determined by taking into consideration the law of supply and demand. Reviewing the decision and identifying its impacts on the sales is necessary.
The law of supply and demand is important to all businesses. It limits the companies from exploiting customers. The decision on prices of a new product must be made using the scientific method. The company should identify the problem and use best techniques to solve. The demand for the product directly affects the prices. Prices increase with an increase in demand thereby affecting the supply chain. It is vital for the businesses to establish the best prices after reviewing all the alternatives. The decision should have minimal impact on the business with equilibrium consideration between customer satisfaction and profit margin.
Doctor, R. (2011). Problem Solving and the Decision-Making Process. Physical Therapy, 51(7), 816-818.
Gale, D. (2015). The law of supply and demand. Mathematica Scandinavica, 3, 155
Systematic problem solving and decision-making. (2016). Long Range Planning, 23(6), 129
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Impact of Government Involvement in International Trade
International trade can be described as the exchange of services and goods between countries, which gives rise to a world economy where prices are affected by global occurrences (Ajami & Goddard, 2013). As indicated by (Wild & Wild, 2013, p. 123), international trade has the benefit of offering people in different countries a more expansive selection of goods and services at competitive prices.
Given that the idea of international trade has dominated business scholarship for some time, differing opinions exist on whether the international trade should adopt a free trade approach or opt for a protectionist approach. Free trade, in this regard, implies the application of a laissez-faire style of commerce, without market restrictions. The central concept in the international free trade is that demand and supply factors, applied on a global level, ensure efficient production, requiring nothing to be done to either promote or protect business growth. In contrast, the philosophy of protectionism insists on the importance regulating trade to ensure proper functioning of markets. Proponents of protectionism hold that certain market inefficiencies can impede the benefits of international trade, thereby requiring the application of mechanisms to guide the market accordingly. This paper explores the primary motives of government interventions and critically analyzes the consequences of the methods of intervention.
Government intervention in international trade has had a significant impact on trade patterns. Unfair government intervention practices thus have had lasting negative lasing impacts on global economics. This paper looks at the global political economy, reasons for governments to intervene in international trade, consequences of government involvement and ways to prompt the global economy despite the political influence.
The Motives for Government Trade Intervention
Though free trade implies the pattern of exports and imports without any barriers, most governments impose controls on trade for cultural, economic and political reasons. While political motivations include protection of jobs, preservation of national security, response to apparently unfair trade practices of other nations and the quest for influence over other countries, the economic motives include the protection of infant industries and pursuance of strategic trade policy.
Political Motivation: One category of reasons offered for government intervention is political. Most of the political motivations for government interventions are connected to the need for the government to remain popular among its citizens. As indicated by Ajami and Goddard (2013), the political motivations may have little or nothing to do with the economic performance of the country (p. 21).
One such political motive is to protect jobs and, therefore, prevent an increase in unemployment levels. The idea informs the motive for restricting trade to protect jobs that international trade lowers the number of jobs available locally for the citizens of a country (Wild & Wild, 2013, p. 132). Though this may be true for certain industries, studies have established that trade does not necessarily reduce jobs, since business offers consumers a chance to purchase products at competitive prices, which, subsequently enables them to buy more goods and services. Given that most of the products are locally produced, the enhanced purchasing power of the consumer is likely to stimulate the creation of jobs internationally and locally. Moreover, the protection of certain jobs may not be entirely beneficial, and has been shown to lower economic efficiency. According to Silva, Afonso and Africano (2010), an economy can function at maximum efficiency only when its labor force is mobile, and people are willing to alternate jobs need arises (p. 369). Governments must acknowledge that the nature of the economy and, consequently, jobs are constantly metamorphosing, meaning that even their labor force must be flexible and ready to change.
Another political reason often offered for government restriction of trade is national security interests. According to Ajami and Goddard (2013), the argument of national security is often a legitimate argument, especially when it concerns the production of weapons and printing of domestic currency (p. 34). Consequently, industries that are pivotal to national security are offered protection by governments for both imports and exports.
Governments can, for instance, place restrictions on imports to guarantee domestic supply which preserves national security. It is important to note that national security as it is used here is not exclusive to issues of war and armed security. Rather, the concept of national security implies those goods and services that are critical for the wellbeing of the citizens of the country, including currency, agricultural products, oil, and weaponry. For instance, many countries actively protect their agricultural sectors since countries that depend on agricultural imports to feed their citizens risk starvation in the event of war. Governments also place restrictions on the export of defense-related goods, especially if such exports pose threats to international security.
The government can also restrict trade in response to apparent unfair trade practices by other nations. In situations where there is a feeling that their governments give certain industries an unfair advantage through subsidies or reduced restrictions, unilateral reduction in restrictions can be applied. For instance, Fertö and Hubbard (2003) show that, compared to industrialized countries, developing countries have significantly relaxed environmental laws, reducing the costs of operation (p. 245). Governments are often inclined to introduce trade restrictions especially in the face of restrictions by other countries.
States can also use trade restrictions to gain influence over other nations, especially the economically less developed. For instance, the China Uses trade interventions to increase its influence in Africa. The idea here is for an economically stronger country to use its position to influence less developed countries, which ultimately offer a market for its products.
Economic Motives: Besides the political reasons for governments’ intervention in trade, arguments are often fronted on the economic foundations for intervention. Some of the arguments from the economic perspective include the protection of infant industries and pursuance of strategic trade policy. The case for the protection of infant industries is often made so that young industries are protected by the government until they become self-sustaining (Silva, Afonso & Africano, 2010, p. 369).
However, it is not only infant industries that seek protection. According to Melitz (2003), some mature industries insist that they are protected to enable them to adapt to new business environments and conditions (p.1696). Nevertheless, the idea of protecting companies seems to go against the spirit of healthy competition that allows only the most successful businesses to be sustained. This presents problems to the government seeking to intervene on trade based on the argument of the infant industry. The first challenge would concern how to pick winners and reject losers. The idea also leaves room for people within the echelons of power to use that power to initiate protection for their companies. Besides, protection has the potential of encouraging complacency by domestic companies towards innovation and can limit company competitiveness.
Regarding the pursuance of strategic trade policy, government intervention can enable a company to enjoy the first-mover advantages and the subsequent economies of scale. The concept of first-mover advantage can be described as a type of competitive advantage that accompany attains by being the first entrant into an industry or a market (Fertö & Hubbard, 2003, p. 251). The understanding here is that, by being the first competitor in a new market, the firm can gain an advantage over its actual and future rivals. This idea applies whether a company is seeking to develop new demographic markets or sections of existent markets, or whether it is looking to introduce new products into its already existent market segments.
When a business is the first to enter a market, it can form a defensible ground, allowing it to capture the large sections of the market share quickly without being concerns about rivals competing for the same market. Also, by the time the competitors arrive, the first-mover is likely to have advantages in the competition because its products will have gained familiarity, besides other factors like brand loyalty established distribution systems. For instance, being a first-mover in soda production, Coca-Cola was able to develop its brand and build a reputable force in the beverage industry. The biggest problem with the strategic trade policy is that government support is often subject to political manipulation, and certain interest groups can usurp gains with no benefit to the consumer.
Cultural Motives: Cultures are created and modified through interactions. Consequently, the exposure of citizens of a country to other people and products from other nations can gradually alter the culture of a country. In this line of thought, the undesirable cultural influence caused by interaction with certain products can cause the government to block imports. The United State, for instance, is often perceived as a threat to national cultures due to its influential entertainment, consumer goods, and media.
Methods of Promoting Trade
Other than specialization and increased business potential, international trade has been linked to greater efficiency and greater opportunity for foreign direct investment. As described by Wang et al. (2012), foreign direct investment implies the amount of money invested by individuals and corporations in business as well as in research and development (p. 627). By attracting foreign direct investment, economies can grow in their level of competitiveness and production efficiency. For the receiving government, foreign direct investment is a way through which expertise and foreign exchange can enter the country, further stimulating economic growth. Given the importance of international trade to governments as well as consumers, various states adopt steps such as subsidies, export financing, foreign trade zones, and individual government agencies to encourage international trade.
Subsidies: For our purposes, a grant can be defined as financial assistance to domestic companies in the form of low-interest loans, cash payments, product price supports, or tax breaks. The primary intention of applying subsidies is to increase the advantage of the local companies and compete favorably with international firms. According to the World Trade Report (2006), export subsidies generate incentives for producers to supply products for export rather than for domestic use within a country (p. 56). This can be a drawback since the withdrawal of supply from the local market can lead to increases in the local price of the products. Simultaneously, due to increase in supply to the world market world prices of the product is likely to fall. If the re-importation of products from the world market into the domestic market is prevented, the result is a wedge between the world price and the local price. All the same, the impact of export subsidies on the domestic country is contrary, with local consumers having to pay higher for a product that they are prevented from sourcing from the world market as a lower price.
Export Financing: In export financing governments promote exports by assisting companies to finance their trade activities through loans as well as loan guarantees. Since funding is crucial, especially for entrants into the export business, the philosophy informing export financing is that by offering loans that would have otherwise been accessible of loans at reduced rates, the government can encourage export business, and enhance the competitive edge of the company. In the United States, for instance, export financing is offered by Export-Import Bank.
Foreign Trade Zones: A foreign trade zone is an area where goods can be landed, handled, reconfigured or manufactured, and even re-exported without going through customs authorities. The goods only become subject to the prevailing customs duties when they are moved to consumers in the country within which the zone is located. Organized in areas with various geographical advantages for international trade such as Singapore, Stockholm, Hong Kong, and Gdańsk, the primary purpose of the foreign trade zone is to eliminate seaport, border, and airport barriers to trade, often associated with complex customs regulations and high tariffs. Lowering customs facilitates international trade since customs duties elevate the cost of production as well as the time it takes for the products to reach the market. In the United States, for instance, the lowered customs duties are balanced by the created jobs.
Special Government Agencies: As a way of encouraging international trade, various governments create agencies charged with the promotion of exports. The agencies organize trips for business persons and trade officials to visit other nations and institute trade offices in other countries. These organizations, such as the Japan External Trade Organization not only promote exports but also occasionally encourage imports.
Trade Unions: Trade unions today play a critical part in moulding the lives of workers, though their influence has considerably diminished over the recent past. The union is often mandated to negotiate conditions and contracts with employers on behalf of the employee. Though the roles of trade unions are numerous, some being more prominent than others, the trade unions core functions can be summarized as social, militant, regulative, and fraternal. In this regards, the militant function implies the struggle that is likely to occur as the union tries to get employers to increase worker remuneration or to address the grievances presented by employees. The main issue addressed here is whether the perceptible incompatibility between industrial relations and employees can be resolved. Resolution of the conflict between trade unions and employers is only possible given the assumption that both parties share the objectives of employee development, fairness, and equity.
Unions need to acknowledge that collective bargaining may require some redesigning to include a lesser component increasing pay than in the past, and should push for involvement in skill-based and flexible elements of pay. Industrial relations remain the principal way of maintaining industrial order and should focus on approaches to avoiding and resolving disputes and conflicts.
Methods of Restricting Trade
Most governments restrict international trade to protect domestic companies from external competition, mostly from multinationals. One such method of restriction is through tariffs. Tariffs are taxes levied on imported products as they enter or leave the country. Tariffs can be categorized as import, transit and export. Import duties are further subcategorized into ad valorem, specific, and compound. An ad valorem tax is levied as a percentage of the cost of the imported good while specific tariff is levied according to each unit (by weight or number). On the other hand, the compound tax is levied as a percentage of the stated price of the imported product, and partly as a specific fee for each unit. According to Wild and Wild (2013), besides protecting local producers and employees from foreign competition, tariffs perform the function of raising revenue for the government (p. 232). Though domestic producers gain from import duties as they are shielded from foreign competition, this protection comes at a cost to the consumer. The consumers often have to pay more for some imported goods. Also, though the producers benefit from the lowered foreign competition, the lack of competitiveness may lead to laxity and reduced overall efficiency.
Quotas and Voluntary Export Restraints (VER): Quotas and Voluntary Export Restraints (VER) are restrictions directed towards the quantity of certain goods that can be imported into a country (Wild & Wild, 2013, p. 143). The quota limitation is usually imposed by allotting import licenses to a group of firms or individuals. The reason for issuance of allowances is to protect domestic producers by limiting the entry of certain goods into the country. This limitation enables local producers to maintain a considerable market share in to offer decent prices for their products within the country. Like in tariffs, the gain by producers comes at a cost to consumers, who have to contend with high prices caused by impeded competition. A VER, on the other hand, is a unique type of quota imposed by the exporting country upon the request of the government of the importing country. If the domestic producers do not limit production, consumers gain because of lowered prices from the increased supply. Other measures that can be applied by governments to restrict trade include embargoes, content requirements, administrative delays and even currency controls. Ultimately, the reasoning behind restrictions is to protect local companies from foreign competition and to ensure that the economic interests of the country are not ignored during the international trade.
Despite the theoretical benefits associated with international trade, governments are not always eager to openly welcome free trade at the expense of domestic businesses. This paper examined the reasons behind the government interventions to protect some of their local industries and the methods they use to offer such protection. Though it is evident from the analysis that many of the strategies like tariffs, the quota system, and subsidies appear to support domestic producers, this support often comes at a cost to the consumer, who often has to pay more for goods. Measures must be put in place to ensure that even in protecting the domestic companies, healthy competition that is important for production efficiency and reasonable pricing of products is not compromised.
Chaney, T. (2008). Distorted gravity: the intensive and extensive margins of international trade. American Economic Review, 98(4), 1707-21
Girma, S., Görg, H., & Wagner, J. (2009). Subsidies and exports in Germany, evidence from enterprise panel data. Applied Economics Quarterly, 55 (3), 175-195
Martincus, C. & Carballo, J., (2008). Is export promotion effective in developing countries? Firm-level evidence on the intensive and the extensive margins of exports. Journal of International Economics, 76, 89-106
Wang, C., Hong, J., Kafouros, M., & Wright, M. (2012). Exploring the role of government involvement in outward FDI from emerging economies. Journal of International Business Studies, 43(2012), 655-676
Wild, J., & Wild, K. (2013). International business: The challenges of globalization. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Limited
World Trade Report. (2006). Exploring the links between subsidies, trade and the WTO. World Trade Organization
The Impact of Supply Chain Management in Business Success
Title: Supply Chain Management in Business Success. Advancement in technology has played a major role in the success of businesses in the U.S. The internet in particular has played a major role in increasing the output and returns of companies selling goods and providing services all across the country. With globalization, escalating competition, geographical scope and complexity in the business environment has necessitated the continued improvements in the way technology is incorporated in businesses, both private and government owned.
Many companies in developed countries have been forced to adapt to the area of supply chain management has not escaped the proliferation of technological innovation. According to Cagliano, Caniato and Spina (2005), supply chain management is described as the broadened focus of management that emphasizes the combined implications of the stakeholders involved in the production of services and goods, including suppliers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and the final consumer. In this understanding of the management of production and logistics networks, conviction is that all the participants in the process of delivering goods to consumers form part of a pipeline, network, or a supply chain.
Supply chain management can, therefore, be understood as encompassing everything needed for customer satisfaction, including the determination of the products that consumer prefer, how to produce such products, and how to deliver them to the final consumer. The aim here is to ensure that the consumers receive the right products at the appropriate time, in the desired location, and at a friendly price. Electronic mail and the internet have revolutionized the communication and data exchange process, supporting the required flow of information between firms in the supply chain. The present paper explores the impact of the internet on supply chain management with particular focus on order processing, customer service, transportation, managing vendor relations, inventory management, purchasing and procurement, and production scheduling.
The Benefits of Internet-Enabled Supply Chain Management
An important premise informing the philosophy of supply chain management is the consideration of the network of processes, facilities, and individuals that procure raw materials, convert them into finished products, and eventually circulate them to the consumer as an integrated chain, instead of a collection of separate, but rather interconnected, tasks (Wisner, Leong & Tan 2005). This integration of the supply chain is important since the links of the chain are essential in achieving the goal of customer satisfaction. As noted by Barratt and Rosdahl (2002), though every company may have a supply chain, not every company effectively manages its supply chain for the attainment of strategic advantage.
By enabling and connecting procurement, inventory management, order processing, transportation, production scheduling, and customer service, not only reduces costs associated with managing the supply chain, but also increases the efficiency of the entire process. Streamlining the entire process of supply chain management with internet technology requires a good understanding of the vital business processes involved in supply chain management and the appropriate technological solution for handling the complex flow of information, human resource management and material flow.
Purchasing and Procurement
The application of internet technology in the management of procurement is gradually developed in the recent past, with various studies indicating various applications of the internet in procurement processes, including communication with vendors, confirmation and comparison of vendor price quotes, and conducting purchases from the catalogs of the vendor (Croom 2000). An example of a company that uses the internet is General Electric, which reported reduced costs of procurement due online purchasing from vendor catalogs (Auramo, Kauremaa & Tanskanen 2005). By enabling purchases and negotiation from the vendor’s website at any time, the internet helps the company transcend the geographical restrictions that often characterized traditional procurement.
As shown by Gunasekaran and Ngai (2004), one of the benefits of using the internet in procurement is the reduced paperwork flows, and reduced time taken from the time the order is placed to the time the products are delivered to the company. In addition, the internet also streamlines the process of vendor negotiation by introducing and online form of negotiation that is more effective and efficient than face to face negotiation.
Such negotiations include bargaining, price agreements, renegotiation, and term agreements. Price negotiation is particularly improved by the internet since there is room for comparing different offers from vendors (Croxton et al. 2001). Another area where the internet supports procurement is by lowering the costs associated with handling returned or damaged goods enhancing the tracking of goods and by enabling notification by vendors before damaged goods can be shipped (Barratt & Rosdahl 2002; Gunasekaran & Ngai 2004). Other procurement issues handled through the internet include warranty issues and credits posted by vendors.
Despite the improved efficiency, competitive sourcing opportunities and inter-organizational coordination of the procurement process due to the use of the internet, it is important to note that the adoption of an e-procurement strategy is considerably complicated.
Consequently, Boyer and Olson (2002) advise that the challenges in implementing e-procurement can be mitigated through the adoption of an effective e-procurement strategy, setting and managing realistic managing expectations, and engineering procurement processes. Another problem in the e-procurement process concerns the verification of the credibility of the vendor. As shown by Auramo, Kauremaa and Tanskanen (2005), it can be challenging to determining the credibility of a company over the internet, leaving room for fraud and cons. Measures should be taken, therefore, to determine the credibility of a company before any business can be conducted over the internet.
One of the most essential and significantly costly elements of the supply chain involves the management of inventory (Wisner, Leong & Tan 2005). Studies have also shown that lack of proper information flow in the process of inventory management can cause inventory buffers and inefficiencies in the management of the supply chain. Consequently, to keep inventory levels low and lower the overall costs of holding, while still offering high quality service to the customers is a significant challenge in strategic inventory management.
To mitigate such challenges, internet-enabled inventory management enables processes that can be used to reduce costs without compromising the quality of customer service (Kevin Chiang & Monahan 2005; Cagliano, Caniato & Spina 2005). For instance, the internet can be used in inventory management for the notification of stock-outs offered by companies to their clients, or even the communication of stock-outs made by clients to vendors.
The internet also enables companies to quickly implement electronic data interchange (EDI) information systems with their customers throughout the world. In inventory management, EDI is understood as the electronic exchange of information between the information technology systems of two or more organizations (Boyer & Olson 2002). With the help of the internet, EDI technology can be used to process order entry, order changes, order confirmation, pre-shipment notices, and invoicing. Through internet-based EDI, companies like Wal-Mart and Target realize success in the retail industry by quickly exchanging information with their suppliers, which would normally take long periods of data entry.
The internet also positively influences the ability of companies to proactively manage their inventory systems. For instance, using the internet, a company can track out-of-stock inventory items and ensure that customers are notified in case of order shipping delays and any inventory emergencies. The improved inventory management also enables the company to replenish the inventory without delays. Tracking of items in an efficient and timely manner is also enabled by the internet by integrating various technological applications such as communication technologies, radio frequency technology and the internet. Identification In addition, inventory information needed for informed decision-making can also be made available to the decision-makers in good time.
Order Processing and Customer Service
Other areas of importance of internet technology in strategic supply chain management are in customer service and order processing. For instance, using the internet to place orders has been found to streamline the process of quotation and result in reduced overall costs by enabling order placement and checking of order status as well as improved speed of processing. In this regard, reduced paperwork in the order processing not only saves time, but also lowers costs.
With regards to customer service, the internet enables improved communication between the customer and the vendor, thereby improving awareness of customer needs and preferences, and enabling the tailoring of products to meet customer needs. It also offers a platform for the customer to communicate concerns and suggestions. Ultimately, through improved customer service, the internet enables the company to build a strong customer loyalty for its products and services.
Implications on Management
With the rapidly increasing use of the internet in supply chain management, it is increasingly important for managers to leverage the benefits of the internet for competitive edge. It is important for the supply chain manager to react quickly to information and adjust inventory, transportation and production to ensure cost efficiency and quality of service. It is important to note that the information provided over the internet is only useful if it is delivered in a timely and comprehensible manner.
One implication on management concerns the dynamic pricing strategies enabled by the internet. As indicate by Keskinocak and Tayur 2001, the internet has altered the way goods are marketed and sold, and influences pricing. Supply chain managers can leverage the ability of the internet to offer flexible and dynamic pricing through online auctions and negotiation (Bapna, Goes & Gupta 2003). In addition, the internet offers collaboration of different components of the supply chain which can be leveraged to smooth the flow of products and information. This is important since collaboration between enterprises has been shown to be a considerable challenge to effective supply chain management (Lewis & Talalayevsky 2004).
Leveraging the potential of the internet offers the supply chain management accessibility and standards that enable the integration and transmission of data across the supply chain components (Bartezzaghi & Ronchi 2004). An important consideration for management is that the supply chain collaboration is enabled through information sharing, creation of supply chain communities, and coordinating plans. These must be invested in and effectively implemented for an effective supply chain.
Another important managerial factor concerning the internet and supply chain management is supply chain visibility, which is linked to reduction of the bullwhip effect. According to Jap and Mohr (2002), supply chain visibility implies to offering each level of the supply chain with accurate and complete information on customer needs and inventory levels, production levels, fulfillment needs, and shipment status. Managers need to understand that visibility reduces the bullwhip effect since if information on demand is shared, the actual customer demand data can be used to generate accurate forecast instead of depending on orders obtained from the previous stage. In addition, visibility of the supply chain enables the various components of the supply chain to coordinate production and distribution more effectively, subsequently reducing costs and lead times (Bartezzaghi & Ronchi 2004).
The important implication here is to ensure that the information is accessible to all partners in the supply chain and in a format that can enable business decision-making. Managers also need to invest in tools that enable the visualization, plan and make decisions based on large databases. Essentially, the proliferation of technology and the internet in business cannot be avoided. Ultimately, there is need to protect the data obtained and transmitted over the internet from fraudsters and identity thieves (Ngai & Gunasekaran 2004). Given the numerous benefits linked to the use of the internet in supply chain management, proper structures need to be developed for companies to leverage the potential of the internet.
The present analysis examined the role of the internet in effective supply chain management. From the analysis it is evident that the internet can offer supply chain management the benefits of reduced costs, improved customer service, enhanced procurement and order processing, as well as collaboration and visibility throughout the supply chain. It is also apparent that the internet enables partners in the supply chain to collaborate in order to improve planning and forecasting. Other benefits include improved customer service, data sharing, and product flow.
However, information sharing has various technological, legal and commitment implications, requiring observation of certain principles and goodwill from organizations. It is also important for organizations to adopt measures to protect the information obtained and shared over the internet. Ultimately, though the internet offers an important tool for improving the effectiveness of supply chains, security and management concerns must be addressed for the optimal benefits to be realized.
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The System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) ensures end-state solutions in accordance to the requirements provided by the user in support of business strategic goal and objectives. It represents a structured, systematic approach that aims at developing information systems. The SDLC incorporates a comprehensive checklist of rules and regulations governing IT systems. The provisions are aimed at ensuring system developers adhere to the different set guides. The seven step SDLC incorporates seven phases that need adamant consideration by the developers to ensure accurate realization of the intended goals. The phases include planning, analysis, design, development, testing, implementation, and maintenance.
First, the planning phase of the SDLC demands the developers need to determine a solid plan for developing the information system desired. In the phase, three primary activities need to be ensured for optimality. The system to be developed must be defined, identified and selected in accordance with the strategic goals of the organization (Balaji& Murugaiyan, 2012). Secondly, the developer needs to consider the scope of the project. The scope provides the high-level system requirements. It is the basic definition of the system. Lastly, the system development team needs to define the project plan. Hoffer (2012) argues that a plan responds to the what, when and who questions in the system developing activities together with all the activities to be performed including the individuals and resources to be involved in the SDLC process.
Secondly, the analysis phase, which involves the end users and IT specialists. The two stakeholders gather, understand and document business requirements for the intended system. Primarily, the developers at the stage aim at gathering sufficient information regarding the business or end user requirements (Rosenblatt, 2013). The requirements are the knowledge workers’ requests that the system must meet to be qualified as successful. This can be undertaken using a Joint Application Development (JAD) session. A process in which knowledge workers and IT specialists engage one another to define and review business requirements.
In the third phase, the design, the developers build a technical blueprint detailing how the proposed system will work. According to Rosenblatt (2013), the point of view shifts from a business perspective to a technical one. Immediately, the development phase follows. The phase takes consideration of all detailed design documents from the design phase and transform them to an actual system. The developers during the phase build the different technical architecture by purchasing and setting it up. In addition, the necessary software programs are written in the database for ease of navigation by the end user.
Once the system is developed, there is a need to test the program. This comes in handy as the fifth step in the seven step SDLC. Here the system is verified on whether it executes all the business requirements as defined in the analysis phase. A detailed test condition is developed and performed with the expected results evaluated. Once the developers are satisfied that the system works appropriately, they proceed to the implementation phase. In this step, the system is distributed to all knowledge workers who begin using the system to perform their routine jobs. However, a user documentation must be provided, which details how the knowledge workers will use the system.
The implementation phase might take different approaches depending on the end user and the developing team (Leau, Loo, Tham & Tan, 2012). Such include the pilot, phased, plunge or the parallel implementation. Each of the implementation holds merit and demerits that the stakeholders need to consider.
The seven step SDLC considers maintenance as the last phase. In the phase, stakeholders monitor and support the new system to ensure its ability to enable the business to realize its goals. During the phase, the developers and knowledge workers can advance the system with the different changes of the business environment.
Four Step SDLC Model
The four-step SDLC model considers a different number of steps to be involved in the development of a system for a business entity. The different steps include identification, design, construction and evaluation and risk analysis. Under the four step SDLC, the project goes through the four phases in iterations (Boehm, 1988). The SDLC model similar to the seven-step model begins by the identification of the objectives in relation to the business that the developers and the knowledge workers desire to execute using the system.
In the initial phase, identification, business requirements are gathered and later a system appropriate for the requirements identified. In addition, subsystem requirements and unit requirements are executed at the phase to ensure consistency during the development phase. Therefore, the knowledge workers and the developer need to interact excessively to ensure a mutual content on the needs that the system should satisfy. Significantly, the different alternatives and constraints are identified by the parties who later see a way of mitigating each of the shortcoming for the benefit of developing a perfect system.
Once the identification stage is complete, the team launches the design phase. The phase involves a conceptual design and an architectural design, logical design, physical product design and the final design. The different designs serve a greater role in ensuring systematic analysis of the project at each level of design to address any likely challenges. The construction stage comes in handy after the two phases are successfully executed. In the phase, the actual system is developed and engaged for the different needs.
A Proof of Concept document needs to accompany the system during the delivery to the knowledge workers to get feedback on the system (Boehm, Lane, Koolmanojwong & Turner, 2014). The information is often used for advancing or corrective measures necessary to ensure client satisfaction. The testing of the project is also done at the stage to optimize correction of the system.
In the last phase of the four-step SDLC process, the developer and client conduct a risk analysis procedure where they identify, estimate and monitor any technical feasibility probable. The appropriate management risks are engaged to ensure optimal results. For instance, a schedule slippage and cost overrun can be conducted to optimize the process. The customer needs to evaluate the system developed to determine whether it meets the project specifications provided during the first phase. In case the client or the developer identifies any issues concerning the system, the necessary steps are undertaken to resolve the problem. Considering the short cycle of the four-step model, reviews are inevitable in each phase (Boehm, 1988). The client and developers concerned with the system development analyze the previous cycle. The review covers all products developed in the previous cycle, including the plans for the next cycle. In addition, the required resources are evaluated for executing the subsequent cycle.
Comparing and Contrasting the Seven Step and Four Step Models
The seven-step and four-step model elicit similarities and differences worth considering in the study. The two models embrace the need to conduct preliminary analysis and ensure constant communication between the client and developer for the efficiency and effectiveness of the system. In the planning and identification phases, the need to optimize on information gathered, especially the objectives to be realized by the system is highlighted. Additionally, the design phase between the two models also elicits similarities. The two models rely on analysis, although the latter does not provide a higher prominence when compared to the seven-step model, which assumes analysis as a phase in the system development process (Boehm, Lane, Koolmanojwong & Turner, 2014).
Contrastingly, the four-step model considers the elimination of risk in the system establishment as the focus in defining the success of a system. This varies with the seven-step model that considers the adoption of the client needs into the system as the focus. As such, the four-step system ensures preliminary evaluation of risks in each phase. The review process in the four-step model is engaged at each phase. This is different to the seven-step that tends to review the project during the maintenance stage. As such, maintenance is cheaper in terms of cost and time for the four-step compared to the seven-step. The review explains why the four-step model does not have any phase identified as maintenance iterations (Boehm, 1988). In addition, the high status of the review in the different phases optimizes the ability of the developer to minimize any risk that might destabilize the organization. Thus, the system is developed in accordance with the inherent risks within the organization. Therefore, easy to customize the system to suit the needs of the organization.
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