Monthly Archives: February 2017

Understanding Logistics

According to Ghiani (2004), logistics can be defined as the planning and controlling of products and information in an organization. It aims at delivering materials to a given destination for another trying to optimize a particular measure and ensuring satisfaction of a particular set of constraints. These definitions can be simplified to mean the managing of the flow of goods as well as services from the point of manufacture to the point of consumption ensuring that the requirements of the consumer are observed. Activities under logistics include information integration, warehousing, packaging, inventory, security, transportation, as well as handling of materials. Logistics compliments supply chain by add value to place, as well as time utility.

Logistics are identified in different fields due to performance value. These fields include procurement, after sales, production, disposal, as well as distribution fields. This paper will identify the areas where organizations involve logistics as well as the essence of an effective logistics to an organization.

These fields of logistics determine specific activities. Procurement logistics involve make/buy decisions, supplier and other management, as well as market research. Production logistics’ key principle is to connect procurement to distribution logistics. This field of logistics determines the capacities of production under available resources in response to distribution logistics. Distribution logistics deal with delivering of finished goods to the consumer or rather customers. Its components include processing, warehousing, as well as transportation. This logistics is most essential since the time, place as well as quantity of production vary from the time, place, and quantity of consumption.

Today, logistics have been simplified through technological advancements. Complexities which hinder effective logistics management can now be visualized, modeled, optimized and analyzed through particular simulation software. These complexities have necessitated the use of this software. Successful businesses are using this software to case the work of logistics analysis and hence providing effective strategies of managing supply and demand. Problems in logistics majorly occur in organizations that engage in product delivery but they can also occur in firms producing services (Ghiani, 2004). Examples of this include garbage collection, after sales services, as well as mail delivery, among others. Maintenance and operational cost of logistics is another hindrance of its use. Research conducted in the United Stated in 1997 proved that organizations used 862 billion dollars as the total logistics expenditure. It is hence essential for organizations to understand how to minimize logistics cost (Rushton, 2000).

Reliability and sustainability are other factors which affect the efficiency of logistics. Reliable systems as well as equipment’s should be able to perform intended purpose for the identified period under stated conditions through effective logistics. Inefficient logistics will lead to a wrong probability on performance capabilities of systems hence causing massive losses. Reliability will thus project the probability of systems and equipment in an organization (Landford, 2006).

In conclusion, the main issue under logistics is deciding how and when raw goods and finished products will be shipped, transported, and stored. This unlike other operations management is most evident in modern societies. A logistics system comprised of facilities that have been corresponded to the transportation services. Facilities include locations where goods are processed, and they include manufacturing centers, distribution centers, transportation terminals, as well as dumpsites, just to mention a few. The transportation services move goods between the facilities.

Information System and its Trends

Information System and technologies have become a vital component of successful businesses and organizations.

Information System means an interconnected set of information resources under the same direct management control that shares common functionality. A system normally includes hardware, software, information, data, applications, communications and people, while an information system is the arrangement of people, data, processes, presentation of data and information technology that supports our everyday needs. It is actually technologically implemented medium for recording, storing, and disseminating linguistic expressions, as well as for drawing conclusions from such expressions. The computer technology is used for implementing information systems.

TYPES OF AN INFORMATION SYSTEM

Information System can be divided in two basic forms

1. OPERATIONS SUPPORT

SYSTEMS

It is further subdivided into

the following

o Transaction Processing System (TPS)

o Enterprise Collaboration System

o Process Control System

2. MANAGEMENT SUPPORT

SYSTEM

It is further subdivided into the following

o Management Information System (MIS)

o Decision Support System (DSS)

o Executive Support System (ESS)

TOOLS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN INFORMATION SYSTEM

The steps which are involved in the development of an Information System are:

Analysis, Feasibility Study, System Design, Testing, Implementation, Documentation.

TRENDS IN INFORMATION SYSTEM:

It is generally accepted that information is a vital commodity for the successful operation of today’s organizations. Nowadays modern business organizations are using computerized information systems in order to obtain desired information. However, as the technology advances rapidly the main issue is how can an organization should effectively use such an information system which its management sometimes can be unpredictable in order to effectively help the whole organization structure to improve and take the most out of it.

It seems fairly obvious that Information systems have played an important linking role even before the advent of the Internet. Thus, for example, the possibilities offered by Information systems have strongly influenced the way managers were able to exercise control and therefore constituted an important factor in the organization of large-scale enterprise and their geographic extension. The same is true for governments and their statistical apparatus. The recent integration of computer networks and electronic data exchange facilitated the creation of common databases and policies among governments, speeding up developments, which had started earlier. It also created new possibilities for business, for example enabling companies to develop new organizational practices (e.g. just-in-time).

However, the role of Information systems in the organization is shifting to support business processes rather than individual functions. The focus is outwards to customers, rather than inwards to procedures. Businesses are changing more and more rapidly.

This poses a challenge to existing Information systems, which are often inappropriately structured to meet these needs. It also poses a challenge to the people who design, work and use these systems, since they may hold outdated assumptions.

To ensure the services provided by Information systems whenever needed and their failure will not cause catastrophic disaster their reliability and efficiency become extremely important. Imagine what would happen when a banking system malfunctions due to some critical faults in the system or when a healthcare information system provides wrong advice for patients.

It is even not over-saying that our lives are already under control of computer systems but their reliability and efficiency has become extremely important

APPLICATIONS OF INFORMATION SYSTEM:

There is a wide range of applications of information system that are implemented in today’s world. To name a few such as

1. Sales analysis, production performance and cost trend

reporting system

2. Product Pricing, profitability forecasting and risk

analysis system

3. Sales and inventory processing and accounting System

4. Geographic Information systems

5. Health Care Information Systems

6. Banking Information System

7. Petroleum Refining System

8. Power Generation System

9. Steel Production System

What Services Do Property Management Companies Offer?

Owning real estate is a wonderful feeling, especially for those who have really toiled for many years to become a property owner. Though it might sound a little materialistic, but a property is actually a mark of someone’s hard work. Thus, when a family has to relocate to some other place far from their land or property, due to job commitment or any other reason, it is a natural concern to be worried about the property. Managing the property effectively, without keeping an eye on it regularly, is almost impossible for the landlord. This is exactly when a property owner should start looking for a professional property management company. However, it is good to know what services these property management companies offer before you go ahead and fix a meeting with any agency. This would actually give you a clear idea of what you should expect and ask for while interviewing the property manager.

Basically, these companies deal with flats, villas, independent houses, rental apartments and commercial properties. Once you sign a legal agreement with any of these companies, it actually becomes their responsibility to rent out your property by searching suitable tenants. To look for right tenants, they advertise your property through the local media. The replies that come to the property advertisement are promptly attended by the company. Their expert staff then shows the whole rental property to the prospective tenants. In fact a clear and detailed report is provided to the landlord on all those potential tenants who had come to check out the property. This is to ensure that the landlord makes a right decision. Once the tenants are finalized, then the company would execute a rental agreement.

The responsibility of the company does not end here. They collect monthly rent on the landlord’s behalf and deposit it into his bank account. Apart from the timely rent collection, the professionals would also visit the property regularly, in order to make sure that it is efficiently maintained and not harmed by the tenants. Professional photographers are hired to take the photographs of various parts of a property to be sent to the landlord. Though these visits by the property managers are periodical, they are always keen to help tenants if they find anything objectionable.

Also, in case there is a repair work to be done, the company takes care of it by appointing an external contractor to fix the problem areas. Another very important service offered by a property management agency is conducting an inventory audit. It is conducted when a property is rented out to a tenant and when he/she vacates it. The reason for conducting this audit is to make sure that all physical assets of the property are in a good condition. To summarize, the services proffered by a property management company play a pivotal role in reducing the burden of a landlord, owning multiple properties. Therefore when you actually enter into a contract with such a company and you can indeed be totally assured of getting quality services.

Guide to Upgrading Your Business Information Systems

Upgrading your business information system is a necessary process that every successful organization should implement. This process could exist in a formal or an informal way wherever a business uses information technology. Since this will require you to become a customer to a number of different vendors, the process of upgrading your information systems becomes a lot about management skills, and requires that one is knowledgeable about the subject before taking it on.

Information systems in your business involve more than just hardware and include operating systems, telecommunication service providers, equipment and applications procured from outside providers.

Given the technical knowledge and managerial skill sets that are required to successfully upgrade your business information systems constantly, many businesses often end up spending more than they should while performing this operation because of insufficient planning. In this age when the economy is recovering from a financial crisis, it is important to optimize the upgrading process and save money by planning well. Managers of large corporations in charge of the upgrading process concern themselves with making the process more efficient, and with this aim in mind will use tools like procurement cards and EDI. In addition to this, they work to reduce the cycle time of their contracts and use various tracking systems to manage business assets.

In smaller businesses, these measures may be unnecessary; however if an organization is considering upgrading their business information system, it might be a good idea to have one or more dedicated staff members oversee the process. This person, or team, will be required to maintain an inventory of all the assets owned by the business, and perform routine checks on the equipment. In addition to this, they will need to identify the equipment that needs upgrading, and the level of urgency. They will also need to interact with vendors to ensure that you get the best value for your new procurements, and that the new equipment meets all the requirement of your business.

Since business information systems need constant upgrading, it is important to develop a working relationship with certain vendors, and maintain this relationship to ensure better service and more efficient processes. It is also important to ensure that there is a strict benchmark maintained in performance standards, and all equipment and assets in the company. This will affect all further procurements and discards. You will also need to constantly update your plan for upgrading with an eye on your current business model and goals.

Limitations Of Management Information Systems

A Management Information System (MIS) is a precious technology that organizations use to measure the efficiency of their business operations as well as performance of their employees. The MIS endows with thorough insight of a company and supports management for making decisive business decisions. Though the MIS provides big number of advantages, but yet it also comes with a few limitations. In this article, we will be focusing on that part of management information system.

Security

This is the very significant area of management information system and it should be well secured. All the important as well as the secret data are there stored in an MIS and which is not supposed to seen by anyone outside the company or anyone who is not authorized to do so. However, it happens sometimes and the important data gets seep out of the organization. It affects the company a lot in business and hence the companies should focus more on this security part. Let’s discuss a few ways how the security of an MIS can be broken.

Hackers: At present, a number of people who have excellent IT knowledge hack this kind of system, maybe for money or for some other purposes.

Ex- employees: In some cases, it has been seen that the account of employees are active in MIS site even after they got out from there. Sometimes, these accounts can be used for some negative purposes.

Virus: While the employees of any organization use this system, they should make sure that their operating device or computer is virus free. If the device has dangerous viruses then these can be a concern for the security of the MIS.

Server

All the data are stored in a particular server, which is also known as the hosting server. The upload time of any server cannot be 100%. It may be 90% or 99%. But, never can be the fullest. So, the site can be down for anytime. Hence, this is another limitation for management information system.

Internet

Same as server, Internet is also a part where MIS has to be dependent. If someone cannot access the net services or the weather is cloudy or maybe the user is in remote or rural area where no network is, then he or she won’t be able to get access of management information system.

So, these are a few limitations that a management information system has to over come in future. However, with having those limitations, yet it helps a lot to the organization, the down line employees and top level managers to take proper decisions for the well of the company.

How to Evaluate Your Finance Department

Nobody knows your business better than you do. After all, you are the CEO. You know what the engineers do; you know what the production managers do; and nobody understands the sales process better than you. You know who is carrying their weight and who isn’t. That is, unless we’re talking about the finance and accounting managers.

Most CEO’s, especially in small and mid-size enterprises, come from operational or sales backgrounds. They have often gained some knowledge of finance and accounting through their careers, but only to the extent necessary. But as the CEO, they must make judgments about the performance and competence of the accountants as well as the operations and sales managers.

So, how does the diligent CEO evaluate the finance and accounting functions in his company? All too often, the CEO assigns a qualitative value based on the quantitative message. In other words, if the Controller delivers a positive, upbeat financial report, the CEO will have positive feelings toward the Controller. And if the Controller delivers a bleak message, the CEO will have a negative reaction to the person. Unfortunately, “shooting the messenger” is not at all uncommon.

The dangers inherent in this approach should be obvious. The Controller (or CFO, bookkeeper, whoever) may realize that in order to protect their career, they need to make the numbers look better than they really are, or they need to draw attention away from negative matters and focus on positive matters. This raises the probability that important issues won’t get the attention they deserve. It also raises the probability that good people will be lost for the wrong reasons.

The CEO’s of large public companies have a big advantage when it comes to evaluating the performance of the finance department. They have the audit committee of the board of directors, the auditors, the SEC, Wall Street analyst and public shareholders giving them feedback. In smaller businesses, however, CEO’s need to develop their own methods and processes for evaluating the performance of their financial managers.

Here are a few suggestions for the small business CEO:

Timely and Accurate Financial Reports

Chances are that at some point in your career, you have been advised that you should insist on “timely and accurate” financial reports from your accounting group. Unfortunately, you are probably a very good judge of what is timely, but you may not be nearly as good a judge of what is accurate. Certainly, you don’t have the time to test the recording of transactions and to verify the accuracy of reports, but there are some things that you can and should do.

  • Insist that financial reports include comparisons over a number of periods. This will allow you to judge the consistency of recording and reporting transactions.
  • Make sure that all anomalies are explained.
  • Recurring expenses such as rents and utilities should be reported in the appropriate period. An explanation that – “there are two rents in April because we paid May early” – is unacceptable. The May rent should be reported as a May expense.
  • Occasionally, ask to be reminded about the company’s policies for recording revenues, capitalizing costs, etc.

Beyond Monthly Financial Reports

You should expect to get information from your accounting and finance groups on a daily basis, not just when monthly financial reports are due. Some good examples are:

  • Daily cash balance reports.
  • Accounts receivable collection updates.
  • Cash flow forecasts (cash requirements)
  • Significant or unusual transactions.

Consistent Work Habits

We’ve all known people who took it easy for weeks, then pulled an all-nighter to meet a deadline. Such inconsistent work habits are strong indicators that the individual is not attentive to processes. It also sharply raises the probability of errors in the frantic last-minute activities.

Willingness to Be Controversial

As the CEO, you need to make it very clear to the finance/accounting managers that you expect frank and honest information and that they will not be victims of “shoot the messenger” thinking. Once that assurance is given, your financial managers should be an integral part of your company’s management team. They should not be reluctant to express their opinions and concerns to you or to other department leaders.

The Importance of a Balance Sheet

An individual has two primary tools for managing personal finances. The Personal Balance Sheet is ignored and the Budget is the darling of Financial Consultants and the media. The key to understanding personal finances is that you have to understand your Budget and Balance Sheet individually and also how they work in combination to give you a complete snapshot of your personal finances.

Your balance sheet is extremely important because it shows you where the gold is. It is your personal Fort Knox. It is also extremely important because you need to have a stash of gold in your personal financial picture. The gold in your Balance Sheet is not the Assets. They are the positive side of your Balance Sheet but the real picture of how much gold you have in your Fort Knox is your Net Worth. So just as important to your Balance sheet is your Liabilities. The total of your Liabilities is subtracted from the total of your Assets to give you your Net Worth.

You fill out your Balance Sheet and total up your Assets and Liabilities. You subtract the total of your Liabilities from your Assets. That number, your Net Worth will come out to either a negative amount, an amount of or near to zero, or it will be substantially positive. These are the only 3 scenarios possible.

• If your net worth is a minus number, you are not managing your financial resources properly. Your Balance sheet is your report card and you are failing. It is that simple. If you are managing your money to deal with life’s challenges and planning your personal finances with your retirement in mind, your Net Worth should be positive and growing. If your Net Worth is positive, you can ride out financial storms like the current situation. At the time of your retirement, your Net Worth must be substantially positive so that you will be able to keep costs down and have investment income to replace your working income. During your working years, your Net Worth should be growing steadily because a retirement nest egg does not grow without years of nurturing.

• There are circumstances where it is acceptable to have a Net Worth of Zero or near Zero. The first is when you are just starting out. It just makes sense that it would be zero. You may have student loans but that is offset by some form of education that will allow you to make more money in the course of your lifetime. The key is that this is the best time to start building your net worth. It allows the principal of compounding value to work its magic on your assets for decades. That saves you a lot of work later in life. However, most of us are not that wise and we find ourselves in our 30s and 40s with little or no Net Worth. This means you have less time for compounding to work. So you have to work harder and especially manage your money smarter to prepare for the financial challenges you face going forward. The nice thing is that you have probably made some mistakes that have made you much wiser. You should be able to recover much faster than you would have in your undisciplined youth.

• If you have a positive net worth that means that you are building assets. Just as important is that you are controlling your debt. This is the key that has probably gotten you to this situation. The key to a positive Balance Sheet is that debt offsets the value of your assets when you look at your personal finances as a complete picture so your debt/equity ratio should be less than one and get smaller and smaller. Debt servicing saps cash flow on your budget that could be used to build assets that can be used to produce income in your retirement years. Clear title ownership of assets such as your home reduce cash draw and this is incredibly important as you approach retirement.

The financial crisis we are in now is described as a Balance Sheet crisis. We are in this crisis because nobody was paying attention to their Balance Sheets, not even at the towering heights of our financial infrastructure. The symptoms were everywhere. While researching I found that the top sites on the internet for Balance Sheet are those who want to sell you something so that they can gain access to any assets on your balance sheet that might be left after this disaster. Before the disaster, the only thing that had any importance was whether a potential buyer of anything could afford to make the payments on whatever he was buying assuming he made 120% of his stated income. The most outrageous symptom was that people would take appreciating home equity and borrow against it to buy depreciating assets and consumer goods. They overbooked their budgets and now they have gutted their balance sheet.

The resulting loss of home values is the disaster we have now where people have either a zero or minus Net Worth. The other aspect is that we are now wiser. For the good of our society and our financial infrastructure we had better be. Going forward we must pay attention to our Balance Sheets and recognize that is where the gold is. You must save and protect your gold. Net Worth is where financial power is and that is the Importance of a Balance Sheet.

The Importance of Import and Export

No matter how rich a country is, how small or big it is, no nation is self-sufficient. It will never be totally independent from the rest and have everything it needs. Every country, no matter how powerful it is, needs raw materials from other countries to produce products that it needs or that is needed by other countries. In short, every country is involved in import export transactions.

Hundreds of years ago, Europe, the Far East and the United States were already importing and exporting goods between themselves and other countries. It had already set up a simple system of trading and global sourcing, albeit on a smaller scale. Today, import and export has become a very important part of the economy. This business has flourished into a more sophisticated but convenient, smoother and safer business. Risks are minimized with more international trading laws that aim to protect both importers and exporters. Regulating and governing bodies such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) has streamlined the export import system. Trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have greatly contributed to the growth of the industry.

It is also now highly possible for small countries to go beyond the borders of their countries and reach out to a wider marketplace that can bring in products and supplies that they need. The businesses in these countries can benefit from having lower product costs and have a competitive edge over bigger countries. The demand for more imported products is growing exponentially and businesses are taking these import export opportunities seriously. There are new international markets open for both importers and exporters that have brought in a lot of opportunities for companies to lower production or buying costs and make higher profits.

Because of global sourcing, businesses have access to more product and technology choices that are up to international standards that are otherwise not available in that particular place. Importing products offers an alternative source of supply so there is reduced dependence on local suppliers for products that may have a limited supply. Exporting products give countries a chance to expand its market outside its territories.

With more information available to the businessmen following the advent of the internet and advancement of technology, all types of businesses can take advantage of the many import export business opportunities available. It is not so surprising for a processor to be exported from the Philippines to Taiwan for assembly into laptops.

Singapore then imports the laptop for Asian distribution then re-exports it back to other countries within its Asian sales territory.

Advanced trade systems have given businesses the assurance that transactions can flow smoothly and securely. Several companies have seamlessly integrated its import export business transactions with its operations by bringing in professional manpower that understands the intricacies of the business and who have undergone import export training courses.

With enough information and assistance from knowledgeable personnel, businesses are able to take advantage of the many import export business opportunities for both purchasing and marketing as well as make use of business systems that can help the company achieve maximum advantage in the international market.