Systems Use in Business
Systems (IS) are interrelated components working together to “collect, process,
store and disseminate information to support decision making, coordination,
control, analysis and visualization in an organisation.” (Prentice-Hall, 2012.)
spreadsheet software was created by Robert Frankston and Dan Bricklin in 1979.
It enabled employees to complete accounting tasks quicker, by automating the
process. (D.J. Power, n.d.). Today IS are used by organisations to make
communication more seamless through internal and external communications
between employees, employers and customers.
are reliant on IS as it displays how information passes through an organisation
via technology, processes and people. Five components come from this, “hardware,
software, data, people, and process’ (Bourgeois, 2014) The first three fit
under technology however people and process are their own entities.
theory is the study of the nature of systems, used as an outline to examine any
group of objects that work together to produce something. Ludwig von
Bertalanffy (1901-1972), known as one of the founders of the general system
theory, questioned whether systems could be defined by their “inherent nature
and characteristics” (Breen & Hussain, 2012). A human cannot be described
with two characteristics like two legs or two arms, so systems shouldn’t be
looked at by one characteristic. You should look at what works together in the
system to define it.
systems approach looks at subsystems and this is part of the system theory.
Each system consists of a set of interacting subsystems (Constable and New,
1976). The reductionist way of thinking is to break something down to smaller
subcomponents, until you get to the finer details and you can look at the
system holistically. Subsystems share a common goal to together to create a
desired outcome (Breen & Hussain, 2012). One concept is the input, which is
what goes into the system. The process is another concept, where the output is
created. The output is the desired outcome. (Cs.unb.ca, 2017). Boundary is a
concept that can be described as something that is within the extent of the
system and whatever interacts with the business (environment). It is important
to define the boundary of a system because it allows an organisation to
separate the system from the environment. It allows you to see what effects the
system and what isn’t important to the system. (Breen & Hussain, 2012).
The systems thinking concepts allow
you to identify the key work processes carried out in manufacturing at Samsung
Samsung Electronics (SE) was
founded in Suwon, Korea in 1969. (Samsung pk, 2017). It is the flagship of
Samsung Group. SE have advanced facilities supporting excellent manufacturing
capability. Currently SE has assembly plants and sales networks in 79 countries.
(News.samsung.com). SE purpose is to create “quality products that enhance
convenience”, as well as shaping the world with its “pursuit of ground-breaking
innovations’. This is summarised by their core principle, “inspire the world,
create the future” (Samsung pk, 2017). The innovative capability for Samsung is
the speed of product development and product innovation. Samsung consistently
create new or improved products.
The plant factory of Samsung that
will be explored is in Gumi, Korea. It is a factory that is known for creating
the company’s high-end smartphones. (Kovach, 2017). The manufacturing process
at the factory is a mixture of mass and continuous processes using product
layout. The service process type is mass services.
The systems approach allows you to
break down the manufacturing system to view the subsystems that exist. The
diagram below shows a visual representation of this at the Gumi, Korea factory.
Samsung Electronics – Gumi, Korea
subsystems exist inside the manufacturing system; Primary assembly, testing and
packaging (Segan, 2014). They all play a
role in putting the phones together, so that they are ready to be shipped and
sold to customers.
first stage of processing (assembly) begins when materials are input into the
system. This process has been enhanced by usage of technology in the assembly. Automated
robotic systems are used to carry out pre-programmed tasks like creating chips
and diodes from strips of plastic with ease. Once the robotic systems finish,
the work is carried to the next workstation and workers will put the parts
together. Lastly, any excess material is removed from the product. (Segan,
2014). The assembly process was made famous by Henry Ford. Parts are worked on
in a workstation and then moved to the next workstation. Parts are assembled in
a sequence, so the product can be produced efficiently. Ford wanted
transportation of parts to be between convenient distances for it to be
efficient. (Ford & Crowther 1922).
The next sub-system
is testing and quality control. This is crucial in ensuring that the phones have
no faults. The product (output) will be tested against the specification. Here
majority of the tests carried out are automated using robotic systems. Further
tests will be taken to make sure the phones camera are as they should be.
Computer software has been used to automate these work activities, although
testing will become complicated when there are faults with the products. Repair
staff will fix these faults and get the phones back on the system to continue
the process. (Segan, 2014)
The final subsystem is the
packaging process. Products are put into boxes alongside their instruction
manual and cables. Automation is also used at this stage with the robotic truck
system that will come along to pick up the boxes. The robots accelerate the
process by scanning the barcodes of the products. This data is stored into the
manufacturing system to calculate the number of phones that have been produced
to separate and individualise them. The boxes are transported to the shipping
floor and the output has been created. (Segan, 2014).
diagram below uses systems thinking to show the systems that exist in SE. Each
system has interrelations and interlinks.
Research & Development
Accounting & Finance
Systems are goal seeking and are
aiming to create the output. Inputs can be things like raw materials, research
or capital. The output is the product created. Outside of the boundaries are
customers and they can impact a business. Samsung has an open system, which
means it interacts with outside influences. For example, if customers are
choosing to buy phones from competitors like Apple and Sony. Samsung would have
to find a way to attract their customers back and this is the systems immediate
environment. The departments may try to resolve this by introducing a new
product or by improving existing products.
How the systems interlink
with the manufacturing department
purchasing department will be given things like a stock order from the
manufacturing department. The purchasing department will ensure that these
items are purchased, so the manufacturing department has the necessary materials
to carry out their work in the system.
This determines the amount of money the
manufacturing department will receive. E.g. To buy new equipment for the
creation of products.
recruit and train people to work in the departments. The manufacturing system
may need a specialist worker and they may require new workers to help them on
a build. They will request this from the HRM department. The HRM will also be
responsible of handing out wages to the workers.
tell the manufacturing system about products they should focus on assembling.
This will be done to increase sales and profits. The Marketing system will
tell them when to stop producing a product. E.g. when the sale cycle for it
develop new ideas for how manufacturing can be done. For example, to produce
goods quicker and improve quality. They may inform the manufacturing system
of new products they have tested and prototypes that need to be considered.
Feedback refers to the changes that
need to be made to the output, so that next time it meets the system’s goals
better and the outcome is improved. There is negative and positive feedback. If
the phones receive negative feedback, the process will start again as an input
and the system will try to improve the phones based on the feedback. When
feedback is positive, the output will still be fed back to the system, but this
time for further growth and improvement (Breen & Hussain, 2012).
Mobile computing devices have
developed increasingly over the years and organisations have chosen to take
advantage of this by implementing them into their workplace. Today workers and
businesses can use technological devices to access the internet to bring many
benefits to their organisation.
Manufacturers could use a tablet
like an Apple iPad (portable PC), it has over 1 million apps and it could be
used by the Samsung workers to improve the automation carried out in the
assembly work. For example, workers could easily control the automated systems
used in manufacturing without having to disrupt the machine from carrying out
its work. Changes to the automated systems can be done instantly using the iPad
and workflow isn’t interrupted. iPads are WiFi compatible and can be configured
to work with the automated systems. Workers can complete tasks efficiently as
they don’t have to make changes to the system by stopping the machines. This
improves the manufacturers work, because they’re programming the robotic
systems beforehand and if changes need to be made to the data, workers will
interrupt the process and reset the systems. The 8MP and FaceTime HD cameras
can be used to video call other subsystems over the internet and this is more
efficient then meeting up.
The Fitbit Ionic smartwatch device
connects to WiFi. It can be used to meet deadlines and manage time effectively.
The watch is enabled with a call, text and calendar function. Information and
notes can be stored on the device. This can be accessed at any time, with
workers just having to look at their wrists. This improves the current work
processes as communication is flowing. Workers don’t have to meet physically
like they already are. Workers can multitask by calling other workers, while
carrying out their work. Workers in the assembly process will be able to
contact workers in the packaging process, informing them on when the products
are created. This improves productivity for the business and less time is
consumed. NFC is also included, which is used to scan NFC tagged products;
product information is accessible through the watch. The GPS will ensure
workers know where they need to be and where to navigate to.
Samsung manufacturing calculate the
amount of stock used and left each day. This information is stored on computers
used in the current work processes. The problem that arises from this is that
material can be miscalculated, because a lot of it goes to waste and ends up
missing. The usage of an MC3200 mobile computer would improve the current work
processes at Samsung manufacturing because this device is used to monitor and
control stock. The device had a 1D laser scanner that instantly scan barcodes
and log them into the stock data. The device can also be used to automate
orders for more stock and this information can be passed to the purchasing
department via WiFi. This saves a lot of time and is more efficient than
manually logging this information.
Information and operating systems
are key to businesses and will remain important for the foreseeable future. The
systems thinking concepts and general systems theory was applied to my chosen
organisation. This showed the key work processes carried out in my proposed
area of work. Systems thinking allowed me to look at Samsung Electronics as a
system and I was able to open the organisation up to see what existed inside.
This helped me talk about the interlinks and work processes carried out by
different subsystems and departments. After completing task 1, I figured out
how work processes carried out in manufacturing at Samsung could be improved by
the usage of mobile devices that can connect to the internet. These devices
would be used to improve productivity and efficiency for Samsung Electronics.
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