Cases

Defining an Information Technology Blueprint for a Group of Diversified Companies in Textiles, School Stationery and Commodities Trading

Challenge

The client, a group of diversified companies in textiles, school stationery and commodities trading wanted to have an integrated information system across group companies, suppliers and customers for the following reasons:

  • To streamline operations
  • To make information available “anyplace, anywhere, anytime”
  • To focus senior management time on planning rather than operations
  • To make better decisions on product mix, capacity utilisation
  • To proactively replenish stock of customers and improve customer service
  • Support continuous product improvement and research and development
  • Allow seamless “B2B” and “B2C” integration with suppliers and customers

Their electronic data processing (EDP) department had developed software modules on a need basis. However, the in-house software modules could not be implemented due to the following reasons:

  • Lack of integration among modules
  • Lack of integration leading to voluminous data entry
  • Poor user training
  • Slow processing speed
  • Lack of systems documentation
  • Shortage of skilled manpower
  • Lack of scheduling and planning in EDP

Thus, the client turned to UC to provide the information technology blueprint for the same.

Our Approach

To develop the information technology blueprint, UC took the following approach:

  • Interviewed key people to understand the operations and information requirement of different users
  • Identified core and support functions
  • Defined an information schematic for each function for each organisation on the basis of interviews and feedback
  • Examined the applicability of ‘best practices’ for IT usage among manufacturing companies for individual companies
  • Defined applications and documented functionality descriptions for each application and identified the integration among modules
  • Examined current inventory of hardware, software and communications network
  • Defined priorities for implementations of applications and modules
  • Identified key issues affecting smooth implementation of the existing systems
  • Recommended packaged off-the-shelf software to support the requirements and phased implementation of the packaged software based on the defined priorities
  • Highlighted the key risks of implementing information technology to the system.

Impact

The client received an in-depth information technology blueprint to form an integrated information system across its group companies, and its suppliers and customers.