Question & Answer: Suggest what are the critical improvements needed. In addition, discuss what approach…..


You are a consultant in a business consulting firm. You are assigned to a client, Auto Glass Company (AGC), a manufacturer of an automobile glass. In the first meeting with AGC you find that AGC uses old in-house developed software to record transactions in its following functions: Sales Department, Accounting Department, Purchasing Department, Warehouse and the Factory. The software used in each function is not integrated, requiring manual processes to link one function to another. AGC is a listed company that is run like a family business. It has a low employee turnover and a company culture that highly trusts employees’ integrity. However, AGC realizes that as a listed company it needs to have better corporate governance especially as it is planning to expand to the international market. One of AGC’s main problem is dealing with the document used in the manual processes. AGC often loses the document, although each document type is properly stored in a separate tray and in numerical order. In addition, AGC realises that the design of its system results in document output that provides an insufficient audit trail. The latter is exacerbated by the fact that the system does not have proper user profile management; it segregates users per roles but not per person. Therefore, personnel with the same roles, for example, sales staff, must share the same user ID. In view of those deficiencies, AGC wants to adopt an ERP.

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
Question & Answer: Suggest what are the critical improvements needed. In addition, discuss what approach…..
Order Essay

Business Process

The following is the narration that you received from AGC Internal Audit Department. This narration is created by the AGC internal audit department after interviewing relevant employees.

Every day AGC receives purchase orders from its customers that are filed after processing. AGC makes goods to order. It does not stock finished goods. It only stocks raw materials. For every order, a sales staff in the Sales Department creates a sales order in the system. During this process, the sales staff inputs the customer details based on the customer master data and item details based on a product list data file stored in the system. AGC customers are car manufacturers and distributors only. Therefore, all customers have previously been verified and are listed in the customer master data. The customer master data is maintained by a sales analyst and lists the customer name, address for billing and delivery, credit limit and terms of payment as well as other permanent details. Since AGC only deals with limited and largely long-time customers, credit check is not done for every order. It is only reviewed every end of the month by the sales manager—who remembers the credit limit of all customers—once the customer account balance report is received from the Accounting Department. After all sales order data have been entered and saved in the sales order data file, the system prints three copies of the sales order to the printer at the sales manager’s room. The printed sales order is then reviewed and signed by the sales manager. The sales staff then keeps sales order copy 1 in the sales order tray and the copy 2 and copy 3 are sent to, respectively, the Warehouse and the Accounting Department. The sales staff then make a phone call to the customers’ purchasing staff to advise sales confirmation and estimated delivery date.

Upon receiving the sales order copy 2, the warehouse manager on duty creates a picking list for that order based on the bill of materials (BOM) master data in the system. The BOM determines the types and amount of raw materials needed for each order. Then the picking list is printed and given to the warehouse staff. When the picking list is printed, the system updates the level of raw material stock.

Therefore, if a raw material reaches the reorder point, the system automatically creates a purchase requisition (PR). The warehouse manager then prints it and sends it off to the Purchasing Department.

Once the warehouse staff has picked all the required materials, the sales order copy 2 is sent along with the raw materials to the Factory. The picking list is then stored in picking list tray. At the end of the month, once the warehouse staff complete the physical stock count using a printed form, the warehouse manager on duty reconciles the level of stock based on the physical stock count form and the picking slips.

After the Factory receives the raw materials and the sales order copy 2, the factory manager on duty creates production notice in the system based on the sales order copy 2 and prints it. The sales order is stored in sales order copy 2 tray. The production notice is given to the first section of the Factory that commences the production of the automobile glass. The process of producing the automobile glass is sequential, therefore, the production notice goes along the process until the last section where staff stamps “COMPLETED” on the production notice.

Once the production completes, the finished goods and the production notice are sent to the Shipping Bay next to the Factory where checking and packing are done before the finished goods are shipped to the customers. Here, the shipping staff checks the quality of the finished goods and matches it with the production notice. The shipping staff then stamps “CHECKED” on the production notice and stores it in the production notice tray. Once the shipping staff have packed the goods, they create the shipping slips in the system based on the checked production notice and print three copies of the shipping slips. The packed goods are picked up by the courier at the scheduled time. Upon the pick-up, the courier reviews the shipping slips to the packed goods and signs off. The shipping staff then sign it too and checks for completeness before attaching the shipping slip copy 1 to the packed goods, stores copy 2 in the shipping slip tray and sends copy 3 to the Accounting Department. At the end of the day, in order to determine the level of goods produced, shipped and on backlog, the factory manager on duty retrieves and reconciles sales order copy 2, production notice and shipping slips copy 2.

As soon as account receivables (AR) staff in the Accounting Department receive shipping slips copy 3 from the shipping staff, the AR staff create AR entries in the system based on the shipping slip after matching it with the sales order copy 3 (that they received earlier from the sales staff). The AR is then saved to the AR data file and the physical documents filed. At the end of the day, the accounting manager prints invoices for all unbilled AR, then reviews and signs them. The AR staff then sends signed invoices to customers. Typically, close to the due date of the invoices, customers deposit the payment to the AGC bank account and send the remittance advice to AGC. Every end of the month, the cashier in the Accounting Department records the cash receipt into the system after reconciling the remittance advice to the monthly bank statement from the Bank. This process updates the AR data file and the advice and statements are filed. As soon as the cash receipt recording is completed, the AR staff prepare a customer account balance report based on the updated AR data, print it and then sends it to the Sales Manager.

At the end of the month, the IT department processes end of month closing based on relevant data from all department and produces the trial balance.

Expert Answer

Critical Improvements Needed:

1. Challenge: Operational inefficiencies due to dependence on manual data entry

Improvement needed: Each process in AGC develops multiple copies of documents and manual data entry. The missing of document would affect the process as well as the output. AGC needs to improve the information flow between various stages by improving the data entry process. AGS needs to improve the data entry process by integrating the planning systems to reduce creating multiple copies of data and streamline the process.

2. Challenge: No integration in software in various departments leading to silo functioning, poor collaboration and high cycle time

Improvement needed: The collaboration between the departments is limited because of the silo functioning of the processes instead of an integrated process. The old in-house software system should be replaced by a state-of-the-art system that can compile the data for each department and make it accessible to relevant managers.

3. Challenge: Poor data management leading to data loss, redundancy and poor traceability and audit.

Improvement needed: Due to multiple printed copies, there is data redundancy and chances of loss of data. Such system is also leading to huge data compilations at the end of day and month. A data management system would help in keeping the track of critical information from each process and improve the productivity by saving the time on reconciling the data from various stages. This will also improve the audit trail.

4. Challenge: Dependency on single employee like sales manager for critical information like credit limit for customer.

Improvement needed: In AGC, critical data like the customer credit limit resides with a single person. This can lead to problems in data availability at various times and dependency on a single person. This can also be the source of error. An integrated system with accessibility to relevant managers would improve the flow of information and can help in regular credit checks on the customer if required.

5. Challenge: No real time tracking of work in progress, goods produced, shipped etc.

Improvement needed: The tracking is done at the beginning and end of various processes. This makes it difficult to understand the work in process inventory. Also, the data is consolidated at day-end and month –ends which may lead to difficulties if some errors arise. Real time data tracking would make the process more efficient and lead to less errors.

What approach to be used?

Total Quality Management (TQM) focusses incremental change and gradual improvement of processes while Business process engineering (BPR) focusses on the redesign of process and radical change. TQM provides output over an open-ended period of time, while Business process reengineering can help in improving work processes in a specific time frame. In this case of AGC, we need results soon to expand to international markets. Also, TQM emphasis on the use of statistical process control while BPR emphasis on the use of information technology. In this case, the implementation of an ERP system is more aligned with BPR. Business Process Re-engineering results in changes among the structures and processes within the business environment, so it is more suitable approach in this case.

Still stressed from student homework?
Get quality assistance from academic writers!