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COIT20251 Knowledge Audits for Business Analysis

Published : 08-Sep,2021  |  Views : 10

Question:

Analyse the above scenario, identifying and reporting on the following areas: 
1. As a Business Analyst (BA), perform a business knowledge audit particularly about the functional units, jobs and roles (who, why, how, what, where and when) in the provided scenario. Provide a brief statement of the problem and business case from the perspective of a BA. 
2. Identify the information to be collected from people with each functional unit’s job knowledge and roles, and include knowledge sources for such information (stakeholder analysis) 
3. Document the business context, the main business processes with functional relation between processes, and justify the appropriateness of any useful cited diagram or your own developed diagram using a modelling tool. 

Answer:

Great Korea is a manufacturer and distributor of Korean Groceries that specializes in canned foods and bottled drinks that are produced in Australia. The company carries out most of its administrative and business operations like sales, marketing, warehousing, purchasing, staff payroll and customer service with very little use of information and communication technology (ICT). However, the management thinks that for the company to be competitive in the market, supply chain costs have to be reduced with improvements in management using ICT.

This project involves a business analysis of the company including exploration of the functional units, job profiles and roles within the organization. The current scenario of the company operations have been analyzed to come up with a problem statement and a business case. The report also includes stakeholder analysis done for understanding the business requirements and business process modelling to understand the functional and business processes used in the organization.

2. Business case 

In the current situation, the grocery store has a large number of warehouses from where it is operating that are operated manually. However, to gain competence in the growing market by improving their services, it needed that the business starts to innovate through the use of ICT and bring up the efficiencies of its operations and performance of its employees (Nielsen , 2013).

The Company has multiple business operations that include sales, marketing, warehousing, purchasing, staff payroll and customer service. These processes are managed manually by the staff of the grocery retailer with very little use of technology. The organization operates through its warehouses across Australia located in the capital cities of various states and territories. Products sold by the company are located in numbered isles on large shelves inside these warehouses. Whenever a customer needs a product, customer service staff assists the customer with locating the products in these shelves. Sold products are recorded on journal rolls and sales receipts are printed for customers at the sales terminal. The purchasing staffs checks the stocks manually for the reordering. The availability of any product can be discovered by the customer by visiting the store or calling the customer care (Bplan, 2016).

3. Stakeholder analysis 

A stakeholder analysis of the company would help identify the resource that is required by the organization to achieve the goal of performance improvement. It would also help in identification of all the important stakeholders as knowledge sources, their influences on the improvement factors, their interest in bring improvements through ICT, their expectations, communication needs, and the knowledge that can be obtained from them including documentation for bring improvement in the organization (Chetcuti, 2008). The table below identifies various key stakeholders along with all the analysis information:

Stakeholder group

Stakeholder

Influence

Interest

Expectations

Communication Needs

Mode

Knowledge

Documentation

Internal

Company owner

High

High

Project should get good returns on investments

The implementation of ICT must bring performance benefits

The owner of the company has to be communicated about the project before approving it such that an approval is taken from the owner to go ahead with it

Meeting

Physical document submission

Strategic goals of the organization

Functional Objectives of the Organization

Current challenges of the organization

Project  charter would be approved by owner

A business requirement document would be prepared based on the feedback

Internal

Supply Chain Manager

Moderate

Moderate

Simplification of processes through the use of ICT

Training on using ICT systems for supply chain management

Supply chain manager would be approached at the time of the requirement gathering such that the objectives and needs of the ICT development project can be understood and the challenges faced by the company can be explored to identify ICT solutions that can solve overcome them

Meeting for gathering requirements

Email for updates

 

The challenges faced by supply chain used by the organization and the needs for automation of the system would be understood

Inputs for the business requirement document

Documentation of the testing criteria (Brodar, et al., 2009)

Internal

Warehouse Manager

Moderate

High

Simplification of warehouse management processes through the use of ICT

Training on using ICT systems for warehouse management

Warehouse manager has to be closely coordinated with for understanding requirements, ensuring provision of resources, and testing

Meeting with the project manager and the team

Emails and calls for regular communication

Understanding the structure of the warehouse, processes used for managing inventory and other warehouse processes, and need for automation in the warehouse.

Inputs for Business Requirement Document

Project planning

Project Scheduling

Resource Allocation

Software testing (Reinartz, et al., 2011)

Internal

Customer Service Staff

Low

Moderate

Availability of the inventory data to serve customers

Training on the ICT systems to be able to operate

Customer service staff has to be closely coordinated with for understanding requirements, allocation of tasks to resources, and testing

Meeting with the project manager and the team

Emails and calls for regular communication

Understanding the structure of the warehouse, processes used for managing inventory and other warehouse processes, and need for automation in the warehouse.

Inputs for Business Requirement Document

Project Scheduling

Resource Allocation

Software testing (Chetcuti, 2008)

External

Customers

Moderate

High

Availability of the information on the products in the grocery

Ease of shopping at the grocery store

Good customer service staff that can help customers appropriately and serve fast

Customer service staff must have all the information on where the products are kept within the warehouse

Customer would be connected tom at the time of the requirement gathering to understand their needs, challenges and expectations at once at the end of the development of the ICT system when it is getting launched to communicate the changes that happened in the warehouse operations

Interview at the store with the staff or the project manager for requirement gathering

Emails to provide updates on the changes in warehouse organization

Face to face communication between customer and staff to communicate changes and provide guidance on how to use new services at the warehouse

Understanding the needs, challenges, and activities they have at the warehouse.

Understand what expectations do they have with the warehouse services in terms of improvement in services

Understand how they assess the operations of the company in terms of quality of the service

Understand what would improve the satisfaction of customers if implemented as a solution

Inputs to the business requirement document

Interview response document

Invitation to visit the store with information on changes provided

External

Vendors and suppliers

Moderate

Moderate

Availability of all the information on business and operational needs as well as the needed products and ICT services needed for the execution of the project

A clear communication on the requirement of the warehouse and the company in general related to ICT

The contractual arrangement between the company and the vendor must be fair and beneficial to the vendor

The requirements submitted to the vendor must be clear and accurate

Information on the available ICT solutions to assess suitability for the current organization

Provision of the information on the contractual offers they have for ICT project development

Communication on pricing, terms and conditions, deliveries and timelines

Face to face meeting to explain requirements

Physical or e-document sharing for seeking proposals and communicating contracts if services taken

Calls and emails for updates on the progress of the production and delivery of the ICT components needed for the project

High level and low level business requirements

Needs for the ICT components including hardware and software components

Contractual terms and conditions

Delivery schedules

Deliverables quality and quantity

Testing procedures for assurance of quality of product and services.

Inputs to business requirement document

Request for proposal

Proposal documents

Contractual agreements

Product testing procedures

Customer acceptance criteria

Delivery receipt

Project Schedule (Atkinson & Languiller, 2015)

Internal

Finance Manager

High

Moderate

Project must be completed within the allotted budget

Finance manager must know all the components and their cost requirements for the development of the ICT system for warehouse management

Communicate the budget requirement of the project as well as cost allocation to the resources and individual resource requirements with associated costs.

Document submission for the approval of budget release

Submission of the project plan and schedule for cost requirements

Face to face discussion between the project manager and finance manager to decide on the timely release of the funds (John, 2007) approved.

Email reporting on the progress of the project and need for funds

Approved budget

Allocation of the budget to individual resources

Limitations in terms of financial resources

Availability of funds

Procedure for obtaining funds on time as per the development requirement

Project Budget

Resource Allocation

Project Schedule

External

IT Solution provider

Moderate

High

Availability of all the information on business and operational needs as well as the needed products and ICT services needed for the execution of the project

A clear communication on the requirement of the warehouse and the company in general related to ICT

The contractual arrangement between the company and the vendor must be fair and beneficial to the vendor

The requirements submitted to the vendor must be clear and accurate

Information on the available ICT solutions to assess suitability for the current organization

Provision of the information on the contractual offers they have for ICT project development

Communication on pricing, terms and conditions, deliveries and timelines

Face to face meeting to explain requirements

Physical or e-document sharing for seeking proposals and communicating contracts if services taken

Calls and emails for updates on the progress of the production and delivery of the ICT components needed for the project

High level and low level business requirements

Needs for the ICT components including hardware and software components

Contractual terms and conditions

Delivery schedules

Deliverables quality and quantity

Testing procedures for assurance of quality of product and services.

Inputs to business requirement document

Request for proposal

Proposal documents

Contractual agreements

Product testing procedures

Customer acceptance criteria

Delivery receipt

Project Schedule (Ambernathy, et al., 2000)

Internal

Project Manager

High

High

Availability of all the information needed to plan and execute the project

Provision of needed resources for project execution including finance and human resources

Support from top management for development and implementation of ICT systems

Support and assistance from the customer service staff for project execution

Business requirements including functions and objectives of the ICT implementation

Challenges, needs and processes of the warehouse and the company as a whole to be able to develop a solution for implementation of the ICT system in the company

Information about the stakeholders as well as their needs and expectations to be fulfilled by the ICT implementation project

Face to face meeting with stakeholders for requirement gathering

Emails for reporting progress by the project team

Calls for communicating immediate challenges for seeking resolution by the project team

Project management methodologies and practices

Expertise and experience of the execution of ICT projects

Development of the technical project requirements from the business goals

Project management plan

Project Communication Plan

Project Risk management Plan

Project stakeholder analysis

Risk register

Project Scope Documents

Project charter

Project schedule

Work Break Down Structure

Quality Management Plan

External

IT Consultant

Low

high

Receive all the information about the business and functional requirements of the company as well as the need for automation of the current warehousing components.

Access to the company resources including staff and business documents to be able to assess the processes, their current structure, and come up with scope for improvement

Communicate the business goals and service requirements

Conversion of business and management requirements into technical requirements

Exploration of possible ICT solutions for development

Need for resources for the ICT implementation including human resources and financial resources

Face to face meeting with the business analyst, project manager and the company owner along with the warehouse manager

Emails for communicating requirements and exchanging process documents

Information on possible ICT solutions and their associated costs as well as human resource requirements

Understanding the capability of ICT systems in helping company achieve its business goals

Development of the business requirements document at the high level

Inputs to business requirement document

Contract Agreement

 

External

Business Analyst

Moderate

moderate

Receive all the information of the business goals, functional goals, current business resources, structure and processes.

Access to business process documents as well as to the physical systems that can be assessed by the analyst to understand the needs of the system such that he can come up with an ICT implementation plan

Project objectives

Business objectives

Business requirements

Resource requirements

Business and operational challenges of the organization

 

Face to face meeting with the project manager and warehouse manager

Sharing of documents over email

Calls for confirmation of requirements with the store manager or project manager

Technical requirements and functional requirements of the project

Available solutions for ICT implementation

Current structure, processes and scope for improvement in the organization

Business requirement document

Research on solutions

Project charter (ISBSG, 2012)

 

Business context 

Situation: The objective of the ICT solution development and implementation is to bring automation in the warehouse of the grocery store such that the effectiveness and efficiency of operations can be improved through reduction in operational costs and enhancement in the productivity of the store employees as well as business processes used in the warehouse. However, the organization has some constraints that have to be considered before a decision is taken on adopting an ICT solution. These constraints include the limitations of the budget, limitations of the knowledge and experience of the employees working in the organization and the limitations of the time for the development and implementation. The key authority for this project would be the company owner who would approve the project proposal of development of the ICT system. The resources used by the organization for this project include the project team including company staff and other project team members, the suppliers of the ICT products including software and hardware, project manager, business analyst, and finances (Mohan, 2012).

Perspectives: For understanding the perspectives of the stakeholders, a stakeholder analysis would be needed that has been done in the previous section. Some the key requirements that have emerged from the stakeholder analysis for the development of the ICT system include:

  • ICT development needs a significant investment that should get the company good returns after the operations have been automated
  • The implementation of ICT must bring performance benefits for the warehouse
  • The organizational processes used in the warehouse system must get simplified with the use of ICT
  • Employees must be provided sufficient training on the use of ICT systems that would be used for the warehouse management to make the best use of technologies.
  • The system should make the inventory data available in the real time such that customers can be served better by the customer service staff(SWIFT SCRL, 2015).
  • The shopping experience of the customer at the store must be enhanced with ease of shopping at the grocery store
  • Implementation of ICT can make the customer service staff more efficient such that they would be able to serve customers faster. For this, the staff needs to have the real time information on the stock availability.
  • For the project to be executed efficiently, it is important that the project team has all the needed operational and process information needed to come up with the effective ICT solution providing operational benefits to the organization.
  • The requirement of the store for ICT implementation should be clearly communicated to all the key stakeholders such their buy-in can be sought.
  • The agreement between supplier and the grocery store operator must be fair enough to get both operational and cost benefits.
  • The Project must be completed by the project team within the allotted budget
  • Finance manager must have all the information about the cost requirements of the system components for warehouse management
  • The top management must be supportive and help in resolving any issues related to resource provisioning or allotment such that the project team is well supported with all the necessary resources needed for the execution of the project.
  • The IT consultant must be provided with all the information about the business and functional requirements of the company as well as the need for automation of the current warehousing components such that most suitable solution can be recommended for the warehouse after consideration of its existing systems and processes as well as the future business goals.
  • The business analyst must be given access to all the business process documents as well as to the physical systems to understand the needs of the system such that he can come up with an ICT implementation plan

Options: ICT technologies are used to bring coordination between different players in an organization or the supply chain such that the operational knowledge can be seamlessly shared such that the transactional costs between parties can be reduced. ICT has large number of applications that can be used by the grocery chain store for achieving its business objectives. Information technology as per Tomar (2009) can become an effective tool for decision making in operations. As per Lingren (2011), ICT can be used by organizations to develop a competitive advantage by increasing the speed of operations, enabling visualization of the business performance and reducing the operational costs in a business. IT can be used for collecting data of the store transactions, customer preferences, and business performance such that the same can be used for answering questions about customers such that things can be improved to enhance their satisfaction levels. In managing operations in retail or the grocery store, achieving efficiency is more of a necessity than a choice and thus, is the primary goal of the business.

The operational efficiencies can be improved with reduction in operational costs increase in speed of the service delivery and enhancing flexibility of procedures. Operational efficiencies can be related with the business profitability as they can reduce the operational and transactional costs of an organization (Dydacomp, 2014). ICT can be used for automating store operations which would reduce the cost of operations in the long run. The key beneficiaries of these improvements are the key stakeholders of the organization including supplier’s business owners, and customers. However, while taking decisions about adopting ICT technologies, the organization needs to be sure about the technologies that can be implemented and make a choice that fits best with the business model and business processes as ICT technologies can be expensive and time consuming in implementation as well as learning. The goal behind implementation of ICT technologies would be to develop a capability to meet the customer requirements in more efficient manner (ISBSG, 2012).

In the retail business like that of grocery store, operations involve various human resources that include customer service representatives, suppliers, sponsors, and goods that have to be managed in the warehouses. ICT can standardize customer services by separating warehouse services into those needing customer service executives and those that can be handled by customers individually. This can help the retailer achieve efficiencies in operations. This way, organization is able to achieve higher productivity and reduce overheads. There are various retail operations that can be managed using ICT technologies such as inventory management, point of sales, customer service, and supply chain management (Motorola Solutions, Inc., 2013).

A key strength of ICT is that it can be used to allow interaction between the machines and the customers directly such that there is no need to employ a person in operations. Common ICT solutions that are used in retail and warehousing systems include bar coding, POS system, automated supply chain management, and so on. Bar codes can be used for maintaining the stock levels of the goods stored in the warehouses such that each product is scanned at the POS and the information gets stored in a centralized computer system which can be used for updating stocks as well as checking availability of items in the warehouse. A combination of bar codes, automated stock performance, performance monitoring and control systems can help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the warehouse. This can enhance the accuracy of records, save costs, improve integration, enhance control, and improve customer services. These opportunities can be used by the retailer achieve a competitive advantage in the grocery market (Heartland, 2015).

Requirements: An efficient warehouse management system is needed to be installed in the grocery store such that the operational efficiency can be improved. An automated warehouse management system may be used for performing various operations such as tracking orders of storage goods such that overstocking or under-stocking can be avoided, identification of product details such as quantity and pricing with the use of bar coding, collecting data on the spending habits of store customers through loyalty card systems, and analysing product and customer data to understand their preferences which can improve customer relationship management and customer satisfaction. The warehouse management system that would be implemented in the organization can begin with the basic control system to a complex full scale warehouse management system that works on the real time data (IBM, 2010).

Business processes  

For the optimization of the warehouse operations, the operation cycle of the grocery store has to be managed in the real time. This system must allow warehouse employees to control the material handling equipments and other processes. The system would reduce the need to have paper printing and physical documentation by allowing users to log into IT systems for managing processes such as scanning of the bar codes for recording product information which would be entered using the RF terminal. This would help the warehouse staff maintain a database that is updated with the real time quantities of products and allocations. The objective of this automation is to manage the complete operation cycle starting from the point where goods are received at the warehouse till the delivery is finally made to the customer. The system would be an integrated solution including a combination of bar coding system, Radio Frequency identification, electronic scales, scanners and printers. Software would be developed which would manage the complete set of processes and these systems (IBSCDC, 2009).

The warehouse management system would include multiple processes that can be categorized into various areas including optimization, inbound management, order processing,

Optimization: Optimization processes would include identification of products through identity control, warehouse zoning, workflow optimization, personnel management, labour standards management, recording of warehousing events, routing optimization, load tracking, task interleaving, layout visualization, system configuration, report generation, bar coding, and analytical data processing (Millstein, 2010).

Inbound Management: Inbound processes in a warehouse include notification of events, receipt of goods, unpacking of products, returns of products, cross docking, goods stocking, product age and expiry date control, product loading status control, load reallocation , product sorting, inventory management, warehouse balance management, safety stock management, physical product counting, cycle counting, and inventory updating.

Order Processing: Order processing in warehouse systems would include order planning, product reservations, staging, assembling, shipment, direct loading, forward picking, replenishment, order planning, order processing, order cancellation, exception handling and screening.

Personnel Management: Personnel management includes analysis of staff productivity, reporting, and recording of tasks (Spaho, 2013).

There would be some more functionality that the warehouse management system can fulfil such as preparation of warehouse put always, product measurements by parts, weight control, virtual stock support, load handling, palletizing, vehicle loading optimization, and so on (T-Systems International GmbH, 2011).

The warehouse management system would automat ht inbound, outbound and stocking operations by divided it into multiple areas including receiving, picking, put away, shipping, management and reporting. The storage locations or units as well as company vehicles would be marked with bar codes that would be used for material handling and transporting. When a product is assigned to the put-away, the storage conditions would have to be managed including temperature control, compatibility control, supplier’s management, product ageing management, and so on. The WMS would automatically choose the storage space based on the product characteristics at the time of screening at the RF terminal such that misplacement of loads can be prevented. Most optimal routes would also be identified along with the location such that empty runs by the customer service representatives can be avoided which would, enhance their productivity. More benefits that this automation would bring to the warehouse management include optimal assignment of vehicles to products when delivering, elimination of order picking errors, and continuous updating of the goods information including allocation, availability, tasks and personnel activity (TCS, 2015).

Technologies: The WMS would make use of certain technologies including the following:

  • Database system such as Oracle, Sybase, Ms SQL or OBM DB2 that would allow storage and retrieval of inventory, order, and customer information
  • Operating system allowing client applications to be run on warehouse systems
  • Bar coding technology that would allow recording of product information including its profile and expiry date.
  • RFID systems for reading the product information through wireless scanning of the labels (WEF, 2017)

6. Conclusion

This report was developed to explore the idea of the implementation of an ICT system to improve the operations of a warehouse. The project explored the business case of the Australian grocery store highlighting its current challenges and needs for automation. Based on the business case, the business context was studied that included exploration of the business needs, requirements, and options. Stakeholder analysis ws also did in order to understand the perspectives of the stakeholders about the project. Lastly, a warehouse management solution was suggested that divided the warehouse system into different sections and identified key processes that could be automated with the WMS.

References

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Atkinson, B. & Languiller, T., 2015. Operational Effectiveness of the myki Ticketing System, s.l.: Victorian Auditor-General’s Office.

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Chetcuti, H. R., 2008. ERP Implementation: A multi-stakeholder analysis of critical success factors. Malta, WICT PROCEEDINGS.

Dydacomp, 2014. Drive Your Retail Sales Growth With Operational Efficiencies eBook, s.l.: Dydacomp.

Heartland, 2015. Connected Warehouse Warehouse: Three Levers to Higher Productivity & Profits in the Warehouse, s.l.: Heartland.

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Millstein, M., 2010. Streamlining Warehouse Operations with Lean Six Sigma , s.l.: Supply Velocity, Inc. .

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Motorola Solutions, Inc., 2013. Improve Productivity And Customer Service In The Retail Store With Automated Inventory Management, s.l.: Motorola Solutions, Inc..

Nielsen , 2013. Continuous Innovations: The Key to Retail Success, s.l.: The Nielsen Company.

Reinartz, W. et al., 2011. Retailing Innovations in a Globalizing Retail Market Environment. Journal of Retailing , p. S53–S66.

Spaho, K., 2013. ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION AND CONFLICT MANAGEMENT, S.L.: EFST.

SWIFT SCRL, 2015. The Global Adoption of Real-Time Retail Payments Systems (RT-RPS), s.l.: Swift.

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WEF, 2017. Shaping the Future of Retail for Consumer Industries, s.l.: World Economic Forum.

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