Under the current scenario in 24/7 Couriers, very little information technology is applied. In fact, Microsoft Word is the only software program used to create the lists of packages to be delivered for each of the nine depots. The best way to get an information solution in place would be to purchase it directly from the vendors. When a decision has been taken to computerise certain areas of a business, a decision must be taken whether to buy an off-the-shelf package or have software specially written.
The advantages of buying an off-the-shelf package are: it is cheaper; it is possible to get user reviews before buying; software can be readily bought and installed, tried and tested; the software is usually well documented, and training is sometimes provided along with the purchase for free. There are also advantages in buying custom-made software or bespoke software: the software will cater to the exact needs of the user; the software can be written to run on specified hardware, can be integrated with existing software and is unique in nature. However, bespoke systems take a longer time to be developed, are more expensive and can be complex to use.
24/7 Overnight Couriers has the strategy of providing services at the lowest possible cost. Hence it needs an IT solution that will cost a minimum. Moreover, it does not have sufficient trained personnel, and hence it is best to have an IT solution that is easy to handle and has training along with the purchase of the software package. Such an IT solution would be an off-the-shelf purchase.
As there are not any computer trained professionals at 24/7 Overnight Couriers, it is best to purchase a ready-made IT solution that can automate the front office, back-end business and in-field courier processes, including online customer order entry, accounts receivable, real-time delivery tracking, and account information. There is a need for an IT solution that can improve dispatcher and driver efficiency by reducing the number of invalid or wrong address deliveries.
The software solution must be able to able to provide accurate, up to date information on sales revenues, driver dispatch performance, economic and demographic trends so as to assist in the marketing, sales and operating departments of 24/7 Overnight Couriers. Essentially, it should allow depot managers to see the “big picture” and relevant details in order to support their strategic planning. There should be a paperless invoicing method that saves time and money. Right now, the invoicing is done manually and followed by the manager.
When he uses aggression, the customers become antagonised. When invoicing software is used, it can shorten the invoicing process, ensuring quicker payments. This can also provide a competitive advantage in the case of bigger clients with complex EDI requirements. In the case of 24/7 Overnight Couriers, real-time shipping status should be made available. This would avoid unnecessary tension on the client and reduce phone calls, saving time and money. IT would be nice to have mapping software that can do distance-based pricing of orders and produce interactive maps for drivers.
This would increase driver performance and customer satisfaction. Moreover, through emails and newsletters, it would be possible for the depot manager to be in constant touch with his customers and prospective customers. The manager at Hendon can exchange information with the ten regional subordinates and the top management. There is another problem of cost calculation at the Hendon base. The cost of the Hendon base is attributed back to each depot on the simple basis of the number of packages handled. The calculations, instead of being done each quarter, can be updated on a weekly basis so that the depot managers are more competitive among themselves.
If an intelligence system were to be implemented, it should be one that connects all the ten offices. This also means putting systems in places, such as real-time inventory management on a global level or dynamic product pricing based on daily or even hourly demands. The focus of system development methodology in the case of 247 Overnight Couriers would be prototyping.
There are many approaches to systems development methodologies, of which the two most important approaches are the traditional systems development lifecycle (SDLC) and prototyping. In systems development life cycle methodology, the system under study is developed in stages, and there is extensive use of professional development personnel. In the case of prototyping, small models of some elements of the system are built and gradually expanded from the user experience. There is extensive use of professional DP and 4 GL tools, and it is used mainly for decision support systems. SDLC is the preferred system when there is significant experience with the type of system to be built, and important system features and data requirements can be identified in advance.
Prototyping is favoured when users do not have a feel for the information or systems capabilities required, have little experience in delivering the type of system requested, and there is a need for the system to be developed quickly or at the lowest possible cost. It is evident that 24/7 Overnight Couriers that uses a low-cost strategy, needs an IT solution as fast as possible and has very little computer trained personnel is ideally suited to use prototyping as its system development methodology.
When one considers the numerous benefits of a business information system in place, it is easy to see how it creates value according to Michael Porter’s value chain model. Inbound logistics, operations and outbound logistics can all benefit from the IT solution. It would save time for the depot managers, the drivers and the customers. Moreover, it would bring new capabilities for these people to interact with each other.