Role and Uses of Information Systems, Information Technology, Internet or E-Commerce
Information systems are defined as the tools that are used in conducting strategic and operational activities within an organization such as gathering, processing and storing useful information that the organization needs. Information systems within a business organization include the company’s human resources or employees, business procedures, software and hardware systems that are used to carry out business operations and business information.
Information systems are important for an organization as they allow it to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of business operations within the organization. The role of information systems within an organization is to improve the performance of business operations by ensuring that resources have been optimally used to achieve performance efficiency (Sarkar, 2008).
The most common types of information systems that are used by many business entities around the world include decision support systems, database management systems, knowledge management systems and transaction processing systems. Information technology is defined as the acquisition and procession of visual, audio and textual information through the use of computing and telecommunications technology. Information technology covers various areas that are concerned with technology such as software and hardware, programming languages and computer networks.
The Internet is a globalised system of interconnected networks that are used to provide a wide range of information and services such as E-commerce to the billions of Internet users around the world. According to Sarkar (2008), “E-commerce involves the buying and selling of products and services over the Internet and other electronic systems that exist in computer networks.” It allows for the trading of products and/or services over the Inventory through the use of electronic fund transfer systems, Internet marketing, electronic data exchange and online transaction processing.
Panasonic is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of electronic products such as telephones, printers, plasma TVs, voice mail machines and fax machines. The company’s 220,000 market-specific products have achieved significant success in the global market which has been possible through the use of information systems and information technology in the automation of machinery within the company’s factories and production units around the world.
The Internet and E-Commerce has enabled the company to market its products to billions of people around the world without having to visit any of the company’s business premises. The role of information systems, technology, Internet and E-Commerce within Panasonic has enabled it to successfully innovate and manufacture products that are of a high quality (McInerny, 2007).
Information systems, technology, the Internet and E-Commerce have enabled the company to achieve a worldwide recognition as one of the leading manufacturers of electronic products. Information technology has played an important role in the company’s five research and development centers to ensure that the electronic products developed are market focused and also unique.
It has also played an important role in the business operations of the company where the company incorporated the use of master data management (MDM) technology developed by IBM to systemize the business processes of the company. The use of MDM technology within Panasonic was aimed at merging disparate company records into one consolidated master file that could easily be accessed the various employees of the company. MDM technology was also aimed at reducing any discrepancies that might have existed in the extensive databases of the company (McInerny, 2007).
Information systems have also played an integral part in the management of the company as they ensure that the company’s 15 sales subsidiaries and 14 manufacturing facilities have been appropriately managed to achieve operational efficiency and effectiveness. The information systems also play an important role in ensuring that the information gathering processes used within the company meet the goals, objectives and mission of the company. The use of the Internet and E-Commerce services has enabled the company to advertise and market its products to global markets around the world (McInerny, 2007).
The use of online adverts and messages has increased an awareness of the company’s products to billions of people around the world. The introduction of social networking sites such as Twitter, MySpace and Facebook has made it possible for the company’s products to achieve a worldwide recognition amongst the many consumers of electronic products. E-commerce features and services have enabled Panasonic customers to purchase Plasma TV sets, DVD Players, fax machines and telephones over the Internet through the use of online transaction systems (McInerny, 2007).
Past and Current Trends in Information Technology
Panasonic has integrated various technological solutions that have automated its operations in the past to ensure that the electronic manufacture of products has been conducted in a fast and efficient way. The integrated technological automation solutions that have been used by the company include vision systems for object detection and quality assurance procedures, human machine interfaces, laser markers and code readers.
Controllers that can be programmable through the various performance classes that exist within the company’s open networks. The information systems within the company have incorporated the use of safety light curtains in the electronic product manufacturing plants to ensure to regulate the amount of light within these factories. Panasonic has also incorporated the use of motion and temperature controllers in these factory plants to ensure manufacturing operations have been maintained at a certain temperatures (Panasonic Electric Works, 2010).
Current information technology processes that are in use by the company as well as the automotive industry include laser-marking systems which are used to identify the different materials that are used in the manufacture of automotives. Panasonic has developed the Sunx brand market-leading fiber lasers to mark its product components during the manufacturing process.
The company has also involved the use of machine vision systems and code reading sensors which have played a key role in many areas of technology in the quality assurance of its production operations. Any imperfections in Panasonic electronic products are detected within a few milliseconds as a result of the machine vision (Panasonic Electric Works, 2010).
Another common trend in the information technology industry known as the programmable logic controller (PLC) has been used by the company to deliver real values during the automation processes of the company. PLC has enabled Panasonic to produce results and production data that will be used by the company to meet the needs and expectations of its consumers. The Panasonic Electric Works PLC division has developed various systems that are meant to meet every business need and these include the micro PLC, the user-friendly programming software known as FPWIN and the PROFINET communication system (Panasonic Electric Works, 2010).
Panasonic has also adopted the trend of sensor technology under its brand name, SUNX, where plant automation incorporates the use of a wide range of sensor products. The types of sensor technology that the company has incorporated in its plants worldwide include retro-reflective sensors, photoelectric sensors, proximity switches; safety sensors thru-beam sensors and pressure monitor sensors that are used to measure the temperature and humidity within the company’s plant (Panasonic Electric Works, 2010)
Benefits of information Systems, Information Technology, the Internet and E-Commerce
Information systems and technology have proved to be beneficial to Panasonic especially when the company sought to increase its profit margins through the replacement of the company’s pull model with the push model of data dissemination. The previous data dissemination system required marketing and sales employees to request for data in numerous repositories which proved to be cumbersome and time wasting. Under the push model of data dissemination, a centralized data bank was used to send information to the employees who needed it. The push model therefore allowed employees to receive complete product information based on a targeted basis (McInerny, 2007).
Information technology enabled the company to conduct a complete overhaul in its master data management (MDM) system to ensure that company data would be consolidated to systemize the processes of the company related to this data. The benefits of the MDM technology to Panasonic were that it was able to distribute its electronic products to its various global markets faster than it was before the technology was produced. It was able to spend 50 percent less time developing and maintain product information in its MDM systems (McInerny, 2007).
Another benefit of the MDM technology was that the time that was needed to produce an electronic product was reduced from a maximum of six months to a maximum of two months. The Internet and E-Commerce services have enabled Panasonic to conduct consistent product rollouts and product information to ensure that the consumers of Panasonic products are not confused when performing research for their purchases. This ensures that the company’s customers are continuously motivated to purchase the products of the company through the use of Internet marketing and E-Commerce services that support Panasonic online transactions (McInerny, 2007).
McInerny, F., (2007). Panasonic: the largest corporate restricting in history. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
Panasonic Electric Works (2010). An overview of automotive industry engineering solutions. Web.
Sarkar, S., (2008, August). Information systems in global business today. Web.