Utilizing E-business at Ocean King Transportation Co., Ltd.
Conclusion and Recommendations for Future Work
Beginning to implement an e-business solution at Ocean King Transportation Co., Ltd. not only changed the company’s business practices but also the company’s culture. The success of the project required a high level of commitment from both the company’s management and its employees. The company’s culture is now more welcoming of new ideas and the company has become better at implementing new technologies.
The company’s management needed to understand that e-business required professional website hosting, intensive training, capital investment, leadership, and a professional Information Technology consultant to ensure that new technology across the entire organization. However, it is not an easy transition because many manual procedures were being automated. These changes affected the following processes: communication process, report generation, and transaction recording.
Nonetheless, even in the beginning phases, integration of e-business has helped Ocean King Transportation Co., Ltd. improve the efficiency of its business processes and reduce workflow problems. However, the company had to identify the exact cause of the problems so that errors could be reduced in the future and it was not always an easy task finding sources of the problems.
Bringing IT consultants in to assist with this transition has been significant to the success of the steps taken so far. The role of these consultants will change over time. First, they must identify the most immediate needs of the company with respect to e-business systems. One key area where consultants will be invaluable is that they can ensure that all solutions implemented are scalable as the company grows. Although a narrow scope is necessary for a solid start, scalability offers a higher return on investment over the long run as each e-business application is brought on line.
Overall, it is expected to take 5 to 7 years to fully implement e-business solutions at this company. This is, of course, something of a moving target, since e-business technology and applications are constantly changing and upgrading. Nonetheless, the current plan estimates that the company will be current with technology by 2018.
A second phase of the implementation plan is the development of a company website designed to increase company presence on the Internet, and to improve the overall company image. This website also received management approval and is under development over the next several months by experienced website designers. The website as envisioned, once completed, will contain four major functions:
- Information about the company;
- Description of its products and services;
- Contact information; and
- A transportation tracking system.
Additionally, managers, owners, and employees will be able to access the tracking system to view or update shipping status. If one particular barge has a problem, a barge manager could alert managers via the website. In this way, the information center could give quick responses to cope with these problems. Furthermore, our managers will be able to generate and send reports of the complete shipping process to our owners and other stakeholders.
The website will also help introduce and promote the company to potential customers around the world. The Internet offers a great potential to integrate various business functionalities as well as automate certain business processes. In this case, the shipping labels will be created automatically as the customer makes a payment and the customer will be able to track shipping status anytime without any assistance from the company’s customer service department. The success of this website will also build up case for further embrace of Internet technologies and help employees become more welcoming of new business processes.
Analysts have suggested that one of the keys to capitalizing on e-business paradigms hinges upon using the technology to build and maintain relationships between parties (Burke & Murphy, 2000). Whether these relationships are business-to-business or customer resource management, the point is there is a correlation between the successful implementation of such technology and profit margins over time.
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