This article presents a discussion on the importance of management information systems in Bistro Cuisine, a restaurant operating in the city of Nairobi, Kenya. It will explain the role of information systems in the managerial function of planning, staffing, directing, and monitoring functions of management. It will describe management information system as a system of processes that provide information necessary to manage an organization effectively.
Modern technology has further made the result to management information systems in management imperative because of the changing environmental and circumstances. Finally, the article will make recommendations to public and private institutions on the importance of running management information system units.
The history of Bistro Cuisine dates back into the 1960’s, the independence days in Kenya. Its founder Allan Bobbes opened the little bistro in 1962 in Nairobi, Kenya. Having been a renowned radio presenter for the British colonialists, he was popularly known. One of the most famous shows that rocked the airwaves, what’s cooking where he shared his passion for gastronomy, his listeners later implored him to open up his eating joint and stop drooling over the air waves. His bistro became an instant success. Its reputation as the premier restaurant in Nairobi has attracted the custom of many internationally renowned personalities; key among them includes Bing Crosby, Jack Kennedy, David Lean, Pele, Sydney pallack and recently, the United States president, Barack Obama.
Andrew apartments offer state of the art facility with such a great ambience, fully catered for by the Allan bistro, the best French restaurant in Nairobi.
The journey to the success of this establishment has been long and bumpy. Attaining such world class recognition in a country that is home from other international trade names in the hospitality industry such as Hilton, Serena, the Stanley’s among others has taken a lot of effort, innovativeness, and uniqueness and quality services.
At the forefront in the achievement of this key success is the successful implementation of management information systems at all the levels of management.. Bistro Cuisine employs top notch technology, management information systems and other information systems that have created a lot of efficiency and effectiveness in all the business functions in the restaurant (Buick, 2003).
Management is been defined as the process of planning, organizing, coordinating, staffing directing and controlling resources with the aim of attaining optimal results in the business. A system is defined as a combination or arrangement of parts to form an integrated whole. Management information systems thus, are a set of tools that provide information necessary to assist management in effective decision making in the execution of its functions. Bistro Cuisine has a set of management information systems that provide timely and accurate information that is necessary for the achievement of the organizations goals, objectives, mission and vision (Tony, 2007).
In analyzing the importance of management information systems in this company, we shall illustrate the individual information systems and how they have been helpful and how they have assisted the organization to meet its goals and live within its vision of becoming the restaurant of choice in Kenya and beyond.
There are several management information systems employed by the bistro cuisine. They include financial information systems, human resource information system, quality management information system, marketing information system, customer relations management systems, enterprise information systems among many others.
Financial information systems
Bistro Cuisine uses computerized accounting system to analyze and compute financial information. Oracle, an accounting system developed by the Oracle Company is used in this restaurant. This system is capable of tracking all the monetary transactions and to help management to track the profitability of the restaurant. Such an accounting system generates reports, helps in computation of profits and losses in the organization, reconciliation, computation of tax returns, timely posting of balances etc. This software has been, reduces wastages and generates timely information. This information is useful to management to be able to make decisions on what areas need improvements in the organization. From the results of the profits and loss analysis, management is enlightened on what segment of the company needs to be improved.
Point of sale
This is an information system that tracks all sales transactions in the restaurant. For instance, it tracks the sale of products, description, amount charged, discounts if any, and modes of payments whether cheques, or credit cards. This system is quite important to the Bistro cuisine. From this system, management is able to identify products that are slow moving, those that need to be replenished. This helps management to make informed choices on what to purchase, when and from whom.
Human resource management information systems
Human resource information system helps management in deciding the skills and competencies required in business. It captures information such as number of employees required in the business, the available staff, designations, skills and competencies, etc. A human resource information system helps in human resource planning, which determines the present and future human resource requirements of the organization. It also captures information on compensation plans, succession planning, training requirements, job analysis, recruitment, selection, performance appraisal and staff information.
The software used by this company is the people software, software that is able to capture data on all the employees in the organization, their qualifications, designation, and experience etc. This information system helps management to decide on which area of the restaurant requires extra staff, the staff performance, areas that require training and development, performance appraisal among other important employee information.
Quality management information system
Bistro Cuisine is one of the most preferred restaurants in Nairobi. It serves a wide range of customers from individual clients to corporate clients. Bistro cuisine is also the sole caterer of Andrew apartments. This restaurant is renowned for its quality products and services that are widely accepted in the region and beyond. To attain these standards, this company has instituted very strict quality control information systems to ensure quality of all the products and services in the company meet regional and international standards.
There are several systems that are available in this company. There is a system that ensures that all the products supplies meet the required standards, the process of preparing dishes and serving drinks in this restaurant is thoroughly checked for quality and improvements made. There is a quality control department charged with the sole responsibility of ensuring quality of products and services in the restaurant. This department ensures that any supplies into the restaurant are form credible sources, and have been checked for quality by the kentia bureau of standards where applicable.
This system also helps in ensuring that all the products and services offered by the company meet the internationally recognized standards and also meet the Kenyan health and safety regulations. This also helps the company remain competitive in the hospitality industry and maintain its share of the market even with the competitive markets besides meeting its legal requirements.
Risk management information system
This system helps the company to identify the risks facing the organization and also suggests the risk management strategies that can be applied depending on the particular type of risk. There are several risks that face organizations operating in this industry. A risk management system helps in identifying these risks, the degree of the risks, the severity of the risks to each particular organizational functions and how the organization can mitigate the effects of these risks (David, 2005).
Marketing management information systems
Marketing is a critical function in any organization. It is defined as the creation of awareness of the products and services offered by the company, the rates charged and the quality of those products. It is aimed at creating awareness and attracting first and repeat purchase of the company products. Bistro cuisine has employed several marketing information system marketing tools to create awareness of its products and services.
A good example is the company website. Here, clients are able to view the products and services of the company and also identify the prices charged for each product. This encourages the flow of clients from all over the world (Chung, 2003)
The marketing information system helps management to reach a wide range of clients and make known the companies products and services, this has helped build business for the company. The company widely advertises its products in the local dailies. A management information system is relevant in deciding what information is relevant in the adverts and also gauging the effectiveness of the marketing plan to the organization (Emmer, 2003).
Customer relations management information system
This is an information system used by management to track customer information with the intention of creating repeat business. This information system is useful to management in capturing the details of all customers in the restaurant, length of time they will be staying in the premises, the employees who are tasked with the responsibility of attending to those customers among other important details. Service delivery is a key requirement in ensuring that the company attracts and retains customers. This information system helps management to design the best program for each customer, to give customized attention to the clients and attend to the customers every other need without delays. This keeps the customers satisfied and builds ion the reputation of the business (Gherissi-Labben, 2003)
Hotel reservation system
This is a management information system that supports multi currency, and multi language features to meet the hotel reservation system required for global operations. This system automatically converts rates from the local currency to any other currency, during the reservation process, information such as property, room description and rates can be made available in different languages. This system also supports the countries address codes. This system helps the management of bistro cuisine restaurant to determine the best rates to charge their services based on the information gathered from other industry players. It also helps this organization to avail all the required information in a timely manner for clients to make reservations in the restaurant.
Information system acquisition
The restaurant obtains these information systems from different sources. Most of these systems have been purchased from software vendors while others have been developed within the organization by the Information Technology department. Development of an information system follows a couple of logical steps that begin with the feasibility of the system under development through maintenance of the system. This logical process is what is commonly known as the system development life cycle.
System Development Life Cycle
The Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a conceptual model that describes the stages necessary for the development of an information system. Several models of this life cycle have been developed to guide system developers in the development of information systems. The most common one is the waterfall model.
The diagram below illustrates the waterfall model of system development. The accompanying phases of the system development and procedures are explained below.
The waterfall model for the SDLC
- Appendix 1
The phases are
The feasibility study is employed to determine both the technical and economic appropriateness of the project. This is used as a bench mark on whether the project will be given a go a head by the development team.
Requirement Analysis and Design
The analysis of a system includes a detailed study of the business needs of the organization. Here, the system developers look at how the complete system will function and how it will interact with the other systems in the organization.
In this phase the above the designs put in translated computer codes. In this phase, the system developer sets up the system ready for testing and use. He employs different programming languages such as Pascal, Java, C and C++ coding languages.
In this phase the system is tested for accuracy and consistency. Bugs are removed at this stage and testing for the harmonious integration with other systems in the organization is also done.
Maintenance of the system is critical. The system must continuously be checked for bugs, to ensure that it’s continuously meeting its target requirements. Maintenance also involves continuous improvements to the functionality of the information system.
Management information systems are important for the success of any organization. This is because the timely, accurate and up to date information generated by the management information systems helps management at all levels to make timely decisions for the benefit of the organization. It’s highly recommended that all, whether in the hospitality industry or not, organizations adopt management information systems to help their management in decision making. This has resulted from advancements in technologies that have led to both technical and economic efficiencies in organizations. Those institutions that do not adopt management information systems may find themselves left behind in terms of competitiveness and market share.
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