Kaizen is a Japanese term meaning ‘good change.’ It refers to an approach that ensures continuous improvement, by achieving small but progressive changes all of which amount to increased efficiency and quality. This philosophy applies to any work, but it is well known in lean manufacturing and lean programming. A working environment that follows this policy requires everyone to adopt the policy of continuous improvement (Deming, 2000). The philosophy is credited to Dr. Edward Deming who was invited to rebuild Japan following World War two by Japanese engineers and industrial leaders. Dr. Deming has outlined the philosophy in his book, “Out of the Crisis.” First of all, he says that an organization has to ensure constancy of purpose as it seeks to improve its services and products which will, in turn, make it competitive and maintain its place in the market (Deming, 2000). Also, he adds that products should always be quality to avoid the need for inspection. Moreover, he said that an organization should introduce training. Also, it should promote leadership. Also, fear should be rooted out so that everyone works efficiently. Moreover, a vigorous education program that fosters self-improvement should be instituted (Deming, 2000). Also, everyone should work towards transformation.
Question 1. What were Fujitsu’s problems with the existing system for CPQ and how did they impact the business?
The sales team initially used the configure, price and quote (CPQ) together with individual spreadsheets to handle the situation and it caused many issues. First of all, it was difficult to determine accuracy. It is because there was no centralized quote storage. Neither was their records of offerings nor were orders integrated with quotes. Therefore, the CPX process took days to measure, instead of just minutes and resulted in lots of quoting errors and more time to redo the work. Thus, the company had to hire well-trained sales engineering team to handle this and had to incur more costs in the process. Moreover, it slowed down sales of the company as well and this further reduced profit of the company.
Ability to centralize and control all the quoting (Laudon & Laudon, 2016). By centralizing quoting the quotes would be produced more quickly compared to before. It would ensure that the salespeople did not waste time quoting for extended periods.
Another requirement is a system that it ensured accurate pricing. Such a system would ensure that the errors encountered before during pricing would be avoided and hence to time will be wasted in reworking.
Also the system should ensure all parts under configuration were available. It would facilitate records of offerings and so forth and this would promote better transparency.
FRP CPX was selected for many reasons. For one it was the only system that integrated the company front-end Salesforce software, which also handled lead management and sales forecast, with the back-end ERP system (Murphy, 2015). Also, it operated on a cloud computing program, and this favored the company as its elements are connected by a network. Moreover, the system configured all sales automatically, regardless of how complex the orders were (Laudon & Laudon, 2016). Also, the system validated product selection to avoid causing scenarios where the sales team has to rework, saving time as well as money for the company. The system further preserved the profit margins since whenever discounts exceeded the preapproved levels, it prompted the salesperson for approval before allowing the sale. As a result, it saved a lot of money for the company, a significant advantage. The company had complex pricing rules and the system automated all this and integrated them with quoting system. As a result, any change in products master data would be identified immediately by quotes and orders. It also it made pricing so fast as it took mere seconds compared to before where it took days (Laudon & Laudon, 2016). Any change made was immediately reflected rather than buried in spreadsheets. I believe the system was a good choice since it fulfilled all of FPX’s requirements. The fact that within six months of implementation of the system the company had already benefited further supports the fact that it was a good choice. For instance, pricing errors reduced by 80 percent.
Question 4. Why would software as a solution be an appropriate choice for Fujitsu? Should Fujitsu have built its CPQ?
A software solution is appropriate for Fujitsu since the one they found fulfilled all their requirements. Therefore, the company did not require to develop its system. Building a CPX system is costlier than purchasing one already available. Therefore, unless one needs some specific features that are not available in canned software, there is no need to buy one. Following the adoption of the system, it was evident that pricing errors decreased, all configuration details were readily available and generally, the time required for the CPQ procedure reduced.
The system completely transformed the business. For one pricing errors that used to come about before were reduced by 80 % (Laudon & Laudon, 2016). Consequently, reworks that used to take a long time were also reduced. Also, the time required for the entire CPQ process was decreased significantly. It made salespeople available to conduct other tasks, promoting rapid progress of the company. Also, unlike before any important information about sales was now readily available. It made it possible to streamline the sales process (Laudon & Laudon, 2016)
One approach to system conversion is the direct approach where the previous system is abandoned, and the new system adopted immediately. Another strategy is parallel conversion where the new system runs together with the old one and their outputs compared to determine the system that will be selected. Another approach is modular conversion where the system is implemented step by step. For instance, the system could be implemented in one department in the organization then after some time in another. Lastly, there is phase-in conversion where the system is implemented bit by bit. Data from the new system is adopted in the old one, and the process continues until the new system is fully implemented.
Deming, W. E. (2000). Out of the Crisis. MIT press.
Laudon, K. C., & Laudon, J. P. (2016). Management information system. Pearson Education India.
Mallach, E. G. (2011). Information System Conversion Strategies: A Unified View. In Managing Adaptability, Intervention, and People in Enterprise Information Systems(pp. 91-105). IGI Global.
Murphy, K. (2015, July 6). Fujitsu Untangles Sales Complexities. Retrieved April 29, 2018, from https://sapinsider.wispubs.com/Assets/Case-Studies/2015/July/IP-Fujitsu-untangles-sales-complexities
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