UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The assimilation and impact of information technology on logistics in Canada Anderson, Gerald Allan


This thesis reports the findings of an examination of the logistics function within six Canadian Food manufacturers and the process they undergo to assimilate new logistics information technology (IT) into their organization. Specifically, this thesis postulates that there are four phases to the assimilation process: 1. The Initiation Phase 2. The Adoption and Implementation Phase 3. The Management and Control of Information Technology 4. The Impact of Information Technology Within each phase, there were a number of steps that were examined. Since the sample of companies for this project was small, these recommendations can only be applicable to those in the sample. However, the findings could form the basis for a larger study. Within the sample, one company was found to have closely followed the four phases outlined below with cost savings equivalent to four times their investment in IT. Another company in the sample was beginning to follow these same phases. The remaining four companies have yet to follow the four phases and thus successfully expand their IT base. Below is a summary of those steps that one company followed that lead to their success. 1. The Initiation Phase The company began the search for IT with a plan or strategy derived from a centralized logistics function within their organization. This plan is based on what their needs are and the needs of their customer. A particular person who understands logistics is assigned to the task of finding the right technology for the organization. Technology that reduces costs and increases productivity is sought out. However, no special budget or allowance was set up to assist in the search. 2. The Adoption and Implementation Phase Once the IT is chosen, the company begins to redesign their logistics flows to meet the demands of the new technology. They begin to introduce the IT to small selective groups within the logistics function. While senior management is involved with the process by providing the appropriate resources and maintaining the proper focus, users of the IT drive the process. Responsibility for the implementation of the technology is shared between the logistics and information systems functions rather than one centralized IT group. Benchmarks are set up to allow for a before and after analysis. Any barriers to adoption are dealt with on a daily basis. 3. The Management and Control Phase The company also set up extensive logistics measures to indirectly monitor the performance of the IT within the logistics function. Tight controls are also set up within their organization to effectively manage the IT properly once it is put into place. 4. The Impact Analysis Phase Once the IT was implemented and being used daily by the company's managers, a formal post implementation audit was performed to ascertain the effects the logistical IT is having on the company and the marketplace they compete in. The company took steps to gather information to learn from past mistakes to not only assist in improving the assimilation process but also to repeat it as well. These steps are only a summary and the thesis provides the detailed findings from the case interviews of the six companies. A detailed set of recommendations is provided as well as further areas of research are defined in order to help in bringing new technology into logistics and to expand the body of knowledge on this increasingly important topic.

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