Rabu, 03 Desember 2014

Transcontinental Movers

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Bob Trumbull, president of Transcontinental Movers, has been criticized over the last few years for allowing profits to slip even as revenues and tonnage increase. The long-haul moving industry is becoming more competitive, and differentiating any mover's capabilities from those of its competitors is difficult. Bob wants to increase profit by improving internal efficiency. Based on problems that occurred when cooperating with other moving companies in the past, Transcontinental will accept only internal solutions and will not subcontract work to other firms.
Bob believes that dispatching is an area where better information systems might help. (Dispatching is the decision of which truck to assign to which load. This decision is often made long after signing a contract with a customer.) Each week, the 12 dispatchers at Transcontinental's central headquarters dispatch hundreds of trucks from customer origins to customer destinations. For example, the response to a customer needing a shipment from Chicago to Dallas might be to dispatch a van that is currently in St. Louis, knowing that it has no preassigned job after the delivery in Dallas and that it will eventually return home to New Orleans. Ideally, the dispatcher should send the truck that can provide the best service for the customer without unnecessary deadheading, that is, unpaid driving miles.
The information system must keep track of van locations and must help in the dispatching decision. Several factors might be considered in developing an information system:
  • Only full truckloads are being considered. After a system is developed for full truckloads, it may be expanded to include multiple pickups for the same truck on the same trip.
  • Transcontinental's national dispatching center operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When customers call, they prefer an immediate commitment correct to within 4 hours for the time the van will arrive for the pick-up and the time the van will arrive for the delivery. Transcontinental meets its schedule commitments 90% of the time.
  • Transcontinental has stored years' worth of data about every delivery and every request for delivery that could not be handled.
  • Transcontinental divides the United States into 60 geographical regions to simplify the decision process. Based on historical data plus informed guessing, it develops and maintains load forecasts by week for each region for six months into the future.

  1. Explain possible roles of the six types of information system in this situation. If any type of system is not relevant, explain why not.
  2. Identify specific information that might be contained in systems of each type. Sketch some possible outputs.
  3. Explain how the entire system might work.

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