Managing information

Introduction Summary 1. Problems 2. Solutions 3. Identification(1) 3. Identification(2) 4. Practice(1) 4. Practice(2) 5. Example 6. Action 7. More examples Download book Exit

4. How do we put these principles into practice? (Page 2)

4.3 Timeliness

4.3.1 Wrong place, wrong time

  1. The relationship between the position of the information user in the organisational hierarchy, and the speed at which they are provided with information, often results in information being made available in totally the wrong places at the wrong time.
  2. For example: who needs to know when the next delivery of toys is due? The shop assistant, faced with a customer who has just travelled miles only to find they are out of stock, or the merchandise director?  If the shop assistant works for a forward thinking retailer, this information might be on their till screen, otherwise it’s a ‘Sorry, don’t know’ answer to a dissatisfied customer. The Merchandise Director, however, probably has the information at her fingertips but doesn’t need it to make an immediate decision (or any decision).

4.3.2 Information when and where it is needed

  1. So we should request information with an urgency related to the urgency of the decision, allowing for the need to understand the information before making the decision, and not ‘As soon as possible’.
  2. This will almost certainly result in providing information for people at the “sharp” end of the organisation (i.e. the people dealing with customers or clients) before providing it for the strategists (senior managers and directors).

4.3.3 Monitoring information

  1. The risk of stock shortages is an example of a continuing risk, unlike the risks associated with our trip to Amsterdam which were ‘one-offs’.
  2. Where there are continuous risks, such as stock shortages, electricity overloads and bad debts, we need continuous information, such as automatic ordering, circuit breakers and credit checks.
  3. In these instances the decision making has been automatically tied to the information. If stock falls below 2 weeks supply then order 400 items, if current exceeds 30 amps then operate a trip switch, if the last invoice was not paid then reject the order.
  4. In all these cases the decision has had to be programmed into the appropriate system and the timing of the decision is included in that programming. For example orders for replacement stock need to be generated in time for replacement stock to arrive before the shelves are empty. We don’t, however, want a circuit breaker to take several weeks before operating!
  5. Information which constantly monitors risks, its timing and use, are very important in controlling those risks which continually threaten the achievement of our objectives.

Let’s look at our example