Questions: This is a 5 part question:
Two years ago, Susie Hernandez knitted a pink sweater for her poodle and posted it on Instagram. The picture of the snarling beast in its cute sweater went viral and orders for similar sweaters poured in. Over the next two years, Susie grew her business by selling custom sweaters on Etsy and handled everything herself. Soon, demand outpaced her ability to keep up and Susie hired additional help. Susie also founded Canine Couture. Recently, Susie signed two contracts with major pet supply distributors to carry Canine Couture's Fall Collection and Susie needs to make major adjustments to her business in order to grow and meet the demands.
Canine Couture recently rented new office space in Fort Worth, Texas to serve as its corporate headquarters. Susie, acting as CEO, has hired a director of marketing, two sales associates, two product designers, four logistics workers, and two support staff. Susie has also contracted the garment production to a factory in Kansas City, Kansas. Susie has hired your consulting firm to help her establish a working infrastructure to help support her business. In addition to getting the headquarters ready for business, Susie has also indicated that she needs help managing her product line. She needs to be able to handle the ordering of supplies needed at the factory to meet production needs. She needs to be able to manage the ordering, production, and shipment of her products to the new pet stores carrying her Fall line. In addition to brick and mortar stores, Canine Couture needs to continue to service the needs of its online customers at caninecouture.com. The director of marketing and the sales staff will work on ways to increase demand and sales of Canine Couture's products.
The current office needs to support the existing twelve employees but needs to be flexible to accommodate additional growth once the company is settled in its new headquarters. Because business has mainly been conducted from Susie's home to this point, there is no existing equipment in place. Susie's budget is somewhat limited but she does need top-of-the-line workstations for her designers.
One area that concerns Susie quite a bit is her company's ability to keep up with demand. In the past, Susie has ordered most of her fabric and materials from a wholesale company in New Jersey but works with other vendors from time to time on specialty supplies. She would order materials as needed and placed most of these orders with the websites of the various vendors. Susie needs a more efficient way to order supplies and get them to the factory in Kansas. In addition to getting product created, Susie needs a much more efficient way to ship and predict inventory levels with the new contracts. The two pet companies have their own shared supply chain management software and they have indicated that they would like Susie to participate as a supplier in their system.
Susie's business is growing rapidly and she has hired your team to help ease some of the growing pains and to move her business forward.
During your initial conversation with Susie Hernandez, she asked about whether she should hire an IT staff or use contractors to manage the information systems that will need to be installed at Canine Couture.
1) In addition to the information provided in the case, what additional information systems-related "reasonable" assumptions are you making related to Canine Couture? Note: "Reasonable" assumptions do not include that the organization has unlimited amounts of resources (e.g., money or personnel). To which specific question or questions (3 through 6 below) does each assumption pertain? Why are you making these assumptions?
2) What are the most critical information systems-related management issues facing Canine Couture? Why?
3) What are the most critical information systems-related organizational issues facing Canine Couture? Why?
4) What are the most critical information systems-related technology issues facing Canine Couture? Why?
5) Based on the issues outlined in items 2, 3, and 4, what specific recommendations do you have for Susie Hernandez to address the most critical information systems related issues?