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Impact of technology in today’s business world

The definitive impact of technology in today’s business world

1. Introduction

Operating successfully in a business atmosphere requires daft knowledge about the surrounding and most importantly, it is necessary to adapt and utilize technology in today’s fast paced corporate world. The current assignment will deal in bringing out the problems that logistics business houses of today face while incorporating and implementing technology for daily operations. The recent growth of need for automation and cloud systems in business will also be discussed along with its pros and cons. The literature review will carefully highlight the needs and issues of implementing technology and executing their work effectively. Few research questions will be discussed in the study to give clarity and focus on the subject. The study will use a mix of quantitative and Qualitative research approach and interview 3 managers and 15 employees of a logistics company in UK. Ethical implications will also be kept in mind before conducting this research in detail.

2. Literature Review

2.1 Impact of technology in current business environment

According to Bryman and Bell (2015), computers have deeply impacted the way in which business is generally conducted in today’s environment. The reliance on technology to do most of our manual labor has made life simpler. It has in a way helped small businesses to develop their potential so as to compete with larger organizations. Technological advancements in recent years has given rise to the need for upgrading the systems and personnel so that effective business operations can be undertaken. Ross (2016) argued that technology has led to automation of services and this has been a tremendous boon for industries to rationalize their planning processes and operations.

The earlier book keeping methods included manual input of data and lots of paperwork that were both cumbersome and involved lot of files. Automation has effectively eradicated the need to manually record keep or conduct accounting tasks. The communication aspect has also seen tremendous boost in terms of the ease with which interaction can be conducted. Johnston and Marshall (2016) argued that the development of email, texting and websites have opened up vast arrays of information that can be easily gathered for business purposes. It is now extremely easy to conduct surveys and gather important feedback from the audience. Technology has helped in saving time and delivering quicker results.

Apart from the factors mentioned above, the use of technology helps also in the development of skills of employees. Gatautis (2015) stated that constant processing of information allows the employees to search better and record findings quickly and correctly. If small businesses are concerned, they can definitely save labor costs by relying on technological hardware and software to conduct duties. Business operations can be expanded and delegated using technology to attain maximum output from limited resources. This invites the facility of economies of scale that is always pleasing to companies.

2.2 Ethical issues of including technology for business

Considering the fact that technology does have a great impact on how business is conducted, it surely has its own ethical dilemmas and issues that can cause problems to companies if not taken care of. According to Wu et al. (2015), the risk involved in applying technology starts from the invasion of privacy that can occur in business. Conducting business should be an ethical affair and not include any illegal actions that allow monitoring and stealing personal data. Technology brings with it the possibilities of hacking that can allow rival companies to access sensitive information from the other party regarding personal data and clients. Competition should be present within the business environment and they must not engage in illicit activities.

Another aspect that makes technology risky is the fact that telephonic conversations, messages and emails can all be tracked easily by hackers. The question of surveillance arises and brings forward the ethical issue of monitoring others and tracking information. Tong et al. (2015) argued that legislations do have rules and regulations that bar any company to illegally gather information about their rivals, but it does present a loophole that can make organizations wary of implementing technology. Ultimately it depends solely on the company to prohibit such activities as it is against business ethics. But the worry factor may lead them to ditch the use of technology.

Having technologically advanced machines and skilled staff allows businesses to operate smoothly and enhance the chances of profitability. However, the risks mentioned above can deter companies to fully integrate their system with the latest technology and that can affect their overall business performance. The ever growing technology requires upgradation on the parts of companies to happily accept the changes else risk lagging behind from competition.

2.3 Pitfalls of improper utilization technology in logistics business

According to Lu et al. (2015), technology in business has been widely accepted by organizations that believe in the fact about having quality input in order to enjoy profitable output. All kinds of businesses starting from pharmaceuticals, corporate houses and other information technology houses all include and require the implementation of technology for their business. In this context, the industry of logistics is so dynamic that they require constant supply of information to understand the progress made by their services and their production costs management.

Logistics being a very integrated company requires the utilization of technology to improve their overall communication immensely in order to wade off rivals. One aspect that is important in this industry is the need for communication. Rasheed and Rasheed (2015) argued that a slight glitch in communication in the logistics department completely damages the interaction and knowhow of employees and can cause delay in the consignment to reach its destination. This causes tremendous losses and the company may entirely lose its client. Companies such as logistics must keep their systems updated so that every change in technology can be adopted to provide the users best of services.

Impact Of Technology img1

Figure 1: Survey for technology issue in logistics

(Source: Articles.cyzerg.com, 2016)

However, the issue behind implementing latest technology in logistics is the fact that the lack of technical experts in handling and monitoring the gadgets and computers makes it problematic to conduct operations. Tseng and Liao (2015) argued that technology wears out with each passing year and the need to upgrade the technical knowledge of staff can extremely help in the logistics business. The lack of using technology can literally halt any researches that are made regarding market conditions, demand and supply and easy monitoring of clients. According to a survey study by Compuware, around 48% agreed that technology issues does hamper their business. Moreover, 75% believed that technology failure frequency is increasing (Articles.cyzerg.com, 2016). Looking at the fact that major tasks are now conducted through cloud services, it is unfortunate that technical knowhow is still limited.

2.4 Analysis of the future scope of technology in logistics business

According to Karabegovic et al. (2015), technology is always evolving and in order to keep up the pace it is us who need to evolve. The future of technology will only see newer, compact and efficient products being created, logistics industry needs to keep upgrading so that not just communication but its other services of supply chain management and customer relations can be improved as well. Neaga et al. (2015) argued that notably, the use of GPS tracking, constant monitoring via phone and managing supply chain and distribution through advanced computers has been the norm but future technology must be adopted for enhancing services.

As per (), the Internet of Things (IOT) is a potent tool that allows improved communication structure that is done through an existing internet setup that abolishes any human intervention. A study suggested that around 26.25% of third-party logistics companies use machine-to-machine (M2M) technology for communicating and a further 46.62% are willing to adopt it in future. The study also suggested that the future of logistics will see the use of drone technology to monitor the package cargo and use it for package delivery as well. Around 27.31% of people had the belief that drone delivery is the next step for logistics in the future. Another futuristic scope was the use of driverless vehicles that transport the necessary cargo. The study estimated that around 42% of manufacturers along with retailers felt that logistics companies must possess knowledge about operating such vehicles (Cerasis.com (2016).

The future of logistics have a very interesting and unique feel, however the question that still rises is whether the employees will possess enough expertise and knowledge to manage these devices and vehicle efficiently. Another possibility in the near future is the placement of robots in the warehouse to conduct loading, packaging and shipping features. This can speed up the process and eradicate human errors that may prove costly to the company both financially and on the time factor.

3. Research Questions

The study clearly illustrated the need to examine and study upon the risks of not implementing technology in business especially the logistics industry. It is important that the aspects of technology both good and bad are assessed so that the dependence on technology can be highlighted. The study so far used the literature review to suggest the impact that technology can have in a business. It suggested the importance of keeping systems updated so that manual problems of managing records, accounts and payrolls can be eradicated. It also gives a hindsight about the need for automation in business so that operations and management can be managed easily without any clutter. This highlights the need that every business have in today’s technology friendly world.

The literature clearly helped in understanding the fact that even though technology can make business smooth and easy, the risk of ethical implications do need to be kept in mind. The information above clearly depicted that the chances of being hacked is extremely high regarding the advancements in technology and machines. It is however important to keep ethical conduct and not deal in unlawful activities. A lot of damage can be done by data theft, but the businesses do need to implement the latest technology to be able to make dealings easily.

The literature helped in pointing out the issues of lack of expertise and knowledge among employees in the logistics industry. Clearly it suggested that lack of technical expertise and basic knowledge can be damaging to business prospects. Lastly providing a look at the future of technology in logistics, it suggested that before implementation of the technology in real, it must be made necessary to properly train and educate the employees first. This leads in the development of research questions that can assist the study by stating a possible course for further research. Based on the information above, certain questions can be derived:

  • What impact has technology actually made in the logistics industry?
  • What training has been given to employees for conducting the supply chain management?
  • What is the possibility that technology can lead to better business performance?
  • What is the future scope of technology in logistics?
  • What recommendations can be made to improve collaboration of technology, employees and logistics?

Based on these research questions, the objectives of the research can be clearly defined. They include:

  • Evaluating the impact of technology in logistics industry
  • Assessing the risks and benefits of implementing technology in logistics
  • Identifying the shortcomings to implement technology in logistics
  • Evaluating future trend of technology in logistics and employee issues
  • Recommending solutions to improve performance for handling future technology in logistics

The unexplored areas that can be identified include assessment of technology adoption for logistics in UK as compared to the rest of the world. Highlighting the worldwide issues regarding implementing latest technology in logistics will also be done in the study.

4. Method

Research approach:

The following study involves in understanding the use of technology in managing logistics. Keeping this factor in mind, one third-party logistics Company from UK will be used. The research approach that will be utilized in this sector is a mix of both Qualitative and Quantitative approaches.

Impact Of Technology img2

Figure 2: Research Approaches

(Source: Saunders et al., 2012, p.44)

The reason behind selecting a mix of both approaches is that it will allow in giving a detailed look into the matter of technology and the various issues that employers and employees face while implementation and execution. This approach will help in bringing out issues from both sides of the company. This can help in making the research better.

Research Design

Keeping the nature of the study in mind, the issues and problems can be better explained using the Explanatory research design. This is due to the fact that it allows in defining the problems that were not clearly emphasized upon earlier. This research design can clearly help in discussing the issues of lack of efficiency of the staff and the problems that futuristic technology can bring on their part.

Impact Of Technology img3

Figure 3: Research design

(Source: Saunders et al., 2012, p.51)

The exploratory design can help in highlighting the future scope of the research whilst stating recommendations that can help in eradicating the issue. The other types of design namely explanatory and descriptive design are not used since they emphasize of existing facts and do not deal in delving into details.

Data collection methods

The study utilizes both the approaches of quantitative and qualitative nature hence the data collection methods will be different as well. In order to collect data from the 3 managers, interviews will be conducted that will be done face to face. The face to face interviews can clearly bring out aspects that the managerial level are struggling with. In order to collect data from the employees, survey questionnaires and observations will be used to map out their behavioral patterns. After observations, it will be helpful as the questionnaire will reflect exactly whether their responses are genuine or they changed their response in the survey.

Sampling strategy

In order to conduct this study, a sample population of 5 managers and 30 employees will be selected from the logistics company. Based on this population, 3 managers and 15 employees will compose of the sample size for this study. Sampling strategy that will be adopted in this assessment will involve the use of Random probability sampling method for selecting the employees of the organization. This is helpful as the sample size willingly partakes in fulfilling the survey questionnaire. On the other hand, in order to select the managers for interview, the use of Non-probability sampling technique and convenience sampling method will be utilized. This is selected as managers will be identified keeping the convenience factor of the manager into perspective.

5. Access and Ethics

The topic and issues that are being resolved in this study, require the use of online sources, books and journals to specifically identify whether any aspect has been left behind. Going through the data from these sources can bring an insight on the present condition of the technological factors in a logistics company. These sources will also help in finding out any deficit of information or any literature gaps that can be easily fulfilled through the present study.

On the ethical front, the assignment will make sure that the information that is gathered both from personal and other sources are completely used for academic purposes and no commercial use will be made out of it. Another aspect that will be kept in mind is that using the Data Protection Act 1998, non-disclosure of personal and sensitive information of all the respondents who participate in the survey and interview.

Reference List

Books

Bryman, A. and Bell, E., (2015). Business research methods. Oxford University Press, USA.

Johnston, M.W. and Marshall, G.W., (2016). Sales force management: Leadership, innovation, technology. Routledge.

Ross, D.F., (2016). Introduction to e-supply chain management: engaging technology to build market-winning business partnerships. CRC Press.

Saunders, M, Lewis, P and Thornhill, A. (2012). Research Methods for Business Students. 6th edition, Pearson.

Journal

Gatautis, R., (2015). The impact of ICT on public and private sectors in Lithuania. Engineering Economics, 59(4), pp.12-16.

Karabegović, I., Karabegović, E., Mahmić, M. and Husak, E., (2015). The application of service robots for logistics in manufacturing processes. Advances in Production Engineering & Management, 10(4), pp.55-62.

Lu, B., Liu, J., Yang, J. and Li, B., (2015). The environmental impact of technology innovation on WEEE management by Multi-Life Cycle Assessment. Journal of Cleaner Production, 89, pp.148-158.

Neaga, I., Liu, S., Xu, L., Chen, H. and Hao, Y., (2015), May. Cloud enabled big data business platform for logistics services: a research and development agenda. In International Conference on Decision Support System Technology, 12(2), pp. 22-33.

Rasheed, H.S. and Rasheed, H., (2015). Performance implications of internet-based information technology in value chain management. International Journal of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management (IJISSCM), 8(2), pp.1-13.

Tong, C., Tak, W.I.W. and Wong, A., (2015). The impact of knowledge sharing on the relationship between organizational culture and job satisfaction: The perception of information communication and technology (ICT) practitioners in Hong Kong. International Journal of Human Resource Studies, 5(1), p.19.

Tseng, P.H. and Liao, C.H., (2015). Supply chain integration, information technology, market orientation and firm performance in container shipping firms. The International Journal of Logistics Management, 26(1), pp.82-106.

Wu, S.P.J., Straub, D.W. and Liang, T.P., (2015). How information technology governance mechanisms and strategic alignment influence organizational performance: Insights from a matched survey of business and IT managers. Mis Quarterly, 39(2), pp.497-518.

Websites

Articles.cyzerg.com (2016). 5 Common Logistics Technology Issues & Their Real Causes. [online]. Available at: http://articles.cyzerg.com/5-common-logistics-technology-issues-real-causes/.

Cerasis.com (2016). The Future Of Logistics Will be Shaped by Emerging Tech. [online] Available at: http://cerasis.com/2015/01/14/future-of-logistics/.

Appendices

Appendix 1: Interview Questions

  • To what extent do you feel that technology has been difficult to implement in your company?
  • Are you willing to upgrade your systems if new technology is introduced?
  • What has been the rate of success or failure in implementing and executing operations using new technology?

Appendix 2: Survey Questionnaire

Q1. What is your age?

Options

Response

18-25

25-35

35-45

45 and above

Q2. What is your gender?

Options

Response

Male

Female

Q3. How far do you rate your job satisfaction with new systems?

Options

Responses

Extremely satisfied

Satisfied

Neutral

Dissatisfied

Extremely dissatisfied

Q4. How far do you think implementing new technology has been helpful?

Options

Responses

Extremely helpful

Helpful

Neutral

Unhelpful

Extremely unhelpful

Q5. How far do you agree the new technology is adaptable to operate?

Options

Responses

Totally agree

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Totally disagree

Q6. How far do you think new technology has been helpful for your performance?

Options

Responses

Extremely helpful

Helpful

Neutral

Unhelpful

Extremely unhelpful

Q7. How far do you agree that training can boost your overall performance?

Options

Responses

Totally agree

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Totally disagree

Q8. Which among the following can help your performance in future?

Options

Responses

Better administration

Training and development

Communication

New machines and tools

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