Management information systems are integrated structures of databases and information flow that optimize collection, transfer and presentation of information in an organization (Sadagopan 1998). Management information systems are used in organizations to capture data, process them to information and also storage of these data and information. Management information systems are used to automate services that an organization offers to make them more efficient for the customers (Lucey, (2005). The main focus of this project is to identify how management information systems can be effectively used for customer relationship management. Management information systems are useful to organizations since they help in solving some of the complex and repetitive tasks the organization is involved in on a day to day basis.
The system to be analyzed in this report is the Gulf Air, Bahrain, ‘Advanced Check-in System International’. They have two modes of checking in which are the Electronic Check-In Kiosks or Airport counter Check-In. The system is intended to make the customers have a personal experience with booking, reservations and online checking-in processes. It also offers the customers a wide variety of services that range from seat selection, receiving information for their travelling documents, all of which will be done online. The company also benefits from this system since it acts as the centralized access to the database with all the flight details of both customers and staff (GulfAir 2012).
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Objectives of the study
The main objective of the study is to identify how management information systems can be used to deliver better services to the customers and how customer relationship management can be enhanced. Management information systems should make it easier for a company to manage all customer transactions that are repetitive by making them faster and better. Thus the study will be important in showing how repetitive tasks in an organization can be automated to improve on customer service delivery. It will also show the benefits that the organization derives from implementation of the system through satisfying the needs of the customers.
Gulf Air is the official Bahrain airline. The company was founded in 1950 and known by the name Gulf Aviation Company. It started as a regional and local airline but now it has risen to become an international airline. The airline also has a fleet of cargo planes. The company has a network covering 40 cities which are located in 26 countries it is present in (GulfAir 2012).
Information system background
The new Advanced Check-in System International for Gulf Air was launched in 2011. According to the company, there have been a series of introduction of technological innovations that have been helping the company to ensure that customers spend the least time possible during check-in and departure. The Advanced Check-in System International was a new system that was added into other technological innovations to smoothen operations involved with check-in. Part of this system that will be addressed by this study is the mobile check-in. This is part of the Advanced Check-in System International that will allow customers to check-in through their mobile devices 24 hours in advance up to 90 minutes to the departure of the flight. This was meant to simplify and fasten the check-in experience for the clients (GulfAir 2012).
The mobile check-in system is integrated within the larger Advanced Check-in System International. The hardware used is the customer’s mobile device only to access the larger system used by the company. Through accessing the internet, clients can visit Gulf Air’s website where they will be able to check-in and get details for their flight (GulfAir 2012). The mobile check-in system is helpful to the organization since it gives the airline better customer recognition, handles check-in, flight boarding and loading. By doing this, the system helps to save time for checking-in and boarding and thus improving the airline’s service delivery. The system also feeds both the customers and the inventory with real time updates giving the airline the opportunity to monitor flight details. The inputs to the mobile check-in system are the customers’ details they used during booking. Customers choose their preferred seats and finally confirm the check-in procedure. The output for the system is a barcode that appears on the customer’s internet-enabled mobile device (GulfAir 2012). The barcode is shown at the boarding point after the customer’s documents are checked and verified by immigration officials at the various counters. The system is managed by the Gulf Air Information Technology Department and is used by many airports that have been specifically singled based on the nature of airlines operations in the airports.
Analysis of information system
The system has helped the customers to be able to select the preferred seats they wish to take on their flight. This creates comfort for customers since they can now sit at a position of the choice based on their needs. By giving this comfort to the customers, the system has helped the airline to improve on its flight services. The system has also been able to help the airline to save on time taken up during the check-in procedure. This is because customers can check-in from as early as 24 hours before the flight up to 90 minutes before the flight (GulfAir 2012). The customers do not have to be at the airport physically in queues where a lot of time will be taken up for humans to complete the whole procedure. Customers will only arrive and have their documents verified before they can board the plane. The system also updates the clients on their flight’s information such that they cannot miss their flights. This helps to save on money that would otherwise be used on refunds or even the customer footing the bill themselves. The system thus helps both the customers and the organization to avoid making losses.
The system also helps the company to keep track of its flights and their information. The system stores all the data associated with the flights ranging from schedules to the customers in the flight. The system also manages all the process involved before a flight is good to go which include checking-in, boarding and any loading that might be necessary (GulfAir 2012). This also helps to reduce the time to record all this information and the manpower that would be involved. The system is also able to give customers the details of their journey and give a provision of customers to order for special services while in flight (GulfAir 2012). This helps the company to make the journey as smooth as it can be and also comfortable for the customer. This has helped the airline to stand out as distinguished within the market it operates in.
From the system above, the company has been able to fully smoothen the check-in process and also improve the in-flight services for the customers. The system is a mobile-based system. This is a good approach since many people, as new technologies continue developing, have focused on using the internet-enabled mobile devices. Thus the company has ensured that their clients can now do everything from comfort of their homes through their phones making the system more scalable. However, the company should be able to send the confirmation details to clients instead of displaying the barcode on their page. This is to make it easier for customers to retrieve their authorisation details instead of having to access the internet every time they want to see them. Instead of using the barcode which also requires to be fed into the system again, they can issue the clients with authorisation codes that only require being cross-checked before they can board their flights. This will hasten the process and also remove complexity of having to reread barcodes into the system. A unique verification code that is randomly generated would be better for customers to verify that they have already checked-in before boarding.
The company’s goal is to provide its customers with self-service facilities so that they can easily manage their bookings and check-in procedures (GulfAir 2012). With technological innovations increasing every day, it is important for the company to remain relevant so as to remain on the competitive edge. The system used for check-in by the airline gives benefits to both the customers and the company. The mobile check-in system has helped the airline to streamline its check-in procedure by reducing the time and complexity that would be involved in the process. The check-in system has helped to reduce time wasted in queues at the point for checking-in and thus making sure that busy clients can have ample time to prepare for the flight without having to leave their duties since they have to arrive at the airport earlier to check-in (GulfAir 2012). This has indeed helped the airline to make the check-in procedure more efficient. The system has also helped the company to centralize all the information regarding the flights (GulfAir 2012). This helps to manage the loading and boarding procedures that would otherwise be managed by two different departments. By making sure that they automate most of these procedures involved in preparation of a flight, the airline has been able to remain as one of the largest in the Middle East.
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