This paper also covers how a Regulatory requirement helped the Blue Rhino in making the change happen more effectively.
In fast growing complex businesses, the uncertainties in employee productivity levels, customer satisfaction levels, operating costs, duplication of work, operations performance, actual revenues, ability to grow, forecasting & hypothecations, etc. increases beyond the comfort levels of the Management and Stake Holders. In light of these uncertainties, an organization may need to implement an effective, integrated & controlled Business Information System (BIS). However, such a system is not just a product which can be purchased, plugged and played. Management commitment and end user buy-in are critical to implement the BIS (The ERP Selection process survival guide, Relevant Business Systems Inc, 2005, p.3).
In this case-study, Blue Rhino Management did take the wise decision to implement BIS and provide interfacing to employees, suppliers and customers via an Intranet. The implementation actually became faster and more collaborative & effective because of Sarbanes-Oxley legislation that was implied on the organization.
Blue Rhino is a national leader in their business that deals with Propane Cylinder Exchange Services. Their growth soared in a very short time due to aggressive spirit of the organization, macro management by the CEO (empowerment of staff) and a major strategic change in their business - exchanging cylinders rather than refilling cylinders. Employee empowerment works well for this kind of retail business analogous to the Wal-Mart business model (Malone, Thomas W. 1997, Sloan Management Review, Winter97, Vol.38, Issue 2, p.125-125, 1/2p). This business system, however, created small pockets of numerous management styles not well connected to the bigger system thus resulting in business processes relying on manual and disconnected systems in Blue Rhino. The problem statement of poor control on inventory because of manual data collection & reporting in spreadsheets justifies this gap (IT not automated). Thus Blue Rhino needed an integrated & controlled Business Information System and major Organizational Change pertaining to cultural, operational, management style, horizontal & vertical