The company has a wide clientele that ranges from large supermarket chains to small health food shops. Organised under four main divisions, – manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, sales and marketing, and finance – FFC caters to ‘advance orders’ booked a week in advance as well as ‘priority orders’ that are immediately delivered. Apart from processing, cooking, and preparing food at its manufacturing site close to headquarters, the company also out sources pre-prepared and partly prepared food products from other vendor firms, and markets them after packaging.
The annual turnover of FFC stands at an impressive UKP15 million, with a steady net profit of about 7%. Currently on an ambitious five-year plan to augment the annual growth rate to 10% discounting inflation, and net profit to 9%, FFC will take advantage of the growing demand for fashionable and quality food products. The company has been traditionally operating on a solely paper-based transaction processing, accounting, and reporting mode that is obsolete and incompatible with the information age, besides being cumbersome, time-consuming, and inefficient.
As Allen and Gilmore (2004, p.180) rightly observed, the “factory of the future” that succeeds in the new millennium would be “organized around the computer.” And that future is right here and now. The power of the ubiquitous computer or laptop and the immense scope of the World Wide Web and Internet technology hold great potential to “integrate the various processes involved in the manufacture of a product or delivery of a service.” (2004). Towards the closing decades of the 20th century, computer technology was largely used for MIS (management information systems) applications, mostly on a stand-alone mode. The advent of network technology and Internet has now transformed the scope of computer applications as never