Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019)

series of activities undertaken by the company to produce a product or service. Each step in the value chain contributes to the overall value of a product or service. While the value chain may not be a perfect model for every type of company, it does provide a way to analyze just how a company is producing value. The value chain is made up of two sets of activities: primary activities and support activities. An explanation of these activities and a discussion of how information technology can play a role in creating value by contributing to cost advantage or differentiation advantage appears next. Primary activities are the functions that directly impact the creation of a product or service. The goal of a primary activity is to add value that is greater than the cost of that activity. The primary activities are: • Inbound logistics . These are the processes that bring in raw materials and other needed inputs. Information technology can be used to make these processes more efficient, such as with supply-chain management systems which allow the suppliers to manage their own inventory. • Operations . Any part of a business that converts the raw materials into a final product or service is a part of operations. From manufacturing to business process management (covered in Chapter 8), information technology can be used to provide more efficient processes and increase innovation through flows of information. • Outbound logistics . These are the functions required to get the product out to the customer. As with inbound logistics, IT can be used here to improve processes, such as allowing for real-time inventory checks. IT can also be a delivery mechanism itself. • Sales/Marketing . The functions that will entice buyers to purchase the products are part of sales and marketing. Information technology is used in almost all aspects of this activity. From online advertising to online surveys, IT can be used to innovate product design and reach customers as never Information Systems for Business and Beyond (2019) pg. 147

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