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Mrs. Fields Cookies Essay

1025 words - 5 pages

From 1977 to 1988, Debbi and Randy Fields successfully built their business from a single cookie shop to over 400 individual store locations by combining their individual strengths. From the very beginning, Debbi’s focus has been to provide a “feel good product” and sell it “in a feel good way”. Randy clearly understood the value of Debbi’s commitment to quality products and the customer experience. He turned his vision of an MIS that “put as much decision making and intelligence into the store level PC as necessary to free the manager to do those things that uniquely people do” into a powerful strategic advantage for Mrs. Fields Cookies.
The successful alignment of Mrs. Fields’ Cookies ...view middle of the document...

The lack of an official organization chart is a clear testament to the company’s commitment to this philosophy. As a result of the expertise and effectiveness of their management information system, Mrs. Fields’ Cookies achieved success by utilizing a networked organization structure. Their MIS allowed the company to centralize and standardize routine decision making while maintaining a structure void of the overhead burden and obstacles of a traditional hierarchy. The success of Mrs. Fields’ Cookies was in large part a direct result of the integration of the IT-enabled network into all of their business processes. How impressive that the system even provided a function where Debbi could personally deliver audio messages to managers several times a week!
By 1987, Debbi and Randy had established a strong international business compromised not only of Mrs. Fields’ Cookies locations, but also Jessica’s Cookies and Famous Chocolate units, retail gift stores, a children’s clothing store, a dessert store and a candy factory. The 1987 financial results reflect strong revenues and stable profit margins. However, the business climate presented many challenges to the company. As part of the sweet snack industry, Fields’ must compete with many challengers. The products provided by the industry are indulgent rather than a necessity. Beyond competing with other cookie companies, Fields’ must also compete with ice cream, cinnamon rolls and other specialty stores. Mrs. Fields’ Cookies dedication to the quality of their product remains unwavering as evidenced by their continued sourcing relationship with the same chocolate supplier utilized when they first began. However, this relationship itself presents a potential challenge to the business. Does a business continuity plan exist for this strategic supplier relationship? Analyzing physical store locations also reveals a potential future challenge. According to the case, 80% of Mrs. Fields’ outlets were located in malls. How does Mrs. Fields’ maintain revenue levels as the internet introduces consumers to online buying options?
While the information system itself functions as a strategic advantage for the company, it also embodies potential future challenges. The MS-DOS operating system on which the system was built will be outdated within years. Additionally, the case study reveals weaknesses within the information technology disaster...

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