Information technology and warehousing performance of sugar companies in western Kenya
The study was conducted to establish the effect of information technology on warehousing performance of sugar companies in Western Kenya. The study objectives specifically sought to establish the extent of information technology adoption in the sugar companies and determine the influence of information technology on warehousing performance. The study sought to determine if information technology that has been known to remove fatigue from human to machine and ensures accuracy and efficiency had any effect on warehouse core assets like labour, equipment, time and space. The study was conducted in Western Kenya targeting the eleven listed sugar companies but only four responded. The study was conducted through cross sectional survey design and data was collected using questionnaires and interview responses. The findings were measured using a likert scale of 1-5. Data analysis was done by use of descriptive statistics as the data points were few. Data presentation was also done by use of tables. The study established that the sugar companies had not fully adopted the use of information technology systems in the warehouses with a mean of 3.8 but a performance index of 2.8. On the influence of IT on warehouse performance the companies averaged a mean of 4 but a performance index of 3.1. The perfect order index gave a percentage of 43% meaning orders were not met perfectly. The study concluded that warehousing performance of the sugar companies was largely affected by use of manual systems. The companies were unable to meet demand with perennial stock outs and cane shortages whose visibility could be controlled directly from the warehouse. The sugar industry in Kenya had the highest costs of production compared to other sugar producing countries both in Africa and internationally. Some of the costs could be hidden in warehousing. The study recommended that because success or failure of a company was largely determined by practices in the warehouses it was important for the companies to fully implement and integrate the information technology systems with the existing specialized equipment or invest in technology to reduce costs and ensure accuracy and visibility of the product in factories, warehouses, in transit and even at point of sale. The study suggested for further studies in warehouse design of the sugar companies, use of third party logistic providers, use of cheap labour against automation and benchmarking of the warehouses.