Incorporating IT into a Cement Company's Strategy

Essay by miguel08 January 2005

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In 1992, Cemex purchased Spain's two largest cement companies, reviewed their operations thoroughly, invested in facilities, and reduced their work force dramatically.

The Company viewed IT as an integral part of its long-term strategy. Its CEO, Lorenzo Zambrano, hired an information system director and gave him the mandate of developing Cemex' then primitive IT capabilities. The company aims to incorporate IT into its overall strategy to be able to address the following concerns:

· increase its flexibility

· improve customer satisfaction

· reduce bureaucracy and excess staffing

· provide training and education for Cemex employees

Cemex was founded in 1906 and is one of the few truly multinational companies in Mexico, Spain, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Philippines, Panama, Dominican Republic, Egypt and America, which are just some of the 22 countries in which they operate. They are into the business of production, distribution, marketing, and sale of cement, ready to mix concrete, and related materials.

Although it was laggard in IT usage through the 1980s, Cemex is now widely recognized as a company that used IT extensively and views IT as an integral part of its long-term strategy. In 1987, its CEO, Lorenzo Zambrano, hired an IS director to develop Cemex' IT capabilities. Within a year, results of the IT implementation were being enjoyed by the company such as:

· Dispersed operations were being linked via satellite, bypassing Mexico's chaotic phone system.

· Managers could use the satellite-based communications network to monitor operations and market conditions all over the world using voice, video, Lotus Notes, and other communications technology.

· Financial statements are made available only after two days after the end of the fiscal month, an endeavor that used to take a whole month and 50 days before the IT implementation.

· Elimination of lengthy delays in evaluating...