McDonald’s Inc

Fast-food industry is the growing industry in the United States and around the world. McDonald’s Inc. is a leader in fast food restaurant industry which was founded at the end of 1960th. Today, it operates 30,000 restaurants in 121 countries. The main stages of technology development include: Know-how, Design technology transfer (goods and services); Production processes and Process development; Information and Communications; Transport and distribution (Johnson, Scholes, 1993).

The design technology and know-how stage implies changes in technology which affect the products available to consumer and businesses, the quality of the products and their functionality. For example, McDonald’s implements “a non-HFC standard for its refrigeration equipment -in all countries where commercially and environmentally viable and where alternatives can be legally used” (Alternative Refrigeration Backgrounder, 2005).  This technology has made possible to reduce emissions, meet high operational standards and safe money. This stage of technology development includes sources of technology including funding (Lundquist, 2004) and helps to reduce the length of the product life cycle and therefore the time to recoup investment. Investment costs are also increased as a number o technologies in a product is increased.

In McDonald’s Inc. the stage of process development was transformed during the 1990s and automated by computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing and services. This has speeded up design processes, transformed working practices and increased the efficiency of production and helps to maintain fault diagnosis. “Through outsourcing and automating many of McDonald’s IT functions, Tiley believes that his team will be able to spend more time supporting IT managers in the 27 other countries where the company has a presence across Europe” (Thomas, 2004). In McDonald’s the ability to record sales by elec­tronic scanning has provided retailers with greatly enhanced knowledge of rates of sales. This has facilitated tighter central decision making on merchandise planning and store layout. On the other hand, the same technology might also allow devolution by providing systems which can be used locally.

At the stage of developments in information and communications technology McDonald’s is a leader in its industry. Recent years it pays a particular attention to RFID-related technologies and a fingerprint-based payment system. “RFID is mainly used out of consumers’ sight, to do things like track packages in supply chains and monitor companies’ assets” (Rutherford, 2001). The stage of network contact information systems includes the development of personal computers, networks such as McDonald’s technology trials (Gallagher, 2003), satellite, cable and digital communications and the Internet such service as Food.com investment have all contributed to revolutionizing the way in which business is conducted in many McDonald’s restaurants. ”McDonald’s … shelved a big project to build a real-time network, has looked into self-service restaurant kiosks and various customer payment technologies” (Gallagher, 2003). As a part of network of contacts information system McDonald’s launched its newest game called “Monopoly Best Chance Game at McDonald’s” (Brook, 2003). It is important to note, however, that not all technology is electro­nic. At is simplest, a technology is an innovation that in some way advances human understanding.

New shipment and transport technology have revolutionized busi­ness. McDonald’s implement new computerized logistic system which makes it possible to trans­port materials, components and products with far greater speed and at much lower cost as a result of developments in road, rail, sea and air transport. These improvements in transport have also increased the amount of new subsidiaries opened around the world. For example, in post Soviet Union countries patterns of food consumption have altered. In the markets for fast food its consumption has increased, partly as a result of the increased mobility that modern transport systems have brought about.

It is evident that all stages of technology development are important and organization like McDonald’s must be flexible and be ready to innovate and to adopt new technologies as they come along. As a consequence, it is important that organizations monitor changes in the technologies that can affect their operations or their markets. More sophisticated technology can give rise to increases in centralization.

References

  1. Alternative Refrigeration Backgrounder (2005). Available at: www.refrigerantsnaturally.com/ doc/McDonalds%20backgrounder.pdf
  2. Brook, O. McDonald’s Celebrates the Monopoly Best Chance Game at McDonald’s. Available at: www.media.mcdonalds.com/secured/news/pressreleases/2003/Press_Release10132003.html
  3. Gallagher, S. (2003). McDonald’s Technology Trials, Available at: http://www.baselinemag.com/article2/0,1540,1173920,00.asp
  4. Gallagher, S. (2003) McDonald’s Wants It Their Way Available at: http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_zdbln/is_200307/ai_ziff44205
  5. Johnson, J., Scholes, K. (1993) Exploring Corporate Strategy, Prentice Hall.
  6. Lundquist, E. (2004). Shared Sourcing Can Help Customers. Available at: http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1631597,00.asp
  7. Rutherford, E. (2001). McDonald’s Puts Hot Technology in Consumers’ Hands. Available at: www.darwinmag.com/read/machineshop/column.html?ArticleID=111
  8. Thomas, T.  (2004) McDonald’s offers customers a bigger taste of technology. Available at:  http://www.computing.co.uk/computing/analysis/2075881/mcdonald-offers-customers-bigger-taste-technology
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