Information technology can facilitate productivity

Jacob Barriga
Staff Writer

Fengmei Gong, associate professor of operations and information technology, spoke on the value of investing in information technology to an audience of 30 students and faculty on Tuesday over WebEx as part of the weekly faculty lecture series.

Gong is currently engaged in her own study about information technology and how it can increase productivity within the economy and how the companies can use the information to give themselves negotiation power thus lowering initial prices for supplies. She said proper information technology investment will allow companies to cut out the middleman by giving the distributors the information to engage with suppliers directly thus creating more competition. 

“Through information technology we can see which suppliers supply specific industries and the consumers of such industries products,” Gong said. 

Information technology not only enables the companies to directly encounter multiple suppliers, but it also enables analysis on the distribution and market shares each supplier has for each industry. 

“The technology can help examine the percentage of suppliers in each market which can change the concentration of the distribution percentage, making the supply market less concentrated,” Gong said. 

Gong said that there are not many studies focused on information technology and that there is still a lot of potential as more versatile ways to use the information that have not been figured out yet. 

“The United States is increasing their investment in information technology, and although it can help change the structure of the supply chain and make it more efficient, there are still very little studies in this field,” Gong said. 

Gong’s presentation was focused on material products but Ngoc Bui, interim associate dean for the College of Arts and Science and professor of psychology, inquired about a different kind of product. 

“Our industry is educating students and our product is people. How can this technology improve our industry in education?” Bui asked. 

Gong took some time to think but she came up with a possible way to improve the education system with information technology.

“We can potentially make a more advanced recruiting process to bring in more students, but there may even be more implications that can be applied in the future discovered through more studies,” Gong said. 

The study Gong presented is currently a work in progress and Al Clark, professor of humanities, was interested in her timetable of when Gong would be finished. 

“I understand that this is still a working study, and these are your findings to this point, when do you think it will be ready to be published?” Clark asked. 

Gong said that it is difficult for her to work with her co-authors on the study at the same time because everyone lives in different parts of the world in different time zones. Gong also mentioned how there are still many improvements that need to be made. 

“It’s hard to find a right time for everyone,” she said. “We all have other projects going on as well. We currently have about 40 pages of this study done with more room for improvement, but hopefully we can get published in one year.”

Jacob Barriga can be reached at

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