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Business Information Systems Assignment

Free essay example:



Management Structure of Dale Farm Dairies – Colour Coded


Management Key:

= Strategic               = Tactical              = Functional

Management Structure of Dale Farm Dairies


Task 1

Analysis of Dale Farm Management Structure

Dale Farm Dairies is one of the largest milk suppliers in Northern Ireland, employing people across a variety of different departments and organisational structures.

The Organisation Chart for Dale Farm provides a clear overview of the company’s structure and the various departments within the company. Departmentation is necessary as a single person is unable to supervise a large number of subordinates. There are generally four main types of departmentation within business structures:

  • Functional – The most common method of departmentation, with tasks described by their very nature. Functional departmentation is easy and logical to decide upon.
  • Geographical – Large organisations which are located across the country are usually grouped into certain regions.
  • Product or Service – A separate unit is set-up for each product or service, usually a type of departmentation which is practiced by larger organisation.
  • Process or Equipment – Activities are grouped around a certain process, or type of equipment, allowing specialist labour to be brought together.

Departmentation & Types of Management

After closely analysing the department structures of Dale Farm, I have identified the most common form of departmentation as functional. The reason for choosing functional is that most of the departments within Dale Farm below the Managing Director, clearly demonstrate a unique functional area of their own although yet also demonstrate strategic and tactical management:

  • Production: This department deals exclusively with production of the Dale Farm products with a tactical management structure of managers, supervisors and the workers.
  • Despatch: This department is responsible for all despatch operations of the company, it follows a clear functional structure with tactical management
  • Transport: This department is responsible for the transportation of products to customers. It also follows a clear tactical management structure though the Logistic Controllers demonstrate a functional structure by taking on the role of supervisors (below the manager but above the drivers).
  • Finance: This department deals exclusively with all financial matters of the company, including sales and employee wages. This is a form of functional departmentation with administration staff performing tactical management.
  • Sales: This department also follows functional management, however under the Sales Manager there are two distinct tactical areas – Wholesale and Retail.

There is no geographical management represented in the organisation chart, the departments are not divided by the products that Dale Farm offer nor by the processes or equipment that they use. The main departmentation of Dale Farm would therefore be described as functional, with tactical management within each department.

Span of Control

There is much debate over the number of levels of Departmentation and management structure within any organisation. Departmentation is necessary as a single person is unable to supervise a large number of subordinates – also known as the span of control. Famous Behavioural Scientist Urwick considered the ideal number of superior authorities to be four in upper levels of management.

Based on his findings, and analysis of the Dale Farm management structure, I can conclude that the span of control here is tending towards the norm. I have arrived at this conclusion because there are five departments with a superior authority for each department. This is slightly above the recommended four superior authorities as stated by Urwick, but could not be termed as above the norm and should instead be referred to as tending towards the norm.

Structures in Dale Farm & Water Service

With reference to the organisation chart and the structure of Dale Farm as an organisation, it can be determined that the overall structure of Dale Farm may be considered as flat. The reason for this is due to the number of levels within the organisation, and we can see from the organisation that the most common number of levels between departments is four.

A tall structure would be an organisation which had upwards of eight levels within departments, however in this case the maximum level would be five which is demonstrated in the retail division of the Sales department. Therefore the overall structure here would be considered as flat.

After studying the organisation chart for the Water Service, and analysing its structure, it can be said that its structure is tall. This can be determined by looking at the large amount of levels within departments, for example in the technical department – under the Divisional Manager – there are at least 8 levels.

With reference to the span of control at the Water Service, it can be concluded that this is what Urwick described as ‘Above the Norm’. We can see from the organisational chart that there are at least 7 levels of superior authority, through which communications would have to travel up and down. For example, communication from an employee in the Class III technical department would have to travel up five levels to reach the top of that department’s structure, and a further three levels if he intended his communication to reach the top of the chain.

Authority Patterns

With reference to the authority patterns within the Dale Farm company, I can conclude that from researching the organisational chart, the authority patterns are decentralised. A decentralised structure means that key decisions are delegated to lower levels within the organisation. It is clear that these decisions are the responsibility of managers and supervisors. As an example within the Sales department, within both the Wholesale and Retail divisions, the managers are responsible for day to day business decisions within those departments.

Another example can be found in the Dispatch department, where the Supervisor is responsible for managing the workers below them. Because the authority pattern is decentralised, decision making is made by the people “on the ground” rather than upper level managers.


Dale Farm employs a total number of 825 employees across five separate departments, and the Northern Ireland Water Service has 4640 employees across three main departments.

Dale Farm:

Form the organisational chart it can be determined that Dale Farm overall has at the most three layers of management across the organisation. This is demonstrated by looking at the Production department, where the three layers of management would be the Managing Director, the Managers and the Supervisors. Within the other departments there are two layers, being the Managing Director and the Manager/Supervisor of that department.

The behavioural scientist Urwick stated that there should be no more than four superior authorities at the highest level of the organisation, and not more than 12 at the lowest level. It is interesting to note the correlation between the management layers and employee numbers. It would be described as the ‘Norm’ for there to be approximately 4 management layers for a company with 1000 employees.

Dale Farm has 825 employees and 3 management layers. I can therefore conclude that the correlation of management layers and employees within Dale Farm is tending towards the ‘Norm’.

Northern Ireland Water Service:

Form the organisational chart it can be determined that the Water has approximately seven layers of management throughout its organisation. This is demonstrated by looking at the Technical side of the organisation, which contains the following structure:

  • Chief Executive
  • Directors
  • Divisional Managers
  • Principles
  • Senior Professional & Technical Officer
  • Higher Professional & Technical Officer
  • Professional & Technical Officer

Below the managerial roles above are the Technical Grade employees. It is interesting to note the correlation between employee numbers, and the overall managerial structure of the Water Service. The organisation has 4640 employees and up to 7 management layers, 3 of which could be described as superior authorities. The correlation would suggest that the managerial structure is therefore the ‘Norm’.

Task 2

Management Functions of Dale Farm

The information below provides a detailed breakdown of the function and roles of each of the five departments directly under the Managing Director, within Dale Farm Dairies.

Production Department

The production department contains three layers which are superior to the workers:

  • Tactical Manager (1): This person is responsible for monitoring and controlling the production costs. They also deal with the hygiene and storage temperature issues involved with the production, ensuring the product that customer receive is safe.#
  • Operational Managers (2): These managers are responsible for constructing a rota for staff, for the re-ordering of packaging as and when required and also for ensuring that the raw material requirements are satisfied and available.
  • Operational Supervisors (3): The supervisors are responsible for producing sales figures for the previous week’s sales, on a day by day basis. They must also ensure that the company is producing enough product to fulfil the demand of orders placed.

Despatch Department

The despatch department contains three layers which are superior to the workers:

  • Tactical Manager (1): This person is responsible for monitoring and calculating the costs of the despatch department and calculating the wages. They are also responsible for taking action of production runs late, for ensuring customer satisfaction and for checking if the customer orders are correct
  • Telesales People (3): The telesales people take orders by telephone, process these orders and EDI orders, confirming orders with suppliers and customers and printing the delivery dockets.
  • Operational Supervisors (3): The operational supervisors create and manage the staff rota, oversee the making up of orders and the loading of lorries, and for ensuring stock control is efficiently managed.

Transport Department

The transport department contains 2 layers which are superior to the drivers:

  • Tactical Manager (1): The tactical manager’s responsibility is to manage transport costs, fuel costs and supply, calculating wages, and ensuring that the department has enough staff and vehicles on the road to manage the workload. They also manage the fleet costs which deals with putting new vehicles on the road for service.
  • Operational Logistics Controllers (3): The logistics controllers organise the rota for drivers and monitor/control the temperature of the trailers. They also control the number of loads per day, the amount of space available on each lorry and monitor the time of deliveries to ensure deliveries are made on time and according to schedule.

Finance Department

The finance department contains two main divisions:

  • Accountant: The accountant is responsible for managing the Administration Staff within the department, the company’s profit and loss figures, the stock variances (loss and gain) and the company’s purchases and sales figures. They also calculate the wages and overheads, and the purchases of other companies.
  • Administration Staff: The staff in this division are responsible for the completing of a general ledger, dealing with bill payments from customers, purchases and overhead costs and the billing and invoicing to customers.

Sales Department

The sales department contains a Tactical Manager, who deals with the retail sales through milkmen to the doorstep and the wholesale distribution to shops and supermarkets. The two divisions of this department are described in more details below:

Depot Sales

  • Operational Sales Managers (15): These managers are responsible for each of the 15 Dale Farm depots. They manage the Administration Staff, the Depot Supervisors and the Delivery Staff. They also manage the sales of each depot, the costs involved in running the depot and complete a weekly stock reconciliation.
  • Depot Administration Staff: The staff in this division deal with the payment of invoices received into the business, the posting of invoices to customers and the day to day management of school and contract delivery orders.
  • Depot Supervisors: The supervisors of each depot ensure the correct temperature of each product is maintained, the making up the delivery orders and the daily ordering of stock from the Despatch department. They also produce reports detailing last weeks sales, adding on buffer stock and subtracting the theory stock, plus manage the daily stock control for the depot.

Supermarket Sales

  • Operational Sales Managers (3): This department contains three managers who look after and control the selling of products to supermarkets across the country. They mange the orders which come in via the EDI system, and also the telesales.

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