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GCSE Applied Business - Strand B Theory

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Introduction

Strand B - Theory Functional Areas within the Business I am going to describe the work carried out by at least three functional areas of Asda, I will explain how these areas work together to support the business activity and I will evaluate how effectively these functional areas work together to achieve the aims and objectives of the business. The areas I am going to investigate are finance, IT and marketing and sales. There are 7 main functional areas within businesses customer services, administration and IT support, marketing and sales, human resources, research and development, finance and operations. However not all businesses use these areas. Sole traders might do every function by themselves and some businesses may use only a few functional areas or make sure that employees are able to work in each functional area In large businesses people work together in these separate functional areas. The areas concentrate on and carry out certain functions. All functional areas link together to achieve aims and objectives. Good communication and co-operation is needed. Functional areas can be organised by charts such as the one below. Fig. 1 Customer service Customer service is concerned with customer relationships. Their activity is to "identify and satisfy customer needs". They provide information, credit facilities, after sales service, deliver goods and give advice. Examples of this include, if a person has a problem with a new product such as a washing machine, then they will phone up customer services and someone will talk them through what they have done so that they can try to correct the mistake such as not switching the washing machine on. ...read more.

Middle

Marketing the segment can help the marketing department understand its market better. Sales people have to convince their customers that the product that they are selling is the best around. The marketing department of, for example Cadbury's, may carry out research to find out what flavour chocolate is most desired among their customers. They will ask customers which products they would like to be improved and which products they would like to see developed. E.g. Cadbury's shortcake biscuit chocolate could be improved to make them crunchier and a new product with orange chocolate in it could be developed. Market research can be carried out by using primary or secondary research methods, or both. Primary research is where data and information is collected first hand. This ensures that the information is original and up-to-date. However, this can be time consuming and costly. Secondary research is where data and information that already exists is used. This data is usually free, and easily available. When a business has market research, they will decide the "marketing mix" for the product or service. The marketing mix, consists of product, price, promotion and place. Also known as the 4Ps. Businesses must decide what the product or service should be, including whether it needs to be packaged, what the customer wants and whether an after sales package is required. They must decide how much the product should cost. Where the product or service is promoted is also important, as-well as how it is promoted. ...read more.

Conclusion

They are also concerned with preparing wages and salaries, obtaining capital and resources, such as money for expansion and to pay for resources such as equipment and materials. Finance is sometimes considered as the most important functional area within a business. Finance is needed at all points in a businesses life as when they are starting up they will need to buy assets. When they are "up and running" they will need finance to determine that they are breaking even, this is to say that they must ensure that the money coming in (the input) is matching the money going out (the output). It is important that businesses break even otherwise they will make a loss and can even go into debt. Finance is also important for growing businesses, as they will need to buy more assets and either break-even or make a profit. This will cause them to expand and grow. Operations Operations are concerned with the main business activities. They obtain and convert resources of the business into goods or services. They make decisions such as what to do with land, buildings, material, and jobs for workers and buying new equipment. In a company such as Argos operations would include processing a persons order; however in a company such as Gillette, operations might include making a batch of razors. The use of IT The use of IT relates to all functional areas because of: * Electronic communications e.g. Email * Data Sharing e.g. Databases * Security systems e.g. virus protections * External communications e.g. Internet * Online support for customers e.g. Order tracking * Electronic Transactions e.g. EFT Functional variations No two businesses are the same. ...read more.

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