Swift Transport Plc is a Plc; a medium sized business, which specialised in road haulage services within the U.K. since the early 1960's.

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Swift Transport Plc is a Plc; a medium sized business, which specialised in road haulage services within the U.K. since the early 1960's. For many years it concentrated on road haulage within the United Kingdom until Gisele Marionnaud was appointed as the new director in charge of transport and extended the freight carriage into Europe. After the recession in the early 1990's, Swift Transport Plc decided that they wanted to diversify. Jack Hunter, the marketing director, a very influential man, persuaded the board of directors that there would be excellent marketing opportunities associated with the Olympic Games to be held at Sydney in the year 2000. Following this, the board decided to look at possible companies to take over.

In 1996, Swift Transport Plc successfully took over Happy Hols Ltd. Happy Hols Ltd was a small chain of travel agents specialising in adventure and activity holidays in Europe, and recently had been experience some liquidity problems. The directors of Sift transport decided that the business should carry on trading under the same name. This was probably because Happy Hols Ltd had built up a brand loyalty, and an if the company changed, it would have to be built up again and survival would be a priority. The directors of Happy Hols Ltd continued to make decisions about the running of the company, Kate McGreggor, the personnel director of swift was in charge of the restructuring of Happy Hols Ltd, which was necessary after the take-over.

Swift Transport Plc was also interested in another company to take over, this was Keepsake Ltd. Keepsake Ltd was a small wholesale business which specialised in supplying merchandise for businesses such as theme parks, football clubs and for special events such as pop concerts. Early in 1999, Keepsake Ltd were considering an expansion of the firms activities Probably because of motives such as survival, increasing market share and being able to compete with rivals, and the director of Swift Transport Plc thought this was a good time to make a transport bid. John Hudson, the finance director was given the task of investigating the possibility and Jan Spencer, who would become the buying director if the take over went ahead.

For Swift to take-over another companies like Keepsake Ltd Finance would be the main function involved as it deals with the money of the business. The finance function has the responsibility of obtaining, recording, controlling and analysing the funds of the firm. Its efficient operation is vital to the firms survival such as making sure that there are sufficient funds available for the firm to pay its debts and so on. The finance department will now have the job of investigating the possibility of a take-over of Keepsake Ltd, and if it was to go through have the responsibility of funding it. So the finance department will need to know if they have enough capital available or if another source will need to be addressed such as an overdraft, loan etc. The finance dept would be able to see this through their own accounts including balance sheets, profit/loss accounts and cash flow forecasts.

The tasks I will have to carry out in order to complete this investigation:

* Write an introduction of the unit of work including the business activity undertaken by Swift Transport Plc and the business functions involved in the tasks to be completed. This will help me get to know Swift Transport, what it is what it does and its problems. Also it will help me explain the functions of the Finance department at Sift Transport and how this departments fits into its organisation structure.

* Describe the whole structure of Swift Transport Plc. Produce an organisation chart for Swift Transport Plc and explain the workings of the main department. This will tell me how swift is organised and how the company works. It will also show me how the finance department fits overall within the company. I will need this, as I will know how changes within one department will affect the rest of the company.

* Write an account, which explains the goals and targets of Swift Transport Plc and what the company is going to do to achieve these goals. This will help me as I will need to know what Swift Transport Plc wants to achieve, so I will need to know their aims, their future achievements, how they propose to achieve their aims and how all this will affect the running of the company.

* Identify the internal and external constraints that will affect swift transport. This will help me, as I will need to know what kind of problems Swift Transport Plc faces, and also how these are going to affect the decision-makers in the company.

* Prepare a Cash flow forecast. I will have to explain the purpose of a cash flow forecast and why a company like Keepsake Ltd need it. This will help me, as I will be able to complete the cash flow forecast and then be able to relate it to other appropriate tasks.

* Investigate possible sources of finance. I will need this as I am going to have to advise Happy Hols Ltd on the appropriate source of finance to invest in the extension of camping holidays. I will need to know the main ones and be able to use the best ones in the circumstances.


* Research Limited companies - I will have to explain what PLC and Ltd are and how they are effected with certain issues e.g. sources of finance. I will get this information from books in the library and from my own knowledge.

* Research Finance - This information will be use in the introduction and will help me define finance, what the department does and how this function is able to fund the company and methods used to gain alternative sources of finance. I will get this from books from the library and with aid from my teacher.

* Research aims and objectives of companies - I will use this research to describe the aims and objectives relevant to swift. Also I will use this to explain how they will be achieved and how the rest of the company is affected. I will look for this in textbooks in the library and from my own knowledge.

* Research internal and external constraints - This information will be used to list the internal and external constraints that will affect Swift Transport Plc and the decision-makers. I will get this from books in the library, my own resources and knowledge.

* Research Cash Flow forecasts - I will need this information to explain the purpose of a cash flow forecast, why a company like Keepsake Ltd would need one and to be able to construct one for Keepsake Ltd. I will do this with help from books in the library and the teachers knowledge.

* Research sources of finance - This information will help me write a report advising Happy Hols Ltd on an appropriate source of finance. I will need to know which ones are relevant and can be applied. I will get this from books within the business department.

The sources of this information will primarily originate from my own common sense and knowledge, a range of textbooks, notes from teacher's lectures and information from my past Walkers assignment. Also valuable information will be obtained via some primary data that will be gained by phoning up a road haulage and freight carriage service.

Task 1

Swift transport is a Plc, which is a public limited company. This primarily means that sift transport is owned by a number of private individuals who are called the shareholders. The share holders owned shares in the company which is a certificate entitling the holder to dividends and shareholders rights in proportion to the number of shares owned. Basically the shareholder owns a stake in the company which they own, but the more shares you have, the more you own of the company and therefore meaning the more influence you have. Being a Plc and being in the private sector of the economy allows swift to sell its shares via the stock market. This means that its shares are open to the public to buy and meaning that the company could have hundreds of shareholders. As the shareholder owns a stake in the company and therefore has certain rights. These rights are to be able to attend the annual general meeting, the right to vote on new directors, the right to take part in a vote of confidence in the chairman and the right to receive an annual report into the financial side of the business. Also the shareholders receive a dividend, this is a share of the profits made by the company which is split accordingly to how much the holder owns.

Plc's have limited liability, this means that if the company was to make a loss or to go into liquidation the shareholders are not legally bonded to the debts the company owns but only loose the amount they paid for their shares. There are many advantages and disadvantages that a Plc has, as shown below:

The Advantages of a PLC as follows:

. It is enabled to raise a lot of capital by advertising its shares on the stock exchange

2. It benefits from economies of scale such as bulk buying

3. It get borrow money easier as it is a large business and has security to offer.

4. Due to its size a PLC can easily specialize, such as setting up specialist departments.

The disadvantages of a PLC:

. If they become too large they may suffer from red tape and be inefficient.

2. The ownership can change over night due the constant threat of being taken over by take over bids, launched by rival Ply on the stock exchange.

3. Their annual accounts are open to Public inspection and therefore don't have much privacy.

4. A lot of money is spent giving info to the public.

5. As the ownership and control of the company are different, the director's ideas may differ from the shareholders and arguments can occur.

6. A few shareholders who have a lot of the company's shares between them may dominate the PLC.

7. The starting and formation of the company is complicated and expensive.

8. Easy to attract shareholders.

Swift Transport PLC organisation has a hierarchical internal structure. This means that the most important colleagues are at the top and the least are at the bottom. This can be shown in a pyramid (see organisation chart).

There are a series of layers in the organisation. At the top of Swift Transport hierarchy is the managing director, this person is the most important in the organisation. Next in the hierarchy is the board of directors, one in each of the different departments: Finance, Human Resources, Operations, Marketing and Services.

The finance department is responsible for the bringing in and out put of money within the company. It carries out many activities such as: raising invoices and obtaining payment for goods or services supplied to customers, making sure that invoices from suppliers match the goods or services that were supplied to the organisation, dealing with payments to suppliers, paying staff, analysing the financial performance of the business, dealing with debts and providing financial information on performance to managers and shareholders.

The Human Resources department is extremely important as it deals with the people of the company. They recruit people who are right for the job that falls vacant within the business, it carries out training for old and new staff making sure that the employees have the knowledge and skills they need to the job to their best ability, grade jobs putting them in order of rank depending on the degree of responsibility involved, educational qualifications and skills needed to do it and arranging for sick leave and pay. Also it deals with employee relations such as staff problems or disputes including industrial relations and disciplinary and grievance procedures and finally it provides specialist advice and assistance to senior staff.

The Marketing Department generates the income by selling and offering products and services to customers. The way it sells its products or services in a variety of ways. Either it sells its products or services directly to other businesses using the company's sales force to develop contracts and make sales, directly to the public using advertising or mail shots. The marketing department does many things to ensure that the customer is satisfied with the product or service; they do this through public relations, advertising, market research, special promotions and piloting new products or services.

The operations department is involved in distributing the service and getting it there via logistics. They have to get the drivers and the goods that they are transporting to the right place and at the right time. The finish service depends on the efficiency of this department.

The Services department is responsible for getting the right people for the right jobs. It then has to have people as in drivers ready to respond to calls from the public and also has the right sort of vehicles for the situation. Also they are responsible for the maintenance of the vehicles and the upgrading of voiceless. This department is just like production but instead of manufacturing a product, a service is given.

Next in the hierarchy is the senior management, in total there are four, the senior managers. They are in marketing, human resources, operations dept, in the finance dept and they are in Service department. Next in the hierarchy are the section managers, which are in operations and in Services. Next in the hierarchy are unit managers, there are in operations and in services. Next in the hierarchy there are the supervisors in Operations and in the services dept and lastly in the hierarchy there are operatives in operations, in human resources, finance and in marketing.

The SPAN of CONTROL in Swift Transport is the managing director controls the board of directors; the board of directors controls the senior managers and so on. Span of control is the number of workers under direct control by one person. Also the managing director has a LINE FUNCTION with the board of directors, and the board of directors has a line function with the managing director and the senior management and so on. The line function is the direct contact with those who are higher or lower than you in the same area of business are. There is a STAFF FUNCTION between the human resources department and the people of the firm. The staff function is the working with all staff in the organisation.

There is a CHAIN of COMMAND within Swift Transport organisation, this is where the person at the top of the hierarchy has an authority over workers underneath him/her and the next person in the hierarchy has authority over the people under him/her, and so on. In Swift Transport hierarchy the managing director has authority over the board of directors and the whole of the company, but the board of directors have authority over the senior managers and every one underneath them and so on. The people who are under the person who has authority over them are called subordinates. In Swift Transport they have a long chain of command from top to bottom, this can cause difficulty in the business, such as messages getting lost or distorted as they go down the chain of command, exactly like a game of Chinese whispers (WEAKNESS). Also managing change can be a problem, as the chairperson (in larger companies) might want to decide on a change but it might cause problems or resistance to those lower down the hierarchy, the longer the chain of command the more resistance that occurs (WEAKNESS).
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The way Swift Transport could improve on the problem or even get rid of the problem is to flatten it. This is called DELAYERING. Swift Transport could do this by cutting out a lot of middle management that makes decisions and push responsibility down the line (delegation). They could get rid of the section managers and unit managers and make the supervisors more organised so they can have more responsibility in their work in quality and output, making the company save money and have more output (STRENGTH). But this is a down point as well, as the workers ...

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