* MARKETING Identifying what the customer wants and supplying it.
* COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS Analysing retail outlets within the organisation and financing payback as well as organising school units.
* INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY Analysing all the information that is available for all aspects of the business to ensure that the best procedures/systems are being used.
* TECHNICAL SERVICES Maintaining all the equipment on site to make sure that all is working 100%.
* HUMAN RESOURCES Ensuring that the personnel in the business work as efficiently as possible.
* SECURITY Making sure all areas of the organisation are secure against theft etc.
* HOTEL Ensuring the highest standards of accommodation are available to visitors at all times.
* RIDES Ensuring the latest, safest, up to date rides are available and accessible at the best possible prices. Also, that there is a full schedule of the upcoming attractions to meet all visitors needs.
The marketing department
The marketing department looks at the business through the customers eyes. It identifies what the customer needs and provides it. The contribution of marketing is vital as it directly influences the number of sales that are made and therefore the profit of the company.
It provides customers with new or developed products/services that they need or desire. It also provides them with information on proposed products and those already on sale. It provides people in the business with a profit, attraction to the business and interesting, worthwhile jobs to do.
The activities of marketing include:
* Market research to find out what customers need and what customers opinions on proposed and existing products and services are.
* Promotion to inform the customers that their particular organisation can fulfil their needs.
* Sales to provide the goods or services the customer now thinks he/she needs.
In market research the business carries out research about its customers, competitors, and any factors that could affect the sale of a specific product. It finds out a lot of information about its target population the group of people that the product is aimed at. Questions are likely to focus on:
* Similar products or services the customer already uses.
* The type of product he/she would prefer.
* The price paid for the product or service.
* The price the customer would be prepared to pay for a product or service with different features.
* The newspapers and magazines the customer reads and the television programmes most frequently watched.
* The places where the customer usually shops.
* The customers views of current products and/or services.
If a business can find out exactly what its customers want then it can then design, price, and promote it so that customers will buy it.
Companies use information from market research to plan their marketing strategies. These are the tactics they will use to try to maximise sales of the product or service. These tactics will depend on the type of customers they have and their needs.
The marketing mix one of the first things a business must do is to decide its marketing mix for a particular item. This comprises the four Ps: product, price, promotion and place. The company is trying to find out the following information in each case:
* Product the type or the variety of product the customer wants, the quality required, the features and styling that are preferred, whether packaging is important, whether a guarantee or after sales service is required.
* Price what basic price the customer would pay, whether discounts or credit terms would be desirable, the price of competitors products, whether additional price related features would be tempting.
* Promotion where it would be best to advertise the product, what type of personal selling would be the best, what type of sales promotion would help, what publicity would be most effective, how the product should be displayed in stores.
* Place where to find potential customers, what kind of shops they use, what magazines and newspapers they read, how best to distribute the product, what regions to cover, what type of transport to use, where to locate shops and depos.
Pricing a product is very important if the price is too high, customers will not buy it, if the price is too low, the business will lose profit it could have made.
When businesses want to enter new markets they sell their products at a low price to begin with. This is called penetration pricing. Many businesses check the prices of their competitors products and charge the same price. This is called competitor pricing. Some businesses put the price very high so that the people who really want the product will, and then they lower the price so other people will now buy it. This is called skimming.
It is really the job of the product department to design products but marketing is also involved in the process. Through its market research, the marketing department should know what designs would most appeal to the target population. They should therefore work closely with the designing section to produce the best possible design.
Sensible businesses carefully research what their customers want, what other products are on the market so they can design a product that is in great demand. These businesses produce what is called market orientated products.
Other businesses can make products that are so good they do not need to carry out market research, the product will sell itself. These products are called product orientated.
Sometimes if the business produces a market orientated product that does need research, but they do not think it needs it, the product does not sell and the business goes bankrupt.
The marketing department is involved in any advertising that comes with the packaging of a product. This tells customers what is good and also tries to persuade them to buy the product. The packaging usually contains a great deal of information about what the product is made of, what it can be used for, and when the sell-by date is. Much of this has to meet certain laws and regulations and it will normally be the marketing department which has to make certain that what is wrote on the package is legal and correct.
All businesses have to decide how to promote their products. They use a variety of different methods, which will depend on the type of product or service being promoted. The range of available methods include:
* Sales promotions
* Publicity campaigns
* Personal selling
The aim of promotional methods is to inform/remind the public that the product or service exists and to stress the benefits.
Products and services are advertised daily in the press, on television and commercial radio, in cinemas and on hoardings, in train stations and on buses. Advertisements are written to inform, persuade or to do both. A persuasive advertisement sells an image whereas an informational advertisement gives the facts. Businesses use a number of tactics to allow the public to recognise their service or product easily. These will include distinctive packaging, brand or trade names and advertising slogans. The choice of advertisement depends on:
* The type of product or service.
* The extent of coverage required.
* The geographical distribution of the product.
* The cost.
* The habits of the target population.
The business can measure the effectiveness of an advertising campaign by checking the difference in its sales. If customers are asked to respond for more information they may be asked to quote the source where they saw the advertisement. Customer service staff also asks where they first heard of the company.
After sales service
Once products have been sold most businesses have an after sales service option which is usually part of the marketing departments responsibility. After sales service includes all of the following:
* Guarantees and offers to repair or replace faulty products.
* Servicing of products.
* Delivery of products.
* Credit facilities so that the customers can pay for the product over a period of time.
* Offering refunds for unwanted goods.
* Information about new products.
* Answers to customers queries about products they have already bought.
* Dealing with complaints.
* Follow-up communications to see that the customer is satisfied with the product.
A typical job role in the marketing department is the marketing director who is responsible for the overall marketing function and its aims and objectives.
The security department
Although theft is illegal there are no general laws that insist that retail outlets protect themselves against theft. Protecting the business is common sense and helps ensure that the business makes as much profit as possible.
Security provides assurance to customers that themselves and their products are safe whilst they are in the park. It also provides safety for them while they are on the rides so there are no ride related accidents. For employees it provides safety of visitors, ideas that may be stored in company computers and safety of money within the business.
Access and facilities for customers with disabilities
Most businesses do their most to accommodate the needs of disabled customers. These can include:
* Ramps and automatic doors.
* Access for guide dogs.
* Disabled toilet facilities.
* Entrance through exits to avoid queues.
Shoplifting can be minimised by:
* Employing store detectives.
* Good lighting.
* Installing CCTV cameras.
* Employing security guards to undertake constant surveillance.
Theft of money
Theft of money can be minimised by:
* Installing plastic shields above cash register draws to prevent snatch and grab crimes.
* Placing cash registers away from exit doors.
* Having notes in a separate strong box.
* Emptying tills and machines regularly, wearing protective clothing in case of a robbery.
* Locking tills when not in use.
Theft by staff
Theft by staff can be minimised by:
* A clear procedure for staff purchases and the storage of such items.
* A cloakroom area for employee coats and bags.
* Systematic and random checks on cash registers against till toll records.
* Authorised refunds.
* Signed cash backs.
* Only full, sealed cartons or boxes to be moved from the stock area to the sales floor.
* A policy that management have the right to search clothing or belongings if theft is suspected.
All businesses have a special; secure office where the money is counted. Only authorised staff are allowed in this area. The money is transported from the cash registers in a secure method of transport which staff do not have access to.
Security of premises.
All businesses have or should have an alarm system to minimise break-ins. This is often essential before they can be insured against theft. However not all thieves are deterred by security alarms. Introduced measures to minimise break-ins are:
* Security alarms and CCTVs that operate over night. Illuminated fronts and car parks.
* Metal grills over windows.
* Earth banks around the park.
* Concrete blocks, flower rubs or metal bollards situated in front of windows etc.
* Security lights inside.
* Secure dead locks.
* Separate entrances for staff and customers.
* Locked gates and high metal fences.
* Restricting key holders to the premises.
A typical job role in the security department is a security guard who ensures the safety of paying customers is on hand in case of attacks and break-ins and keeps a watchful eye on the specific area of the business he/she has been appointed to.
The information technology department
The IT department is a vital part of any business as it analyses all information that has been recorded or is available for all aspects of the business. This is carried out, as it not only ensures that the best services and procedures are being used throughout the business but also leaves room for improvement. This is essential for a successful business, as they need to be continually improving and developing to keep ahead of/up with their competitors.
The IT department provides customers with improved services/functions and necessary information. It provides the employees who regularly need information or inputted data with easy access to a computer. This is why it is so important that the computers are always fully functional.
To ensure that the information inputted into the computer is stored safely, businesses continually change their software packages to those that are more recent and suitable. Computer staff is also appointed to make sure that the system is secure from hackers and viruses. Unless there is a virus checker in place and a system for preventing employees using their own machines on company machines, viruses can be easily downloaded.
A typical function in the IT department is the network administrator who is appointed to manage the network of interlinked computers in the business. He/she also gives new users access to the system, deals with any queries, sets up any network services and liases with users to develop new services that would be useful.
The human resources department
The major functions of the human resources department include:
* The recruitment, retention and dismissal of employees.
* The monitoring and maintenance of working conditions.
* Health and safety.
* The training, development and promotion of employees.
* Employee organisations and trade unions.
* The rights and responsibilities of employers and employees.
The human resources department provides motivation for all employees, ensures they are all well trained and makes sure that they are committed to the aims of the business. Other things the function provides to its employees are:
* The ability to do work, which they find interesting and challenging but not overwhelming.
* Good working conditions.
* Fair treatment from employers.
* Opportunities to take further training.
* The opportunity to develop and to gain promotion.
* Protection against victimisation, harassment, discrimination and unfair dismissal.
* Equal treatment no matter what gender or race they are or if they have a disability in some way.
To the customers the function provides:
* Good treatment from staff.
* A safe environment.
The function is carried out to:
* Attract and retain high quality staff.
* Train and develop all staff to enable them to reach their maximum potential.
* Ensure that the business avoids unlawful or unfair discrimination.
* Ensure the business operates within the law in relation to employment and health and safety.
Every department in a business knows how many staff it needs and their requirements. They pass on these details to the human resources department who will carry out the following duties:
* Make sure a job specification and description are produced for each position.
* Place an advertisement in a place that will be able to recommend suitable people.
* Send details to people who apply.
* Receive applications and decide who should be interviewed.
* Carry out the interviews and appoint staff.
Retention is carried out to save costs and retain staff. The human resources department make sure that the business:
* Pays higher wages than competitors.
* Makes the working environment challenging and pleasant etc
* Encourages staff to buy shares in the business.
* Provides good pension plans.
* Offers opportunities for promotion.
* Provides valuable training.
There are many reasons why an employee may be dismissed. Although the department in which the employee works records these, the human resources department is in charge of disciplining the staff and dismissing them.
The human resources department is also responsible for the general working conditions in the business. These include:
* Deciding rates of pay, bonuses and perks such as company cars.
* Fixing the lengths and sometimes the timing of holidays.
* Deciding company pension provision.
* Preparing the contract of employment and deciding the conditions.
* Ensuring employees welfare is monitored and supported.
* Ensuring that everyone complies with health and safety regulations and legislation on discrimination.
Health and safety
Employers and employees are responsible for ensuring that the workplace has a safe, healthy environment. The human resources department as well as the individual departments make sure that this happens and that the firm complies with the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Training, development and promotion
Successful businesses see staff as resource, which will help to reach its aims and objectives, and as individuals who set their own. Few people want to start working at an early age and then keep doing that same job, especially if it does not interest them. Good businesses ensure that staff has training opportunities that will help them to develop their talents. To make sure this is happening is yet another job of the human resources department.
Nowadays promotion is based on who is the best person for the job. To ensure that this happens, the human resources department:
* Identifies the job role, which needs to be filled, and the specifications for it.
* Checks records to see what skills members of staff have and how they have handled their jobs.
* Carries out interviews and appraisals so that the best members are chosen.
* Appoints the employee to the role.
* Gives support and useful feedback to the unappointed staff.
The rights and responsibilities of employers and employees
When employers and employees work with each other they have to respect each others needs and rights. If they do, all customers will benefit and the business will be successful. Some responsibilities are ones that the business and employees are ethically required to meet, others are ones that the business and employees are legally required to meet.
Your rights as an employee
(The responsibilities of the employer)
Your responsibilities as an employee
(The rights of the employer)
1) To be provided with safe working conditions.
2) To receive written particulars of employment within two months of starting work.
3) To be paid a fair wage or salary in return for being ready and willing to work.
4) To be provided with information regarding your rights.
5) In some cases to be provided with work.
6) To have any grievances properly dealt with.
7) Not to be discriminated against on grounds of sex, race and disability.
8) To be allowed to choose whether or not to join a trade union.
9) To be consulted over matters which will significantly affect your terms and conditions of employment.
10) To be treated reasonably.
1) To be ready and willing to work.
2) To give a personal service.
3) To be reasonably competent.
4) To take responsible care of your employers property.
5) To carry out reasonable and lawful instructions.
6) To act in good faith i.e. to be honest, not work for a competitor, not give away trade secrets.
7) To comply with the express terms of your contract.
8) To comply with health and safety procedures.
9) To work towards the objectives of the organisation.
10) To behave responsibly toward other employees.
A typical job role in the human resources department is the human resources director. He/she decides the overall staffing policies of the business, advises senior management sets the human resources budget and is in charge of all the functions.
How the functional areas at Alton Towers interact to help the business meet its aims and objectives
Alton Towers aims are to:
* Make a profit.
* Provide goods and services to the local and wider community.
* Survive as a business or expand.
* Maximise sales or improve the quality of a product or service.
* Produce a high competitive service.
* Be environmentally friendly.
The functional areas at Alton Towers interact to help the business
meet its aims and objectives in the following ways:
* Marketing ensures that the increasing number of customers is attracted to Alton Towers each year through advertising, using the most cost effective media format.
* Commercial operations provide the highest level of customer service to all of its customers using maximum productivity and by organising educational events.
* I.T. provide the latest computer systems that enable all departments to view info/reports in the required formats.
* Technical services liase with the operations and finance departments to ensure all attractions are maintained to the highest standards working within a financial budget.
* Human resources liase with all departments ensuring the required number of personnel are employed and all are trained continually with a view to promoting people. They also have a responsibility for health and safety and monitoring appliance to employment legislation.
* Security works close with all departments to ensure all aspects of company profit are protected e.g. reduced stock losses through theft, security of money on premises, protection of equipment and personnel on site, and monitoring compliance to auditable procedures.
* The hotel provides accommodation for customers, liase closely with the marketing department to advertise, work closely with finance so that the budget is achieved.
* The rides liase with all departments to ensure:
1. The correct number of staff is available for each ride and is fully trained.
2. Rides and customers are safe at all times.
How law protects the equal opportunities of employees
The rights and responsibilities of employers and employees are laid down in employment law. There are four main acts. These are:
* The Employment Rights Act 1996
* The Sex Discrimination Act 1975
* The Race Relations Act 1976
* The Disability Discrimination Act 1995
The first act covers all the main rights of employees that have been argued over many years in one Act of Parliament. The other three Acts are connected with equal opportunities and support the principal that all employees should be treated equally in all matters relating to their employment.
The Sex Discrimination Act makes it illegal for anyone to be discriminated against because of his or her gender, either directly or indirectly.
The Race Relations Act is similar to the Sex Discrimination Act. This makes it illegal to discriminate in the workplace because of their race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin.
The Disability Discrimination Act is concerned with discrimination against people with disabilities in employment when acquiring goods or services or buying/renting land or property. The disability may be physical, sensory or mental but must be relatively long term. It only applies to direct discrimination.
In all cases of discrimination employees can take legal action against employers or other employees who break these acts. Legal action is taken to Industrial Tribunals that decide if the action did break the law. If the law was broken, two solutions are usually considered:
1. Compensation for damage caused.
2. Making the business change their practices so that the discrimination does not occur.
Usually businesses have an equal opportunities policy to confirm they agree with and will abide by the concept of equal opportunities. This is a statement of the equal opportunities aims of the business.
For a business to achieve its aims it needs to set objectives. It should therefore have a business plan to set the main objectives to be achieved. One may be equal opportunity training for all employees in a certain amount of time. Another might be to improve the level of the number of people in jobs or at levels where they are under-represented.
With all objectives, progress needs to be monitored to identify how well they are being met. Various initiatives may be introduced to improve success such as reviewing the recruitment procedures, training interviewers, developing links with the local community or introducing more flexible schemes. Setting an aim is no guarantee of achieving it, only if specific actions are taken to achieve the objectives is it likely to be successful.
How employment law protects employees
The Employment Rights Act
If an employee was not given a statement of employment within two months it would be illegal. It would also be illegal if the statement did not include:
* Names of the employee and employer.
* Date when employment began.
* Rate of pay.
* When pay is due weekly, monthly, yearly.
The Sex Discrimination Act
If a business insisted that only men should be employed for a job role that could be filled by either sex. This would be illegal. It is a form of direct discrimination.
The Race Relations Act
If a business refused to employ someone because they had a scouse accent this would be illegal.
The Disability Discrimination Act
If a business refused to employ someone because they had a missing limb, this would be illegal.
The four functional areas at Alton Towers are:
* Information technology
* Human resources
The marketing department ensures that Alton Towers is foremost in peoples minds when looking for a fun day out in a theme park. This is achieved through extensive market research and advertising through all media channels. The security department ensures the safety of all customers, staff and protection of all equipment and assets on site. The I.T. department in Alton Towers ensures that the most relevant computer systems are used to analyse all information that is available for all aspects of the business. The human resources department ensures that the right calibre of staff are employed, trained and are available for duties on the right time, in the right place for all work to be successfully carried out within the theme park. It is also responsible for ensuring that the staff are working in a safe environment and that the welfare of all is continually monitored. It is extremely important that the human resources department make sure that Alton Towers operates within the numerous laws that relate to employees.