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The Purpose of Producing Documents in a Business Environment Essay

1 Understand the purpose of producing high quality and attractive documents in a business environment

1.1 Outline different types of documents that may be produced and the different styles that could be used

A document is information produced in either printed or electronic format and may be one of many types such as: –

• Letter – A formal form of communication and record consisting of a standard structured format and should include the senders details and address, the recipients address, the date written, any reference details e.g. order number etc finally ending with a signature. • Email – These are replacing letters and faxes within the business environment and can be either formal or informal depending on the recipient and internal or external. • Memo – A memo is a short formal message used within an organisation to pass on information. • Fax – A fax is a paper document sent using a fax machine and telephone line, these have now mainly been replaced by Email but are still used by some businesses. • Invoice – An invoice is a formal request for payment sent out by businesses to customers to confirm exactly how much to pay and when payment should be received. • Purchase orders – A purchase order is a document produced by a person or company to buy items or services required by that person, department or company. • Spreadsheet – A spreadsheet is usually a numerical document created on a computer used for calculating, sales, accounts creating graphs etc.

There are other forms of documents such as reports, leaflets, flyers, posters, presentations and brochures but at Thermaplate International Ltd the main forms of communication used are the list above.

1.2 Describe different formats in which text may be presented

The format of a document is dependant on the recipient and the purpose of the document. This consists of font, font size, font colour, italic, bulleted list, left aligned, right aligned, or centred. At Thermaplate International Ltd the majority of our documents are formatted using a spreadsheet, as the columns are best suited for the technical information used by our business 1.3 Explain the purpose and benefits of producing high quality and attractive documents

All the documents I have to produce at Thermaplate International Ltd must be of a high quality, this is not only to present the company in a good image to our customers and suppliers but they usually contain larger amounts of technical data which much be accurate and easily read. If the documents were not of a high standard it could lead to delays in deliveries and production, which would mean dissatisfied customers and lower profitability.

2 Know the resources and technology available and how to use them when producing documents in a business environment

2.1 Describe the types of resources available for producing high quality and attractive documents

At Thermaplate International Ltd the resources we use to produce high quality documents are: –

• A computer
• Updated software
• A high quality printer
• Good quality paper
• The internet

I use all the above tools to help me produce high quality attractive documents.

2.2 Outline ways of using different resources to produce documents

Whist at work I tend to use my hands to plan and outline a new document. This means I still use a pen and paper or notepad before I finalise a document on my computer. Once I’m happy with the structure of the document or the design I will then use the appropriate software to produce the document. The three main programs I use are Microsoft word, Microsoft excel and Autosketch.

2.3 Describe different types of technology available for inputting, formatting and editing text and their main features

At Thermaplate International Ltd the main forms of technology used for inputting, formatting and editing text are a computer keyboard and mouse, using these tools we can rearrange text and designs, resize objects, highlight text and change formatting. Occasionally we use digital media devices such as video cameras and still cameras. An example recently was a unit sent out had two valves and the actuator on the second valve had to be turned 90( for packaging purposes. A document was produced with text and photographs instructing the installer to return the actuator to its correct position once unpackaged.

3 Understand the purpose of following procedures when producing documents in a business environment

3.1 Explain the benefits of agreeing the purpose, content, style, and deadlines for producing documents

It is important to agree the purpose, content, style and deadline for any document, this is so the intended recipient will be able to understand the message they have received, and it must be produced in a acceptable timetable. Recently at Thermaplate International Ltd I produced a new document, “Econoplate Specification Sheet For Sales Enquiry”. This has become necessary, as sales staff were not giving the complete information regarding our units on a sales enquiry, thus when a sales member now telephones a Specification Sheet has to be filled out. When I constructed this sheet it needed to contain all the technical information about the Econoplate but remain simple enough for all our staff to fill out.

3.2 Outline different ways of organising content needed for documents

There are many ways of presenting a document and the appropriate method will depend whom the document is produced for. Such ways of presentation may include:-

• Text – This is very useful to provide complex information. However if there is too much text it can become hard to read and the reader could lose their place easily therefore it should be broken up using images or tables. • Tables – These are a very visual way of presenting data, and can be used to compare different factors. These are useful to break up large volumes of text. • Images – These may include pictures, photos drawings, graphs cartoons etc, and help break up the text and reinforce the information provided by text. • Columns – This technique is use by magazines and newspapers to help fit large amounts of text on a page but breaks it up into smaller pieces.

An example of the way I organise text at Thermaplate International Ltd is the monthly spares invoice. This is presented in columns consisting of date, delivered to, reference number, cost and additional notes. Using this method it is a clear breakdown of the invoice and is easy to read.

3.3 Outline ways of integrating and laying out text and non-text

With the assistance of computer programs such as Microsoft Office it has become very easy to integrate text and images. Microsoft Word enables you to insert pictures, graphs, clip art and wrap text around and it helps you to work around with its different features to get that consistent format. There are other programs within Microsoft Office such as Excel and PowerPoint with help to integrate text and non-text such as spreadsheets and slides. At Thermaplate International Ltd I recently had to produce an instruction sheet for site engineers to fit the new insulation jackets we were supplying. This consisted of very small amounts of text to explain the actions being shown in the photographs. It was kept very simple and easy to follow.

3.4 Describe ways of checking finished documents for accuracy, including spelling, grammar and punctuation and correctness, and the purpose of doing so

Small mistakes on or within documents can cause businesses many problems and may present the business in a bad way. Some ways of reducing mistakes may include: –

• Proofread documents produced
• Not relying on technology such as spell-check. The computer will not pick up incorrectly used but correctly spelt words, also it will not recognise many names or certain technical words or terms
• Having a colleague check your work

• Read back any verbal information given to you

In my role at Thermaplate the most important documents I have to be accurate in filling out are the product schedules. These are the permanent records of the units we produce, and are used for future reference if a customer needs replacements parts. If the inputting is wrong a customer may receive the wrong parts, costing the company time and money.

3.5 Explain the purpose of storing documents safely and securely, and ways of doing so

The main ways of storing data are: –

• Filing Cabinets – If you wish to keep paper documents it is important to organise them and file them sensibly and in a way it is easy for the staff to find what they are looking for, a filing cabinet is a excellent tool for this. If the information is confidential many filing cabinets come with locks. • Computer – Many documents now are stored on computers, again these files should be filed in a sensible way that is easy to find the appropriate file when needed. All confidential files on a computer should be password protected so unauthorised uses cannot access any confidential information. All computer files should be backed up regularly should the originals be corrupted in any way.

There are several methods of filing we use at Thermaplate International Ltd, our wiring diagrams are kept in a filing cabinet in the workshop this is to allow the staff to select the appropriate wiring diagram for production without disturbing the office staff. Our product schedule which tell us the information on the units we produce were originally produce on paper and filed in a filing cabinet are now saved on computers files. This helps save costs and speed up any enquires about the specifications of previously produced units.

3.6 Explain the purpose of confidentiality and data protection when preparing documents

Confidentiality and data protection may mean several different things. At Thermaplate International Ltd staff information such as addresses and pay must remain confidential. Also business information such as price lists, parts list and supplier list has to be kept confidential. All these things must be in line with the data protection act 1998.

3.7 Explain the purpose and benefits of meeting deadlines

It is essential to agree and keep to deadlines within a business environment. This helps to maintain a good image for the company as being reliable with an ability to “deliver on time”. Also you may not know how others use the work you produce and not keeping to deadlines may affect others work. At Thermaplate International Ltd we constantly have to produce our units on time. If we did not it would cause many problems for others, such as cranes and lifting equipments may no longer be on site to position the Econoplate.

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