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The Colourhouse Essay

Introduction

The business I have chosen to report about is a high quality sheet fed printers called The Colourhouse. This means that they provide the best possible printing work that they can. Sheet fed printers are best suited for shorter runs and where showcase quality is required. Sheet fed presses can also run heavier paper and conversely web presses can run newsprint or other thin paper. The machines in The Colourhouse can turn the sheet over within the press and print both sides at once.

The Colourhouse was established 11 years ago in 1993 when four people invested their money into the company and called it Scott Colour. The four owners who invested their money into the company became directors of the company and still work in the firm. They own The Colourhouse.

Two years ago the company changed its name to The Colourhouse and the location of the firm was moved to a bigger outlet in Deptford. This was because a major shareholder decided to sell his share of the business who was called Scott. The other owners decided to then change the name and change the logo of the company as well. The company now has 93 people working for it.

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Some of their clients include Aston Martin Lagonda, Transport for London, Barclays Bank PLC, J Sainsbury PLC, De Beers, Ford Motor Co, The Tate, Tesco and BP and of course many leading and advertising groups throughout the UK. These big companies show that The Colourhouse provides good quality products to huge names and therefore make better advertising for The Colourhouse to potential clients.

I chose to study The Colourhouse because it was easily accessible for me to go and report on it since my dad’s friend works there. I also wanted to see how the different departments work together to make the firm a success. The managing director Mike Roberts showed me round The Colourhouse. He showed me around all the departments of the company and afterwards took me to meet three of the company’s clients who had done business with the firm, who were in the process of doing business or were considering business with the company. This gave me an insight into how the employees communicate with customers.

Ownership

1.0

The type of business organisation my company is is a private limited company.

1.1

Limited companies must produce two documents – the Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association in order to set up the business. The Memorandum sets out the constitution and gives details about the company. The Companies Act 1985 states that the following details must be included.

* The name of the company

* The name and address of the company’s registered office.

* The objectives of the company and the scope of its activities.

* The liability of its members.

* The amount of capital to be raised and the number of shares to be issued.

A limited company must have a minimum of two members but there is no upper limit.

The Articles of Association deal with the internal running of the company. They include details such as:

* The rights of shareholders depending on the type of share they hold;

* The procedures for appointing directors and the scope of their powers;

* The length of time directors should serve before re-election;

* The timing and frequency of company meetings; the arrangements for auditing company accounts.

These two documents, along with a statement indicating the names of the directors, will be sent to the Registrar of Companies. If they are acceptable, the company’s application will be successful. It will be awarded a Certificate of Incorporation, which allows it to trade. A limited company must also submit a copy of its annual accounts to the Registrar each year. Finally the shareholders have a legal right to attend the AGM and should be told of the date and venue in writing well in advance.

A private limited company is a company that has at least 2 shareholders or more. The Colourhouse has 4 shareholders. The shares in the company cannot be traded on the Stock Exchange. The Colourhouse became a private limited company because four people invested their money into the company and became the instant shareholders of the firm. The Colourhouse has a committee that protects the shareholders interest called the Board of Directors. The members of the board choose the managing director, who is responsible for the day-to-day running of the business. This person in The Colourhouse is Mike Roberts.

Benefits

1.2

There are many benefits of The Colourhouse being a private limited company. Firstly they may find it more possible to raise capital (by selling shares) then unlimited liability businesses since shareholders are not risking their personal wealth. If for example The Colourhouse is losing money and needs to pay for employees’ wages or rent for their factory and offices, they could sell a part of their shares to pay for this. This would mean that employees would be getting paid and doing their job and they would have an actual place to do their work i.e. in the factory. This is better than for example taking out a loan because this means that there is no money needed to pay back.

The shareholders can also have the protection of limited liability. This means that if The Colourhouse goes bankrupt, because it is unable to meet its debts, the shareholders will not be liable (responsible by law) to lose their possessions or pay the money that is owed. The maximum amount they could lose is the amount they have put into the shares. But the maximum amount they would lose is the whole of the business because there are only four shareholders and they all work in the company.

Another benefit is continuity. This means that the business will continue if one of the owners should die. If for example a shareholder in The Colourhouse dies, then the shares can just be transferred to another owner and the business can keep on running.

As the shareholders work in the business they know it well and have a vested interest in its success. So therefore they work hard and motivate employees to make The Colourhouse successful.

Constraints

1.3

However, there are also disadvantages to being a private limited company. They cost more to set up than other types of firm’s i.e. sole traders and partnerships. So if the four directors of The Colourhouse did not have the money 11 years ago to set up the business, it is unlikely that the business would exist, be as successful or be as big as it is today.

Another disadvantage is that there is a legal procedure to set up the business. This takes a lot of time and costs money.

As The Colourhouse cannot sell its shares to the public, it is more difficult for the amount of capital to be raised. Luckily the directors of The Colourhouse already raised the money themselves and therefore invested the money they had in to the company.

A final disadvantage is that any member of the public can inspect financial information with the Registrar. This is an advantage to competitors because they can be seen at any time.

Business Objectives

2.0

The Colourhouse has many business objectives. An objective is an aim or several aims that a business work towards to achieve their goal and this is why it is good to have them. Their objectives are to make the company profit, increase sales for the company, to survive, develop staff skills, produce high quality products and offer good quality service and finally to make it the best sheet fed printers in the United Kingdom.

2.1

The main objective of the company is to make a profit. The reason businesses seek to make a profit is that, without profit, a business is unable to do all the things it wants to do. If The Colourhouse makes a profit, employees feel more secure in their jobs, shareholders profits go up and suppliers feel more secure. The Government also receives more in tax from the business.

Without profit, The Colourhouse will find it difficult to plough back money into research and development, invest in new technologies and reward their employees with an increased wage package.

The profit The Colourhouse makes mainly is reinvested in the company to purchase new machinery.

It also pays rent for their factory and offices, wages for their employees, gas, electricity, petrol and lighting.

2.1

The second objective of the company is to increase sales. Without sales, The Colourhouse would not have any work to actually produce in the company. A decrease in sales would see employees having less work to do and less money coming into the business. This therefore would see a greater chance of The Colourhouse becoming bankrupt. Increasing the sales would mean more profit coming into the company so it can be reinvested to buy new technology and increase employee’s wages. The sales force of the business has the skills to sell The Colourhouse’s service to customers.

2.2

The next objective is surviving. The survival of The Colourhouse depends on the profit that it brings in each year. If The Colourhouse does not bring in the aimed value of profit each year, then the business is in trouble. A reason for The Colourhouse losing its profit is competition from other printers in its area. If this happened they will have to for example sack a number of employees or maybe move location to a smaller factory and office so that the rent will be less money. If the competition gets too much, the company could fold because the people running The Colourhouse would feel that they are not making enough profit to cover the efforts that they are making and the risk that they are taking.

2.3

The next objective is developing staff skills. The Colourhouse recognises that their employees are an important asset to the company. Without their employees the service that they promise to provide would not be available to clients. By developing staff skills they can help the employees as well as helping the company. This is because the employee would be using these skills in the workplace. The ideal employee at The Colourhouse would have good communication skills, good interpersonal skills, the ability to work with numbers and information technology and the ability to work effectively in problem- solving situations. If for example an employee did not communicate well with a client over the telephone or face-to-face, the client is less likely to do business with The Colourhouse again or even decide to take their business elsewhere altogether.

The Colourhouse has therefore developed a detailed training and development programme that seek to create a better workforce for their company. This is called Perfection Through Improvement (PTI). This is a team of people from all areas of the business who strive to make the company a better place for the employees to work in. The team had one week of intense training to learn the tools required. They meet fortnightly to plan and discuss future developments.

An example is making the factory and offices tidy for the employees to work in. They have come up with a scheme called the 5S. This stands for set in order (orderliness), which is keeping needed items in the correct place to allow for easy and immediate retrieval. An example of this is using labels to put items back in their correct place. Shine (cleanliness) which is to keep the workshop swept and clean. A case of this is making less mess and fixing leaks, rattles and shakes. Standardise (standardise clean up), this is the condition they support when they maintain the first three pillars. An example of this is putting cleaning stations companywide.

Sort (organisation), which is clearly distinguishing, needed items from unneeded items and eliminating later. An example of this is tagging items that are ready for disposal. The place where these items were kept was then turned into the PTI workshop. Finally sustain (discipline) which is making a habit of established procedures. The PTI team each have an area and they then carry monthly audits on that area. This encourages and retrains any staff that requires it and it is also healthy competition between areas of the business.

One of The Colourhouse’s future plans for development is to apply for government funding. This will then be used to further train the management team and indeed staff where required.

2.4

Another of their objectives is offering a high quality service and producing a high quality product at the end of it. One of their most important aims is to please the customer. If the customer is not happy with the service they are provided, they will then take their custom elsewhere. The Colourhouse does its best by satisfying customer’s requirements so tries to provide the best possible service they can.

The Colourhouse in the near future will be appointing a customer service director and a customer service team from its current staff to increase customer service levels. If this is increased there will be more business coming into the company and therefore more profit, which means that one of their business objectives will be achieved.

2.5

Their final business objective is to make The Colourhouse the best sheet fed printers in the UK. This is a very big aim, which requires workers to be more motivated at their job and make the company even more successful. An example is organising more social events within the firm so employees can get to know each other better from all departments and therefore is an enjoyable place to work, which motivates the employees to come to work and work hard.

Another way to make The Colourhouse the best sheet fed printers in the UK is by advertising. They plan to advertise the business more by local radio and advertisements in newspapers. They have already improved their website which was very basic beforehand but is now very helpful to clients who are thinking of using The Colourhouse for business. The advertising of the company will make more people know about the firm and may consider using it in the future.

How the company measures their success

3.0

The Colourhouse monitors the success of these objectives by undertaking various customer and staff care surveys. These are conducted face-to-face, over the phone and through the post. These results are then reported back to the directors of the company who have meetings with their staff to talk about the results. The feedback from these surveys is usually very positive. These surveys usually ask clients if they were satisfied with the product and service that they received from The Colourhouse. If customers are not pleased with the results, then the company tries to help with these problems by holding meetings with staff to see how these problems can be solved i.e. giving discounts to particular clients.

3.1

However if the results are not positive, directors usually ask staff and customers what they think is wrong with certain areas of the company and how would they change it. There are various suggestion boxes around the company, which are regularly monitored by the PTI. All the suggestions are considered and answered.

3.2

The Colourhouse also has regular meetings with their staff to keep them up to date with how the company is doing i.e. profit. They monitor their profit by keeping charts of their profit each month and then for the year. They then compare this to their profit for last year to see whether their profit has increased or decreased. If it has decreased then they try to figure out ways to improve this. They measure the success of their sales also in a similar way by recording every sale for the company each month and then for the year and comparing to previous months and years.

The Colourhouse measures how well the company is surviving by finding out about other printing companies in the same area (its competition). The Colourhouse can find out about other printers by searching the Internet for example and looking on printer’s websites to see e.g. the number of awards they have won, the customers they have and what type of machinery they use. This means that The Colourhouse can think of different strategies to make their company have a competitive edge over other printing companies in that area.

Recommendations are also a very big way to measure the success of The Colourhouse. If clients are happy with the results of their work, then they will tell other potential clients about it and therefore increase the number of sales in the company. Potential clients also can see on The Colourhouse’s website that they have big companies using The Colourhouse and as a result customers are more likely to use this company over other printers.

3.3

In my opinion, I think The Colourhouse is very successful in meetings its objectives.

Their main objective is to make a profit. Every year, they successfully make, on average �10 million which is a lot considering it isn’t such a big company or even has branches elsewhere.

Their other objective is to develop staff skills. The Colourhouse has developed a training programme for their workforce to make them a better team. The programme is the PTI programme which aims to improve the workplace employees work in. This has proven to be a success because it is involving all members of staff to make the factory and office comfortable to work in.

Overall, The Colourhouse is one of the best sheet fed printers in the UK. This is proven by the amount of awards that the company has won. They have won 56 UK, European and International premier printing awards.

Some of the awards they’ve won include brochure printer of the year, repro house of the year, regional printer of the year, direct mail printer of the year and reports and accounts printer of the year.

They have found winning these awards have been a powerful tool in helping to grow their business. Receiving these awards tells the customers and prospects that The Colourhouse is providing some of the finest print in the world today.

In 10 years they have achieved 14 Consort Print awards, 4 Sappi Graphics awards, 10 Printweek Awards, 4 Printing World Awards, 4 McNaughton Review awards, 10 Premier awards and 6 Spotlight Awards.

Their most proud awards are Printing Worlds Direct Mail printer of the years 2004, best repro’ company of the year 2002 and 2003, and Printing Worlds Best Printer 2002. These are their most proud awards because these are recent awards that they have won and still show that after 11 years they still provide the best possible quality they can.

The names of all their awards they have won are on their website which is a very good idea because clients usually browse a website of a company before using it for business so therefore clients will more than likely use The Colourhouse than other printers because it has won so many printing awards for their quality of work.

Functional Areas

4.0

There are five different functional areas in The Colourhouse which all work together to make the company successful.

The different functional areas in the Colourhouse are:

* Administration/ Finance

* Sales

* Production

* Human Resources

4.1

The department of administration services the work of the company. The Colourhouse has an average sized office that is responsible for controlling key aspects of the firm’s paperwork. This department handles the filing of materials, the company’s mail, word processing and data handling facilities.

The administration department also has another department to it: finance. This deals with issuing invoices, estimating and sending cheques. A client will get in touch with someone in the sales department and the finance department’s job is to estimate the cost of that job and issue the invoice to that particular customer. It too is responsible for keeping day-to-day records. It is important that this department does this because if for example a major event happens, the event can be discussed in say a meeting with the exact event and time and date. The department as well produces periodic records such as the annual accounts and figures for discussion at meetings of directors. This means that if in a meeting the managing director wants to compare profit figures from particular years, this can be done because they have been recorded. This department has 3 people working in it.

An organisational chart of The Colourhouse showing the different functional areas

4.2

The department of sales deals with sales. Sales advisors take enquiries from customers for the work that they want. Often sale advisors go and meet clients several times and do not just deal with sales over the telephone. By meeting the clients personally it makes the customer feel that they are the sales advisors top priority and as a result feel very comfortable doing business with The Colourhouse. This is how sales advisors bring work into the factory. However if The Colourhouse feels it cannot give a particular job the best possible quality or have time to fit the job in, then the sales advisors will speak to the clients personally and provide any information that they need i.e. the name of another printing firm. Without sales the whole process of work would not exist. There would be no work for the reproduction and printing departments to actually produce to clients so therefore employees would not get paid and would end up losing their jobs. There are 10 people working in this department.

4.3

The department of Human Resources deals with the actual staff in The Colourhouse. It is the job of this department to interview potential staff for The Colourhouse. They then train the staff and continue to train them if for example the employees have not been working as hard as they could have so human resources provide more training. This department also uses staff appraisal, which involves a review interview between the employee and the managing director. These are held usually at least every 12 months and progress is discussed and targets are set. If the employee is not working as hard and needs to be motivated then they can be re-trained. On the other hand if the employees are working very well in their job then bonus schemes can be discussed or even a pay rise.

4.4

The production department is split into three areas: reproduction, print and finishing.

The department of reproduction handles printing imagery. This is where workers use Mac computers to scan their client’s images onto the computer. They then change certain parts of the images to fit the client’s needs, which is called retouching. An example is a client wanting leaflets designed for a historical monument. The client would take the photo of it. The employee would change for example the colour of the sky to make it more blue and clear instead of having it grey and dull like how it was taken. This then attracts the attention of the reader a lot more and therefore would consider visiting that place.

The images are then transferred to a special material, which is called a plate where it goes into a machine to be proofed. This can be either done by wet proofing or digital proofing. Wet proofing takes a longer time to complete then digital proofing. All this work is saved onto discs and put away so if the client comes back and wants the same job done; it is easier for the work to be done.

4.5

The department of printing deals with exactly that. The plates from the previous reproduction department are transferred into the printing department. They are fed into machines presses where ink is pressed onto the plates. The machines used are 1×10 colour perfecting press, 1×8 colour perfecting press and 1×6 colour CD press. The plates are colour coded so that plates don’t get mixed up and get fed into the wrong machines. The inks used are yellow, cyan, magenta and black, which are mixed together to create different colours to whatever the client requires. The images are then transferred onto several hundreds of paper.

4.6

The final department is finishing. When they are finished printings they are stocked into big bundles and are taking to where the edges of the paper must be made smooth using machines that cut the bundles. The bundles of paper next are placed into a machine where a shiny coating is placed onto them. The bundles are then taken to be folded into leaflets, posters, brochures, magazines or whatever particular job is required.

There is also another side to the finishing department, which is the mailing section. This is the department where mailing is done. Mail is posted to all their clients and householders about their particular jobs with the company and about how the company is doing. The names of all the clients are kept on computerised laser machines, which enclose the client details. Mail is then enclosed in an envelope, sealed and posted.

4.7

The functional areas all work together to help the business meet its objectives. The Colourhouse’s main objective is to make a profit. However if the functional areas didn’t work together to meet this objective there would be no profit or an increase in sales. They cannot all work without the other departments. The sales department is essential because the sales advisors actually talk to clients and persuade them to use The Colourhouse for business. The human resources department motivate the employees to carry on with jobs in the way that they are doing and help employees if it is needed. The reproduction, printing and finishing department are necessary because they offer the services and make the product. Without these departments there wouldn’t be any product to give to the client at the end. The mailing department is needed to inform clients of the progress of their work and how the company is actually doing. Without it clients are not informed of The Colourhouse’s progress and therefore may forget using The Colourhouse in the future. By doing this the client will be satisfied with the end result and therefore come back to do more business.

Their other objective is developing staff skills. The functional areas all work together to do this by helping employees in different departments whether it be for example a sales advisor telling a person in the printing department how to communicate well on the phone or showing an employee in the production department how to scan images onto a MAC computer in the reproduction department. A very important way of developing staff skills is training employees when for example they start in a department. They also use training to teach employees to work in different parts of the department on different machines e.g. the print department in case a particular employee is absent. This is called multi-skilling. This means that the employees can be more flexible with their job. It is the job of the human resources department to decide when training is given to employees and develop their skills.

Another of their objectives is to offer a good quality service to the clients. The functional areas help to do this by making the best possible product to a high quality standard. The departments of The Colourhouse try to meet its deadlines for a particular job and do the job at an average speed. The sales department offer the client the best possible service when they met them by communicating well with them and helping them with any queries. Clients can also visit The Colourhouse to see where their work is being processed and can see if it is correct and to the best possible standard. If it isn’t the client can point this out and the mistakes on the job can be changed.

Management Style and Culture

5.0

A person’s management style is the typical pattern of behaviour he or she shows in carrying out a management role over a period of time.

The management style of The Colourhouse is a mixture of 3 styles: autocratic, democratic and laissez faire.

5.1

The autocratic style is one where the manager sets objectives, allocates tasks and insists on obedience. The Colourhouse uses the autocratic style in a situation like a managing director telling the people in the mailing department who to send particular mail to. This style is used by a higher employee to new and inexperienced staff who are not experienced in The Colourhouse.

The democratic style is also used. A democratic leadership style encourages participation in decision-making. Managers may consult employees or could attempt to ‘sell’ final decisions to them. A case of using this is when the departments of production, reproduction and printing decide whether a job that has been enquired can be taken on. This style is used to employees that have been in The Colourhouse for a long time so they don’t need so much direction as new employees.

5.2

The Colourhouse is somewhere between autocratic and democratic but there is also a style of laissez faire used. A laissez-faire type of leadership style allows employees to carry out activities freely within broad limits. They are then held responsible for the decisions it chooses to make. An example of this is the reproduction and printing departments deciding how long a particular job will take printing. If it is not finished then it is these departments responsibility.

5.3

Culture means a way of doing things. In a business context it can mean the attitudes, values and beliefs that are shared by the people in a business. If a business is to succeed in achieving its objectives, it is vital that its people share a belief in those objectives. It is up to the management of the business to instil the belief in its employees.

How a culture will evolve depends on different influences. In the case of The Colourhouse economic influences dictate how the culture evolves. This is the need to make a profit and be efficient. The drive to make a profit will help to shape the attitudes, values and beliefs of the firm. Employees of The Colourhouse are motivated to go all out to win business because they are hoping for a reward in their hard work i.e. higher wages or a promotion.

An organisational culture is reflected in the way individuals in the organisations carry out their tasks. It combines the beliefs and values of the individuals and the extent to which they rely on the organisation’s rules and procedures. There are 4 types of culture: role, power, person and task culture.

5.4

Role culture is typical of bureaucracies, which are large organisations in which all members have a defined job or role to carry out.

Power culture is often found in small organisations where control rests with a single individual or a small group of individuals.

Person culture is where the individuals are central and the organisation exists only to serve the interests of those within it.

5.5

In the case of The Colourhouse the task culture is used. This is a team working on a specific project. These tend to be organised into team working structures.

Teams may work together for a short and long time to complete a task. Particular individuals may work on more than 1 task at a time. An example of this is staff in the reproduction department scanning images onto a MAC computer but also proofing the images onto plates. There is a strong emphasis on building the team and make them feel valued by the firm.

Employers are increasingly being encouraged to take on more responsibility.

In a task culture, teams will often have considerable input in determining how a particular job will be done. An example is the employees of the reproduction department giving their views to the managing director on a particular job. After all they work there all the time so therefore their opinions on things are listened to and are more often than not right about it.

Task culture is best for The Colourhouse because it means that employees of The Colourhouse can work in teams and complete assignments together. Particular employees tend to work on more than one task at a time. As a result for their hard work they feel valued by The Colourhouse to be kept motivated. Teams of employees can also put their thoughts and views into how a particular job that they do e.g. the amount of time a job takes to complete. Other members of the team and the company listen to their opinions.

5.6

The Colourhouse is organised into team working structures, which involves considerable flexibility with people working in one or more teams and when appropriate. This means that all employees are taking responsibility for their particular part in the job and therefore must be in charge of that. An example of this is the different departments within the company especially the reproduction and printing department. These departments help each other out and the employees have to be flexible in these departments because they cannot leave their work really until the particular printing job is done.

5.7

The structure of the business, its culture and management style affects the performance of The Colourhouse. These help or hinder the success of the business. If for example employees hated coming to work because of particular individuals or hated the management style e.g. autocratic they wouldn’t feel comfortable in their work and not put the best possible effort into it. However if more social events occurred in The Colourhouse i.e. going out for a meal with some of the other employees, workers would build on having a good relationship with other members of staff and therefore look forward to coming to work. This means that they will put their best possible effort into their work and maintain a high level of morale. Having a relaxed but hard working atmosphere in the workplace motivates the workers to meet their objectives of the company. Otherwise if the atmosphere is miserable the employees will be working in this type of atmosphere and have a low level of morale and not reaching their objectives as a company.

5.8

The operation of The Colourhouse is also affected by the structure, the culture and management style. If the style of management is too autocratic, it affects the way in which staff work causing the staff to lose morale and not put as much effort into their finished product. However if the atmosphere in the office is too laid back workers will not be motivated to make the best possible product they can. They will then produce sloppy work which would make the customer unsatisfied and take their business elsewhere. They will also not encourage other people too use the company either.

5.9

The structure, management style and culture also help The Colourhouse meet its objectives. The Colourhouse’s main objective is to make a profit. With The Colourhouse being a mixture of all 3 management styles: autocratic, democratic and laissez faire, it helps the employees of the company work together and separately to make their product and service the best possible and therefore the best for the customer. The customer will more than likely return to the company to do more business. If the customer also sees that the culture of the business is hardworking but also a relaxed environment this will also more than likely make the customer come back to the company to do more business leading to increasing sales. The Colourhouse also aims to look after the customer when they do business with them, so if the customer does not feel that the company care about them then they will take their custom elsewhere therefore decreasing sales.

Another of their objectives is to develop staff skills. The management style is to work together and also apart so by doing this it is developing many of their employees’ skills. For example it is developing their skills to be a leader in a situation like working in a group or developing their problem-solving skills when they are alone.

5.10

I think the impact of the organisational structure; culture and management style is successful on the performance of The Colourhouse. The employees of The Colourhouse know that the most important thing is to make the customer happy. The customer is their top priority. This makes the employees motivated to keep the customer happy and maybe get a reward at the end of it i.e. promotion.

Because the management style is a mixture of 3 styles (autocratic, democratic and laissez faire) it seems to work in The Colourhouse. The employees are happy that although they are told what assignments to do, they can always discuss them to other members of their team and work together as a group to finish an assignment but also at their own pace. Because they work in a task culture, employees don’t have as much work to do as if they were working on their own so the work is shared out between employees and they are responsible for that. Potential and current clients can see that this management style works in the business, which is why customers keep returning to The Colourhouse.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

6.0

ICT is the abbreviation of Information and Communications Technology. Communication is the communication used within and outside of the business. This is called internal and external communications.

6.1

The use of ICT is widely used in The Colourhouse. The use of ICT in The Colourhouse makes it possible for functional areas to share the same information and to work collaboratively using this pool of information and information creating and handling-capacity. The ICT used in The Colourhouse leads to the success of the quality of work that the company produce. The reproduction department for example uses MAC computers to scan images onto the screen. These computers are of a high quality and therefore make the end product the best possible.

6.2

ICT is used for internal communications within The Colourhouse. Internal communications is communication that takes place within an organisation.

Examples of internal communications within The Colourhouse are notices, reports, memos, face-to-face encounters, email and team briefing.

Notices are used to publicise any changes in policy. These are produced using Word, or Desktop Publisher. Notice boards in The Colourhouse are placed in each department and increase communication. They hold things like important dates, functions and telephone numbers for different departments i.e. if there is a problem.

Reports are helpful for the purpose of keeping accurate records or to inform future-decision making processes. An example of using reports is during a meeting when an important event has happened. It has been noted down along with a date and time and who was involved and can be discussed at the meeting.

Memos are the most widely used form of communication because they are brief and to the point. The Colourhouse uses this for example to tell people about a meeting coming up later that day. Both of these types of communication are word processed so they can be saved and doesn’t have to be typed up again.

Face to face encounters are helpful because people are talking directly to each other. An example of using this method is the managing director discussing a personal problem with an employee.

Emails are used to send documents in electronic form around a company. For instance this can be used in sending information fro the managing director to all staff about a meeting. Team briefing is when managers and others with information to share brief their team on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. An example of this is the managing director discussing with the sales department what they can do to increase sales.

The process of ICT is used to produce printing jobs. The reproduction department uses MAC computers to scan images from discs saved by the company onto the computer screens. It is then printed and put through a machine where it is placed onto plates. The printing department uses printing machines to press ink onto the plates to finish the job. The finishing department uses particular machines to trim up the sides of the paper/card etc and make sure that all the sides are level.

6.3

ICT is also used for external communications within The Colourhouse. External communications takes place between the organisation and the outside world.

Examples of external communications within The Colourhouse include letters, Internet, websites, email, fax, and telephone.

The most frequently used form of communication is the telephone. It’s fast and allows those who find it difficult to meet the converse. The sales department when discussing enquiries with potential customers can use this.

Letters is still a widely used form of external communication. It can for example make arrangements without the need for parties to meet etc. Letters are used in the mailing department to send news to householders and current clients about how the business is doing. This department uses Word and mail merge to produce the letters.

Faxes have experienced massive expansion over recent years. Fax machines send information electronically over telephone lines. Sales advisors in the sales department use this to send quotes of the job that they wanted to clients.

The Colourhouse widely use emails. It is used because it’s fast, and more environmentally friendly. Its efficient because customers can be kept up to date with their order placed. A case of using emails is to send an email to the company’s suppliers.

The Colourhouse has an Internet web site it uses for all forms of external communications purposes for public relations activities. This means that potential clients can get in touch with the company through the website and sales advisors can reply to them through the website. The website is also used to advertise their product and service that they provide. They advertise the big companies that use The Colourhouse to persuade potential clients to use them.

The impact of ICT

6.4

ICT has had a major impact on internal and external communications in The Colourhouse. An efficient information and communications system would mean that the customer was satisfied and would probably return for more business. Because information and communications processing affects the ways in which The Colourhouse competes, an effective system should create genuine competitive advantage.

Information and communications processing systems must be developed that best support The Colourhouse in meeting its objectives. By being fit for the purposes intended, the information and communications system should help to provide solutions and not create problems.

Email for example has had a major impact on The Colourhouse. Emails have made communication much faster and people receive information quicker. For example staff in The Colourhouse can send emails to clients about their price of the job.

Using databases is a good asset to the company because they are very useful to the company. Databases can keep track of client details such as their names, addresses and telephone numbers.

A system that is fit for its purpose should reap results- The Colourhouse should then be able to quickly point to ways in which it is meeting its objectives more effectively.

Cost has a clear influence upon the design of an information and communication processing system. An example is a manager may have a constraint budget that determines how much can be spent upon its introduction. One danger of a tight budgetary constraint is that it can be too restrictive and can make it difficult to develop a system that undertakes activities as efficiently as originally required.

Information and communications processing systems must be developed to meet the needs of a number of employees. The overall aim should be able to reduce the time taken to carry out activities, to increase the speed with which output is generated, to undertake a larger volume of work and to make it easier for the employees to access and operate the system.

As time has gone on, computer systems have changed and become better and more equipped. As a result The Colourhouse has invested money into new computers so that they can use the best possible computers around and therefore provide best quality product to clients.

The most important element in any system is its capacity to generate output. A good information system will have the right information available when required and in the form specified by the user.

Production and Quality Assurance/ control

7.0

Production is the process whereby inputs of people, machinery and materials are converted into outputs of either finished goods or services.

7.1

There are different types of production including job, batch and mass production.

Job production is the manufacture of individual products often referred to as ‘one off’ or unique products. These products are manufactured to meet the individual needs of the consumer. Each stage of the process is organised and completed until the finished product is complete.

Batch production involves the manufacture of a quantity of products or parts of a product. These are produced in a batch all at once, before the next quantity or batch is manufactured.

Mass production involves products or services passing down a line of production. The production process is a repeating one, with identical products going through the same sequence of operations.

7.2

Job production is the production process within The Colourhouse. This is when The Colourhouse produces one or a small number of items and where the product is smaller than in a project. The product is made on their premises and then taken to the particular client. First the sales advisors take orders from clients, then the job is decided whether it can be done or not. Sometimes it cannot be done because the client may want it done soon and there is not enough time to do it. If it can be done it is then put into a ‘job bag’ (where all orders go) where also delivery notes, machine schedules and invoices are kept.

The job is decided however long it will take and other jobs are planned around it. The job is then taken downstairs to the reproduction department where the order is put on a disk and placed in the computer for the employees to scan and rearrange and retouch certain parts of the images. It is then put onto plates. When the reproduction department is finished, the plates are put through pressing machines in the print department. They are printed onto hundreds of paper and then piled into bundles and the edges of the paper are made smooth and cut into the required size and shape.

It is then folded into the particular leaflets, brochures, poster or whatever particular job it is.

7.3

Added value is the difference between the cost of purchasing raw materials and the price, which the finished goods are sold for. The Colourhouse adds value through the quality of product and the individual service that they provide.

Clients too add value to The Colourhouse. Clients are willing to pay a high amount of money for the quality of job that The Colourhouse provides because it makes their business look good e.g. producing a glossy brochure which will bring in more customers and therefore more money, so the money the clients pay is well worth it.

Quality Control

7.4

There are many different ways of controlling quality.

Total Quality Management (TQM)

TQM is the most complete form of operations management. It is concerned with encouraging everyone in the company to think about quality in everything the employee does. Every employee sets out to satisfy customers, placing him or her at the centre of the production process.

ISO 9000 is an international certificate that indicates to clients that the quality procedures of a company are a reliable firm and deliver consistently the promised quality product or service.

Benchmarking is a method many organisations use to help them discover the ‘best’ methods of carrying out processes available and then using them in their organisations.

Traditional quality control is self-checking or inspecting the production process. Products are made and at the end faults are corrected.

Quality Circles are an important way of increasing participation in organisational activities. A quality is a study group of volunteers who meet regularly to work on a variety of operational and employee problems.

7.5

The quality of The Colourhouse’s goods is maintains by using quality control. The Colourhouse uses ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. ISO 9001 is concerned with quality management. This means what The Colourhouse does to fulfil the customer’s quality requirements and applicable regulatory requirements, while aiming to enhance customer satisfaction, and achieve continual improvement of its performance in pursuit of these objectives.

ISO 14001 is an Environmental Management System. It provides a framework for managing environmental responsibilities so they become more efficient and more integrated into businesses overall. ISO 14001 specifies a process for controlling and improving a company’s environmental performance. ISO 14001 consists of general requirements, environmental policy, planning, implementation and operation, checking and corrective action and management review.

These quality controls indicate to potential customers that the quality procedures of the holders are reliable and by implication they are capable of delivering consistently the promised quality product and service.

7.6

The production process and quality control systems help the business add value to its product. ISO 9001 brings a significant competitive edge over the company’s rivals. As printing businesses become more competitive, ISO 9001 can be a cost-effective way for The Colourhouse to demonstrate to their clients that quality assurance is of paramount importance to The Colourhouse. Being issued these certificates and having ISO 9001 shows customers and potential customers that the company takes quality seriously. This means that the customers will be satisfied with the work that The Colourhouse has done and more than likely return in the future.

They also are more than likely to recommended The Colourhouse to other people because of their high quality, which means that it is increasing sales and profit as well. Implementing ISO 9001 examines the systems in detail and highlights any weaknesses/cost savings/duplication of effort, which is as well saving money for the company. Having ISO 9001 also does things right first time every time therefore reducing waste and rework saving money for the company, which can be spent on things such as bonuses for employees, or purchasing new machinery. Having ISO 9001 is an excellent training tool for employees of The Colourhouse therefore the employees are learning new things and using these new skills in the company. It may help them later on in life e.g. at another job.

In addition ISO 14001 adds value to the service that The Colourhouse provides. The Colourhouse has reported cost saving associated with reduced waste. It is another significant competitive edge over The Colourhouse’s business rivals. This means that clients are more likely to use The Colourhouse for business rather than a printing firm, which didn’t have this certificate. It also helps to promote a safer working environment for the firm’s employees. This is adding value to the firm because it is not losing who are well trained and motivated employees due to e.g. an accident in the workplace and therefore the work is shared equally around the company. The continual improvement of this system helps the drive for more efficient use of raw materials and enhanced performance leading to cost reductions.

7.7

An alternative approach to quality control or quality assurance in The Colourhouse as opposed to using ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 is to use Total Quality Management (TQM) however this is also what they could aim to use in the future. This is the most complete form of operations management. It is concerned with creating a quality culture so that every employee will seek to delight customers. It is concerned with encouraging everyone in the workplace to think about quality in everything he or she does. The Colourhouse aims to please the customer so motivates their employees to provide the best possible quality they can provide. Every employee sets out to satisfy customers placing him or her at the heart of the production process.

7.8

The effects of using TQM on the different functional areas within The Colourhouse are that all the employees in each department are responsible for every stage of The Colourhouse’s operations. For that reason employees have to be responsible for their actions if something goes wrong. It is the job of the sales department to bring sales into the company and therefore clients. The sales department would have to take responsibility if they for example booked a job but had not checked with other departments to see if it was fine to do this.

This is good because the sales employees can then take responsibility for their actions and other departments will not be blamed therefore not slowing down the production process. It is the job of the production department to provide the final product to the client so if something in their departments go wrong it is up to these employees to correct their mistakes. An example is in the reproduction area where an employee scans the wrong image onto a plate. The client would see the plate and recognise it is wrong so therefore the employee would have to change their mistake. This is a good approach to the functional areas because it means that each employee of The Colourhouse are providing the best possibly quality that they can and putting all their energy into their work.

7.9

Using TQM would achieve the objectives of The Colourhouse, which are to make a profit, increase sales; to survive, develop staff skills, to provide a high quality service and be the best sheet fed printers in the UK. As the employees in all departments are responsible for providing the best possible quality in their work, this objective is highly possible to achieve under TQM. Providing high quality work makes clients satisfied with the end result and therefore uses the company again and also recommends it to others and as a result builds a profit and increase sales. As they are providing a high quality service they have the edge over other printing firms and as a result have less competition.

7.10

In my view TQM is the better type of quality control. It takes place at every stage of an organisation’s operations and is the responsibility of all employees. It is therefore a business philosophy as well as a set of guiding principles. TQM enables employees of the firm to realise the importance of what they are doing. It makes the point that the quality of the product sold to the external customer depends on the quality of products and services provided by The Colourhouse. It also helps to employees to realise their significance to the business.

7.11

There are many benefits of TQM. Firstly it enables an organisation to focus on the customer and quality. Also all operations and activities are thoroughly scrutinised on an ongoing basis to identify scope for improvement. Teamwork is emphasised which is an important aspect to The Colourhouse as all the departments and employees within departments work together to make the best possible product. Therefore team members in the firm feel they have ownership over the improvement process. TQM can lead to the motivation of all the employees. They like that they would be trusted and empowered to make sure that they make the best possible product. Finally TQM is a total system involving everyone in the consumption and production of products.

7.12

On the other hand there are also disadvantages to having TQM as a quality control. Firstly the system requires considerable planning and organisation and is initially costly to introduce e.g. training costs can be high. TQM requires a commitment from all those involved in the process i.e. the employees. Setting up quality systems involves considerable paperwork and bureaucracy, which may take a long time which may lead to the next point of stress. This may arise from establishing TQM processes. Finally at times TQM is based more on rhetoric rather than on practice.

7.13

Overall I think that TQM is the better quality control. This is because evaluating this type of quality control has shown to be that there are more benefits to this system than constraints. More importantly TQM is aiming to provide quality to a high standard for customers which is really important because clients help make the company what it is. Without the customers the business would not be as successful as it is.

Bibliography

The list of all the reference books, company information and Internet sites I have used for my assignment:

Needham/Dransfield (2000), Advanced Business, Heinemann, Oxford

www.thecolourhouse.com

www.gain.net

www.emea.bsi-global.com

www.iso.org

Mike Roberts Managing Director The Colourhouse

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