Having just started as a trainee at the Corporate Communications Department of Emirates Group, my line manager has tasked me with preparing this set of introductory training materials, on business information in general, for new members of staff in the department, to increase my knowledge and enhance communication skills. Different types of business information, their source and purpose will be discussed throughout this paper, outlining various types of communication that can take place. I will also deliberate how KFC source and communicate effectively, with a true purpose, summarizing with a conclusion.
Definition of Information
Information comes from a wide variety of sources, in varying shape and form, with numerous qualities. Communicated in time, being fit for purpose, and containing the right level of detail it becomes critical in decision making. Although there is contrast between the value and cost of information, it needs to be:
As defined in the Business Dictionary, information is, “Data that is accurate and timely, specific and organized for a purpose, presented within a context that gives it meaning and relevance, and can lead to an increase in understanding and decrease in uncertainty”. Once prepared and, structured accordingly, data becomes information. Information adds value, and once facts and figures have been organised into information it has meaning, intended to be interpreted. Information gathering may be performed internally, within an organization, collecting information on sales performance, production output, or maintenance reliability. It may also be accomplished externally, outside the organisation, harvesting information on markets, competitors and customers. Information is valuable because it can affect behavior, a decision, or an outcome. For example, if a maintenance manager is told the reliability of the fleet has weakened, they may use this information as a reason to increase the maintenance budget or up-skill and further develop the maintenance engineers. However, information is considered valueless if matters remain unchanged, following its consumption.
Organisations, such as KFC, use various types of information, alongside ways to communicate. Verbal – This is the easiest and quickest way to communicate; however, it may not always be more effective; KFC communicate verbally to their customers, over the counter. They inquire about your current order – what you would like to eat and drink. The server will also try to up-sell, possibly suggesting to super-size or add a desert, over-and-above your original request. Written – Words, pictures, charts; from sources such as publications, books, journals, and newspapers; Once an order is taken on the EPOS system the information is transferred to the kitchen, as text on a screen. MultiMedia – Multiple forms of media, together; data, text, graphics, audio, video, etc. like an interactive webpage, with audio;
You can order online, through the KFC website, which combines names and prices, alongside pictures of their products. On-Screen – Multimedia TV and CD-ROMs that combine text, graphics, animation, audio and video; Routinely you will witness advertisements on television of offers and new promotional activity for the food chain. Web-Based Information – Combines multimedia technologies and streams them over the Internet; access to rich information anywhere, anytime; When surfing websites you will notice many interactive banner advertisements for KFC, which when clicked will take you to their website, gathering valuable information on their consumer, of where they were transferred from and when. There may also be an interactive flick-book menu to browse.
Information comes from four different sources:
Internal – An organisation’s own intellectual property, such as financial records, customer records, order information, maintenance records, etc. usually gathered from their respective department records – Production, Sales, Finance, Marketing, Maintenance, Administration or HR. KFC have all of this information at hand, within their database systems. Their Electronic Point-of-Sale tills gather all the order and some production information. They have Accounting applications connected directly to the Sales database, which generates the organisation’s financial information. The website gathers consumer intelligence on who wants what, from where, at what time. External – Collected from outside an organization, such as market research, the Internet, newspapers, bulletins, reports, publications, usually from the government, trade groupings, or commercial databases. When you are stopped in the street and asked if you would like a menu, and the issuer asks you a few questions, the information if being gathered to provide market intelligence to the company, which in turn aides decision making. Primary – Collected first-hand by the investigator, by possibly interview or questionnaire, gathered for a specific purpose. It generally is a more costly method, but provides more specific, quality information. Secondary – Gathered second-hand, by someone else, for another purpose, however can still be used – lower cost, though generally not as specific and of reduced quality.
In one word, ‘measure’.
It is critical in a business to measure and compare actual performance against what was budgeted for. Using historical records is one method, to make comparisons; however, targets may be set to stretch the performance of an organisation. If costs are more than expenditure then it must take action to remedy the situation. Market research reports can monitor altering market conditions, or possibly an increase or demise in demand of products and services. This will help KFC identify whether there current offerings are suitable for that specific time, or if they should pull some from their current available product list. Maintaining records of what currently employed is a legality, to calculate salaries and benefits. Records hold any details, including: Date of joining
Days absent, with reasoning
Training and development records
Managers must have timely, reliable, quality information, as they have to make important decisions. In order to make the business successful the right decisions need to be made, at the right time – correct decisions are only made when this sort of information is both available and used, in time. We live in the Information Age – with the types of complex processing systems available today, at your fingertips, to the majority of people, it is important to realize that the only thing standing in anyone’s way is that they must learn how to interpret the information to make the right choices.
List of references
Business dictionary, viewed 22nd of October 2013,