Looking after customers and clients is an important aspect of any organisation. Equally, looking after the organisation’s resources is also important and indeed crucial to keeping the organisation running smoothly and trouble free. Managing an organisation’s resource needs means; monitoring resource usage, managing budgets and reviewing the need for resources and controlling waste. It also means using technology effectively and safely, obtaining the best value for money and keeping stock levels under control
Remember – while resources might not be at the forefront of everyone’s mind, everyone needs them and work can grind to a halt if insufficient stocks are on hand. This can decrease efficiency, productivity and profit.
What are business resources?
Business resources are all those things that you need to conduct business – to perform work tasks. They can be in the form of (but are not limited to):
Human resources. No business can operate without people to perform the various tasks – people are an organisations most valuable resource.
Capital resources. These are normally large and/or very expensive items such as furniture, business vehicles or large machines & equipment such as photocopiers or telephone systems etc. Capital resources are items that do not need regular replacement and are expected to last for many years.
Business equipment. This group is less permanent and is often replaced annually or at the very least within a few years and could include computers, printers, scanners, fax machines, computer software or digital cameras to name a few.
Consumables. These are the items we use (and use up) on a daily basis and can be divided into three different groups. Items found in these groups include:
raw materials, stocks and supplies – which are used to either manufacture or stock products for sale by your organisation
equipment consumables such as printer ink cartridges, toner cartridges for printers and photocopiers, staples for photocopiers, batteries for small appliances such as digital cameras,floppy disks and memory cards
stationery items such as; copier or printer paper, letter head paper, envelopes, pens & pencils, staples / staplers, paper clips and so on
In this unit we will provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to successfully manage the resource needs of your organisation.
Advising on Resource Requirements
As with most aspects of running an organisation the resources that it uses in its day to day operations cost money; they are an expense that cannot directly be recovered through sales to customers. They are, however, necessary in order that the organisation can function efficiently.
As an administrator or receptionist it may be part of your role to look after the resource needs of your organisation. In order to do this effectively you will need to manage the resources to ensure that you always have the necessary items to hand, but you also need to consider the cost involved in providing these items. What this means is that you need to ensure that the resources you purchase on behalf of your organisation are used as efficiently as possible and that there is no (or very little) waste.
Depending on the size of the organisation you work for, or its processes, dealing with resources might be as simple as putting in a stationery request every so often when the stationery cupboard looks bare. In other instances, however, there are budgetary considerations and it may be necessary to take a look at how resources are used, in order to save costs, or to estimate the annual resource expenditure. It is this area of resource management that we will be looking at in this unit.
Calculating Current and Future Resource Requirements
Determining the resource needs of an organisation requires careful planning and an understanding of how, where and when those resources are used – and by whom. This means that a certain amount of research needs to be done in order to forecast – with any accuracy – what your needs might be for the foreseeable future. For business planning purposes, forecasting means predicting how many of each item you will need to buy for the coming year so that the organisation’s management can set its budgets and work out how much money it will spend for specific areas of the company; and how much it, therefore, needs to earn in income to pay for all of its expenses.
Well set up administration systems will monitor and keep statistics on the use of resources over time. These statistics are a vital part of the forecast process as they allow you to determine trends and patterns over time and can therefore give you a fairly accurate idea of what future needs might be. For example Table 1.1 shows a number of columns listing various resource items. For each year shown the table gives the quantity used, the cost per unit and the total cost. It also shows the total number of each item ordered and the amount spent over the period of the analysis, which in this case is three years but could be a great many more.
Taking the Photocopy paper figures from table 1.1 as an example; the amount ordered and spent each year has increased. In the coming year the organisation will be introducing a new procedure whereby promotional materials will be produced in house by the marketing department rather than being sent out to be printed. This means that use of copy paper will increase considerably and this will need to be taken into consideration when setting the requirements and budgets for the year to come.
The increase in paper use will also have a flow on effect as using more paper means using more toner, so this too will have to be factored into future budgets etc.
On the other hand, the organisation is moving to an electronic document management system which means that the majority of its files will be stored in computers rather than filing cabinets. This will mean less need for manila folders and hanging indent files so the number of these needed for the next year will decrease.
So when looking at future resource needs there are a number of things to consider. Some years the organisation may have used more of certain items, some years they may have used less. If this is the case you would look at the reasons for the shift in numbers. For example:
Has the company grown?
Are there more staff?
Were there specific projects or campaigns that account for the fluctuation in numbers?
Did the organisation change suppliers?
Did the suppliers cost structures change?
Did the organisation’s peaks and troughs change? If so why?
Did the organisation change or introduce new procedures?
The answers to these questions, among others, will give you a full understanding of the organisation’s past resource requirements and help you to determine future needs.