Saturday, 25 April 2009

You want some evaluation questions? - Try these!

MARKETING

Advantages / disadvantages of targeting a niche market segment (compared with alternative of targeting a larger mass market)
Usefulness and limitations of using the Boston Matrix or Product Life Cycle model to make marketing decisions
Whether an extension strategy should be implemented for a mature product
The merits and demerits of making changes to individual elements of the marketing mix
Whether the business has sufficient information (market research) to make reasoned marketing decisions
Application of price elasticity of demand to a business decision
The effect of the competitive structure of a market on a business’ ability to make marketing decisions (e.g. control over pricing for a business with a very small market share)
Whether a marketing decision helps a business differentiate itself against competitors
Factors that will determine the success or otherwise of a new product
The relative merits and demerits of different promotional strategies and tactics for a given marketing problem
Relative importance of factors (including price) that will affect the demand for a product
Evaluating the effect of a marketing decision (e.g. a price cut to boost demand) on operations (e.g. is capacity sufficient?)
Evaluating the extent to which a business has control over its marketing mix
Assessing the importance of non-marketing activities on competitiveness – particularly the importance of customer service, quality and productivity
The likely competitor response to a marketing decision (e.g. lower price, new product development)

FINANCE

The usefulness of budgets in controlling and allocation resources
The relative significance and implications of budget variances
Whether the benefits of budgeting outweigh the disadvantages
The main causes of cash flow problems
Merits and demerits of using bank finance to address cash flow issues
Discussing the importance of improving profit as a way of increasing cash flow
Discussing the implications of rapid growth on cash flow and operations
Assessing the merits and demerits of short-term measures to improve cash flow (e.g. encouraging cash sales, reducing customer payment terms, extending supplier payment periods)
Evaluating the implications of cost-cutting as a means of improving net profit margin

PEOPLE IN BUSINESS

Judgement of the appropriate structure of an organisational hierarchy
Assessing the implications of the span of control for decision-making
Relative advantages and disadvantages of different methods of motivation
Evaluating the importance of non-financial methods of motivation compared with financial methods in a given situation
Merits and demerits of measures to assess employ productivity
Assessment of the role of delegation as a business grows in size and complexity
Evaluation of the role of empowerment in improving employee motivation
Relevance and effectiveness of different methods of recruitment
Advantages and disadvantages of on-the-job and off-the-job training
Evaluating the importance of training to delivering the right level of customer service
Assessment of the link between training and product quality for a given business
Evaluation of the potential impact of delayering on improved business performance and employee motivation
Discussing the importance of labour productivity for the competitiveness of a business
Assessing the impact of high rates of absenteeism or labour turnover on business performance (e.g. quality, customer service)
Advantages and disadvantages of

OPERATIONS

The advantages and disadvantages of operating at full capacity / with spare capacity, given the circumstances of the business
Evaluating the relative merits of ways to increase capacity
Assessing the problems of operating a very high capacity utilisation compared with the benefits of lower unit costs
The relative merits and demerits of different approaches to managing quality (particularly quality control v quality assurance)
Discussing whether an improvement in quality will enable a business to become more competitive
Examining the link between improved quality and better customer service – is it worth the cost or investment?
Evaluating the role of employee training in achieving customer service improvements
Assessing how better management of supplier relationships can result in improved business competitiveness
Discussing the merits and demerits of working with a smaller number of key suppliers
Evaluating the importance of suppliers to a business compared with other stakeholders, including customers and employees
Discussing the link between increased use of technology and better productivity
Evaluating the impact of technology on customer service or employee management

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Methods there are many, principles but few, methods often change, principles never do