A variety of operations keep businesses, especially large corporations, running efficiently and effectively. Common business operation divisions include (1) production, (2) marketing, (3) finance, and (4) human resource management. A Production Production includes those activities involved in conceptualizing, designing, and creating products and services. In recent years there have been dramatic changes in the way goods are produced. Today, computers help monitor, control, and even perform work. Flexible, high-tech machines can do in minutes what it used to take people hours to accomplish. Another important development has been the trend toward just-in-time inventory. The word inventory refers to the amount of goods a business keeps available for wholesale or retail. In just-in-time inventory, the firm stocks only what it needs for the next day or two. Many businesses rely on fast, global computer communications to allow them to respond quickly to changes in consumer demand. Inventories are thus minimized and businesses can invest more in product research, development, and marketing. B Marketing (Example: Personalized Marketing This Polish American meat market in Chicago offers a variety of Polish specialties, including a wide selection of sausages. Because this business is specialized and tied to a close-knit ethnic community, it relies on personalized, or face-to-face, sales rather than on heavy advertising or self-service operation, such as one might find in a large supermarket.Tony Stone Images/Brian Seed Marketing From the Skies The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company developed its well-known blimp with many marketing goals in mind. The blimp not only makes the Goodyear name highly visible, but also demonstrates the technological expertise of the company and the quality of Goodyear rubber products. The company flies the blimp over crowds at professional sporting events to target an audience of likely tire purchasers.Photo Researchers, Inc./Jerry Wachter ) Marketing is the process of identifying the goods and services that consumers need and want and providing those goods and services at the right price, place, and time. Businesses develop marketing strategies by conducting research to determine what products and services potential customers think they would like to be able to purchase. Firms also promote their products and services through such techniques as advertising and personalized sales, which serve to inform potential customers and motivate them to purchase. Firms that market products for which there is always some demand, such as foods and household goods, often advertise if they face competition from other firms marketing similar products. Such products rarely need to be sold face-to-face. On the other hand, firms that market products and services that buyers will want to see, use, or better understand before buying, often rely on personalized sales. Expensive and durable goods--such as automobiles, electronics, or furniture--benefit from personalized sales, as do legal, financial, and accounting services. Marketing, the process by which a product or service originates and is then priced, promoted, and distributed to consumers. In large corporations the principal marketing functions precede the manufacture of a product. They involve market research and product development, design, and testing. Marketing concentrates primarily on the buyers, or consumers. After determining the customers' needs and desires, marketers develop strategies that are designed to educate customers about a product's most important features, persuade them to buy it, and then to enhance their satisfaction with the purchase. Where marketing once stopped with the sale, today businesses believe that it is more profitable to sell to existing customers than to new ones. As a result, marketing now also involves finding ways to turn one-time purchasers into lifelong customers.
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