Qualitative Or Judgment Methods Business Essay

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Market research.

This type of the research is systematic and helps to determine the interest of the customer in a product or service. It is quite often used with the new products in identification of the keys to sell the product. It will be difficult to design the survey which yields the information which can be converted into a forecast.

Historical analogy.

At sometimes the forecast regarding a new product or service which can be compared to a similar product or service. While this provides already available data, the comparision could be unreliable because of difference in the conditions in the market and the other factors.

Delphi method.

In this process where consensus is gained from the expert group whilst maintaining the anonymity. Quite often the forecast will be regarding certain technical topic like the foreign countries acquiring the nuclear capability. This process is usually slow.

Sales and operations planning.

In this method, there is internal planning, mostly between the functioning of the market and the operations. This is mostly helpful in the identification of the future events like promotions, sales, introduction of the new products and the activities which could affect the need for inventory or capacity.

Collaborative Planning, Forecasting and Replenishment (CPFR).

In this there is involvement of the exchange of the information among the customers and the suppliers. They help in the coordination of the supply which is necessary to meet the demands. This also involves important information exchange and a cooperative attitude as well.

Qualitative advantages and disadvantages

The approaches of the qualitative research differ from the methods of the quantitative research. Quantitative methods have their aim in dividing into clearly defined parts, or variables. When we research an issue which we know how to quantify, for example, what can be quantified for sure, we may leave out the factors which are crucial to the real understanding of the phenomena under study. Disadvantage of the quantitative as well as qualitative research is that they do not always underpin understanding of multi-dimensional pictures.

Qualitative methods are helpful not only in giving rich explanations of complex phenomena, but in creating or evolving theories or conceptual bases, and in proposing hypotheses to clarify the phenomena. Besides, value of the qualitative research consists in validity of the information received; people are minutely interviewed so as the obtained data would be taken as correct and believable reports of their opinions and experiences. Its major disadvantage is that small group of interviewed individuals cannot be taken as representative.

Quantitative Methods

Quantitative methods involve using historical data to forecast. Time series forecasts project the future, using the X-axis as a time scale, such as weeks, month, quarters or years. A causal forecast involves using an independent variable, such as industry sales, to forecast the dependent variable, such as company sales.

Naïve forecast: The forecast uses some relatively simple rule, such as the forecast for next month is the same as last month, or the same as the same month last year. While seemingly simplistic, this is the basis of the technique called focus forecasting, proclaimed by some as very effective.

Simple moving average: Take the average of the first three periods and use it as the forecast for the fourth period. This becomes the beginning of a 3-period moving average forecast. For the fifth period forecast, use the average of the second through the fourth period. Continue dropping the oldest period and adding the most recent, i.e. move the average. Use as many periods as desired. The more periods used in the average, the smoother the resulting forecast line.

Weighted moving average: This is similar to the simple moving average, except that the most recent periods are assigned a heavier weight in computing the average. In a simple 3-period moving average, each period has a weight of 1/3. By assigning the most recent period a weight of 0.5, the second most recent period a weight of 0.4, and the third most recent period a weight of 0.1, a slightly different forecast will result. The logic is that the most recent results should be most representative.

Simple exponential smoothing: The moving average calculation requires several periods of actual data. Exponential smoothing requires only the most recent period forecast and the corresponding actual results. Exponential smoothing adjusts the previous forecast to move it closer to the previous period's actual. For example, an alpha of 0.1 means that the previous period's forecast is increased or decreased by 10% of the forecast error, the difference between the forecast and the actual. For the initial "seed" forecast, use judgment or take an average of previous periods.

Exponential smoothing with trend adjustment. Building in a trend factor, called beta, expands the simple moving average calculation. The beta uses actual increases or decreases to modify the previous trend forecast. This is called double exponential smoothing because it involves the use of both an alpha factor and a beta factor. This method requires several periods to absorb the effect of the starting forecasts for both level and trend.

Linear regression. Linear regression involves calculating a straight line that fits the data points. It minimizes the cumulative differences between the calculated line and the individual data points. The line consists of two elements, the intercept, or base number, and the slope, or the amount of increase or decrease for each time period. While the line extends into the future for any number of time periods, the intercept and slope change with the addition of new data points.

Seasonal Adjustments. Where a seasonal pattern exists, this pattern of highs and lows should be quantified. For example, the first quarter may be 25% higher than the average quarter; the second quarter may be 20% lower than the average quarter, and so on. If there is also a trend involved, it must be quantified and the combination incorporated into the forecast.

Quantitative Methods advantages and disadvantages

Quantitative data is data in a numerical form- in the form of numbers. Qualitative data spans a range of material from the descriptions of social life provided by participant observation and unstructured interviews to information from written sources. Quantitative data is usually in the form of statistics. Questionnaires and structured interviews are typical methods used when gaining quantitative data, as the results are easily transferable to a numerical form. 

The disadvantages to quantitative data are; the research fails to give an in-depth picture compared to qualitative data, which is rich with description. Qualitative data can be unreliable (see Durkheim's study of suicide). The research methods can induce the researcher to manipulate the 'subjects' answers to suit the research. Quantitative data overlooks motivations, feelings, opinions, and attitudes of individuals who are carrying out the research and also those individuals participating in the research. Sampling problems can also occur making the research not always representative and generalisation is impossible if results aren't representative. Low response rate, particularly with postal questionnaires, often occurs too. This type of research does not produce cause/effect relationships.

Time Series

A time series is where the same value is recorded at regular time intervals

Examples: daily stock price, monthly sales, annual revenue, etc.

Components of a Time Series

Trend - long term upward or downward movement

Seasonality - the pattern that occurs every year

Cycles - the pattern that occurs over a period of years

Random variations - caused by chance and unusual events

Time Series Decomposition

A time series can be broken down into its individual components

Two approaches:

1. Multiplicative decomposition

Forecast = Trend x Seasonality x Cycles x Random

2. Additive decomposition

Forecast = Trend + Seasonality + Cycles + Random

Decomposition method is using to computing the turner industries

Decomposition method is using to computing the turner industries 1 year to 3 year sales and sale index

Decomposition is the process of isolating linear trend and seasonal factors to develop more accurate forecasts.

There are five steps to decomposition:

1. Compute the seasonal index for each season.

2. Deseasonalize the data by dividing each number by its seasonal index.

3. Compute a trend line with the deseasonalized data.

4. Use the trend line to forecast.

5. Multiply the forecasts by the seasonal index.

Turner Industries: Decomposition Method

Turner Industries has noticed a trend in sales figures. There is also a seasonal component. Below are the seasonal indices and deseasonalized sales data.

Yr Qtr Sales Seasonal Index Desasonalized Sales

1 1 108 0.85 127.059

2 125 0.96 130.208

3 150 1.13 132.743

4 141 1.06 133.019

2 1 116 0.85 136.471

2 134 0.96 139.583

3 159 1.13 140.708

4 152 1.06 143.396

3 1 123 0.85 144.706

2 142 0.96 147.917

3 168 1.13 148.673

4 165 1.06 155.660

Seasonal Index for Qtr 1 = (0.851+0.848)/2 = 0.85

This value is derived by averaging the season rations for each quarter

Using the trend line, the following forecast was computed:

Sales = 124.78 + 2.34X

For period 13 (quarter 1/ year 4):

Sales = 124.78 + 2.34 (13)

= 155.2 (before seasonality adjustment)

After seasonality adjustment:

Sales = 155.2 (0.85) = 131.92

Decomposition Method is using to calculate and adjust for price movements.

Task 2

Development projects impose a series of costs and benefits on recipient communities or countries. Those costs and benefits can be social, environmental, or economic in nature, but may often involve all three. Public investment typically occurs through the selection, design and implementation of specific projects to achieve the goals of policy. Why are some project proposals accepted and rejected, and how? What are the considerations in appraisal other than the economic rate of return? How are questions of environmental impact, welfare distribution and risk taken into account? In addition to being financially viable, a development project cannot usually be considered acceptable unless it is economically, technically and institutionally sound. It should be the least-cost feasible solution to the problem being solved and should expect to produce net economic and/or social benefits. For example, irrigation projects may facilitate the growing of cash crops in one locality, but cause water shortages, and hence economic, social and environmental pressures in another.

Appraisal is the analysis of a proposed project to determine its merit and acceptability in accordance with established criteria. This is the final step before a project is agreed for financing. It checks that the project is feasible against the situation on the ground, that the objectives set remain appropriate and that costs are reasonable.

The purpose of this module is to give a theoretical and applied background to project and programme appraisal techniques, including technical analysis, financial and economic analysis, impact assessment and risk analysis.

Technical Appraisal

Whether pre-requisites for the success of project considered?

Good choices with regard to location, size, process, machines etc.

Economic Appraisal

Social cost -benefit analysis

Direct economic benefits and costs in terms of shadow prices

Impact of project on distribution of income in society

Impact on level of savings and investments in society

Impact on fulfillment of national goals :-

Self sufficiency

Employment and

Social order

Ecological Appraisal

Impact of project on quality of :- Air, Water, Noise, Vegetation, Human life

Major projects ,such as these, cause environmental damage

Power plants

Irrigation schemes

Industries like bulk drugs, chemicals and leather processing.

Likely damage & the cost of restoration

Financial Appraisal

Whether the project is financially viable?

Servicing debt

Meeting return expectations

TECHNICAL APPRAISAL

Clearly, every project must be technically feasible. Technical Appraisal provides a comprehensive review of all technical aspects of the project such as rendering judgment on merits of technical proposals and operating costs. Here is a checklist that can be used:

Is the technology proven or tested? If not, has it ever been successful elsewhere and can that success be replicated in current context and conditions?

Does the technology/ process/ equipment technically fit with the facility's existing technology/ process/ equipment & machinery? If not, what aspects of the technology / process do not fit and what measures is the implementing agency planning to take in this regard?

List of equipments and machinery to be installed with cost and specifications of the equipment.

Equipment capacity & whether it is as per requirement?

List of recommended equipment suppliers.

A checklist evaluating the proposed implementation plan to assess whether the project can be implemented as per schedule and requirements should be reviewed and should form part of the project report. Below is a sample of such a checklist:

Skills & Experience of the Project Implementation Team:

Who is implementing the project?

Does the project implementation team have adequate skills and experience? Provide a list of relevant projects completed in the last two years as per table below:

Key Personnel in the Project

Names of key people

Position

Total Length of Experience

Number of years in current position

Qualifications

Training

List of similar projects completed in last two years including his/her role in the project

Availability for the project

Selection of suppliers

Have suppliers been selected? If yes, provide a list of selected suppliers including equipments to be supplied by the supplier, price of the equipment and delivery schedule.

Reputation of the suppliers - whether the supplier is a large national or regional distributor/ supplier or local supplier?

Terms for supply and installation of the equipment by the suppliers.

Is there any performance guarantees from the equipment suppliers?

Implementation time period

Time period required to implement the project

Consequencies in case project implementation is delayed.

SOCIAL APPRAISAL

A social appraisal reviews the project design and the process of project identification through to implementation and monitoring, from a social perspective. Particular attention is paid to the likely impact of the project on different stakeholders, their opportunities for participation, and the project's contribution to poverty reduction.

Stakeholder analysis and participation

Based on the distinction of primary, secondary and key stakeholders1, stakeholder analysis reviews the following:

Who comprise the different stakeholders?

What are their interests?

How will they be affected by the proposed project?

What are the project priorities between the different groups?

What is their capacity to participate in the project?

Stakeholders have different abilities to influence the outcome of a project. Often target beneficiaries are in a relatively weak position to influence the outcome of a project (at A) whereas much of the control lies in the hands of secondary and key stakeholders (at B). The former may be frustrated by a lack of access to information or be placed in a weak social position due to traditional hierarchies. In contrast the latter may have the time, money, organisational capacity or political power necessary to influence the project; however, if they are not interested in the project, they could pose a risk to the project's success by withholding support. Thus recommendations from the social appraisal may be to include additional project activities to ensure influential stakeholders support a project and to enable important yet weak stakeholders to become more influential.

Poverty focus

Many projects are required to specifically address issues of poverty. In order to ensure the project incorporates a poverty dimension, it is necessary to determine:

Who are the poor (at community, household and individual level)?

What are the characteristics of their poverty (in terms of access to and control of resources and benefits, vulnerability and exclusion)?

How may issues of poverty be addressed in the project?

Social organisation

In addition to identifying stakeholders, the social appraisal reviews the way in which a community is organised socially. Appropriate use of existing social organisations could strengthen project implementation. Key questions include:

What social organisation exists within the community?

How is it arranged?

How may it be used to strengthen the project?

GENDER APPRAISAL

The Gender Analysis Matrix (GAM) (Table 2) is a tool for conducting a gender analysis of a project (Parker, 1993). It may be used at the planning stage to determine whether the potential gender impacts of a project are desirable and consistent with the project purpose and goal. The GAM may also be used during implementation to monitor the impacts of a project and address any unexpected results. It can also be used during project evaluation.

Levels of analysis

The analysis is usually conducted at four levels:

Women: either the target group (if appropriate) or all women in the community

Men: either the target group (if appropriate) or all men in the community

Household: all members of households as defined by the community (for example, women, men and children residing together)

Community: everyone within the project area.

Other levels of analysis may be included if they are relevant to the project, such as youth, poor, disabled, or children.

Categories of Analysis

The impact of the project is examined in terms of:

Tasks and Skills: changes in tasks performed, levels of skill required and labour requirements (how many people)

Workload: changes in the amount of time it takes to carry out tasks

Resources/Benefits: changes in access to resources and benefits as a result of the project, and changes in control over resources and benefits

Socio-Cultural factors: changes in social aspects of participants' and the community's lives as a result of the project.

Interpretation

The matrix provides the basis for identifying project impacts from the perspective of different stakeholders with respect to the four categories of analysis. A brief description of the impact is recorded in the appropriate cell in the matrix. Once the matrix has been completed, each impact is reviewed in the light of the project's purpose and goal: if consistent, it is marked with + sign, if not, it is marked with - sign.

The + and - signs only help with a visual interpretation of the impact of a project from a gender perspective; they cannot be added together to determine the net effect of an intervention.

Remedial measures may be incorporated in the project design to overcome potentially adverse impacts.

Task 3

CRITICAL ANALYSIS

Richard Branson succeeded as an entrepreneur using theory because he believed that this was the best strategy to get the attention and confidence of the public consumers. Branson realized that gone were the days when employees worked on their desks for eight hours a day. Today's employees want to become as productive as possible while in their offices and interact with different individuals and groups in different settings. The technological advancement in wireless technologies has allowed workers and employees to access communication tools in new settings. Because of this rigorous and hectic schedule of employees, Branson theorized it would be relaxing for these employees to indulge in airline trips to help them ease the pressure after every day's work.

Fortunately for Richard Branson, his theory clicked and his ideas were accepted by the public consumers. The Virgin group's dedication to quality for almost three decades now has led to the satisfaction of millions and millions of its customers worldwide. The Virgin group was created by Richard Branson who pursued the best quality and craftsmanship in terms of products and services.

The Virgin group bases its pricing strategies on several key trends that continuously shape the global marketplace. One particular trend was developed by Branson himself, in what he called "premium-tization". This phenomenon causes the polarization of different markets. This would then trigger the consumers to demand and pay much higher prices for perceived quality. However, discounting in prices is also simultaneously taking place, therefore squeezing out the middle range. More often than not, businesses undergo internationalization which leads to a tighter squeeze for shelf space. So Richard Branson thought that this will in turn leave the Virgin group as a winner. It is for this reason why Virgin group values the "premise sector" so much because this would allow consumers can to try their brands at low risk and price.

Richard Branson also theorized that segmentation was a key factor especially in markets where a broad leadership position has yet to be fully developed. So in these markets Virgin group later on strived for strong positions especially in the premium and specialty segments. Good examples here include Virgin group's leading position in the airline industry as well as in the recently established mobile stores in the United States as well as in Europe. Virgin group has been showing steady signs of growth and progress in the airline industry for a couple of years now. This consistent progress can be attributed to the change in strategic directions that was implemented several years ago and is still being further structured up to now. Basically, the critical element of the theory of Branson was to start looking at things from the perspectives of the consumers and the customers. In both examples, Richard Branson proved that his theory to establish autonomous growth through the selling of more and more brands and expansion through the distribution networks as well as growth through acquisitions can be stunningly effective.

A major factor involved in the improvement of Virgin group involves the establishment and utilization of performance measures or indicators based upon the ideas of Richard Branson himself that in turn measure their customer's satisfaction. These measures or indicators are measurable characteristics of products and services that the company typically utilizes in order to study and improve performance. The indicators that Richard Branson chose were able to represent the essential factors that are crucial to the improvement of operational and financial performance of the Virgin group. Through the analysis of accurate information brought about by the tracking processes, the measures or indicators themselves can possibly be analyzed and improved to support such goals.

The occurrence of consumer research within Virgin group was also based on the theories of Richard Branson. This reflected the growing difficulty in the management of Virgin group that required the effective use of valuable resources such as money, materials, equipments, and people. This was the reason why consumer research was initiated by Branson in order to determine the most effective ways to coordinate their resources through the application of analytical methods derived from fields of studies such as mathematics, science, and engineering. And true enough, Branson's theory was correct again. Through this process, problems of Virgin group were solved in different ways and alternative solutions were then relayed to the management. The management then selected the appropriate course of action in line with the goals of Virgin group.

Dell financial report

DELL INC.

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF FINANCIAL POSITION

(in millions)

October 29, 2010 January 29, 2010

ASSETS

Current assets:

Cash and cash equivalents . $ 12,889 $ 10,635

Short-term investments 492 373

Accounts receivable, net 6,407 5,837

Financing receivables, net 3,588 2,706

Inventories, net 1,294 1,051

Other current assets 3,118 3,643

Total current assets 27,788 24,245

Property, plant, and equipment, net 1,948 2,181

Investments 662 781

Long-term financing receivables, net 709 332

Goodwill 4,259 4,074

Purchased intangible assets, net 1,553 1,694

Other non-current assets 235 345

Total assets $ 37,154 $ 33,652

LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY

Current liabilities:

Short-term debt $ 826 $ 663

Accounts payable 11,278 11,373

Accrued and other 3,898 3,884

Short-term deferred services revenue 3,093 3,040

Total current liabilities 19,095 18,960

Long-term debt 5,168 3,417

Long-term deferred services revenue 3,447 3,029

Other non-current liabilities 2,631 2,605

Total liabilities 30,341 28,011

Commitments and contingencies (Note 12)

Stockholders' equity:

Common stock and capital in excess of $.01 par value; shares authorized:

7,000; shares issued: 3,366 and 3,351, respectively;

Shares outstanding: 1,930 and 1,957, respectively 11,674 11,472

Treasury stock at cost:

961 shares and 919 shares, respectively (28,504) (27,904)

Retained 23,805 22,110

Accumulated other comprehensive loss (162) (37)

Total stockholders' equity 6,813 5,641

Total liabilities and stockholders' equity $ 37,154 $ 33,652

Financial strategies

Dell Inc. (Dell) is engaged in designing, developing, manufacturing, marketing, and supporting information technology systems. The company is also engaged in servicing printers, servers, and other related products. The company operates through four reportable business segments, namely, Americas Commercial; EMEA Commercial; APJ Commercial; and Global Consumer. The company's product portfolio includes laptops, desktops, workstations, storage devices and printers.

Dell Inc. Key Recent Developments

Apr 22, 2010 Dell, Goodwill To Include Microsoft Products In No-cost Recycling Program

Apr 21, 2010 Dell, Goodwill Expand Free Consumer Recycling Program To Include Microsoft Products

Apr 14, 2010 Dell and Telefónica form strategic alliance 

Apr 08, 2010 Dell extends Latitiude family with Intel Core i5, Corei7 processors

Apr 07, 2010 Dell, Goodwill Extend Residential Recycling Program To Canada

This comprehensive SWOT profile of Dell Inc. provides you an in-depth strategic analysis of the company's businesses and operations. The profile has been compiled by GlobalData to bring to you a clear and an unbiased view of the company's key strengths and weaknesses and the potential opportunities and threats. The profile helps you formulate strategies that augment your business by enabling you to understand your partners, customers and competitors better.

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