Marks & Spencer is Europe’s most profitable retailer with a global brand and global recognition. Its achievement largely depends on the effective use of people. An organisation may have the latest technology and the best physical resources, but it will never thrive if it does not value its people. Its most valuable asset will always be its people and the work they do. For Marks & Spencer, this means that the people who look after customers, select and merchandise the products and run the operations, must aspire to be the best qualified and equipped in retailing.
This case study focuses on the challenging role of the Financial Manager behind the scenes at every Marks & Spencer ...view middle of the document...
Everything a manager does in retailing is in the public eye. Successes and mistakes are there to see. And, of course, there is also evidence – usually in the form of increased or decreased sales - by which to measure performance.
Some people say that ‘retail is detail’ - it is about getting small things right, without losing sight of long-term objectives. Making the right decisions ensures that customers come back tomorrow - and the day after.
Management can be defined as ‘getting things done with or through other people’. It involves deciding on objectives and making decisions to ensure that objectives are met. It involves planning, organising and coordinating activities. It involves controlling - making sure that things are going to plan and working with people. It is necessary, through effective communication, to make sure that people are committed to activities and the organisation.
The task of running a Marks & Spencer store is so broad-ranging that it has to be divided up into a number of different, closely co-ordinated, areas of responsibility. Dividing up an organisation is often referred to as departmentation. Stores are divided into broad sectors, each of which has its own specialism or function. Although the functions are separate, each manager works together as part of The Store Management Team.
The Store Management Team includes a Commercial Manager, a Financial Manager and a Personnel Manager, who all report to a General Manager. They have a common goal - to improve the performance of their store by motivating and leading other people in the Store Team. Successful Store Managers come from many backgrounds, but share a willingness to move around the country – and ultimately the world - in search of the best opportunities.
The role of the commercial manager is mainly about selling and merchandising. The commercial manager influences what is sold and finds ways of selling it faster. The commercial manager also manages, motivates and inspires others to put their ideas into action. In addition to that, the he/she adds personal flair and imagination to tried and tested methods.
The role of the personnel manager is mainly about staffing and training. The personnel manager ensures that staff are highly motivated and their talents are used in the most effective way. He/she balances the commercial needs of the store with the needs of its staff. He/she also manages a all aspects of personnel policy from appraisal systems to training.
In order to operate, a business needs resources. Whether these resources are physical resources, such as property, equipment and materials, or less tangible human resources, money is required to pay for their use. As a result, the management of finance is inseparable from the management of the business as a whole.
Controlling costs is a key element in the process of financial management. It involves having a good knowledge of the business and the costs involved...