Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

1.3. Pose questions, collect and organise data

ryanrori February 3, 2021

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After completing this section, the learner will be able to pose questions, collect and organise data, by successfully completing the following:

  • Identify situations or issues that can be dealt with through statistical methods correctly
  • Identify variables contributing to a problem situation and address it in data gathering, e.g. crime is related to time of day and location
  • Use appropriate and efficient methods to collect, record and organise data
  • Ensure that data samples are of adequate size and are representative of the population

Situations / issues that can be dealt with through statistical methods 

Anyone who manages anything, whether it’s a large corporation or a soccer team, needs statistical information and method for both routine and special purposes, such as the day-to-day running of the company or club, or embarking on a new marketing or export campaign.

Certain statistical information is essential to the efficient management and day-to-day administration of all organisations, from the largest of manufacturing or retail companies to the smallest of spaza shops; for example, a manager in a large company, or the sole proprietor of the corner café both require sales statistics in order to detect changes in the pattern of sales, so that they can identify a problem when it occurs and rectify it before it becomes an even bigger problem.

  • Sales statistics deal with the quantities of products/services supplied. They are usually compiled from orders received or invoices issued. Management can determine whether sales are on track, or whether action is needed, for example to stimulate demand by intensifying advertising, or to change production schedules. Sales statistics supply the following information:BD19991_
  • Sales to each customer
  • Credit terms allowed
  • Sizes and packages required (assists the Packaging department with their planning)
  • Volume of goods dispatched to different areas in the country (assists Distribution with their planning to determine the most economical method of dispatch to various places)
  • Market share of competitors

Sales forecasts can be prepared based on statistical information, such as previous experience, market trends and surveys. This provides a standard by which actual achievements may be judged and it facilitates the detection of any shortcomings in any part of the sales process.j0250886

  • Production statistics relate to the quantity and quality of output achieved, which is usually compared with the production plan or budget, and to such matters as machine run time, individual or team performance, number and duration of breakdowns, and the quantity and value of spoiled goods/ raw material. The purpose of production statistics is to enable management to ensure that sales demands are met and that the team and department are operating economically and efficiently. 
  • Supply statistics show the quantity and value of stock: materials, components and equipment. By comparing changes in stock levels, management can see whether buying policy is economical and act to prevent either over- or under-stocking. A business does not want to tie up too much money in stock, but at the same time it does not want to run out of some vital component, causing production to be halted. By examining fluctuations in demand for various items and seeing how long suppliers take to deliver, management can fix stock levels at which orders should be placed and the minimum levels at which special action should be taken to replenish stocks. The comparison of transport charges can assist management to determine the most economical mode of delivery for the principal items of stock. Statistics can also help Supply management determine:
  • Optimum size of staff to be employed
  • Seasonal fluctuations in the work
  • Personnel statistics, gleaned from basic employee records, supply information about the staff and labour force employed, wages and salaries, hours worked, and especially absence and turnover of staff, as these are two problems of great concern to most organisations.  Although it is generally not easy for a company to influence absence or turnover of staff all that much, they can be so wasteful in terms of administrative, recruitment and training costs, that it is worth the effort to try and establish their causes.pe01846_

The team leader does not need statistics to tell him/her what is going on in the workplace- s/he knows the workers, the work going through, when a machine breaks down, etc. However, he/she can keep records, such as with this check sheet (also called a tally sheet) below, over a period of time in order to determine trends, exercise control and make decisions.