Rapid advances in information technology have led to many new forms of communication. The most important of which has been the continual growth in the development of the personal computer, both in business and at home.
Along with the dramatic increase in the use of PC’s has come the internet which allows almost instant contact between businesses world wide, fax machines which enable text documents to be sent from one business to another, mobile phones and lap top computers which allow work to be carried out from almost any location. PC’s can also be linked within companies (intranet) this means that all users can have access to relevant information at the same time.
In addition to all of the above new technologies there are the more traditional forms of communication, which still have their place in today’s business. Communication such as Face to Face, in writing via letters, memos etc. The advantages of these more traditional methods of communication are that they offer the personal touch to the customer.
It is important that all functional areas with in a business communicate with each other. For example take a section of the NHS, The Paediatric Wing of the L; D Hospital. This includes four wards, which operate 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The employment structure is as follows: (see spider gram on following page).
All of the departments must communicate amongst themselves and with each other in order that the paediatric wing runs efficiently and that patients receive the best possible care. We all rely on Doctors and consultants to make accurate diagnosis. The Dr’s rely on their medical secretaries to document and forward their diagnosis on to the relevant people. All medical students rely on the more senior doctors for support. All doctors rely on the nurses to carry out basic care, medication and treatments necessary to patients well being, student nurses rely on senior nurses to aid and support them while they are training.
All medical staff rely on pharmacy to organise, check and distribute medication to nursing staff for administration, on porters to ferry patients to and from theatre, x-ray and other departments and to collect urgent specimens, on lab technicians to carry out accurate testing on specimens and relay urgent results, on domestic staff to maintain hygiene standards on the wards and on clerical staff to input accurate data and maintain clerical needs of the wards. Clerical workers rely on IT departments to maintain services so that they can carry out their duties efficiently and so it goes on.
These communications are carried out between the members of all paediatric staff in a number of many ways. These ways include:
* Verbally, face to face or via the telephone
* In writing, letters, memos, e-mail to GP’s, parents of patients, other departments, other hospitals
* By fax, to other departments or other hospitals, GPs, health visitors
* By pager, On call senior nurses, consultants, registrar and senior house officers always carry bleeps which means they can be contacted wherever they are in the hospital
* Via air call through the main switchboard should a consultant need to be contacted whilst outside the hospital
* By regular departmental meetings, for example senior nurses consultants and senior house officers on duty on any particular day have meetings known as handovers. This is where the previous shift hands over all medical history, concerns and recommended treatments to the new shift starting. Also regular meeting regarding changes, difficulties and discussions about the effects of changes implemented.
Staff at Sainsburys communicate internally via, verbal conversations, informal and formal, tannoy, internal ; external telephone extensions, regular meetings and hand held two way radios. Internet email, staff newsletters, written communication to include letters, memos, financial documents and staff handbooks describing staff facilities, rules and procedures. Electronic points of sale (EPOS) theses systems are linked to a bar coding system . theses systems allow information about stock quantities sold, stock levels to be analysed, stock orders to be produced, stock prices to be stored and sales receipts to be produced, EFTs Electronic funds transfer systems which allows customers to pay by credit/debit card, this system electronically transfers funds from the customers bank account to Sainsburys bank account.
Sainsburys could improve their communication by adding video conferencing via internet radio link. The could communicate with other Sainsburys stores throughout the country. This would avoid travelling costs of staff moving around for meetings. It would also save time.
Key employees may find it useful using hand held PDAs which can email, download documents spread sheets and schedules. Many of these PDAs have Bluetooth which allows different Bluetooth products to communicate with each other without using wires. The devices find each other without using any user input data. These could speed up times and increase efficiency. Maybe Sainsburys should research further into Bluetooth products, such as mobile telephones etc.
Having said all of this electronic systems are the way forward but require a very well managed filtering system.
Maybe a new innovation could be manufactured which would be calculator sized and fitted to the shopping trolley. The device would be able to read barcodes and thus could add up the customers shopping bill for them. Some supermarkets have experimented with attaching calculators to their trolleys but theses were open to customer error as the calculators were only as good as the prices input.