APT’s Complete Companion for AQA BUSS4 Technological Change E-commerce – OUT NOW

We are delighted to announce the publication of APT’s Complete Companion for the BUSS4 Theme. 

If you have not yet ordered it this is what you and your students are missing out on: 

  • 105 page detailed examination of the theme for teachers – lengthy because it includes extracts from numerous articles and publications so there is no having to click on ‘this link here’ and ‘that link there’ to access relevant research. 
  • A more concise 39 page ‘Essential Revision’ document for students – to have AFTER they have undertaken the research tasks recommended (below). 
  • A comprehensive set of research tasks for students (21 pages) covering each aspect relating to the theme – with links embedded for students to instantly access relevant research and make their own initial notes. 
  • PowerPoints to introduce and / or summarise each aspect required to be covered by the theme – on the nature and importance of manufacturing in the UK, the impact of technological change, the impact of globalisation and government policy on businesses manufacturing in the UK, factors affecting UK location decisions – including decisions to locate in, offshore from, and re-shore to the UK, and on the opportunities and threats facing businesses manufacturing in the UK. 
  • Around 57 pages of revisions exercises / informal tests for students – to undertake AFTER they have completed the research tasks recommended, with corresponding answers for teachers – full of match-making, true or false, missing word, mini quiz, read the article, give me a clue, sort the list and ‘opposite’ activities – to develop and consolidate students’ learning AND make learning fun and enjoyable at the same time. 
  • A set of 3 mock papers, with 6 questions covering each aspect relating to the theme – to test student in more formal examination conditions, with detailed answers and mark schemes for teachers. 
  • Plenty of other practical tips and advice for both teachers and students on how performance can be maximised in this particular examination. 

“The theme materials you provided were excellent, and suited every level of teaching. I only wish that I had ordered earlier in the year; they were so comprehensive I could have dovetailed business news in as the year progressed.”

Gareth Moran, Rye St Antony School, July 2015 

This resource has taken three months’ full-time to produce and it really is packed full of goodies to help you and your students get the best grades possible.  Click HERE for detailed or HERE to see a sample. 

Price: £85 + VAT for email or download (+ £2.50 for CD) for unlimited use at your school or college.

Order your copy today:

by email to office@apt-initiatives.com

online: direct from our website with a debit/credit card or by PayPal  (click here).

by phone with a school order number to 01952 540877

by fax with a school order number to 01952 541230

by post to APT Initiatives Ltd, Millstone Lodge, Eaton Upon Tern, Market Drayton, Shropshire, TF9 2BX

Tackling the sixth bullet in the AQA BUSS4 Research brief on e-commerce

How to tackle the sixth and final bullet point in the AQA Research brief on: The impact of e-commerce on business performance and on strategy, both nationally and internationally.

In order to consider the impact of e-commerce on performance and strategy students first need to have a basic understanding of the key terms, ie: 

  • business performance and how it can be measured.
  • business strategy, including different types of strategies pursued by business. 

What is Business Performance?  How can it be Measured? 

Business performance essentially concerns a business’s ability to fulfil its function and to achieve its short, medium and long-term goals, (which may be financial or non-financial).  Performance can, in fact, be measured against a business’s ability to achieve: 

  • Marketing objectives / targets eg relating to brand awareness, sales, repeat business, market share.
  • Financial objectives / targets eg relating to raising finance, cash flow, cost minimisation, profit and profitability.
  • Operational objectives / targets eg relating to quality, production volumes, capacity utilisation, lead times, overall productive efficiency.
  • Human Resources objectives / targets eg relating to rates of labour turnover and unauthorised absence. 

Performance might also be measured in terms of success in meeting the needs of, or fulfilling responsibilities to, stakeholders, not just in terms of customers and owners / shareholders, but the wider society, especially with the growing concern over the environment and importance now being placed on a business’s performance in terms of corporate social responsibility. 

It should also be appreciated that performance may be assessed in terms of effectiveness and / or efficiency, and a distinction should be made between these two terms: 

  • Effectivenessis concerned with the achievement of organisational goals (including meeting the needs of different stakeholders groups).
  • Efficiency is concerned with achieving organisational goals (or meeting the needs of the different stakeholder groups) with the minimal use of resources (eg people, machinery, finance, time).  

For example, a business strategy (see below) could be regarded as effective if the business objective which the strategy set out to achieve had been achieved.  However, if this had involved extravagant use of resources, then the business was not efficient in achieving this objective.  Only if the objective was achieved with no greater use of resources than the minimum necessary, could it be said that the operation was efficient.

What is Strategy? 

Business strategies are essentially plans to achieve business goals ie its mission, aims and objectives (eg in terms of sales, market share, profit, return on investment, etc).  To succeed in a competitive environment a business needs to develop a competitive advantage and a successful strategy will exploit that which a company does best ie its competitive advantage.  It should be based on the firm’s strengths, and be something that is valued by customers.  

Michael Porter identified 3 strategies (Porter’s Generic Strategies) through which competitive advantage can be achieved: cost leadership, differentiation and focus.  E-commerce may enable or constrain the achievement of these strategies and, ultimately, the objectives they set out to achieve. 

E-commerce can also affect a business’s ability to pursue strategies relating to growth and expansion.  For example, in terms of Ansoff’s Matrix, internet-based e-commerce technologies may help a business pursue a strategy of market penetration and / or market development.  They have also enabled a business to expand its product portfolio and, thus, pursue a strategy of product development 

Conversely, in several industries / sectors, the Internet has led to an influx of new low-cost, online only entrants which has restricted the pursuit of growth strategies amongst traditional incumbents and, instead, led to strategies of consolidation or rationalisation 

Alternatively, new online competition has forced businesses to diversify into other products / services to either help retain existing customers and / or attract new customer segments. 

Numerous examples of the impact of e-commerce on business performance and on strategy to achieve its objectives will be included in our Complete Companion for use with the theme, which is due to be published next week on Thursday 10th December and can be pre-ordered now.