My large organisation that I have investigated is a post office. Post Office Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Mail Group plc and operates under the Post Office(tm) brand. Managing a nationwide network of around 16,000 Post Office branches, they are the largest Post Office(tm) network in Europe and the largest retail branch network in the UK handling more cash than any other business. Post Office Ltd is one of the three arms that make up the Royal Mail Group, along with Royal Mail and Parcelforce Worldwide. I worked at a post office branch under the Post Office(tm) for 2 weeks during work experience so I know the organisation quite well. My organisation is in Queensway outside a shopping centre, so it is often busy with a lot of customers.
The organisation offers help and services for postal, banking and leisure purposes. The organisation is mostly known for helping customers with delivering their mail and parcels to their required destination but it offers a wider range of services too. Information services available at the post office are driving licences, road tax, passport services, pension and benefit services, postal services, receiving mail, online banking and business services. The post office also offer a range of its own products such as home and travel insurance, foreign currency, foreign cards, bill payments, savings and investment schemes and postal orders. The post office deals with a lot of customers each day, therefore a lot of records have to be kept for e.g mail and parcel records, the destination and details of each parcel and each mail that has been sent using the post office. Also records of the customers who acquire certain services offered by the post office for e.g the investment schemes.
Many computers exist inside the post office. There are a total of 12 computers, 11 on the counter floor and one inside the manager’s office. The computers are used for many different jobs. The 11 computers on the counter floor are connected together by a Local Area Network (LAN). This allows those 11 computers to share information and helps link the computers together. The computer in the managers office is also connected to these 11 computers, the manager can see what activity is taking place on each of the other 11 computers. Since the 11 computers are linked together, the staff can transfer stock and cash to one another. This is a real advantage for them it makes it easier to transfer stock and cash at the end of each day.
The main operating system on the computers is Windows NT. Windows NTWindows NT is a family of operating systems produced by Microsoft, the first version of which was released in July 1993. Windows NT is useful because of it stability and it is easy to use. The computers also have a special system which is specially made for post offices and is only available to post offices. The system is called Horizon. Horizon Software Ltd, has been in existence since 1979 and is a highly successful company in the vanguard of advanced technology, having a diversity of software products including Accounting, Financial Systems, Banking, Insurance, Medical and Expert Systems. Horizon allows the computers to produce labels to stick on parcels and envelopes; it allows access to exchange rates and currency rates which is all of use to the organisation. The simplicity of operation of their systems is the unique feature The computers have no generic software as there is no real need for them. The main purpose of the computers is to help the customer carry out their transactions.
The files on the computers are backed up by the post office server at the end of each day. There is no motherboard attached to the computer. There is simply a touch screen monitor which is about 12 inches big. This allows extra space in the working area as the organisation isn’t situated in a large space. This is good for the staff as they have extra space to work in. The computers were specially made by Fujitsu.
There is no internet connection for the computers as it is not required however the Head Office can still send messages to the computers if any special commands need to be carried out. The post office(tm) has its own website where customers may fulfill their banking needs.
Each computer has a laser printer which is used for producing document quickly, efficiently and of a high standard. The main use of the printer is for printing labels. It is the most frequent document printed. Each computer also has a Magnetic Ink Character Recognition, MIGCR which is used for cheques and postal orders. It also has a magnetic stripe reader and a barcode reader. The barcode reader is used in reading barcodes on all sorts of documents such as road tax discs, banking documents and postal forms. There is also a chip and pin machine which is used for the customers banking needs and for transferring to and from the card in use. Many different cards are read by the machines meaning that the customers can fulfil their postal and banking needs all in the post office instead of the customer going to the post office and then to the bank.
The Counter Staff –
The counter staff is the department at the post office who work behind the glass pane and deal with most of the customers who come into the post office. I have decided to write about how the counter staff uses ict because out of the whole post office they are the ones who use ict the most.
Here is an example of some of the operations the counter staff has to do and how they use ICT in doing it.
In this example the staff will input the details of the package such as its destination, details of its contents and weight. The computer will then calculate how much the post office should charge the customer depending on how heavy and valuable their parcel is. The person using the computer will then tell the customer and print a label. The label will have the destination name on it and will be stuck onto the parcel. Another label is printed out which will be kept in the post office as the post office need to keep a record of all outgoing and incoming parcels.
The customer comes to the counter and gives the staff his road tax disk. The member of staff then used a multiple bar code reader to read the bar code. The computer processes the information and tells the staff member how much they have to pay to renew their road tax disc. A receipt is then printed out and given to the customer as prove of this transaction.
Because of the use of ICT, these functions have become easier, quicker and more efficient to carry out making the organisation more able in its task to meet the customers’ needs. Computers are more proficient in producing these outputs because they can carry out calculations more quickly and the computer is not prone to human error. As a result of this it would be more consistent then if these processes were carried out by humans.
There are huge advantages in using ICT in the post office. Transactions can be carried out more quicker and easily meaning more customers are served in a day resulting in more revenue for the post office.
The use of ICT has made the staffs’ task much simpler. They do not need to work out any calculations as the computer works it out for them. ICT is an important part of the post office. There are computers in each and every branch under the Post Office(tm). It is essential in helping the post office fulfill the customers’ needs. A customer’s journey to the post office should be quick and should end with their needs being met with.
HSE: Health and Safety Executive.
Mr Vaidya works at HSE as a work safety advisor. He spends some of his time in his office and spends some time working from home. The Health and Safety Commission is responsible for health and safety regulation in Great Britain. Their job is to protect people’s health and safety by ensuring risks in the changing workplace is properly controlled. Mr Vaidya works in conjunction with the WSA.
Park Royal Partnership and the GMB Trade union appointed Mr. Hiten Vaidya as a worker Safety Advisor to help small and medium businesses in Park Royal area to improve health and safety in work place and make their workers more involvement in health and safety.
The WSA Challenge Fund was established in 2004 and is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions who are providing ï¿½3 million over a three-year period. The focus of the Fund is small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) lacking arrangements for involving their workforce in the management of their own and others health and safety. The role of Mr Vaidya as a Worker Safety Advisor is to “raise awareness of health and safety issues within the workplace and increase worker involvement and consultation in order to help companies achieve standards laid down by the legislation.