· explain the meaning of continuous improvement

Assignment: Quality, External Business Environment, and Business Health Check
These assignments are research project assignments, NOT academic assignments. Research project assignments are based on data and information published and available online and offline.
Therefore, you will be expected to do research projects for these assignments, and NOT write academic assignments based on theory.

Guide Content
The main content of your project assignment needs to:
· Explain what the topic /problem / issue is
· Explain why it is important for organisations or the business sector to learn more about it
· Show that you have researched it – using primary and secondary sources you can use the internet, but also consider written or emailed questionnaires, telephone/face to face/email interviews, etc. if applicable and if possible.
· Show that you have gathered relevant information
· Describe what you have found out
· Have a “Conclusion” (…. perhaps …. the situation is …… or …. as a result of my investigation it is clear that ….)
· If necessary, end with recommendations as to how the organisation/organisations / or individuals / or teams should respond – what action is needed (perhaps an Action Plan to take corrective action, or to change direction, perhaps more detailed research)
· Include appendices at the end – supporting documents which clarify or expand on key points in the main content
· List your references – list data sources, books, articles, websites, case studies, people interviewed, etc – that you drew on to complete the project assignment – and the sources of any quotes or extracts used in the main content. Please reference using the Harvard referencing format.

* please note that a minimum of 85% of the content of your assignment project must be written in your own words – extracts of text and quotes from existing sources must not make up more than 15% of the content, and must all be referenced in the text and in the list of references at the end of the assignment project.
Word Count
The minimum Word Count is 4,500 words.
Appendices are not included in the Word Count.

Format of your project assignment:
1. Title Page – giving the course title, assignment number and title, your name, and the date of
2. Summary – written after the assignment is completed – summarising the content of the assignment
3. Introduction – outlining the focus of the assignment
4. Background – if appropriate – providing general information as a setting for what follows in the main assignment
5. Main Content – the main section of your assignment – containing:
· Discussion Text – the main part of your response
· Section Headings – using the assignment criteria bullet-points as section headings
· Schematics – graphs, charts, tables, images, where relevant and necessary for understanding
6. Conclusion
7. Recommendations.
8. Appendices
9. References

Assignment Tasks
Research and then write your project assignment on the topics and issues listed here:

Understand the different approaches to quality management appropriate to commercial operations
· discuss definitions of quality in terms of business and services provision
· illustrate the processes of inspection and assurance
· discuss a range of approaches to quality management
· explain the similarities and differences between the different methods

Understand the benefits of quality management in a business and services context
· discuss what is meant by customer satisfaction
· explain the meaning of continuous improvement
· illustrate the type of added values to be gained
· describe the types of information made available to customers and the importance given to effective marketing

Understand a range of quality controls and how service to the customer can be improved
· explain how quality management can be measured
· evaluate the benefit of user and non-user surveys in determining customer needs
· list the methods of consultation employed in one quality scheme to encourage participation by underrepresented groups
· identify the value of complaints procedures and analyse how they may be used to improve quality

Be able to apply the principles of quality management to improve the performance of an organisation
· report on the role of self-assessment in order to determine an organisation’s current ‘state of health’
· evaluate the importance of communication and record keeping
· follow guidelines on the stages of staff consultation necessary for effective implementation of a quality scheme
· propose new systems or modifications to existing systems that could improve service quality

Understand the impact of socio-economic change on the development of commercial organisations in a business and services industry context
· discuss the structure and operation of the UK economy
· analyse current government economic policy and its effect on business and services industries
· discuss income, wealth, employment and occupational distribution in relation to the provision of business and services operations
· assess demographic trends that influence employment patterns in business and services industries
· analyse the social structures of people employed in business and services industries

Understand the effect of legal and political environments on business and service industries
· discuss the structure, operation and influence of local government
· evaluate the role and influence of the EU, and its impact on business and services industries
· assess the role of pressure groups and their political influence in relation to national and local issues
· analyse the legal framework within the UK, identifying the main differences between the English and Scottish systems
· evaluate the legislative process as it affects services industries at local and national level

Understand statutory requirements for establishing and developing business and services operations
· assess the different types and characteristics of business that operate within the business and services sector
· discuss the legal processes necessary for formation and dissolution of a registered company
· analyse the structure and processes which determine the responsibilities and control within a registered company

Understand the focuses of the business

You should focus on your own organisation, but if that is not possible, choose a well-known local business or an international business.
· analyse the objectives of a particular business
· explain factors that impact on that business
· determine potential improvements to that business organisation and/or operation

Be able to develop plans for businesses
· review the effectiveness of that business
· develop plans to improve that business, justifying their value

Be able to evaluate and develop skills of management and staff
· evaluate the current skills of management and staff in that business
· devise and justify plans for the development of skills for those management and staff

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