Most businesses today are sub-divided into a number of different departments, each of which will focus their efforts on a specific activity or role, which will ultimately aid the business in its quest to fulfil its short and long term objectives. The volume of personnel in these departments will range greatly - some may contain just a few people and be based on one small site, while others may contain thousands and be spread across the four corners of the globe.
Potentially, there could be many many different departments within a firm, however the main functional areas are generally considered to be limited to around five in number. Functional areas will of course differ from firm to firm. For example, a firm working in a the tertiary service industry is unlikely to have a manufacturing department. That said, manufacturing can still be considered as one of the primary functional areas within a business.
Without a manufacturing department, the firm would, in most cases be devoid of one of the most valuable commodities in business - a product. The manufacturing process is involved with the physical production of a product, starting a point just beyond the research and development stage and carrying it through to almost to the end consumer.
Another critical functional area for a business, is its research and development (R&D) area. The R&D department concerns itself with the initial theoretical conception and development of a product or service. Other functions of the department may include researching the necessary manufacturing techniques to be employed for the successful production of the product, as well as doing any feasibility studies which may be directly required for the product or service which is to be produced.
A third primary functional area of a business, is the marketing department. This department will deal...