Semester 1, 2014
Due: 5pm, Wednesday, Week 11
Sales Tracking and Customer Relations Analyses
To analyse a set of data (in Microsoft Excel), and write a brief report (in Microsoft Word), identifying and explaining your insights into the operation of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ballarat Trade Fair ConsultancyÃ¢â‚¬Â.
In the process of this assessment task you will:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ plan, schedule and execute project tasks with a view to improving your personal productivity;
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ gain awareness of some typical issues related to the operation of a small-to-medium size business;
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ use the functionality of Microsoft Excel 2007/2010 to manipulate data, analyse it and visualise it in tabular and chart form; and
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ use the functionality of Microsoft Word to write a brief report of your business observations and recommendations.
Ballarat Trade Fair Consultancy (BTFC) specialises in promoting and selling both (i) stand space at trade fairs and (ii) tickets for visitors to trade fairs in Ballarat area. The company currently promotes and sells two different sized stand spaces, to new or returning exhibitors, for a number of Trade Fairs locally and overseas. BTFC also provides a number of additional value-added services to exhibitors for fees, such as organising exhibitor stands, developing marketing material for exhibitors to distribute at fairs, arranging travel and/or accommodation for exhibitors, and hospitality/catering for exhibitors to offer their customers attending the trade fair. BTFC also organise visitor tickets for the trade fairs, which also provide commission income. All these activities are managed through the efforts of a number of sales representatives. The companyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s founder, Ms Eliza Holt, like all small business owners, is always interested in finding ways to increase revenues and decrease expenses.
Ms Holt has recently hired you as her business analyst and poses some operational-level questions about the performance of her business. She is also eager to hear your thoughts and ideas on how to improve the business and requires you to make several recommendations on how to improve the companyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s performance, especially in relation to the following business objectives:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ improving the sales strategy;
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ improving internal efficiencies and effectiveness; and
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ building strong lasting relationships with its customers.
Ms Holt has provided you with last yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sales information in the Ã¢â‚¬Å“itech1005-5005 2014-05 assignment data.xlsxÃ¢â‚¬Â file. The data needs to be analysed and visualised to help observations related to the business operation and its shortcomings.
The data worksheet Ã¢â‚¬Å“SalesÃ¢â‚¬Â contains collected information of the consultancyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s operations in the current year. These details included:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Date (of customer order),
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Trade Fair
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Customer (i.e. exhibiting company)
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ space sold (sq.m.)
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Sales Representative
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ time spent by Sales Representative to complete sale
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ returning Exhibitor?
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Exhibitor stand organised?
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Exhibitor travel organised?
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Exhibitor accommodation organised?
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Exhibitor marketing material organised?
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Exhibitor hospitality organised?
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Visitor tickets sold
The additional fees charged by BTFC to customers (i.e. exhibitors) for their value-added services are:
Value Added Service Fee ($A)
Exhibitor stand organised 1000
Exhibitor travel arrangements 100
Exhibitor accommodation arrangements 100
Exhibitor marketing material organised 1000
Exhibitor hospitality organised 100
The data worksheet Ã¢â‚¬Å“FairsÃ¢â‚¬Â contains collected information of the Trade Fairs over the past decade. These details included:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Trade Fair
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ space available for BTFC to sell to exhibitors (sq.m.)
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Visitor tickets sold by BTFC
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Total Profit for BTFC
BTFC receives a fee ($5) for each Trade Fair visitor ticket sold through its Sales Representatives. This historical information is summarised in the Ã¢â‚¬Å“FairsÃ¢â‚¬Â worksheet as a summation of all Sales Representative ticket sales.
The company receives different rates of Ã¢â‚¬ËœcommissionsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ (i.e. fees) from the various Trade Fairs for selling space to companies exhibiting at the various fairs. The Trade Fair managers charge $120 sq.m. for floor space at all Trade Fairs, which rate BTFC charges the exhibiting companies. BTFC then pays commissions to the Sales Representatives for selling the space to those exhibiting companies. The following tables describe how these commissions are calculated:
Commission Received Space Sold Rate (% of sale amount)
New Exhibitor (large) >= 20 sq.m. 10
New Exhibitor (small) < 20 sq.m. 5
Returning Exhibitor (large) >= 20 sq.m. 7.5
Returning Exhibitor (small) < 20 sq.m. 2.5
Commission Paid Space Sold Rate (% of commission received)
New Exhibitor (large) >= 20 sq.m. 20
New Exhibitor (small) < 20 sq.m. 10
Returning Exhibitor (large) >= 20 sq.m. 15
Returning Exhibitor (small) < 20 sq.m. 5
BTFC also currently pays each Sales Representative a fee for their time spent working on a sale ($10 per hour).
Ms Holt needs to have a summary report of operations that will include the following information:
Calculations (All Students):
a. total sales, sub-totalled by each (a) Trade Fair, (b) Customer, and (c) income type.
b. total profit, sub-totalled by each (a) Trade Fair, and (b) Customer.
c. total costs, sub-totalled by each (a) Trade Fair, (b) Customer, and (c) cost type.
d. total hours worked, sub-totalled by each (a) Trade Fair, and (b) Customer.
e. percentage of current (a) sales, and (b) profits attributed to each Trade Fair.
Calculations (ITECH5005 Students Only):
f. costs as a percentage of (a) sales, and (b) profits, sub-totalled for each Sales Representative.
g. changes to profitability over the past decade, including current yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s figures, sub-totalled by each Trade Fair.
Ms Holt requires you to make observations to help her with the following operational-level questions.
Observations (All students):
h. Who are BTFCÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best and worst customers by total profit?
i. What are BTFCÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best and worst value-added services by total sales?
j. Who are BTFCÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best and worst Sales Representatives by total profit?
k. What would happen to profits if the commission rate of pay to Sales Representatives was increased by 50%?
Observations (ITECH5005 Students Only):
l. What are the worst Sales RepresentativeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best- and worst-selling services (by total profit)?
m. Who are the best Sales RepresentativeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best and worst customers (by total profit)?
n. Who are the best Sales RepresentativeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best and worst Trade Fairs (by total profit)?
o. How much additional value-added services are required to be sold at the least profitable Trade Fair (by total profit) to increase the profit by 25%?
Ms Holt also requires you to make recommendations concerning the following business-level questions.
Recommendations (All Students):
p. Should BTFC focus on any particular Trade Fair(s) or sales activities now and/or in future, and why?
q. What are your recommendations for resolving any data redundancy issues observed in the workbook?
r. What are your recommendation regarding what other data should be collected to improve decision making for BTFC?
s. What are your recommendation regarding record-keeping to improve the quality of data collection and management?
Recommendations (ITECH5005 Students Only):
t. What changes should BTFC make regarding any currently employed Sales Representative(s), or to the fees paid to the Sales Representatives, and why?
Ms Holt has asked you to provide her with the details of how you have accomplished these tasks. Therefore, you must include the functions and the formulae youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve used in your analyses, and not simply report the answers. Create a new worksheet in the assignment workbook called Ã¢â‚¬Å“CalculationsÃ¢â‚¬Â to provide Ms Holt with these calculations and summations.
As a paid consultant, your submission to Ms Holt must be professionally presented; all analyses, calculations and summaries in the Excel file must have headings and be supported with explanatory notes; and the formal business report must be preceded by a Ã¢â‚¬Ëœcovering letterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ (i.e. incorporate letter as first page of your Word document with your report on following pages).
Note: All recommendations in your report must be clearly justified (e.g. include charting or refer to specific analyses/summaries from the Excel spreadsheet).
The business options are linked to a number of questions posed by Ms Holt. Your role is to answer these specific questions and to support your answers with your data analysis as presented in the appropriate tables and charts. Ensure that your recommendations address the companyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s objectives, and that they are clearly linked to your observations.
There is no Ã¢â‚¬ËœidealÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ or Ã¢â‚¬ËœbestÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ way of doing this project. YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be assessed on your insight of the data, on your ability to make observations by analysing (with formulas) and visualising (with charts) your data, and your ability to link your observations to business issues.
There are numerous Microsoft Excel facilities and functions that may be useful in this project. While planning your workbook, and especially the observations, you may wish to review the tutorials on the related topics (e.g. Excel functions, absolute and relative cell referencing, formatting, chartings and managing large worksheets, as well as on the analysis of Excel data and drawing recommendations).
The Excel workbook contains all the necessary data for your assignment. However, you need to make sure the records included in the worksheets are not faulty or inaccurate (e.g. missing data) to avoid errors in calculations.
You will very likely need to analyses beyond the assessable tasks to gain sufficient insight into the business operations to provide recommendations to Ms Holt. Include any additional analyses or summaries on the calculations worksheet.
You might check the space available and compare it to the space sold this year.
Make sure you review the marking guide, to ensure you complete all required tasks before submission.
The questions posed to you in this assignment range from easy, through medium to challenging. However, it is expected that all students will succeed in all the tasks. Some of the tasks are very similar to those covered in tutorials and the associated exercises. Some of the challenging tasks may rely on insight that requires self-directed study (e.g. using help facilities in Excel to explore in depth some of the topics covered in the tutorials).
This assignment is worth 30% of total marks for this course and will be marked on:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ your demonstrated understanding of the problems;
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ completeness of the tasks;
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ exploration of the features in Microsoft Office; and
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ quality of the submission (Excel workbook & Word document).
Assignment checkpoints: During your lab classes in weeks 7 to 11 you may be asked by your tutors to show evidence of your consistent work on your assignment.
All students are required to submit two (2) files for this assignment, via Moodle, prior to the due date and time. Your two submission files will be a (re-named) Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (containing your analyses) and a Microsoft Word document (containing your covering letter and report).
For undergraduate students, each file must be named as follows:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ itech1005_2014-05_YourSurname_YourStudentID.doc (or .docx); and
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ itech1005_2014-05_YourSurname_YourStudentID.xls (or .xlsx)
For post-graduate students, each file must be named as follows:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Itech5005_2014-05_YourSurname_YourStudentID.doc (or .docx); and
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Itech5005_2014-05_YourSurname_YourStudentID.xls (or .xlsx)