The world is undergoing a revolution that has been brought forth by changing paradigms in technology and, therefore, in turn affecting the nature and mode of business transactions that are handled on a global scale. Due to these changes in everyday businesses operation, the economic sector of the globe has witnessed numerous changes from inflation to even collapse of certain economies. Nevertheless, despite the effects (both negative and positive) that are brought forth by the changing revolutions in business, everyday business still has to take place. Therefore, business operations have become part of our daily lives, shifting the nature and mannerisms in which people purchase, sell and transact goods and services. Business operations in hand have various outcomes and effects, amongst them being the reaping of worth from readily available assets that are owned by the business enterprise itself. The assets that are held by the business enterprises may either be intangible or physical. Values that may in hand be derived from these assets include royalty from intangible assets and rent from physical assets. The process that takes place from deriving value from these physical assets is what comprises business operations cycles (BOCs).
Oxfam is an international organization that advocates for the rights of the poor and provides food and water for those who are in need. The organization also takes further steps in visiting areas that have been struck by conflicts, natural disasters and feuds, and then takes part in providing food, water, clothing, shelter, and medicine for them. By doing so, the organization ensures that it is able to save millions of lives. Nevertheless, just like any other international organizations, it needs to employ certain business strategies and models in order to ensure success. However, the firm will face certain challenges that will be analyzed in the report before making the necessary recommendations and conclusions.
Oxfam is a union or an amalgamation that is comprised of seventeen organizations that work together hand in hand on an international basis. The organizations work in approximately 94 different countries. The aim of this coming together is to try to find possible solutions to the problems of poverty and global injustices (as considered by Oxfam). In all the actions and activities that are undertaken by Oxfam. The final ultimate goal is to work forward and try to enable citizens to practice their given rights and in hand manage their own lives. Oxfam works directly with given communities and societies, seeking to influence the elite and powerful individuals in order to make sure that the poor and underprivileged citizens can have a say in the decisions that are made in their communities. It also helps them improve their lives and conditions of living. Each affiliate organization of Oxfam works together hand in hand on an international basis in order to achieve the best through collective efforts.
The international organization, Oxfam, was originally founded in 1942 in Oxford as the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief by a group of Oxford academics, social activists and Quakers. The committee was formed in order to support the National Famine Relief Committee. The National Famine Relief Committee had been founded in order to influence the government of Britain to permit relief food through the Allied blockade for citizens who had been starving in the Axis occupation of Greece. However, in 1963, Oxfam founded another overseas branch in Canada; also changing its name in 1965 to OXFAM which is its telegraph address (Sellers, Dochen & Hodges 2005).
The organization has branches all over the world including America, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, China, India, Spain, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Italy and Japan. Oxfam has in hand created programs that aim at addressing the causes of poverty in the structural means and other related injustices. In these given countries, Oxfam works hand in hand with accountable organizations and in turn seeks to enhance the overall effectiveness of these organizations in their given areas of location. Through its operations, Oxfam wishes to realize the following objectives: first, to award every citizen a right to a sustainable livelihood; secondly, to ensure that everybody has the right to basic social services; thirdly, to ensure that every individual has the right to security and life; fourthly, to make sure that every person receives the right to be heard; and lastly, Oxfam wishes to make sure that every person has a right to an indemnity.
The Operations of Oxfam
Oxfam undertakes a lot of activities around the globe. The company’s initial apprehension was to provide food in order to help relieve famine. Moreover, the organization has managed to develop some very convenient and effective strategies that help it combat the initial causes of famine. In addition to providing medicine and food, Oxfam also plays a role in providing work tools that help individuals become self-reliant. In turn, Oxfam opens markets through which international trade can take place. Through this international trade, craftsmen are able to sell their products to the international community at a fair price that will help them earn a favorable wage (Oxfam 1993)
The operations untaken by Oxfam have three main points they focus on. The points include development of work, humanitarian work and advocacy, lobbyist and popular campaigning. The development work done by Oxfam tries to free communities from poverty they face (Valentine 1966). In order to do so, Oxfam offers these communities long-term and sustainable solutions that are based on their different needs. On the other hand, humanitarian work done by Oxfam aims at assisting those individuals and communities that have been affected by tribal wars, feuds, natural disasters, and conflicts (Swink 2011). The activities that are undertaken in helping these individuals ultimately lead to long-term development work for these communities especially those that deal with the areas of sanitation and water. Finally, Oxfam participates in lobbyist activities that try to effect different policies and decisions on various causes that may clash at international, national and local levels (Morton 1984).
Therefore, Oxfam’s operations revolve around climate change, human rights, democracy, natural disasters, conflict (Oxfam works towards campaigning for an treaty for international arms trade), gender equality, HIV/AIDS, health, livelihood, debt and aid, education, fair trade and trade justice. Moreover, Oxfam has created certain programs such as “Saving for Change” through which it works at helping communities to become more financially self-sufficient. Through this initiative, the communities that are involved are taught on different ways through which they can come together and form the informal credit groups (Kaufman, Zacharias & Karson 1995)
Operations Analysis of Oxfam
The 4 V’s model of operations management has been adopted by Oxfam. The multinational organization uses these strategies to ensure that it also achieves the best output while at the same time ensures that the citizens it serves and helps also achieve their desired goals (Woodrow & Acland 2012). The 4 V’s model includes volume, variety, variation in demand, and visibility all of which are crucial in trying to ensure that the organization together with its activities run accordingly. Oxfam has numerous shops across the globe that deal with selling of products that are fair-trade while others are donated (Johnson & Institute of Management 1998).
In order to cope with the number of individuals and civilians the organization has to serve, Oxfam has come up with the Behind the Brands-Project. The project is aimed at providing individuals who purchase and enjoy the given products (within which Oxfam provides for) with the necessary information that these individuals need to hold about the Big 10 (these Big 10 are beverage and food companies) in order to give an actual accountability of what happens in the supply chain (Valette & Disick 1972). Therefore, Oxfam has created a scorecard that has seven categories. One of the categories is transparency at the top corporate level. Other categories include a certain number of women farm workers and also small-scale producers in the given supply chain, workers who provide for labor in the supply chain, small scale farmers who provide commodities, land and its sustainable use, water and its sustainable use. Finally, it aims to conserve climate and reduce the amount of greenhouse emissions (Oxfam 2000). Oxfam also accredits itself by associating with reputable companies. The reason for this is to make sure that their clients receive the top quality services without any compromise. In case of any mishaps or allegations that are raised by the local communities, Oxfam can easily track down the individuals that have been involved and then take the necessary actions (Hatry, Greiner & National Institute of Justice 1986)
Oxfam also faces a large market, which it tries to satisfy. The supply for products that are provided by Oxfam come from different sources, some of which are fair-trade and donations. In order to cope with the increasing demand, Oxfam relies on donations from citizens who come from well-developed countries such as Britain. Moreover, Oxfam hosts events, such as the London Marathon and festivals such as Glastonbury, in order to help raise funds for its cause. By doing so, Oxfam reduces its dependability on well-wishers who give donations. Money that is raised through such events is used to educate citizens in poor countries, employ teachers, and cater for the needs of volunteers who wish to travel and offer education programs to the needy (Oxfam 2004). Oxfam needs to keep with the changing paradigms in demands as it shifts its focus in different geographical regions that are affected by many problems. To begin with, for example, the problems facing majority of the poor citizens living in remote areas in China is the bad climatic conditions that are a result of pollution (Wilkerson & Lang 2007). Pollution in the Chinese province is caused due to increased demand for technology and technological developments. In such an area, Oxfam will be interested in providing for education materials that will help educate citizens on environmental degradation. For an area that is either affected by famine or war in the African country, Oxfam will have the demand of providing food and water to all the refugees it will find in such areas. Furthermore, the organization will take the initiative of educating people on the dangers of communal feuds, or being enticed by greedy leaders who provoke wars at the cost of the average civilians (Griffin 2010).
Thirdly, Oxfam as an international organization deals with a wide variety of goods and services in its day to day functioning. Due to the fact that Oxfam helps the needy in various geographical locations, the organization also needs to diversify on the goods it provides. Such goods may range from medical aid, food, water, clothing, helicopters, boats, and cars to transport workers and the injured. Since majority of the fair trade goods that Oxfam sells come from the developed countries to Africa, South America and Asia, there is a variety of products in their stores and warehouses. In addition, the large amounts of first world countries who are part of Oxfam participate in given out equipment that is used for survey, transportation and treatment. The wide variety of goods in the warehouses of Oxfam ensures that the majority (if not all) of the activities are undertaken in a manner of high quality, speed, dependability, flexibility and at a reduced cost (Anupindi 2006)
Reporting period: 1st April 2012-31st March 2013. All figures are presented in millions of Euros.
Oxfam Regions € Million %
Global Level Allocation €120.4 17.1%
East & Central Africa €79.9 11.3%
Horn of Africa €71.6 10.2%
West Africa €89.4 12.7%
Southern Africa €38.9 5.5%
Maghreb & Middle East €56.7 8.0%
East Asia €59.6 8.5%
South Asia €72.0 10.2%
Eastern Europe & Former Soviet Union €14.4 2.0%
Central America, Mexico & the Caribbean €45.4 6.4%
South America €21.6 3.1%
Pacific €10.0 1.4%
Other* €24.8 3.5%
Total €704.7 100%
Aims € Million %
Livelihoods €207.7 29.5%
Basic social services €74.5 10.6%
Life and security €260.1 36.9%
Right to be heard €86.1 12.2%
Identity €76.3 10.8%
Total €704.7 100%
Table 1: Oxfam Confederation Expenditure (Marr 2010).
PROGRAM EXPENDITURE FOR THE TOP 20 COUNTRIES REPRESENTS 336.8 million EURO OR 48% OF TOTAL PROGRAM EXPENDITURE
Reporting period: 1st April 2012 – 31st March 2013. All figures are presented in millions of Euros.
Top 20 Countries € Million
Palestinian Territory, Occupied €18.7
Burkina Faso €10.3
Viet Nam €8.0
Total for top 20 Countries €336.8
Challenges and Quality Control
Oxfam as a large corporation is bound to face some obstacles along its way. To begin with, the organization needs huge amounts of funds in order to run its activities. The organization is thus faced by the challenge of insufficiency of funds for transportation, purchase of equipment, upkeep of volunteers and the purchase of medical services and kits (Oxfam 1995). Therefore, Oxfam relies heavily on donations that are made to it in order to continue functioning. Also, volunteer members often face hostility from governments and locals whenever they visit certain countries (Abdel-Maksoud & Abdel-Kader 2007).
In order to ensure that quality is maintained, Oxfam deals with reputable organizations and companies that are responsible for their actions. Even so, the organization takes measures to ensure that the individuals they deal with at government institutions are not corrupt (Oxfam 1998).
THE SIX LARGEST DONORS AND THE MONETARY VALUE OF THEIR CONTRIBUTION
Reporting period: 1st April 2012 – 31st March 2013
Home Government Institutions €203.4
Trading Revenue* €178.3
Regular Giving (Public Fundraising) €150.4
EU and EU Institutions (Institutional Fundraising) €92.1
UN and UN Institutions (Institutional Fundraising) €60.0
Other Public Fundraising €40.4
Total 6 largest donors €724.6
NET Trading Revenue: € Million
Trading Revenue €178.3
Trading Costs €147.3
NET Trading Revenue €31.0
Income and Expenditure € Million
Total Income €956
Total Expenditure €993
Excess of expenditure over income -€37
Balance Sheet € Million
Total Assets €566
Total Liabilities €264
Net Assets €302
Table 3: Oxfam Donors (Kontes 2010).
Conclusion and Recommendations
The report recommends that further research needs to be done on the issues that face poor citizens that have not yet been recognized including drug abuse, sexual abuse and humiliation. It also recommends that new channels of accountability need to be introduced in order to punish those greedy individuals and take advantage of donation money for the poor for themselves.
To conclude, Oxfam as a large international organization has done a very commendable job at advocating for the rights of the poor while at the same time applied various strategies and models of business operations in order to succeed. Such strategies are very crucial in ensuring that the organization continues its operation in future.