Services and the public sector

Read the text then choose the best definition -a, b or c - for each of the terms in bold, line 5

Where the private sector leads, the public sector follows

For many years, Place, meaning distribution, was mainly associated with traditional manufactured goods and the process of transferring them from producers to consumers. Businesses had to promote their goods in a competitive environment, so marketing became more important. In addition, businesses began to study their methods of distribution.

This has also happened in the service sector (banking, tourism, retailing, professional services, etc) and more recently, even in the public sector. The public sector has had to adapt to big changes in the business environment. There is more competition, customers are better informed and better educated, and the public want better quality products and better service. Service providers, including local government organisations, public health services, schools and colleges, now find that they have to work in ways that are more similar to the private sector. They also have to be more accountable and less secretive.

This means that public sector services, like private and manufacturing businesses before them, have become as interested in logistics. The study of logistics tries to improve the systems of provision. It aims to save money and improve performance by reducing waste, so distribution has become a focus of attention. Public sector providers and other service industries often deal directly with the public, or with their customers, which makes communication skills very important. Promotion, effective design and comfortable surroundings are part of good communication. Communication itself may be face-to-face, or it may be by post, by telephone, by email, or through websites. To sum up, today the total package of the service happens in a much more complex and competitive context. The total provision includes all the physical evidence (publications, information leaflets, buildings, etc), customer support and the answering of casual enquiries, as well as the core product (transport, or education, or food, or any other service). The public expects the best! If the service is no good, complain! If it is still no good, change your supplier - if you can!

1 competitive environment (line 4)

a) a situation where businesses decide together how to divide the market between them b) a situation where businesses have to make sure they protect the environment

(c})a situation where many businesses all try to get customers by offering the best deal or price

2 the public sector (line 7)

a) the general public - all the people b) the part of the economy that is owned by central or local government c) information that is not kept secret but available to everybody

3 service providers (line 11)

a) organizations that offer a service, not manufactured goods b) people who work in after-sales c) types of software that provide access to the Internet

4 public health services (line 12)

a) city parks, swimming pools and sports centres b) hospitals, doctors' surgeries, health clinics and nursing c) ambulances and other transport for the sick and elderly

5 accountable (line 14)

a) able to explain and publish details of their actions b) able to make enough money to stay in business even when the market is weak c) trained to keep good financial records

6 public sector services (line 15)

a) services provided by government (local or central) such as health, education, road maintenance etc b) charities, churches and church services c) organizations that work throughout the whole country logistics (line 16)

a) the study of finance and accounting in business b) the study of using high technology equipment in business c) the study of systems and ways to improve efficiency communication skills (line 21)

a) the ability to convey the right messages in the best possible way b) the ability to get your message across to people in their own language c) the ability to put information into a computer system core product (line 28)

a) the fundamental thing that a business or organization provides b) the complete consumer experience of a business c) the total offering of a company or organization, including its advertising, buildings, staff, reputation

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