what we do should not get in the way of doing what we do. Chief
activities are not directly involved with producing products or services - they don't actually add value to them directly, but they do allow the
organization to operate more effectively. Some organizations refer to support
activities as 'staff' functions.
Some examples: Maintenance
and repair - of buildings and equipment; Training - generating, improving and supporting
- promoting sales and the organization’s image; Security - protecting
people and things; Personnel - supporting the welfare of employees.
Others may do it
better: Support activities
will often be contracted out to independent organizations who will be able to
perform them much more efficiently - an organization which depends on
successfully selling its services will not necessarily be good at training its sales
people and will find that a specialist training company can do it better.
Support activities can be shared between organizations, for example, a shared
training facility or restaurant or the pooling of basic research.
What do they contribute? Each support activity
needs to be evaluated to ensure that it is making a positive contribution, whether it
is responsive to changes in the line-of-business activities and if it can
be done externally. The question should be asked: ‘What would happen if we
didn't do this?’ To get the best results there should be well-defined
interfaces between support and line-of-business activities - staff should know
which training courses are available or how to contact and make use of the legal
Core and non-core: Support
activities are sometimes referred to as 'non-core'. We think this is a
misnomer and that core activities are simply those that the organization regards
as essential and which it should perform itself. These will normally include the
line-of-business activities, but could also include any of the other categories.
For example, it may be crucial to provide training of personnel in-house or the
maintenance of key equipment to be performed by employees inside the
organization. Non-core activities are those that could be deemed to be optional,
or even if essential, given to outside organizations. >>>