Basic Knowledge of Management Functions in Agriculture
Management Functions – Basically, the management functions include planning, implementation and control. These are usually considered to be the three primary functions of management.
Planning function contains a number of steps including the identification and definition of the problem, acquiring the initial information an; identifying alternative solutions. It is developing the alternative ways <r doing things e.g. If we select a goal of rice production, we have to think c~ sources of capital, sources and type of seeds, method of production method of processing, storage and distribution.
Planning is a continual process as new problems and opportunities arise and as new information becomes available from outside or within the system The programs in planning have to be dove-trailed i.e. synchronized.
Once the planning process is completed, the best alternative must be selected and action taken to place the plan into operation. Implementation may not occur quickly and can require the organizing, coordinating directing, and supervising of the necessary personnel, land, labour and capital over a period of time.
The control function provides for observing the results of the implemented plan to see if the specified goals and objectives are being met. Many things can cause a plan to go “off its track”. Errors are common among decision makers. No matter how good the plan is, there must be some error. Control means, knowing where you are, where you are going, when you should be there, where you are now, and changing direction if you are off course or moving faster or slower. For example, if you target to get 2 tons per ha, but after planting there is only 50% germination, you have to replant so as to get your target of 2 tons. This is taking effective control measure at the right time and a good control measure involves knowing what to do. The more complex the farm is, the harder it is to take control. It is not possible to control every segment of a business. We have to control the key areas that contribute to the day-to-day running of the business.
Effective control entails:
(i) An accurate record-keeping system and the ability to use it.
(ii) Key areas are to be defined when the plan is being made.
(iii) Performance standards should be kept for the key areas,
(iv) Execute the plan and measure the result.
(v) Compare the results with present standards
(vi) Take corrective actions
Effective control tools include:
(b) Progress charts
(c) Personnel records
(d) Quarterly reports
(e) Financial records
(f) Persona! observations.
(g) Production records
Methods used in control include:
(1) Control by exception
(2) Control by sampling
Control by Exception: Here the staff only report exceptional cases or eve that are significant e.g. Reporting two chicks that die in every 100 chicks.
Control by Sampling: This control technique involves doing on-the-spot checks i.e. subjecting the suspected area of low performance to on-the-spot observation.