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Support activities

Supporting what we do should not get in the way of doing what we do.
Chief Executive Officer

These 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 skills; Marketing - 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 team.

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. >>>