English Vocabulary for Business

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Supply Chain

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A supply chain is the entire network of businesses involved in providing goods or services to a customer. Includes all the processes related to the creation, storage, and movement of a product.

Example: ‘The supply chain for gasoline begins with extracting oil from the ground and ends with the gas sold at the pump.’


Logistics is the process of managing the flow and storage of materials, goods, information and capital. Good planning and communication is essential to good logistics.

Example: ‘Our logistics department has a sophisticated system for tracking materials through the supply chain.’


Shipping is the movement of goods and cargo, either by land, air, or sea.

Example: ‘We offer customers different shipping options, with different delivery speeds and costs.’


A supplier is a business that provides goods or services to other businesses in a supply chain. a manufacturer usually relies on several, or even hundreds, of different suppliers.

Example: ‘Gorman Motors is looking for a new supplier for the electrical components of its trucks.’


Materials are the physical items that a supplier provides to other businesses. These materials could be raw resources, such as oil, or manufactured parts, such as computer chips.

Example: ‘The high cost of materials has slowed down the construction sector in the past few years.’


A manufacturer uses machines, tools, and labor to transform materials into goods. The goods might be for use by consumers or as parts of а more complex product.

Example: ‘Boeing is one of the largest manufacturers of airplanes in the world.’


A distributor buys products from manufacturers and then resells them to retailers. a distributor is like a middle man between the producers and the consumers.

Example: ‘The Canadian paper company found a European distributor for their specialty products’


A retailer is a business that sells products directly to customers or end-users.

Example: ‘Traditional retailers are complaining about online retailers stealing their customers.’


The consumer is the one who uses a good or service that has been produced. Consumers are the final link in the supply chain.

Example: ‘After the economic crisis, consumers showed a lack of confidence by saving rather than spending.’


Purchasing is the process of buying the goods and services that a business needs to operate. In the supply chain, a purchaser creates agreements with a company’s suppliers.

Example: ‘Our purchasing department has made the decision to start buying wore environmentally friendly materials.’


Warehousing involves all of the functions related to the large-scale storage of goods and materials. This includes receiving, identifying, inspecting, storing, and retrieving the goods.

Example: ‘To reduce its warehousing costs. Rondo Industries is moving its storage facilities to Oklahoma.’


A company’s inventory is all the goods and materials that are held in stock. This includes not only materials needed to build products, but also finished products yet to be sold.

Example: ‘Every month we do an inventory count to find out how much stock of each part we have.’

Materials management

Materials management deals with the movement and storage of physical items or products. a materials manager is responsible for spare parts, quality control, and inventory management.

Example: ‘The materials management team can reduce work stoppages by making sure the machines have spare parts.’

Order fulfillment

Order fulfillment is the process of receiving, processing, and filling a customer’s order.

Example: ‘Dell Computers has аn order fulfillment system that immediately transfers a customer’s online order to the production area.’

Quality assurance

Making sure that materials, parts, and products are in good condition is quality assurance. Supply chains must have good QA built in to reduce waste and improve processes.

Example: ‘Our quality assurance team is responsible for a 15% drop in defective products.’


Just-in-Timeisabusinessstrategyaimedatreducinginventoryandassociated costs. With Just-in-Time manufacturing, just enough materials are ordered and delivered when they are needed.

Example: ‘Just-in-Time manufacturing requires very good communication with suppliers.’


ERP is a system that integrates information from all the different parts of a business. ERP can make a company wore efficient by giving everyone access to the same data at all times.

Example: ‘Our new enterprise resource planning software has reduced confusion between our accounting and sales departments.’


Now, it’s your turn to practice. For example, if you hear…

We offer free <beep> on orders to customers in North America.

You can say…

We offer free shipping on orders to customers in North America.

Question 1

Samsung is very successful because they understand <beep> preferences.

Answer 1

Samsung is very successful because they understand consumer preferences.

Question 2

General Electric is one of the largest <beep> companies in the world.

Answer 2

General Electric is one of the largest manufacturing companies in the world.

Question 3

WalMart is so successful that smaller <beep> find it hard to compete.

Answer 3

WalMart is so successful that smaller retailers find it hard to compete.

Question 4

Large shipping companies, such as TNT and FedEx, provide a complete<beep> solution.

Answer 4

Large shipping companies, such as TNT and FedEx, provide a complete logistics solution.

Question 5

Every month we count all the <beep> in our storeroom.

Answer 5

Every month we count all the inventory in our storeroom.

Question 6

Our quality <beep> team does regular inspections of incoming materials.

Answer 6

Our quality assurance team does regular inspections of incoming materials.

Question 7

The new production line is based on the principles of just-in-<beep> manufacturing.

Answer 7

The new production line is based on the principles of just-in-time manufacturing.

Question 8

The <beep> department has expanded as we now purchase more materials locally.

Answer 8

The purchasing dept. has expanded as we now purchase more materials locally.

Project Management

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Working in the field of project management requires a number of distinct skills. a project manager needs to be able to define the scope of a project clearly, estimate the cost and time required to complete it. set deliverables and specifications for every stage from start to finish, and allocate the needed resources as efficiently as possible.

The ability to manage people is also a critical skill. a good project manager can deal productively with a broad range of stakeholders, including employees, clients, subcontractors and others affected by the project. He or she will need to sign off on major decisions, such as change orders, while choosing the best possible team to make day-today decisions.

Project manager (PM)

The person with overall responsibility for planning and managing a project. This title is used in the construction industry, information technology and many other industries that are based on the production of a product or service.

Example: ‘A project manager needs to begin by setting clear objectives.’


The person who has authority over a project, provides funding, approves scope changes and champions the project within an organization. The project sponsor is usually a representative of the client, since the client has commissioned and funded the project.

Example: ‘The sponsor should provide high-level guidance while letting the project manager handle day-to-day issues.’


Anyone who has an interest in a project or will be affected by it. Stakeholders can be people inside or outside the organization carrying out the project.

Example: ‘We need to remember that the homeowners near our new factory are also stakeholders in the expansion project.’


A business or person who is paid to do part of the work assigned to another person or company. This noun has a related verb: to subcontract.

Example: ‘We can’t permit our provider to subcontract any work on our database, since this would put the security of our customer records at risk.’


The overall definition of what the project is supposed to accomplish… including the project’s goal, the resources to be used to carry it out, and a specific description of the expected end result.

Example: ‘The scope of this project is a complete redesign of our customer database.’


A deliverable may be either a physical object, such as a newly designed product, or an outcome, such as the completion of a business plan.

Example: ‘For a project to succeed, its deliverables need to be both achievable and clearly defined.’


Specifications is often abbreviated to: specs. Specifications are detailed descriptions of the deliverables for a project and include all the technical, time and cost requirements of a project.

Example: ‘This customer software doesn’t meet our original specifications.’


The baseline will include the project’s expected costs, schedule and any technical requirements.

Example: ‘Our baseline expectation is to complete the project by December at a cost of no more than $4 million.’


All items needed to complete a project, such as a tool, supply item, facility or person. People (human resources) and money (financial resources) are often the most important elements of a project.

Example: ‘The scope of a project needs to watch the resources available to carry it out.’

To estimate

To calculate or guess the value, size or amount of something.

An estimate

The noun form can be either: an estimate or an estimation

Example: ‘The value of the deal is estimated at $12 million.’

Top-down estimate

An estimate for the cost, time, and risks of a project made by looking at the entire project… from the top-down, or in great detail, and comparing it to similar projects in the past.

Example: ‘Richard has worked on several similar projects before, so he can give us a top-down estimate of how much this owe should cost.’

To allocate

To decide that аn amount of money, time or other resources should be used for a certain purpose. This verb often appears in two strong collocations: to allocate funds & to allocate resources.

Example: ‘Du Pout has allocated funds to build two new factories in Asia.’


A spare amount of money, time or other resources that is set aside in case of unforeseen problems, costs or delays.

Example: ‘This construction project has a two-week margin to allow for delays due to bad weather.’

The meaning of margin is similar to our next word…


A planned allocation of resources that are to be used in the event that something unforeseen,… such as a bad weather, affects the completion of a project according to the schedule.

Example: ‘We need to develop plans to deal with any contingencies before starting the project.’

Change order

A request for а change in a project’s scope, deliverables or cost. Most large projects will require change orders, either because the project manager sees the need for changes or because the client’s needs have changed.

Example: ‘It’s important to get the client to approve any change orders before allocating more resources.’

To sign off

To give approval for someone else’s decision.

Example: ‘The finance director needs to sign off on any change in our approved vendors.’


Now, it’s your turn to practice. For example, if you hear…

The value of the deal is <beep> at £12 million.

You can say…

The value of the deal is estimated at £12 million.

Question 1

We need to <beep> more resources to meet the new deadline.

Answer 1

We need to allocate more resources to meet the new deadline.

Question 2

It’s important to consult with all the <beep> who may be affected by the relocation of our plant.

Answer 2

It’s important to consult with all the stakeholders who may be affected by the relocation of our plant.

Question 3

Since the <beep> of this project is quite broad, we’ll need to make our plans as detailed as possible.

Answer 3

Since the scope of this project is quite broad, we’ll need to make our plans as detailed as possible.

Question 4

The finance director needs to <beep> on any changes to our accounts.

Answer 4

The finance director needs to sign off on any changes to our accounts.

Question 5

Any project that doesn’t allow for <beep> is likely to run into problems.

Answer 5

Any project that doesn’t allow for contingencies is likely to run into problems.

Question 6

Unfortunately, the new software doesn’t meet the original <beep>.

Answer 6

Unfortunately, the new software doesn’t meet the original specifications.

Marketing: Branding

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In part one, we’ll focus on the essential elements of establishing a successful brand.

What is a brand? Brands are what make companies and products stand out from the crowd. They have an essence, or spirit, and values that make them worthwhile to the customer.

To develop a successful brand, you need to know about your demographics and the tangible and intangible benefits your products bring to your customers. Need to know how well your brand is being received? Focus groups of consumers can give information on brand awareness and brand recognition.

It’s also important to think about how your company and brand will be presented visually. So you need to think about your brand’s trademark or logo, the symbols that represent the brand. Similarly, think about corporate identity and brand identity, two factors that help your customers “see” you and your products.

Now let’s look at the vocabulary in more detail with some definitions and examples.


A brand is what sets a company—or its products and services—apart from its competition. This includes the way it’s presented to the public, customers’ expectations and experiences with the brand, and the way it’s perceived by others.

Example: ‘McDonald’s brand incorporates the concepts of fast food, fun, convenience, and variety.’

Brand Essence

Often called a brand’s “heart and soul,” brand essence refers to the fundamental spirit of the brand—what connects a brand to customers—expressed in a simple, concise, phrase.

Example: ‘Hallmark produces greeting cards and gifts. its brand essence is “Caring Shared.”

Brand Values

Brand values are the aspects of a brand that bring value to the customer. This value is why the customer chooses the brand.

Example: ‘Driving a BMW can make someone feel successful and luxurious. These feelings are part of the brand’s value.’


Demographics refers to information about customers, such as their age, education level, and where they live. Demographic is the adjective form.

Example: ‘In October 2009, InsideFacebook.com reported demographic information about Facebook users. 29% of the users were between the ages of 18 and 25.’


Something is tangible if it has a physical form, something that can be perceived through one of the five senses. In marketing, tangible often refers to direct benefits customers can receive from a brand.

Example: ‘Starbucks customers who participate in its rewards program can receive tangible benefits like free coffee drinks and Wi-Fi access.’


Something that is intangible does not have a physical form that can be perceived through the senses. Intangible benefits are more conceptual, like a certain feeling you get when buying a product or using a service.

Example: ‘The peace of mind that comes from driving a Volvo is one of the intangible benefits of the brand.’

Focus Group

A focus group is a small group of people that represents a target demographic. The group discusses products and services so that companies can learn more about what their customers’ think about the brand or product.

Example: ‘The company used data from focus groups to decide the name of their new product.’

Brand Awareness

When customers recognize a brand and connect it with a company’s products, they’re showing brand awareness.

Example: ‘Because it is new to the United States, the Chinese sportswear company Li-Ning is still developing brand awareness among Americans.’

Brand Recognition

When customers show that they know about a brand when asked specifically about it, they’re showing brand recognition. Brand recognition is one way to measure brand awareness.

Example: ‘Toblerone’s unique packaging and strong promotion in duty-free shops add to its brand recognition.’

Trademark / Logo

A trademark or logo is a graphic symbol that represents the brand. Words, phrases and sounds can also be trademarks.

Example: ‘The “swoosh” is a trademark of Nike. Apple’s logo is an apple with a bite taken out of it.’

Corporate Identity

A company’s corporate identity is the way it presents itself visually to the public. These visual elements can include color schemes, logos, words, building architecture, interior design, uniforms, and printed materials.

Example: ‘To show its corporate identity, Mobil Oil consistently displays the word “Mobil” in the same text and colors on all of its signs and uniforms.’

Marketing: Branding (continued)

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To be successful, a brand needs to be managed. Brand equity—its marketing strength—and differentiation—how it is different from competitors—need to be considered when developing a brand strategy, or long-term marketing plan.

As always, customers are a key ingredient. Who will receive your marketing message? That’s your market segment. How do customers view the brand? That question is answered by its positioning. Do customers repeatedly buy the brand? That’s all part of brand loyalty.

Once the brand is established, there are ways to take it further. Niche marketing can help you reach more specific groups of customers. Rebranding, co-branding, and brand stretching are all ways to adjust your brand in response to changing tastes and values. In the end, a successful brand will help your company become a market leader.

Now let’s look at these concepts in more detail with some definitions and examples.

Brand Management

Brand management means overseeing all aspects of a brand, such as advertising, price, and customer satisfaction so that the brand remains in a positive light, making it more profitable.

Example: ‘Building trust with consumers is the ultimate aim of brand management.’

Brand Equity

Brand equity is related to the marketing power of a brand. If a brand is well received and popular, its power to generate sales and income is increased. This means the brand has strong brand equity.

Example: ‘Recent safety recalls have severely affected Toyota’s brand equity.’

Brand Strategy

Brand strategy is a long-term marketing plan for a brand. All members of an organization are involved with implementing this strategy.

Example: ‘To compete with Coca-Cola, a company that has existed for over 100 years, Pepsi adopted a brand strategy that targets younger consumers.’


Differentiation is the way companies show that their brands or products are different from those of their competitors.

Example: ‘Some automakers are promoting technology as a differentiation strategy.’

Market Segment

A market segment is a group of customers that tends to share values, needs, and purchasing habits. Companies often direct their advertising toward particular market segments.

Example: ‘Teenagers are one of the main market segments for Virgin Megastores.’


Positioning is the “place” a brand holds in the consumer’s view, in comparison to other brands.

Example: ‘The core concept behind Volvo’s positioning is “safety.”’

Brand Loyalty

When customers consistently choose one brand over another, they are showing brand loyalty.

Example: ‘Some automakers are rewarding brand loyalty by offering discounts to repeat customers.’


Rebranding is the process of updating or changing a brand to make it more appealing to its target audience.

Example: ‘Abercrombie & Fitch was originally branded as a sporting goods company, but in the late 1980s, they rebranded as a luxury apparel retailer.’

Niche Marketing

Niche marketing is focused on a small portion of a market segment. So, while the market for automobiles is huge, the luxury market for 4wheel drive vehicles is considered a niche market as it is relatively small.

Example: ‘Mont Blanc use niche marketing techniques to reach left-handed consumers.’


Co-branding is when two or more companies join together and use their brands to promote one product.

Example: ‘For the Barbie doll’s 50th anniversary, Mattel and Fiat co-branded to produce the Barbie 500, a pink toy car.’

Brand Stretching

Like elastic, a brand can be stretched. When new, sometimes unrelated, products are added to a brand, this is brand stretching.

Example: ‘Over time, Yamaha has stretched its brand from musical instruments, to motorcycles, to sports equipment.’

Market Leader

A market leader is a company or brand that has the largest percentage of sales and revenues.

Example: ‘Our goal is to become the market leader in tennis equipment.’


Now it’s your turn to practice. For example, if you hear:

We don’t have many stores in Asia, so we have little brand <beep> there.

You can say:

We don’t have many stores in Asia, so we have little brand awareness there.

Question 1

Taco Bell uses a picture of a bell in its <beep>.

Answer 1

Taco Bell uses a picture of a bell in its logo.

Question 2

We learned a lot about our customers’ tastes from focus <beep>.

Answer 2

We learned a lot about our customers’ tastes from focus groups.

Question 3

One of our target <beep> is men over age 65.

Answer 3

One of our target demographics is men over age 65.

Question 4

We’re going to test our brand <beep> among college students.

Answer 4

We’re going to test our brand recognition among college students.

Question 5

To build our sales among tall businesswomen, we need to try<beep> marketing.

Answer 5

To build our sales among tall businesswomen, we need to try niche marketing.

Question 6

My sister always buys Honda cars. She’s showing brand <beep>.

Answer 6

My sister always buys Honda cars. She’s showing brand loyalty.

Question 7

Our excellent reputation for quality adds to our brand <beep>.

Answer 7

Our excellent reputation for quality adds to our brand equity.

Question 8

Business travelers are our largest market <beep>.

Answer 8

Business travelers are our largest market segment.

Contract Law

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If you’ve ever signed up for a mobile phone, booked a hotel room, or accepted a job offer, you’ve made a contract.

And there are several key aspects of every contract beginning with the intent to make one, an offer and consideration for both sides.

Agreement on the specific elements of a contract leads to acceptance, at which point the contract is legally binding to both parties.

Agreement on the specific elements of a contract leads to acceptance, at which point the contract is legally binding to both parties.

Of course, the parties must have made truthful representations in the course of their negotiations.

A contract may also be threatened when one party does not fulfill its obligations, which can lead to repudiation.

There is also a situation called frustration when a contract cannot be fulfilled for unforeseen reasons.

When two parties under contract cannot agree, they may try to settle their dispute through a process of arbitration.

If this doesn’t work, one party way attempt to sue the other in court hoping to be awarded damages in the case of a breach of contract.


A contract is any formal agreement between people or businesses. Whenever we make a contract we are creating a legal relationship.

Example: ‘Under John’s employment contract he gets three weeks of vacation every year’


Having the intent to make a contract means that you actually want to make one. Without intent from both sides, there can be no contract.

Example: ‘While Tabitha wanted to make some sort of deal Ron had no intent.’


When you propose a contract you are making an offer. That offer way be accepted, rejected, or amended and sent back as a counter offer.

Example: ‘The company lawyers sent the offer to the competitor’s legal team.’


Every contract must include something of value for both sides.

Example: ‘Pen felt that the deal didn’t include enough consideration for his party’


Acceptance happens when both sides agree on a contract. When the offer or contract is formally accepted, the agreement becomes legal.

Example: ‘Acceptance of a contract depends on certain facts being verified.’


The parties in a contract are those who are agreeing to do something. Each party may be a person, a group of people, a business, or another type of organization.

Example: ‘Because the two parties couldn’t agree on costs, they failed to wake a deal.’


Any time you make a statement of fact in a contract you are making a representation.

Example: ‘The judge decided that Answer’s representations were truthful and accurate.’


If one party does not fulfill its obligations under a contract the result is repudiation of the contract. Repudiation may have consequences outlined in the contract or it may lead to a lawsuit.

Example: ‘Repeated failure to paying time led to repudiation of the contract.’


Frustration happens when the contract cannot be fulfilled for reasons beyond anyone’s control. Frustration is not the fault of either party.

Example: ‘Frustration of the contract came about when it was found to violate trade agreements.’

Settle a dispute

When contracted parties can’t agree, they have a dispute. Finding a solution to their disagreement is referred to as settling the dispute.

Example: ‘It took the U.S. and Canada years to settle their dispute over tobacco taxes.’


Contracted parties that have a disagreement will usually try to reach a solution out of court through arbitration.

Example: ‘Wanting to avoid a costly legal battle, the two companies agreed to arbitration.’


If the contracted parties can’t settle their dispute through arbitration, they would go to court. In this case, a judge may award damages to the party that is able to prove their claim.

Example: ‘The judge awarded damages to the complainant after a lengthy court case.’