In this episode we look at the options or choices that have to be made.
TAN: Well, as I see it, we have three options. The obvious one is to employ more people to do the job. Another alternative is to automate the system more – cut down on the physical handling.
JOHN: And the third option?
TAN: We could outsource.
DENISE: What are the pros and cons?
BARBARA: Well, looking at increasing staff versus automation, we have to consider the cost. Automating has a higher capital cost than putting on more staff. On the other hand, employing more people is more expensive over a long term. If we keep growing, it’ll cost more in the long run.
DENISE: How likely is it that we’ll see continued growth?
TAN: I’d say it’s a certainty.
JOHN: I’d say a high probability. Nothing’s certain in business.
DENISE: So what about the third option?
TAN: Outsourcing? Well, it does take the problem off our hands. But we lose contact with our customers.
DENISE: What about the bottom line?
BARBARA: Outsourcing is the cheapest option, and the easiest – in the short term. But if we want to keep the operation in-house, the best option is automating our system. The only down side is, we’re taking a risk that our business will keep growing.
JOHN: Which we hope it will.
DENISE: We certainly do.
‘Options’ are different solutions, or answers, to a problem. What is the problem? ‘On-line orders are going through the roof’.
‘On-line orders’ are orders for goods received through the internet, and if they’re ‘going through the roof’, they are increasing in number very rapidly.
The ‘lead-time’ for delivery is the amount of time it takes from when the order is received to when it’s delivered, and if it’s ‘blowing out’ – that time is becoming too long. We use the expression ‘blowing out’ for something which is becoming too great, in a bad way.
So to ‘improve our performance’ means, in this case, to shorten the time it takes to deliver goods.
Let’s look at Tan’s suggested options.
And the third option?
We could outsource.
Practise with Tan some different ways of letting someone know that what you’re stating is your opinion.
In my opinion there are three options.
From my point of view there are three options.
As far as I’m concerned, there are three options.
To ‘outsource’ means to use an outside company. When presenting different options, we can order them by numbers, like this. Firstly, we could employ more people, secondly we could automate, and thirdly we could outsource.
We can also use phrases, such as ‘one option is to’ and ‘another option is to…’
We can also use linking words, such as ‘or’ and ‘alternatively’.
Or, we can use a combination of these methods.
Now let’s look at the language used to discuss these options.
Let’s look at increased staff as against automation.
Listen to Barbara again, and see if you can hear the two comparative adjectives.
We often use ‘than’ for the option that is being compared. Remember for words of longer than two syllables, we use ‘more’ for the comparative. Employing more people is ‘more expensive’. Because Barbara has already said what the second option is, automating, she doesn’t need to say ’employing more people is more expensive than automating’.
Notice that she uses the phrase ‘on the other hand’. This is used to introduce another side to an argument. Practise this with Barbara.
On the other hand it’s more efficient.
Although automation is expensive, it’s more efficient.
Automation is expensive, however it’s more efficient.
I’d say it’s a certainty.
I’d say a high probability. Nothing’s certain in business.
So we can say:
And so on.
We can also qualify these with words such as ‘very’ ‘quite’, ‘highly’ or reasonably
‘It’s very unlikely’
It’s quite possible’
“Its highly probable’
‘It’s reasonably certain
And in a different kind of sentence, we can use them as nouns:
It’s a certainty
It’s a possibility
There’s a probability
There’s a high likelihood
But we don’t say ‘there’s an unlikelihood. We say ‘There’s no likelihood.’
Finally, look at what happens when we compare more than two options.
Listen again. There are three.
Episodes of The Business of English
- The Business of English E15: Until Next Time
- The Business of English E14: A Formal Speech
- The Business of English E13: We Might Have a Deal
- The Business of English E12: Negotiating
- The Business of English E11: Can I Help You?
- The Business of English E10: Wrapping It Up
- The Business of English E09: A Customer Survey
- The Business of English E08: Graphs and Trends
- The Business of English E07: A Report on Progress
- The Business of English E06: What are the options?
- The Business of English E05: Hear!Hear!
- The Business of English E04: Any Other Business
- The Business of English E03: Getting Aquainted
- The Business of English E02: Why don’t you join us?
- The Business of English E01: Pleased to meet you
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