European Handling Company Limited is one of the largest suppliers of materials handling equipments in the UK. Located in Rhodes Island, Providence Street, it provides high quality inexpensive products to the UK market. It encompasses four members i.e. One Stop Materials Handling Shop, Forktrucks Limited, Artison Forklifts Ltd and Innolift Ltd.
One Stop Materials Handling Shop is located in Stourbridge, West Midlands. As its name suggests, this company supplies a wide range of equipment, ranging from the Hand Pallet Trucks to Forklift Trucks. To the contrary, Forktrucks Ltd specialises in supplying and maintaining Forktrucks. Artison Forklifts on the other hand, is the sole Distributor of Artison products manufactured in Taiwan, whereas Innolift Ltd is a new company that manufactures “self-loading stackers” used as an alternative to ordinary stackers and tail-lifts. Today, European Handling Company Limited ps a broad range of material products, enabling them to meet a wide variety of customer applications.
The Managing Director heads European Handling Company Limited. He is the overall manager such that all the directors who head the seven departments report to Him. The departments are divided into Finance, Sales and Marketing, Human Resource, Quality and Logistics, Supply and Service Departments. I had the privilege of working in the Sales and Marketing Department. The central goal is to “make the customer happy”. Working in this department is exciting given that one is authorized to go in other departments and recommend on how to improve services.
In One Stop Materials Handling Shop, every department has been transformed into a “sub- sales department”. The department comes up with strategies and techniques to be employed in marketing and producing quality products. Apart from that, all the staffs in the department are required to monitor market trends and respond to customers’ needs and complaints. For the organization to remain ahead of the competitor, a product has to be delivered at a tidy profit. This department maintains the mantra of the organization that “customers are always right” and need to be treated so.
To compete in the Global Market, culture awareness is important; the department among other things does research on Locations where the company would like to open up its business activities. Change is the only thing that remains constant in business environment. Any business that fails to detect and respond to change promptly, is committing suicide. The responsibility of ensuring that this happens in the company squarely lies with the Sales and Marketing department. The most vital skill for managers is the ability to start, predict, and react to changes outside the organisation.
Nothing has transformed the way marketing department functions more than the internet. Websites are the new faces of the organization. Analysts have suggested that most consumers gauge the seriousness of the organization based on their websites. Further more, the internet is excellent for finding up to date information about a particular organization (DiSanza &Legge 1999) consequently, the marketing department liaises with the Information Communication Technology (ICT) section to ensure that the best face of the company is presented. Technological advances have transformed the way businesses are run. As such, marketers nowadays employ the internet to follow consumer habits. In addition, internet use has simplified mass communication while at the same time becoming excellent means of extending personalised services to consumers. This in turn has substantially reduced marketing costs in the organization. According to Bill Gates, (Chonko, 2002 p. 340) making data digital at the beginning sparks off a whole range of positive effects .He continues to add that when figures are in electric form workers can easily examine critically and collaborate them.
As stated earlier, I was placed in the marketing department, which gave me a tremendous experience and was definitely my preferred department. The work involved liaising with the marketing officers and reporting weekly sales to the sales and marketing Director. By been given a chance to work in various places in the organization, it provided me with an understanding on how the department and the whole company functions.
Moreover, seeing hundreds of correspondence between consumers and the company presented an exceptional opportunity to apply the theories I studied in class. The process of understanding and participating in customer presentation at first seemed overwhelming, however; it turned out to be a fascinating experience thanks to the supportive team in the department.
The whole work was very current and gave me a good understanding of inter department consultation.
As I was rotating through the department, I was authorised to see the manufacturing specifications. At the time they were acting upon a project of manufacturing innolift, self-loading equipment. This was an only “one of its kind experience” that gave me a solid base in project management. In deed, few departments allow this.
The development of understanding and taking part in the relationship between departments is valuable to have and is one of the most beneficial skills and knowledge I acquired in European Handling Materials Company.
I value the business organisation knowledge of the department that I gained by taking part in the placement program. The instruction and skills provided as part of the program has set a first-rate foundation upon which I build my career. Sales and marketing department offers a great diversity of work leading to many opportunities for personal development and career satisfaction.
Recruitment and induction phase
European Handling Company equipment has a fair and through approach to selection, recruitment and induction of staff. Whenever a vacancy occurs, it is authorised by the human resource manager in liaison with the director of the concerned department. The job is then advertised to reach a wide range of audience. For internal vacancies, awareness is made through memos and notices. I applied for placement by writing a cover letter and attached my résumé. The selection criteria was based on skills, knowledge, qualifications and any training one had undergone to carry out the job described.
The stressed skills were communication and leadership skills. They also were looking for the type and extend of education which I went through. Another key qualification was general intelligence, which was assessed by how I answered the general questions about any business environment. This was well determined by the job application form one had to fill. Processing of applications begins as soon as receiving further applications ends. In case of delays as was my case one is informed through the E-mail. A panel made up of three people, one from the concerned department, and another from human resource and the third one from any other department conducts short listing of candidates. The panel uses a prepared shortlisting form to ensure consistency and assist in feedback to candidates.
I was informed of my selection through the phone and further invited to the interview. The interview is conducted at the head office located Stourbridge, West midlands. Interview process is the on the whole a crucial part when seeking placement in this organization. For one, you will be required to come along with the certificates, testimonials and all the documents to prove what you had written while were filling the form. Not having proof will result to automatic exclusion.
Short listed candidates are allocated equal amount of time for their interview .All the interviews are held on the same day, which can become feverish especially if you are to be interviewed among the last people. The panel has a set of questions they ask you. for example, during the interview process I was asked around 12 questions some that were common while others got me flatfoot. For instance, I was asked, How long will it take me to make significant contribution to the company? I had to be realistic; this is a big company with the best brains in the country. moreover, I had not prepared for such a question, I had to “say as it is”, and at the end honesty carried the day. Another question that I found a bit catchy was for them to ask me what I could do what some else could not do. My advice when asked such a question is to blow your own trumpet. Tell them your achievements and desired goals. At some stage in the interview, they evaluated my health and fitness abilities and enquired about previous and current injuries that may affect my performance in the placement. After successfully completing the oral interview, I was given an exercise of giving a power point presentation in relation to sales. This exercise generally depends on the prerequisites of the placement in question. After that, you will only hear about the interview if your referee informs you that the organization contacted him concerning you. Lucky, I passed the interview and got the job offer through the phone, this made me very glad.
Once given a reporting date, the next occasion is induction.This refers to a formal entry into a position or an office. This ensures an encouraging start at the company. The process is organized by the Human resource that spells the terms and conditions of placement, data protection and arranges meetings with relevant staff.
The line manager in the local station will arrange and organize a local induction, which will take several weeks. On the first day, I was introduced to relevant staff, and met the Managing Director the next day. From this induction process, I found out how the organization functions which made me more efficient.
Advice for new students
Placement in this company exposes one to learning experiences uncommon in many organizations. With that in mind, it is important that whoever desires to go there be familiar with what be expected of him/her and what to expect. This will go a long way in guaranteeing one has a wonderful time over there.
The first thing expected of you is loyalty. With lesser loyal employees around, most organizations value it exceedingly. Loyalty means speaking well about the company, boss and other employees. As a student, ask not what the organization can do for you, but rather, ask what you can learn from the organization .Continuous complains about the organization’s shortcomings such as poor pay, lack of learning is or any other negativity demoralizes other employees and creates distrust. This on the other hand does not mean that you become afraid of speaking up. If you are left to learn “on your own”, you will tend to focus on the skills that you already know and end up learning nothing. Get one role model who are many in the organization and let him/her mentor you. In some cases the mentor is selected by the human resource still, if you have not been allocated one, talk to someone who you are open with and let him or her be your mentor. Mentors are keys to success of the placement programme. Unfortunately, so far it hasn’t been given much importance in the organization. A good mentor should be someone who recalls been a student at one time thereby empathetic.
Equally important is responsibility, which pertains to being conscious of your duties. Become familiar with the rules, organizational culture, and benefits. Accordingly, ask timely questions whenever you do not understand. Ensure that you get along well with your supervisor or the person who evaluates you if you are to become successful in your job. How are you supposed to relate with your co-workers? By being a “team player”. Working together gets the job done quicker than working individually. Learn to accept constructive criticism and thank the person for the advice. Also, maintain a professional appearance by dressing appropriately for the job. Be well mannered; remember to keep your temper down even when someone is impolite. Have a genuine respect and concern for individuals recognizing as well they have lives outside the work place. Once you get the placement position try to hang out as much as you can on the work place i.e. being among the first people to arrive and the last to leave if possible.
In terms of what to expect; the organization provides for transport however, you be expected to make your own arrangements for accommodation. You can rent a house which goes for £70-£ 100 for a one bedroom flat. You are paid salary to sustain you while in the programme. Participating in the placement programme in this organization will provide you with appropriate experience of the work place which when combined with university studies will enhance ones prospects. This well-rounded programme is both demanding and rewarding. As you can see, you get a variety of experience being in the program. The supportive people you get to meet continue to support and mentor you even after the placement is over. I highly recommend that European handling company as an excellent place to carry out placement program.
DiSanza, J and Legge c2000, business and professional communication
Plans, processes, and performance, Allyn and Bacon, Massachusetts.
Bill Gates (2003) Bill gates new rules, Larry Chonko Business the economy and world affairs pp340.pearson custom publishing, Massachusetts
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