Aljamhoor Company is a small company in the country, but when it comes to the area, Aljamhoor is one of the biggest firms operating in Sur. The company has several departments, including laundries, cleaning, and connecting the electricity department. I have been moving across the departments to maintain the Logistics in the company. This has benefited me the most from the company.
My role was to bring new ideas to help the company can operate during these difficult times of the Covid-19 pandemic. When I started working in the laundries department, I was responsible for making a good plan to keep the operation of the company functional. I had to forecast raw material and keep it on the right track, besides maintaining shipping clothes for costumers and delivering them back again after finishing their laundries. So, the costumers did not have to come to the department to get their cleaned clothes. We were taking care of everything, and I think that what increased the customers’ satisfaction during the pandemic.
Moreover, I worked in the cleaning department for three weeks. Primarily, my role was to find efficient transportation to move the workers from the department to the people who want their house cleaned. Also, buying raw materials such as sanitizers, gloves, and masks for workers was one of my roles. Further, I had to do maintenance of the cleaning equipment such as wipers, cloths, and brushes. Since the pandemic started, the company has been focusing on reducing the spread of the virus, and one way to do that was using one-time-use equipment. In order to keep the machine on track, we have to estimate the demand for cleaning houses.
From a business point of view, we were working to find what benefits the company financially. There are houses that do not help the company and cause losses for us. We are aware of that and are looking for contracts that can increase the financial gains of the company.
During these challenging moments of the Covid-19 pandemic, global economies are diminishing. Sectors such as health and banking have been experiencing imbalanced performance precisely due to the inability to meet every customer’s needs. More so, areas such as banking have been unable to provide their customers with the necessary support. For example, the banking industry would face immense challenges nurturing and cultivating the customers’ relationships, primarily when the customers are borrowers. Most like, the banks would lose their long-term value to their trust shareholders if they focus more on the loyalty of their clients during these pandemic moments. The analogy to the laundry industry works contrary to the operations in significant sectors such as banking. While many firms are adapting to the changes, some have been crippled by the Covid-19 pandemic. Laundry department in Aljamhoor Company is making efforts to promote a return to work strategy to mobilize its services while establishing new environments that are safe for both the workers and customers.
Customers’ satisfaction is vital primarily during the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, due to the lockdown in most cities, many businesses have found it challenging to keep in touch with their loyal customers. Besides the inventory and supply chain issues, many firms are facing customers’ fulfillment and satisfaction issues, primarily due to Covid-19. In order to resolve this issue, most companies are prioritizing the needs of existing customers over winning new customers. I realized the trend of companies focusing on their loyal clients while I was working at Aljamhoor Company, primarily the laundry department. At first, I did not think of this strategy as the best one for the company, mainly because some of the company’s loyal clients reside out of the city. However, after working in the company for sometimes, I noted that loyal customers would spread the right word about Aljamhoor Company amongst other members. Following my observations at this firm, I have composed this report regarding the customers’ satisfaction at Aljamhoor Company, primarily during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Effects of Covid-19 on the Industry
Locally, there was a significant impact on the company during this pandemic, but the most significant impact was seen in the laundries department. Every laundry located in Oman has to close for a while because the government confirmed many cases that came from laundries and such industries as barbershops. It was a big challenge that those companies within this field faced. Internationally, during the coronavirus spread, the laundries industry dropped by nearly 2 billion and that what made the owners think about how they would overcome this situation and turn their losses to success (Weber, 2020). With people working from home all around the world, having a curfew that restricts people’s movement reduces the need for going to laundries. People used to wash their clothes in laundries because they did not usually have time to do those themselves. Also, another reason for going to laundries is using too many clothes in people’s daily life. But, with the banding movement of people, they have to wear a lot of clothes because they spend much of their time at home, which technically reduces their need to go to laundries.
People have a new norm of obsession with cleanliness, and that’s why they keep on cleaning, bodies, washing hands as well as the surroundings. Most of these people are not able to do that themselves; that’s why they need laundry companies to do this work for them. A lot of people face a significant challenge in going to laundry and interacting with someone with coronavirus as well as endangering their lives and health while washing their clothes. This pandemic has threatened to put laundry workers and owners out of work and business, respectively. People have decided to re-wear dirty clothes instead of taking the risk of washing clothes. This has resulted in a decline in revenues in these businesses. People are closing the laundry store to protect the workers, and this is not different from Aljamhoor Company. What is always an important question on hygiene, dignity, as well as employment is now facing new challenges in public health in this CONVID-19 pandemic.
Apart from COVID-19, the laundry, as well as the dry-cleaning sector, has been undergoing a radical shift. The industry is overcrowded, for there are so many cleaning companies around the world. The situation has affected the business. Customers are cutting down discretionary expenditures, and this has seen a decline in the business, for most customers chose to wash their cloths, and wear some clothes for long without taking them to the laundry. Change of utilities has affected the industry for it relies on water, electricity as well as other factors such as employees. Some utilities have become too expensive, and this makes the service fee form the laundry industry to go higher. Interest rates, on the other hand, continue to below, and this becomes a challenge when financing a laundry industry. There is also a new entrant in the industry. The new laundry business owners are well suited for financing, and this enables them to go beyond the credit score. This brings out a new group of competitors who have more mature and experience borrowing techniques compared to this company.
Competitors of the Company
There are many competitors in the field of laundries, which are located in Sur. The biggest competitor is The White Ice Laundry. The White Ice Laundry is located in Souq Sur, which is the center of the city. The company enjoys the benefit of increased customers because all people gather in this city. Being in such locations can give any company the advantage of attracting more customers than companies who operate far from the center. Another benefit that The White Ice laundry enjoys is dry cleaning. Some laundries, primarily those without a dry cleaning section, mix all of their customers’ clothes in a big washing machine. Further, using dry cleaning might be a weakness that a company faces. Dry cleaning takes more time than usual laundry and more expensive. So people tend to go to the laundries because it is much cheaper, and faster to get their clothes.
On the other hand, Aljamhoor stands in the middle of the industry when it comes to the whole country. But in a small city like Sur, Aljamhoor is no doubt considered one of the biggest companies operating in the field of laundries and cleaning. The biggest weakness that Aljamhoor faces is its location. The company is located in Souq, while its competitor is strategically situated in Sur. The company building is located in a small alley in the center of the city, which makes it a bit invisible by people. Furthermore, Aljamhoor strength is its ability to build and maintain a group of loyal customers. It is one of the first companies that operated in the area, primarily since the 90s, and that what keeps their costumers loyal to them. Moreover, the number of departments they have is a strength that Aljamhoor has. Having laundries, home cleaning, connecting electricity to buildings, and finally, agriculture departments might keep Aljamhoor above their competitors who are only focusing on one field.
While having many fields or departments might be a strength that the company has, it might be a threat, too. Working in many areas instead of focusing on one might distract the company and lead it outside the track. “Apple CEO Tim Cook explained that one of the core principles Steve Jobs instilled in the company is the need to stay focused on doing what you do best. It’s easy to add…it’s hard to stay focused” (Tobak, 2015). Hence, the best thing that Aljamhoor wants to do is to stay focused just in the field that it performs the best field, and from my point of view, this field is the laundries.
Opportunities Aljamhoor might take advantage of are branching all over Oman. By opening branches all over the country, Aljamhoor can have great success, just like what big companies do. There are many benefits that a company may achieve by branching out, “expanding your business abroad can have great benefits from increasing a brand’s visibility to reduce business risk. It can positively influence a company’s profits” (Takoordyal, 2019).
The company is also having some threats. Operating a laundry business means that, one has to incur a lot of expenses, such as electricity and water. The washing machines and dryers use gas for the hot water. The utility costs amount to more than 30% of the gross income. Equipment breakdown is also another risk in operating a laundry business. Cash management is also another threat to the business, and the coin-operated business depends on quarters when starting the washing machines. This aspect has a huge priority when transporting the cash to and from the banks as well as overnight security. There also an entrance of new competitors. There are bigger and better new businesses entering the business world.
Ethics in the industry and company
Every industry has its own ethics. In Aljamhoor Company and the entire laundry industry, there are ethics that one should adhere to. Safeguarding the properties of customers and treating them with respect and care is significant in this industry. One is also supposed to provide courteous as well as efficient service to the customers without regard to creed, race, and gender. The industry should also offer reasonable pricing and efficient cost control and be consistent in providing quality service. The prices are determined by the market price, personal business needs, and available resources.
Culture of the Company
“Your satisfaction is our goal” is the logo of Aljamhoor Company. So, satisfying the costumers is the biggest concern of the company, because Aljamhoor knows that costumers’ satisfaction can increase loyalty towards the company. One time, when I was working in the laundry department, a customer was angry because his cloth had ink in it, and he paid one rial (around 3 dollars) to remove the ink. For the first time, when he received his clothes, the ink had not removed, and that made him angry. The manager offered him washing that piece of cloth for free and gave him a coupon of free laundry. If customer satisfaction increased, then loyal customers can recommend the company to their friends. Such a strategy is the easiest and cheapest way to market the company (Linton, 2020).
Indeed, the mission of satisfying all customers is hard to accomplish, but Aljamhoor has trained all its employees to do that. Even me, when I started working with them, they gave me a lesson about how to deal with the customer, and how to meet their expectations. Moreover, customer satisfaction cannot be achieved unless every single employee did his/her job in the right way. Also, if the employees in the company work as a team, customers’ satisfaction can increase. Aljamhoor is investing in teams so that every team member can assist the other to accomplish customer satisfaction. By working as, a team, customers can get their products and services on time (Sarah, 1995)
The laundry industry refers to the washing of textiles. These processes are usually done in a room that has been set for that purpose. Laundry is part of human beings since they began wearing clothes. This field remains to be a big industry that grows every day. People are becoming very busy, therefore are not able to do their laundry, and require laundry providers to do the job for them at a fee.
Working in a laundry and home cleaning company comes with a lot of responsibilities, including ensuring that all the laundry and cleaning services have been done as per the company’s standard policies and within the required time. The tasks include a collection of laundry items from the suppliers, dry cleaning, washing, drying, pressing, and folding of the laundry linens. Additionally, I ensure that the customer’s items have proper tags and the sort them for appropriate action like washing, dry cleaning, stain removing, pressing, or sending them for routine repairs. Further, picking and delivery of in house guest laundry, collecting and delivering outside guest laundry or dry cleaning, ensuring that all customers’ items have been delivered punctually, accurately and professionally and courteously. Moreover, collecting laundry and dry cleaning bags from customer’s offices, homes or residential apartments and ensuring that the customers’ names, addresses, and laundry pieces have been appropriately recorded.
The other roles include checking and counting all the items received from the customers against any damage or stains and take appropriate action to rectify these issues Next is reporting immediately to the supervisors or managers in case any valuable items like cash, jewelry, and credit cards in the customers’ pocket, processing the guests clothing on the right equipment using the right detergent or chemical and temperature. Once processed, neatly fold or hangs the clothing as requested by the guest on the laundry sheet. Sorting employee uniforms for appropriate action like washing, dry cleaning, pressing, or send for repair to the company’s tailor is another role of the intern. Finally Ensuring processing of all the staff uniforms on the correct equipment using the most appropriate detergents and temperature
WHAT WAS ACCOMPLISHED DURING THE INTERNSHIP?
I successfully implemented a computerized laundry recording system, which proved to be more efficient than the one already being followed at the company. Also, I tried to use a laundry discrepancy management system, to decrease in discrepancies in laundry entries. Next, I Implemented a comprehensive laundry risk analysis system, aimed at assessing potential customers, and any repercussions that may arise and partnered with relevant laundry managers and department heads within the company, resulting in increased comprehension about different laundry systems..
KNOWLEDGE ACQUIRED FROM THE INTERNSHIP
Strong communication skills enabled me to communicate effectively with both the clients and coworkers at any point in time when they sought my services in the company. Leadership skills that I saw my supervisor implementing towards us ‘ workers’ was one of the most important things to take from this internship. It helped me to execute my duties with a lot of professionalism and ethical considerations. Furthermore, I gained a strong customer care skills, which enabled me to have a good relationship with all my clients within that period. The other ability is research skills and ideas, which is valuable because I was able to understand customers’ needs and expectations as per the services that we were providing. Finally, I applied the forecasting that I studied in my logistics classes in real life.
PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY GAINS
Personally, what I learned from coworkers is that you need to develop trust with colleagues by guarding confidence in your work. These can be achieved by communicating well, listening, and speaking clearly in the company. Finally, I learned that respect is a paramount virtue in the workplace as it enables the employees to work well. It is that it is essential to maintain work ethics and culture as they help improve the company’s image hence attracting new customers.
PERCEPTIONS AND EXPECTATIONS
Aljamhoor has a robust professional development program, which entails training and developing employees in different fields. The other perception is that the company is one of the best laundries and home cleaning employer in the area. The next perception is that the Aljamhoor strongly emphasizes teamwork among the employees to achieve the company’s objectives. Lastly is advancing the role within the company and outside the company once I finish the internship program.
At the beginning, my perception was that the Aljamhoor pays the lowest salaries and wages to its employees, because in this field, employees are not awarded due to their hard work, and that this field is so underestimated, and that was correct. Next is that at the beginning, my perception was that the company has the one of the best professional training and development programs to its employees, while at the end, my opinion was that the company has middle level professional and training programs to its employees.
Perceived level of preparation
Before beginning this internship, I was partially prepared for it. This what helped me to work smoothly in the company once I start the program. There are several measures that I put in place to ensure that I am prepared for the internship. Which basically helped me to execute my assigned duties and responsibilities efficiently and effectively. The following are some of the measures that helped me prepare for the company’s internship program.
I carefully reviewed the letter of appointment for the internship program and the position descriptions. This enabled me to give some thoughts on some of the things I expect to achieve within the internship program. It also prepared me to consider learning objectives for my experience, and a complete learning plan upon the commencement of the internship. Also, developed a professional competency plan and considered making these competencies part of my learning plan. Moreover, I inquired about the company’s office dress code and expectations from the managers to ensure the workplace’s present ability. The other confirmation was the company’s working hours, parking rules, costs and passes, as well as details on lunch hour or other breaks in a working day. It is also important to confirm whether to bring items like passport or other forms of identification to verify citizenship for employment paperwork and electronic records. Meeting with my supervisors to discuss supervision plans and communication expectations was also another thing I need to do. This helped me to find out if the supervisors preferred to communicate in person or electronically and to plan a schedule for regular meetings with my supervisors.
Experience new technology
Being competent is a very important factor for any role in any company or organization. Being competent enables a person to execute his or her assigned duties with a lot of professionalism and due diligence. I was competent in this role since I had received several pieces of training on laundry and home cleaning, as shown below. First, receiving training on sorting all articles by kind, color, and degree of soil and ensured to inspect all laundries, and record damaged or stained items. Second, is training on operating washers and dryers according to recommended capacity and other manufacturers’ guidelines. Third, is training on operating linen feeder, sheet folder, towel folder, and table linen ironer machines, and finally training on monitoring and controlling supplies and minimized waste and reported all discrepancies to the supervisor. All these pieces of training made me competent and able to perform my duties diligently.
I had received Training on cooperating social responsibility and ethical aspects of a company as they help to improve the company image and profitability and training on computerized laundry and home cleaning records keeping, and tracking as they are essential for the smooth operations of the company. The use of excel has made it immensely more comfortable for the Aljamhoor to keep their records. It is very more comfortable to use excel since it did not require a lot of training, because it is a basic skill that every college student knows. The in-depth understanding and prior training that I had acquired in advanced excel made it easier to compare the software. The use of new software such as the customer laundry notification software was tough and time-consuming. The new software required a lot of training and deep analysis. This made me strain a lot and not deliver my roles and responsibilities as expected by the management team.
How the internship program can be improved to provide a better learning experience?
Aljamhoor management can make the internship program better and efficient by ensuring that the interns have been awarded proper due to their hard work. The better payment packages will highly motivate the interns and make them perform their duties diligently, and effectively. The company should also provide training to the interns’ one better managerial and leadership skills. Finally, the Aljamhoor should create an enabling environment for interns where they can consult the top managers any time when there are specific issues that are not clear to them, which will increase the teamwork among the company.
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