Marketing and Sales Process and its Practices at AIMS
Analytical Instrumentation & Maintenance Systems (AIMS) is founded keeping in mind the necessity of providing expertise service for Analytical Instrumentation. It is led by personnel with specialized experience in analytical instruments and system development and supported by team of vast experience Service Personnel in the field of analytical and related process automation Sulphur Recovery Unit being one of the area of Specialization. The activities are spread widely in analytical service, process solutions, Sulphur Recovery optimization and equipment related to Sulphur recovery units and training with a central workshop to cater to integration and testing needs.
As an ISO 9001-2008 certified company , we are commitment to Delivering the quality assured products and services with continual improvements to meet customer satisfaction service and safety being the main motive of the company AIMS is OHSAS 18001-2007 certified. With head Office in ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates.
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Oil and Gas industry is a lifeline for an economy. It is a world of oil exploration, oil refining and oil marketing. Qatar understands the importance of this industry for its economic uplift. Petroleum was discovered in commercial quantities in Qatar in 1939 and was first exported in 1949. Oil revenues have given Qatar a substantial income and a high standard of living. Exploratory drilling in Qatar began in 1938 and Oil was discovered in Dukhan on the west coast in 1939. By 1940 Qatar was producing about 4,000 barrels per day. The Second World War halted the development of oi production, which resumed between 1942 and 1947, but exports began in 1949. These companies need different services and analyzers and some equipment’s to run there process. AIMS provide both this two they provide services and training to operate the test required.
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
This report is based on study carried out for the fulfillment of the degree requirement of the Master in business administration at the BRAC University. The purpose of the study is to do practical work in field and apply the knowledge of classroom lectures to the real life situations.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of my work is focused on the working of Marketing & Sales Department. Review Section of this report not only explains department’s working but also flow of work activities among the sections. During the internship it, the observation was focused on internal managerial matters of AIMS, i.e. work environment, organization structure, decision-making process, promotion criteria and all such matters. This research facilitates in SWOT Analysis.
METHODOLOGY OF STUDY
The data collected for analysis and review includes both primary and secondary data. The methods used for collecting primary and secondary data are as follows:
Data collected for the first time is called primary data. The methods used to collect such data include:
- Personal observations and
- Interview with organization‟s employees.
The data collected earlier by someone else and which has gone through mathematical and statistical techniques after its collection, is called secondary data. Methods used to collect secondary data include:
- Aims annual reports
- AIMS brochures
- Journal and
- AIMS web site
PRESENT STATUS OF THE COMPANY
With fading Geographical boundaries and profound changes in Technology and Environment, AIMS would like to be the Spearhead and leading Service Provider to Oil and Gas, Petrochemical and other Industrial Customers for Analyzer and Instrumentation related Products
- Team Work
“Our Goal is to support customers for all their Analyzer related needs.”
- To supply of correct Technology rather than traditional products.
- To provide adequate Training on Analyzers and also on Process dynamic.
- Support to Process Engineering- SEMINAR, Training & Consultation services
- To promote AIMS as local service provider company
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE COMPANY
AIMS was established in year of 2008 keeping in mind the requirement for supporting the analytical industries on the best practices of understanding, designing and engineering the right analyzer and maintaining it after the installation correctly to minimize the downtime and get accurate analysis. AIMS has its head Office in ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates and offices in Various middle east region with vast list of satisfied customer AIMS is considered as the fastest growing Analytical company. They operate in Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Dubai, Kuwait and Saudi.
Head Office # 103, 1st Floor, Al Khyeli Building, Al Salam Street Ground Floor RAK Ceramics Beside ADCB, Electra Street Abu Dhabi. Qatar Office # A111, A1, Retaj Building Near Whole Sale Market, Salwa Road Mamoura Doha, Qatar. I have internship opportunity at Qatar office. Most of the decision is taken from the head office. Qatar office contract to the head office and take suggestion how to provide the services and sales.
- HR Department.
- Finance & Account Dept.
- Procurement/Purchase Dept.
- QA/QC Dept.
- Stores Dept
- Sales Dept.
- Logistics Dept.
- Service Dept.
- Process Dept.
- Engineering Dept.
- T Dept.
- Maintenance Dept.
Qatar office consists of 12 employees. Among them 5 are engineers and 1 employee work as office admin, 1 as sales coordinator, 1 as office logistics support, 1 as technician, and three drivers. If required than they bring engineers from Abu-Dhabi or from Saudi. Qatar engineers also go to Saudi if required. The work of individual department of AIMS is same as any other organization. One plays a multiple role in the company. Sometime engineers had QC or do logistic support this is done with the mutual understanding. Stores department and logistics department sometime done by the drivers. They purchase necessary stationaries or deliver the invoice receive the hard copy of RFQ.
In this process companies analyses the current situation of the company. Right now AIMS Qatar market is in a good shape. Their customer numbers are increasing. Due to some government regulation they may face problem in future. Governments are encouraging foreign investment in this sector. Competition is less right now but it will increase in near future. There are several frameworks that can be used to add structure to the situation analysis:
5 C Analysis – company, customers, competitors, collaborators, climate. Company represents the internal situation; the other four cover aspects of the external situation
PEST analysis – for macro-environmental political, economic, societal, and technological factors. A PEST analysis can be used as the “climate” portion of the 5 C framework.
SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats – for the internal and external situation. A SWOT analysis can be used to condense the situation analysis into a listing of the most relevant problems and opportunities and to assess how well the firm is equipped to deal with them.
I have chosen only the SWOT analysis for the report. I have discussed it in the chapter 5.
To satisfied customer needs marketers identifies, a strategic plan for pursuing the opportunity can be developed. Through market research marketers will specific market information that will permit the firm to select the target market segment and optimally position the offering within that segment. Tis will add value to the customer and the company. The marketing strategy then involves:
A market segment consists of a group of customers who share a similar set of needs and wants. There are different segmentations
Demand for some goods and services can vary according to the geographic region. AIMS segmented their customers to geographic segmentation. In middle operate in Middle East Counties where the Oil and Gas refining companies are in much demand. They are just focusing on satisfying the demand of those geographic areas.
There are many techniques for developing the target market. According to the segment the target market is selected. AIMS follow geographic segmentation so they target all the Oil and Gas refining companies in Middle East.
They had some criteria to choose this target market.
- Measurable: They measure the size, need for the services and analyzers and the characteristics of the segment.
- Substantial: The segment is large enough to get enough profit and sustain in the market.
- Accessible: AIMS made sure that the segment is easily reached and served. This is why they have operation in different counties in Middle East.
Positioning the product within the target market
- Product Attributes
- Product effects
AIMS position there company as “Best services and Solutions at AIMS”. They focus on the quality of services that they will provide the best service and solution that customer demands.
Marketing Mix Decisions
Then marketing mix are selected based on the segmentation, target market and positioning the product.
Product and service development
The perfect product must provide value for customers. A product does not have to be tangible. Service sometimes requires some of products like restaurant had to provide food which is the product and the quickly delivering the food in a good manner is the service. Product list of AIMS are given on the Appendix.
They provide different services.
- Engineering services
- On Site Maintenance Contracts
- Annual Maintenance Contracts
- Emergency Maintenance Services
- Process solution
As an Analyzer Integrator AIMS is having its own Engineering services team to execute the project starting from Kick Off Meeting till the Site acceptance testing. Starting from the Cabinet design to critical sample conditioning design AIMS is having full-fledged engineering team to complete full analyzers shelter packages for various types of analyzers Engineering services generally covers but not limited to assistance to FEED Consultants, Shelter design Lag time calculations Wake Frequency calculations, Dispersion Calculations Inspection test plans Fat procedures Electrical Load Calculations Selection of Right sample conditioning components etc Preparation of Final Documentation .
ON SITE MAINTANENCE CONTRACTS
Online Process control analyzers with Advance process control Loops to meet the quality requirements is becoming an vital industrial necessity. There is no compromise on down time of the analyzers specialized field experienced service team is required to perform day to day maintenance activity in order to keep the equipment in healthy condition with 24 hours availability on site . AIMS have specialized procedures and maintenance system with people stationed at site performing routing preventive daily, monthly and quarterly maintenance on all types of analyzers
ANNUAL MAINTENANCE CONTRACTS
As most of the users are having their own staff to cater the day to day requirements of analyzer maintenance we are often considered for performing periodic health checks to provide expertise advise in the form of Annual maintenance contracts .For peace of mind, avoiding added cost, and inconvenience of emergency situations planned maintenance annual or semi-annual maintenance is preferred option. As part of Annual maintenance contracts AIMS provides extensive overhauls which covers sample conditioning system, lamps replacements, yearly calibrations with certified standards review of spare parts tuning of analyzers with process data and refresher training of the customer staffs
EMERGENCY MAINTENANCE SERVICES
With huge number of Spare parts availability in the Head Quarters includes Lamps, filters, electronics processor boards, sensors, power supplies , temperature controllers which are usually hard to source are stocked at AIMS facility, AIMS is equipped enough to attend the Emergency requirement to bring back the analyzers alive in No time.
They provide process solution of the customers. They have sulfur recovery analyzers, process stimulations. AIMS can provide supply, consultancy & Solutions for Catalyst, AIMS represent EURO SUPPORT Catalysts, Catalytic materials and adsorbents Claus Sulfur Recovery Catalysts Versal Alumina Powder. They provide sulphur traps, it is a patented trap designed to allow the separation of liquid sulfur from the acid gas in a sulfur recovery unit.
They have different training courses. The induction to AIMS technical services is determined testing aspiring fresh engineering graduates in basic applied science, which is generally covered in the academic curriculum. However those needing a refresher in basic engineering science are offered a course lasting one week. AIMS have a in house workshop training. They also provides onsite training. Sometime they have different seminars.
Pricing is very important for the organization. AIMS follow markup pricing they have different pricing for consumers and resellers. The principal provides them a price list according to that price they mark up 10% -20% and set the price. For the direct consumer they mark up 10%-15% and for the reseller they mark up 15%-20%. The service charge is based on per hour it is set USD 150 per hour. This also varies customer to customer.
With its strong distribution network, AIMS has reached almost every corner of QATAR. Their product is delivered by the DHL and then they distribute the product to the consumer after QC. They have logistic persons who distribute the product to the end users. Most often drivers deliver the product but if they require installation then service engineer deliver the product and install them and if required provide training how to operate them.
Promotional campaign development
They have a web site http://www.aimsgt.com/ form that consumer can learn about the company and contract for the service or product. They do not have any promotion campaign.
Implementation and Control
At this point in the process, the marketing plan has been developed. Given that few environments are static, the results of the marketing effort should be monitored closely. As the market changes, the marketing mix can be adjusted to accommodate the changes. The marketing process does not end with implementation – continual monitoring and adaptation is needed to fulfill customer needs consistently over the long-term. Consumer sometime required some modification AIMS need to provide the product with some modification.
The Sales Process and practices
AIMS follows Business to Business sale. They sale their products to other companies. They don’t sale product to the household customers. The product is such they had to follow the B2B sales. B2B marketing and sales is about meeting the needs of other businesses, though ultimately the demand for the products made by these businesses. The decision making unit in business-to business markets is highly complex. They need to provide much more information than the normal products. The buyers are more rational they make decision based on facts rather emotion. The product is also complex the analyzer are can detect number of gas but the user choose which they need. They need to collect the information that the gas they want to analyze is provided by the product or not. The buyers number is also limited. Only the gas and oil plants will require that kind of analyzer. These buyers are long term buyers because the sellers are limited and they need to use the product until the plants stop operating which take much longer period of time. B2B markets drive Innovation Less Than Consumer Markets because there is hardly innovation required. Sub-Brands Are Less Effective In B2B Markets.
The process AIMS follow to sale a product are given below-
Customer of AIMS is Gas and oil refining companies of Middle East. Usually in B2B business customer are more aware of the product and services what they need. Customer directly contract to the Principals or they contract to AIMS. If any customer contract directly to the principle they are shifted to the AIMS because they are the representative or dealer of the principal. The product sometime requires installation and maintenances which is done by AIMS so principal send the customer to AIMS. If customer directly comes to AIMS they provide the analyzer and services. AIMS finding customers are different they look at the newspaper for any business and tender. Customer usually comes to AIMS and if required they provide presentation of the product.
They are the companies who provide the products. AIMS have 13 principals; they are from Germany, USA. These companies send customer to AIMS. When AIMS get RFQ they first contract the specific principal. They confirm the availability, price, and features. Principal provides the price list and update in regular basic.
AIMS end works:
AIMS get the RFQ form customer. After conserving with the principals they prepare RFQ and other necessary documents like user manual etc. If the customer need any modification they make sure it is possible or not. Aims end work are-
Prepare Quotation and required documents:
They place the quotation to the customers mentioning all the terms and condition. They need to mention the payment condition and also the delivery terms. This quotation is send to the head office and checked by the head office in Abu-Dhabi. If they clear the quotation then Qatar office places the quotation to the customers. In case of tender it is much more complex because it requires many documents and it is a lengthy process.
When they get the order confirmation from the customer they concern with the Head office. Head office contract principal or they give permission to Qatar office to contract the principals. It takes time to process the order. When they get the confirmation from head office they contract with the principal and ask for the delivery of the product. They also ask for modification if required.
Delivery condition is mention in the quotation. Delivery cost is given by the customer. They can pay the delivery fee directly to the agency of to AIMS. AIMS delivery partner is DHL. They can pay directly to DHL or to AIMS. In both the case delivery will be given to AIMS. They will QC the product and match with the order. If it does not match then principal will send the product with their own cost and take back the wrong product. Some product needs installation in that case service engineer delivers the product and install the product and provide training.
Payment condition is mention in the quotation. Most of the payment condition is in advance and account pay. In some cases for the regular customer 50% advance is consider. Invoices are send from head office and Qatar office is responsible for the follow up. They need to follow up until the payment is complete. After the payment is complete the deals ends. This is the process of sales AIMS practices.
SWOT Analysis is conducted to identify the organizational strengths (S), organizational weaknesses (W), environmental opportunities (O), and environmental threats (T). Each analysis helps to know that how these elements influence organizational performance. AIMS‘s SWOT Analysis is given below;
- AIMS have highly professional manpower.
- Analyzer experts with more than 12-15 years’ experience.
- AIMS have enough training facility for the engineers.
- Centralized Computerized networking system is prevailing in the AIMS.
- Highly advanced and modern technology and equipment is possessed by AIMS.
- AIMS has a number of packages in order to hire best profile of professionals and as well as to motivate them in order to extract best from them.
- Annual bonuses are announced to motivate employees.
- Enough physical facilities are provided to its employees in the office in order to facilitate the performance of its employees.
- Team work of all the employees helps them to do the job efficiently.
- Outdated procurement procedures and stores inventory management system of AIMS undermines its performance.
- No job description concept is prevailing in AIMS.
- No advertisement or promotion activities of the company.
- There are no working hours whenever there is work they have to be ready to the job.
- There are difficulties in getting the gate pass for entering into the plants.
- No planning is being done before initiating any project rather depends on the head office.
- Delayed decisions due to extended procedures.
- There is no huge HR Department, and Personnel Department. Should depend on recruitment and termination from head office.
- Unfair Utilization of office Transport. Employee use office car to do personal work.
- No proper in house servicing center to service the products.
- Substantial unproven gas and oil reserves exist in Qatar.
- Gas & Oil companies are increasing in Qatar day by day.
- Inflationary trend in the prices of oil in the international markets.
- Ever rising demand of survives and analyzer due to the security of plants.
- Government incentives to Energy Sector for doing better projects.
- There is no tough competition faced by AIMS from any company.
- Government rules and policies are the biggest threats.
- Required to meet the safety test every year.
- Competition is increasing as Government is attracting foreign investors in this Sector.
- Global trends are rapidly changing which might affect its performance.
- Political situation can also have negative impact on Oil and Gas Industry.
- Any decrease in future oil prices may prove to be a great threat for AIMS.
PROBLEMS AND SUGGESTIONS
During my stay in AIMS Qatar office, I have observed some weakness in the organizational setup functioning of various departments.
- Lack of procurement procedures and store’s inventory management system
AIMS procurement system is not done in a professional way they rely on driver for the procurement of office necessary things. They don’t have a proper store to keep their products.
After QC of the delivery they check all order quantity and product if they match they keep it in the store but when necessary they take time to find the product.
- Unfair Utilization of Transport
AIMS have 4 vehicles, mostly at sites but they are misused by their employees. AIMS provide pick and drop facilities to stop and officers to some extent with cars. Sometime cars are unavailable because they are taken for personal use. This affects the office performance.
- Unnecessary Purchases at office
Due to less accountability employees use their powers towards petty cash purchases from local market. This is increasing the operation cost of the company.
- No specific job description
They don’t have a specific job description for the employee. Service engineers had to do multiple jobs in the office. They need to do the sale, they need to the QC they need to do the logistic work. They have a same e-mail address and when they get e-mail form head office any one can response everyone is responsible for the task. This sometime creates conflict among the employees.
- No advertisement or promotion activities of the company
They do not do any have any advertisement of promotion of the company they have a website from where customer can learn about the company.
- No proper in house servicing center
They don’t have a proper in house servicing center. If they cannot repair they send it back to the Principal.
During my stay in AIMS I carefully observed the major weakness. For this weakness, I suggested the following practicable remedies to improve the existing practices.
- They need to follow a proper way for the procurement and give responsibilities to a single person. They need to have a proper store where the entire product will be in order so that is will be easy to find the product.
- Employees should not be allowed to use office cars for any personal use. Unless of any emergency.
- They should reduce the operation cost of the office by reducing the unnecessary purchase of office stationeries, foods for refreshments.
- There should be a specific job description for every employee. They will only responsible for the job. This will help them to understand the performance quality of a particular employee.
- The Qatar office needs to wait for decision from head office so it delays the tender or order placement so they should try to reduce the waiting time by giving some responsibilities to
the operation manager.
- They need to do some promotion like provide advertisement in the newspaper of arrange some events to promote the company.
- They need to start an in house servicing center. If they cannot repair they send it to the principal. The cost of sending the product to the principal is high. If they have an in house servicing center they would have a good scope of earning good amount of service charge.
AIMS is such a company which deals with both products and services. The quality of service is very important in Gas and Oil Company. AIMS have a good training for the employee which gives them to perform efficiently. The always consider all the safety issue during their job. It is a very sensitive issue because there are many gas which can cause sickness and death so they have to follow the safety measures. AIMS is providing training facilities and meeting the requirements of highly trained, motivated, and improved human resources. AIMS designs and implements programmer to develop and expand the technical and managerial skills of professional to meet the fast changing challenges to the company. The quality of an organization is dependent on the quality of its work force. AIMS have engaged top professionals in Geology, Drilling, Engineering, and production who are working day & nights.
Besides this, the corporate sector is equipped with professionals having qualification of CAs, MBAs, M.Coms, which support the technical wings. The time bound necessity is that all these professionals be given targets and their performance indicators be clearly defined. A good leadership and the motivation will surely boost-up the efforts and the collective efforts will result in a huge success.