Working Experience at IT and HR Department in
British American Tobacco Bangladesh
In a controversial industry like tobacco industry, BATB sets the standard for their working environment. The IT team is really enriched with their new system software and networking system. While the current situation has been working fairly well, with an audit tool that analyses IT practices with BAT global guidelines, there aren’t any qualitative measurement method of how much employees have actually adopted the system along with their inputs on how the policy could be improved.
The HR department of the organization is an asset to it. They offer a very safe and friendly environment to its employees.
Once every three year BATB conducts an Audit to review the effectiveness of its regulations. This audit is necessary to strengthen the implementation of all the authorized practices in the organization.
The BATB management view on its global regulations is very clear. They believe that a fair and honest audit process can ensure about the IT assets and usage of it. They try to raise the awareness among the workers regarding IT best practices in a way so that they can be influenced to adopt such new and flawless working environment. Managers think that awarding workers for proper IT practices and managing poor performances could be an effective way to motivate them. Perpetual modification of IT is important to keep the IT regulations awake in the workers mind.
Undoubtedly, IT sector is one of the most important factors that help a company achieve sustainability and grow in every aspect. The communication regarding this issue should be both horizontal and vertical in any organization. Better understanding & implementation of IT regulations can create win-win situation for everyone involved. Awareness regarding importance of IT best practices can help everyone adopt a updated and modern way of living in a healthy environment both in professional & personal life.
The Primary objective of this report is:
- To explore the gaps in IT adoption in the context of British American Tobacco, Bangladesh
In addition to that, the report has a few specific objectives that it has tried to uncover:
- Importance of IT assets at BATB among the managers, workers and vendors alike
- Gauge the understanding of IT among the workers
- Understand the various points of view on the prospective benefits of the IT usage
- Explore the possibilities of IT for the future
- Explore the changes in management view towards HR
- Investigate the historical status of IT at BATB
British American Tobacco Bangladesh Company Ltd.
British American Tobacco Bangladesh is a member of the British American Tobacco Group that is based in UK and one of the leading players in the global tobacco business. British- American Tobacco has been in business for more than 100 years, trading through the turbulence of wars, revolutions and nationalizations as well as all the controversy surrounding smoking. The business was formed in 1902, as a joint venture between the UK’s Imperial Tobacco Company and the American Tobacco Company founded by James “Buck” Duke. Despite its name, derived from the home bases of its two founding companies, British American Tobacco was established to trade outside both the UK and the USA, and grew from its roots in dozens of countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and continental Europe.
More than a billion people across the globe enjoy smoking tobacco. Among them one in every seven chooses a British American Tobacco brand. Extent of operation of British American Tobacco Company is given below:
- America-Pacific (USA, Japan, South Korea)
- AsPac (China, Indo-China, Taiwan, South-East Asia, Australasia)
- Europe (50 countries including Russia)
- Latin America (Central & South America, Mexico, Caribbean)
- Africa (More than 50 countries)
- MESCA (Middle East, South & Central Asia)
BAT has a plan to build their business in three ways:
- Organic growth in their existing markets
- Quick and effective entry into new markets and
- Potentially attractive acquisitions, joint ventures or other strategic alliances
British American Tobacco Bangladesh Company Limited, a market leader in the country, is a subsidiary of British American Tobacco PLC and is one of the 66 countries in which the British American Tobacco Group has manufacturing plants. British American Tobacco Bangladesh has operated in Bangladesh since pre-independence and has its head office in Dhaka, with a tobacco leaf processing operation in Kushtia. It is one of the oldest, largest and most respected multinational companies operating in Bangladesh.
In line with the global identity change of British American Tobacco PLC, BTC was renamed as British American Tobacco Bangladesh Company Limited (BATB) in 1998. The Company is listed on both the Dhaka and Chittagong stock exchanges in the country.
BATB markets major international cigarette brands like Benson & Hedges, John Player Gold Leaf and Pall Mall, which are complemented by local brands such as Capstan, Star, Scissors and Pilot.
The company also exports processed tobacco leaf in the international market, mainly in the European Countries with its effort to create an international market of its products.
British American Tobacco Bangladesh currently employs more than 1,300 people and provides indirect employment to a further 24,500 farmers, distributors and suppliers.
Tobacco Industry of Bangladesh
There are two main tobacco industry associations in Bangladesh, i.e. Bangladesh Cigarette Manufacturers Association (BCMA) and Bangladesh Biri Manufacturers Association (BBMA) representing the industry.
The main cigarette manufacturers in Bangladesh are:
- British American Tobacco Bangladesh
- Philip Morris International
- Dhaka Tobacco Industries
- AbulKhair Tobacco
- Nasir Tobacco
- Azizudin Industries and
- New Age Tobacco.
The main biri manufacturers are:
- Aziz Biri and
- Hundreds of local biri manufacturers
SWOT analysis is done to find out the factors important to the operation of a business in the environment, both internal and external. The internal factors help to find out the strength and weakness; the threats and opportunities can be comprehended by scanning the external environment. The SWOT analysis of the cigarette industry is given below:
- Because of high regulations, high cost and high entry barriers, new entrants are discouraged, which is good for the current and already established market players.
- As they are not allowed to go for public promotion, the tobacco companies can use their resources for other purposes. Like BAT is investing for and increasing their filed force.
- Dealing with a product, which is sensitive in many issues.
- Cannot promote their products using public media vehicle.
- A high volume but low value industry
In Bangladesh, tobacco market is pretty strong. Among the sale of all tobacco products, 68% is Biri and the rest 32% is cigarette. But with the up gradation of purchasing power and good economic condition, high rate of migration from Biri to cigarette is also expected. Even now; the migration rate is good enough to sustain the cigarette industry. Total no even if reduce, but the migration will make it sustainable. The cigarette market depends not on increasing number of customers, but on switching to cigarette brands.
- Increasing amount of awareness among the consumers about the health hazards
- Increasing number of regulations and laws, imposed by the government about smoking and selling cigarettes.
In order to deliver their vision, their strategy for creating shareholder value has four elements around which all their efforts revolve – Growth, Productivity, Responsibility and Winning Organization.
Growth: The organization and thus its operation in Bangladesh seek to increase their volume and value share acquisitions of the global tobacco market through both organic growth and mergers and acquisitions.
Productivity: The overall approach to productivity is about using the Group’s global resources to increase profits and generate funds for reinvesting into the business. Today, all companies are trying to cut costs. BAT’s approach is integrated – aiming to establish a lower cost base while improving the quality of products and the speed they get to the market, as well as our effectiveness in terms of how we deploy our people and capital.
Responsibility: BAT continues to balance their commercial objectives with the expectations of a broad range of stakeholders, thus ensuring a sustainable business. They are communicating with stakeholders about their Business Principles, which explains the way it expects businesses to be run in terms of responsibility, and demonstrate how the company is following them. Their three Business Principles are: Mutual Benefit, Responsible Product Stewardship and Good Corporate Conduct are each underpinned by a number of Core Beliefs.
In the regulatory arena, they will continue to promote sensible tobacco regulation that will:
- Balance the preferences of consumers with the interests of society
- Establish an open minded and objective approach to harm reduction as a policy
- Ensure that BAT’s businesses can compete and prosper
BAT understands that it manufactures products that can be harmful to the health of its consumers and have publicly stated their aim to reduce this harm to meet both consumer needs and societal expectations. They will do this by:
- The progressive reduction in the tar and toxins in their products
- The successful launch of a new generation of tobacco products with critical mass appeal that are recognized by scientific and regulatory authorities as posing substantially reduced risks to health
Winning Organization: BAT is confident in their strategies for Growth, Productivity and Responsibility but to deliver their vision they must also have the right people and the right working environment. That is the essence of our Winning Organization strategy. Maintaining this is the responsibility of the Human Resources department, which was discussed in much greater detail later in the report. By the right people, the company means outstanding people – those with the ability and desire to drive and deliver competitive advantage and superior performance. The company wants to attract, develop and retain high caliber talent. They also want an organization that is constantly learning. This learning culture shares knowledge quickly, learns from its mistakes and replicates success formulas quickly.
British American Tobacco must also be a great place to work. This requires an open, confident culture that encourages change and innovation, is shaped by its Guiding Principles, inspires its people to perform to their best and importantly, enjoy their work.
Finally, the company’s Winning Organization strategy requires that leaders are developed, at all levels in the organization, with a clear vision for the business, which foster innovation, and can align, energize and enable their teams to contribute to the building of global enterprise.
Structure of BATB
BATB is a public limited company. Management Director is the operational head and appointed by the British American Tobacco. Head of every department carries out their functions with the help of line managers. Different departments have different structure according to their function and responsibility.
The Board of Directors and Executive Committee (ExCo) govern the overall activities of the company. The Board of Directors is composed of 7 members who are called Directors. The Chairman heads the Board of Directors. Chief Executive of British American Tobacco Bangladesh is called the Managing Director, who is normally appointed by BAT Holdings. Managing Director of the company is the chairperson of the Executive Committee. This committee includes the head of all the functional departments.
Employee &Trade Union of BATB
The employees of the BATB are dynamic, self-motivated and energetic to perform any assigned job, because they are selected based on excellent academic and experience records. The company employs 1,244 permanent employees and varying number of seasonal and temporary workers as required. Each permanent employee receives remuneration in excess of BDT 36,000 per annum.
Remuneration depends on the nature and conditions of work. The workers are labelled in the following categories:
- Temporary (seasonal)
Trade union is established in the following company’s working locations:
- Head Office and Dhaka Factory
- Kushtia Factory
- Manikganj Leaf Factory
There is a positive relationship between the company and the trade union based on mutual trust and respect. All the employees of the company belong to the trade union. When a worker becomes a member of the union, according to his request a certain amount of his wage is deducted as the union subscription fees on a check off system. Trade union election is held after every two years and governed by their respective constitutions. The terms and conditions of services of the employee are negotiated and determined through a process of collective bargaining between the company and the union.
British American Tobacco Bangladesh has several functional departments that are integrated to give the best output for the organization. The following diagram shows the top management structure of BATB.
Different departments have different structure according to their function and responsibility. BAT maintains a modern organizational structure headed by Managing Director. Managing Director is the operational head and national sales manager. Head of every department carries out their functions with the help of line managers. Other positions of the organogram are directors, regional manager, secretary, assistant manager, area manager, territory officer, supervisor and other staffs.
It has seven departments with two supporting departments. The “Board of Directors” and Executive Committee (ExCo) govern the overall activities of the company. The Board of Directors is responsible for protecting the rights and interests of all shareholders and is held accountable for the overall management of the entity.
The Board meets at least 6 times a year and makes decisions on key matters. The Board is responsible for the overall system of internal control for the company and for reviewing the effectiveness of these controls. The system is designed to manage risks that may impede the achievement of the company’s business objectives rather than to eliminate these risks. Responsibilities for implementing the company’s strategy and day-to-day operations are delegated to the Executive Committee, which meets monthly. The Executive Committee is chaired by the Managing Director. The other members include the Deputy Managing Director and the functional heads of Human Resources, Corporate and Regulatory Affairs, Operations, Leaf, Brand Marketing, Trade Marketing & Distribution, Finance and Information Technology of who three are Executive Directors. The Board Committees are namely – Audit Committee & Board Compensation Committee, each of its own terms of reference play an important role in executing the responsibility of the Board.
Major functional areas are:
- Corporate & Regulatory Affairs
- Human Resource
- Supply Chain
- Information Technology
- Marketing Department
Employee Relations & Welfare at BATB
British American Tobacco Bangladesh has two factories in the country. In Kushtia, there is a Green Leaf Threshing factory, and the main cigarette manufacturing facility is located in Mohakhali, Dhaka. Being a responsible corporate citizen, BAT Bangladesh abides by all the applicable laws and regulations of the country. It employs more than 1200 people directly, and provides them with many benefits. Along with the extrinsic rewards, BAT Bangladesh also looks into their development by providing them with relevant trainings. We take on apprentices as well, and invest in their learning so that they can be retained at the end of their apprenticeship. BATB employees are paid a very lucrative package, compared to other local and multinational companies. The components of the total package include the basic salary, house rent allowance, conveyance allowance, family medical allowance, children education allowance, entertainment allowance, meal assistance allowance, smoking allowance, shift allowance, tour allowance, annual bonus, festival bonus, performance bonus, leave fare assistance, odd hour conveyance, city allowance and washing allowance.
In addition, workers are availing the following welfare benefits free of cost:
- Food in the canteen when they are on duty. The canteen knows no hierarchy, and is not a place for discrimination; the Managing Director of the company and a factory employee take the same type food in the same place
- Two sets of high quality uniforms each year (pants, shirts, shoes and socks). Every alternate year they also get a set of winter clothing (pants, shirts and jackets)
- One umbrella every year
- Medical treatment in good hospitals; no bar on expenditure
- High standard dispensary, providing full time coverage with a doctor (MBBS) and an ambulance
- Supplies of medicine as per the prescription made by internal /external doctors
- Various cultural activities are arranged for the employees etc.
ENVIRONMENTAL, HEALTH & SAFETY
What is EHS
At BATB, EHS entails practicing activities that protects workers from risks and mitigates the risk that might arise from a controversial industry like tobacco. Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) systems are fully embedded in British American Tobacco Bangladesh’s business operations across all stages of its supply chain. Manufacturing unit extremely depends on IT uses and BATB lodges few rules and restrictions on how to use IT equipments safely.
Current EHS Scenario at BATB
At the very heart of British American Tobacco Bangladesh is the belief that in order to grow as a business it must operate sustainably, creating value for not only its shareholders, but also society as a whole. Keeping this in mind British American Tobacco Bangladesh has formulated some EHS regulations to ensure the safety of all its employees as well as visitors. The main target that BATB wants to achieve from implementing their EHS policies so strictly is to make the accident count zero. Some basic safety instructions to be followed while anyone is within the BATB compound are-
- Always were safety shoes
- Always using zebra crossing while cross the roads
- Always use dustbins to dispose any waste
- Keep a safe distance from forklifts
- Always use earplugs in areas with high level of noise
- Refrain from entering into restricted areas
- Smoke only where smoking is allowed
- In case of emergency use fire exits
- Use designated footpath
- Use Dust mask where dust level is high
- Always report near misses to the respective manager or the EHS team
My stand to protect
As an intern, I had the permission to enter into the factory where I usually inspected whether all the employees have taken safety equipments or not, even, when any new employee joined there, I met him to teach about all the safety issues. I used to meet the factory at least twice a day just to keep them on remanding about the things.
IT Audit Overview
BATB continuously monitors its IT policies. Corrective & preventive action is taken as early as possible, using a systematic approach, with annually updated objectives & targets, to assess opportunities and to mitigate risks aligned to the business. IT Audits provide good opportunities for company to check whether it has appropriate assets or not, all the assets are monitored or not, all the people within the organization is updated with the new systems and networking connections or not. At BATB an IT audit is conducted once every three year. Auditors from various countries come to review the effectiveness & proper implementation of the IT policies and proper care of IT assets. The auditors look deep into every departments working process to evaluate their performance on the basis of IT compliance.
IT Audit 2014
In 2014, BATB faced a three-week IT Audit from 19th October to 6th November. As an intern of the department, I was assigned to track all the assets within the IT store and in different locations. In this task, I was assisted by the coordinator of the department and was supervised by my line manager.
In 2014, they inaugurate a new networking system called Jones Planet, that’s why; it was a challenge for the department to assess all the assets according to their new SAP number. Finance department stated that there are approximately 15000 IT assets throughout BATB. So, I collected all the asset lists from Kustia region, Chittagong region and all other regions. Then, I started to assign those assets to a new SAP number by their serial numbers, DT numbers and TP numbers.
For CPU, they use DT numbers and For LAPTOPS, they use TP numbers. By these numbers, I was managed to track the assets and then we gave a list with new range of SAP numbers to the auditors’ team.
Then, Auditors Team did their task and found out some deficiencies in almost 1200 assets as they were unable to track those. Then, they gave IT department another list of those 1200 assets. After that, my line manager gave me hundreds of files to assess those assets. Finally, I was lucky enough to meet the requirement.
BATTLE OF MINDS
What is Battle of Minds
Previously, I knew about Battle of minds which is a business competition and BATB is the initiator of this. As a tobacco manufacturer, the company cannot play any promotional activities because govt. banned it. Even, they never use their logo in any public and social movement. That’s why; they go for employment branding and Battle of minds is an initiative to promote the brand without doing any trade marketing. We all know that British American Tobacco Bangladesh is one of the largest multinational Companies of the country and it is a dream workplace for most of the business graduates. So, by using the employment popularity, the organization launches Battle of Minds every year. They started this journey within one room and with a small budget but this was a blow up in 2014.
I consider myself too lucky as I worked in two different departments in BATB. That’s why; I would like to give recommendation for those two departments.
- I would highly recommend IT department to have a bigger IT store as the present one is too small to stock up as many assets. Most of the times, managers of the department like to store almost 2000 assets which includes Laptops, CPU, tons of accessories and projectors even, so they really need a large store room to accumulate those in appropriate manner.
- A better and if necessary, a longer training for the incoming workers so that they can better understand the risks of the workplace and take necessary corrective measures according to the requirements of BATB to be safe and healthy. Audio-Visual presentations may work wonders in such cases. This is currently being done by BATB.
- They can maintain a more disciplined and systematic data inventory for keeping the records of IT assets as I found it too difficult to find out so many SAP numbers.
- They should recruit at least one intern in IT department for every period but usually they do not do it. Interns usually keep all the records in Excel file, so when the department is in lack of interns, then a necessary data can be shredded without keeping the documentation of it.
- The hierarchy level of HR department should be more uniformed and of one way. They segmented the whole HR department in Pure HR, Supply Chain HR and Marketing HR. each of them has distinct work criteria but while working on Battle of Minds, I found huge problem among those segments. For example, marketing HR executive is not entitled to give instruction to MT Legal, but she does it promptly.
- BATB believes in an extended work schedule. It’s very nice to have a flexible work time; however, sometimes they abuse the power. For example, most of the managers do their tasks in a relaxed way all day long but after 4pm, they become so serious and then they delegate lots of work to the subordinates. That’s why; it becomes a pressure for her or him who starts the day in the very morning even in a enthusiastic manner and want to finish the workload by 6pm as the office time ends at 6pm.
- DOFA stands for Disposable Financial Assets and BATB disposes its assets those are not repairable and expired. Most of the cases, they disposes very old assets which cannot be efficiently used. However, at my tenure BATB, I saw functional problems in disposing IT assets. They require so much of time to make the DOFA list and till the disposing. On the other hand, all the DOFA assets stays in IT store till disposing which makes a anarchy in the store.
- IT department runs a help desk where people work under a rostering system. Proper rostering and prior communication of the roster will help the employees working in shifts to prepare themselves for their shifts. This will lessen fatigue and increase work motive among the workers.
All these will eventually help ensure the penetration of the proper and timely messages among the workers. This will also help the employees to view the IT as more of a friend in need, rather than something that has been burdened on them. Adopting these policies will eventually result in a workforce that is not only safe and healthy, but also enthusiastic and properly entertained to come with all their might the next day to continue their adventure at BATB.
It was undoubtedly an amazing experience working with BAT; it was my dream to work with this organization. BAT has ensured value addition at every stage of their works. BATB is quite well- known for its unique production and management system, factory culture and operator- management relations. They have the largest factory in Dhaka. The IT department where I worked is basically a part of Finance. This department is quite small as many few employees working in that department but it is a very well organized and structured department. I got to learn many things from them. Though I hardly got chance to work with my line manager directly but it was an amazing experience to work with my other supervisors