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This report is mainly about the internship programme in Auto Discounts Sdn Bhd which run Carlist.my, a free used car classified portal website. It operates as a medium for people who either wants to advertise their used car for free or tends to buy a car. The job scope for interns covers migration, marketing, services, and operation. There are problems related to the recognition of brand but somehow it is the exposure and publicity of the website that need to be enhanced. In fact, lack of permanent staff causes the inadequate training for interns which would perform ineffectively to meet the task. In this report, I also suggested some recommendations that can improve their productivity as well as their efficiency in delivering their products and services. Within this training period, I have gained a lot of experience and knowledge that will definitely help me in my future undertakings.
At the very beginning, I would like to take this opportunity to express my special thanks to all the individuals that had been supported and helping me in this past two months. Firstly, I would like to acknowledge my special thanks to my internship supervisor, Mr Teoh Weng Foo for his support and assistance during my internship period. His supervision and support that gave me truly help the progression and smoothness of my internship program.
My beloved manager Mr Teoh Yew Jin, for his kindness, advice, knowledge, patience, her precious time, encouragement, continuous guidance, supportive ideas and constructive criticism throughout this internship. I learn to be a confident person during this internship programs due to her valuable advice and guidance from her.
Not forgotten to express my thanks to all my colleagues for sharing their experiences, time and commitment during this internship program. I am grateful because I have their support and advice throughout my completing of internship program.
Apart from that, the internship program makes me realized the real value of working together as a team and exposed to a new working environment, which are challenges for me every second.
Last but not least, special thanks also to En Raziff - Head of International Business lecturer, School of Business Innovation and Technopreneurship that have encourage, support and help me in completing this program successfully.
The company that I had been located for my industrial training is named Auto Discounts Sdn Bhd with their website known as Carlist.my. This company is situated at Metropolitan Square, Damansara Perdana. Basically, Carlist.my is a FREE online car classified website which brings convenience to all the sellers and buyers. Carlist.my is Malaysia No.1 car classifieds with over 30.000 car listings and more than 300,000 users interested in buying cars every month. Carlist.my. Carlist.my is one of the most valuable online properties. It help used car sellers to bring potential buyers by having their car classified listed on Carlist.my. As a result, car buyers will be able to search from vast inventory of used car listings and find the right car easily with the unique car search feature. Many buyers can't find the right car for the right price because sellers do not pay to place their ads in classified. Auto Discounts had been growing rapidly for the past two years and yet, it is still growing now. There are hiring a large number of interns as part of corporate social responsibility as well as to help in business growth. Apart from that, working in Carlist.my, we will be exposed to different aspects of business operations such as management, logistics, marketing and sales, as well as customer service. Figure 1.1.1 illustrates the layout of the website.
As Carlist is an online car classified website, it targets on a niche or narrow market. This allows them to be more focus in their Research and Development, hoping that to become the first and largest classified site as similar to Jobstreet.com or iProperty.com. Carlist.my help used car sellers reach potential buyer by having their cars listed on Carlist.my. Carlist.my has tremendous potential to grow in the future.
The company is registered under the following address:
Auto discounts Sdn Bhd (798161-H)
E160, East Wing, Metropolitan Square,
Jalan PJU 8, Bandar Damansara Perdana,
47820 PJ, Selangor.
Phone: 03 77100199 Fax: 03 7710 0197
History of Establishment
Auto Discounts Sdn Bhd was established on December 2007 by Mr. Teoh Yew Jin. The website of Carlist.my was then successfully launched on February 2009. It took 2 years to be officially launched for public. After the website established for 6 months, it had gathered 17000-18000 cars advertised in the website despite that each car advertisement will be deleted after 60 days. It certainly proved that Carlist.my have the potential to increase dramatically its popularity and being used widely in area such as Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Penang in a short time. Carlist.my currently reaches over 480,000 car buyers every month and they view 9,000,000 pages. Besides, Carlist.my users are ready buyers. They spend almost 10 minutes looking for cars every time as they visit the site.
Nature of Business
Basically, Carlist.my is focus on online service sector and now it is growing rapidly in order to dominate the car website space in Malaysia. It has clearly captured the car classifieds market as a result of providing a better experience method compared to traditional print listings.
Nowadays, online users are able to search for their favourite cars they wish to have just with a click on mouse. What they need to do is just use the search/ advance search button feature in our website. They can narrow down their search results with the options such as price, year, location, model as well as year manufactured. It is a very fast search results which including details, car pictures and even some video. As has been proven worldwide, the leading car classified sites in each market capture tremendous share of automotive advertising in a very short space of time.
Carlist.my is a car site that provides a platform for people to sell their cars. We do not own or hold the cars ourselves
Type of Ownership
Auto Discounts Sdn Bhd was a small company when it is established, so it doesn't involve in many big investors during that time. It is just a few friends of Mr Teoh Yew Jin and himself came up with some money to form the company. A computer engineer by training, Yew Jin co-founded Carlist.my in 2009 with his university mate. Mr. Teoh Yew Jin is the one that manage and run the company, while the others are investors. Hence, during that time I would classify it as a type of partnership with friends.
However, due to the this company has growing rapidly with the successful of Carlist.my website in these recent years, a big corporation named Catcha Media has an eye on Auto Discounts Sdn Bhd as Catcha Media feel that the website has a great potential to be further improved and become the Malaysia No.1 Car Classified Web Portal. Thus, in the middle quarter of year 2012, Catcha Media decided to buy 50% share of this company and invest largely in Auto Discounts Sdn Bhd in order for it to grow further in the online service sector.
Catcha Media is listed on the Malaysian bourse ACE market, is one of South East Asia's largest and most dynamic media groups. Catcha Media's businesses span online media, publishing and e-commerce with all of them contributing to a combined reach of approximately 10 million people per month. As Catcha bought the share and investment, it has provided a boost for Auto Discounts Sdn Bhd in all aspects with the large investment provided by Catcha Media and resolved the problem faced by Auto Discounts Sdn Bhd in the recent years which is short of money supply for them to further grow the company. As a result, it can be said as a great year for Auto Discounts Sdn Bhd in this year with the agreement of partnership with Catcha Media.
Figure 5.0: Chart shows percentage of share that shareholders hold in Auto Discounts Sdn. Bhd.
Knowledge/ Experience gained
We all use language to communicate, to express ourselves, to get our ideas across, and to connect with the people to whom we are speaking. As you all know, communication is vital in approaching people and delivering intended message especially in the way of persuade and impressing others. Today it is very necessary to communicate well especially in a service sector like Carlist.my and especially for those who are seeking information and asking for inquiry. Throughout this internship training period, I had learnt to communicate with different people in different situation. In other words, it actually improves my communication skills. For instance, when I am out for site visit, it taught me on how to communicate and deal with different kind of customers. As an example, during the training period, I had faced some nasty clients where they have some special request which is over what we can do for them and it is against our company policy as well. At this time, I need to use a correct tone to explain to them in order to make them understand our situation. We are not a boss that can decide everything and this is our company policy. By this way, hope that they can really understand our current situation but we will still help as what we can. Moreover, communication between subordinates plays an essential part internally as well as for the whole organization. This is because we are working under a team not an individual. It is important to avoid any misunderstanding between subordinates as well as enhance our quality of work.
Apart from that, communication skills need to be applied while I am doing contact request. I have been assigned to handle services calls from customers with different request. Hence, I am gaining experiences in listening and understanding customer's request. My communication skills gave me self confidence while interacting with everyone else.
During this training period, specific technical skill is needed for certain tasks such as bulkloading process. I get the opportunity to working on getting raw data and images into the correct form so that it can be automatically bulk loaded into Carlist.my website and thus gaining exposure on how automation in Carlist.my data loading is done. In performing bulk loading process, it requires some knowledge on internet, software and system in order to handle it well during the bulk load process. There are specific technical skills for bulkload system as well as to solve those special issues and cases happened during bulkload process. For example, sometimes there will be some error occur due to the error in the data input sheet that been key in. Therefore, I need to know what the problem is first only can find a way to fixed the error in a short time. This is a good experience for me as it increases my self-management level as well as my problem solving skills.
When I have been assigned for site visit by my supervisor, it really requires me to have a good and mature presentation skill when dealing with customers. Site visit requires face-to-face presentation which makes my presentation skills improves by leaps and bounds. Furthermore, I am able to gain an insight on how to deal with different people at different situation. It also trained my confidence level and to be more active when talking and explaining to customer. I must not give up on explaining more and be brave when approaching customers.
During this training period, I always been assigned into teams or working with different interns for different task especially when went for site visit. Thus, I have been trained to work together with different people in any circumstances and have the sense of corporation. In Carlist.my, most of the tasks we need to complete it in team. It is very difficult for an individual to finish the task by itself.
Stress Management Skill
Frankly, being stressed out was always my weakness. This is considered a new practical environment for me as I faced a lot of mental strain in terms of adapting to the new work environment at first as well as adapt to cope with different challenges that I need to be faced. However, I have to manage it and learn a better way to calm myself down when working in an environment such as Carlist.my. it proves that being calm and make myself clear is the only way to overcome the barrier of work that I faced instead of panic and stress. As an example, I have to be able to accomplish the complicated task given such as bulk load. It acquires a step by step process without making any error.
Time Management Skills
During my internship period I have learnt punctuality and the significance of time in an organization. I have realized that time management is an important element of work. My practical learning has taught me to prioritize and organize my work according to schedule that enabled me to complete my tasks in the allotted time. Besides that, I also realize that important point is that time management is not getting lots of stuff done, because there are much more important than to make sure that I am working on the right things, the things that truly need to be done. I'm able to use my time in a much more balanced and effective way. Improving time management skills can even help me to get better results by doing less work, because I'm focusing on the things that really important rather than all the low-priority busy work that just keeps me busy all the time.
Lack of brand recognition and reputation
Frankly speaking, Carlist.my is new and has been launched for almost 2 years. Carlist.my is still making the effort of becoming the most popular in online service sector that focus only on car. It is very similar to Mudah.my which holds the top ranking among online service sector and becoming one of the strong competitors in the industry. This is clearly showed when I tried to introduce Carlist.my to individual car seller, most of the time I would find them totally no idea about our company. There are some customers that compared Carlist.my with Mudah.my. They will start complaining that there is no response from Carlist.my when they paid to make their car listings upload on our website. Surprisingly it happens to some existing users as well. As a result, it proved that Carlist.my still have much more to do in order to gain the recognition from the public.
My next challenges that I faced would be responding to work load. At first, it really took me some time to adapt and settle in the new environment. Learning a new work especially in the beginning while at the same time responding to supervisor who assigned me the tasks to be completed in a short time was a great challenge for me in a multitasking world nowadays. Moreover, stress created by the workplace or by personal concern creates sense of anxiety and worry which lead to distracting in my daily work. As an example, in the first day I have been assigned with data entry and contact request as my first task. I also have been told that for those who doing data entry, there will be a target for them to achieve that is at least 180 of cars data in a day. It was really a great challenge for me as a new intern here.
Lack of experienced permanent employees
In this company, there are almost 20 interns that are more than the permanent existing staff which are only 10. It can be considered as a wise plan for company's budgeting to finance and develop in other department. However, the whole operation seems to be unstable and lack of talent in the company. As you all know, one batch of interns only works for only 2-6 months. When the time they finished their training, there will be new batch of interns enrolled. Thus, the company will have to start it over again to train them in the entire task and in my opinion this is wasting of time. Incomplete of knowledge transferred from experienced interns to new interns might cause distortion when performing their task.
Differences in culture
Culture differences contribute to conflict among employees. These differences present challenges in the workplace especially in the ways and styles in presenting their idea. The differ in culture lead to communication barrier that is usually happen in the workplace that also occur in Carlist.my. This is due to each individual will have different in their views. Apart from that, some tensions are arising between employees and customers due to the ways they speak to each other. For instance, some of the customers are very nasty and it makes us faced difficulty in communicate with them and eventually brings to misunderstanding. There are also conflicts happens among co-workers. This is happen when the message delivered is not clear and do not voice out what they need in a clearly form. Finally, it creates a septum in between and make their work become ineffective.
Suggestions and Recommendations
Carlist.my is a company which has the aim to become the first website where people will have a thought on it when they tend to buy or sell a car. Carlist.my need to show effort in developing brand recognition. This can be done by defining brand distinction. Carlist.my may offer services, individually or in interesting packages that assist people in a special way. Perhaps offer the best customer support and service in the industry. Traditional advertising concepts must evolve to makes changes offered by World Wide Web. It is vital to maintain the image of the existing business and find ways to extend the brand distinction in online sector. It is important to give customers a reason to do business with us instead of your competition. Carlist.my should find out the way to makes business better and then play those advantages to their fullest in the internet marketplace. We have to communicate those advantages to online shoppers as well as build their credibility and trust. It is essential in delivering the services efficiently, politely our company are.
I recommend that our company supervisor should schedule all the events of our day from start to finish. Supervisor should strictly monitor our progress such as phone calls that we make, meting that we attend as well as errands that we must run, schedule routine activities like filing paper files and checking emails. Strictly having a scheduled day puts us in control of what to do next instead of encouraging us to procrastinate the work. Supervisor can implement a time management plan. The objective is to change our behavior over time to achieve general goal that we set for ourselves. For example, it includes increasing our productivity or decreasing our stress as well.
In my opinion, Carlist.my should hire more permanent staff instead of interns. This is to make sure that the permanent staff can fully manage the process of training new interns. Structured training employment programs become important for organizations when they need to fulfill critical needs. For example, organizations with low customer service satisfaction ratings need to determine why representatives fail to meet customer's expectations. Classroom or distance learning solutions using web-based conferencing software provide opportunities to view video vignettes depicting handling difficult customers. In addition to call-handling scripts, practice derived from structure training programs prepares customer service representatives to handle disgruntled people from any culture. As a result, customer satisfaction ratings improve. This validates the need for a structured implementation in contrast with informal guidance to employees. The company must make sure that the training that provide for company's employees gives the skills and knowledge need to succeed at their jobs. At the same time, the program should ensure that training program benefits the company and contributes to the company.
It is the need to managing cultural diversity in the workplace. Providing informant accurately and promptly is critical to effective work and team performance. To resolve the problem lack of communication, we must listen compassionately and should recognize each other for having expressed his/ her view and feelings. Avoid thinking of a counter argument while the other person is speaking. Anyway, listen to the other person's perspective rather than listening to your own thoughts and don't make an effort to remember points. In order to build strong business relationships, communication between the company and the customers must be present, along with communication between the company and its employees. Communication must be informative, clear, precise and well thought out or spoken in order for a business to run smoothly. Without proper communication, a business cannot flourish because there is no way to know what is going on within the company.
In conclusion, there were many things that I have experience and learnt during the two months of my Industrial Training at Auto Discounts Sdn Bhd. The whole training period was very motivating, instructive and challenging. Through this training I was able to gain new insights and more comprehensive understanding about the real industry working condition and practice. The two months placement also has provided me the opportunities to develop and improve my soft skills as well as my functional skills. All of this valuable experience and knowledge that I have gained were not only acquired through the direct involvement in task given but also through other aspect of the training such as work observation, interaction with colleagues, superior, and others third party related to the company. I also took part in the site visit which I am able to deal with different kind of customers. From what I have undergone, I am agree that the industrial training program have achieve its entire primary objective. It's also the best ways to prepare student in order to face the real working life. As a result of the program now I am now more confident to enter the employment world and build my future career.