One of the requirement parts of the course WORK-N352 at Sharjah Women’s College, of work experience subject, which is under the supervision of Mr. Abbot Jason Haroon.
This course provide us to experience work in real working environment which will give students the opportunity to develop good working experience, habits and practices that has been observed in real working environment which will enable students to transfer vocational skills that learnt at the college to the work placement.
The report features altogether are in five major sections. Section one is about information about the Sharjah Economic Development Department. Section two is about work details. Section three is about success of the work experience. Section four is about areas for improvement and section five which is the conclusion.
Finally, Most of the information in the report was from my own experience at Sharjah Economic Development Department and some particulars from SEDD website and interviewing employees as well.
The course provides work experience in a real working environment. It will provide the student the opportunity to develop good work ethics, habits and practices observed in real work situations and will enable the student to transfer vocational skills learned at the college to the workplace.
Information about the company
Sharjah Economic Development Department is located in Sharjah in Al-Layya Area this is the head office and also it has four other branches in Al-Dhaid, Kalba, Khorfakkan and Dibba Al-Hisn. And all of them are located in Sharjah, but these branches have only one department which is registration and license department.
Sharjah Economic Development Department is under Sharjah Government which means it is a public sector. The Department has about 600 employees and this number is increasing almost every day because new employees are being hired in the department.
The department has twelve Directors and deputy directors, Ali Bin Salem Almahmoud is the General Director, Khaliid Saif Ibraheem is the Director of Registration and licensing Department also Fahad Ahmad Alkhhamiri is the sub-director for this department, Nawal Askar is Director of Economic and Public Relations Department and there is a Deputy Director as well. Amna Alhamady is the Deputy Director of Finance and Administration Department. Also, there is a Managing Director, Commercial Control and Protection Director, Legal Affairs Director, Information Technology Director, Client Service Director and Deputy Quality Control Director. (See Appendix 1)
There are thirteen departments in SEDD, There are four main departments in SEDD which are License and Registration Department, Commercial Control and Protection Department, Economic Relation and Public Relations Department and Finance and Administrative Affairs Department. And the other nine departments are chairman office, consultants, internal censorship section, legal affairs section, quality and control section, committees specialists, executive secretarial, IT section and planning and statistics section. (See Appendix 1)
The Department provides three major services which are Licensing Services which is for renewing and issuing license, Commercial Permits which is for sales and clearance, promotional campaigns, and advertising signs and Inspection Services and Business Control which is for irregularities inquiry, fee payment for irregularities and Scheduling appointments for Technical evaluation and Business Control which is for Irregularities Inquiryand Scheduling appointments for Technical evaluation
Sales and Promotion Section
I spent my whole work placement period at sales and promotion section. This section gives sales permits for shops who want to make sales in a specific period, clearance permits, Promotional Campaign Permits which is granted in such cases such as special offers, testing campaigns, free disrupting and product promotion, Promotional Advertising Permits like flyers, brochures, cloth signs and multimedia CD’s and Exhibition Permit for commercial purposes.
My daily work was to check the newspapers for shops and companies that have published advertisement in daily newspapers so that we can check if they have already taken permission for publishing this advertising and if they have permission for making sales or offers if the advertisement was including them. Also, I contacted many shops and companies if they have not come and collect the spring festival posters or if they have raffles and chose the winner, they have to bring the original coupons and the winners ID or to pay out the amount of the prizes that the winners didn’t collect them within 60 days period to the sales and promotion section. I used the system which records all information about all the shops that are in Sharjah and it shows each shop sales dates, clearance dates and Irregularities dates to record any new sale, clearance and Irregularities.
During my work placement I used many skills for my job, I even used some skills that I never thought I will use them. I used some basic skills such as learning, listening, reading, speaking and writing skills almost every day. Beside of that I used monitoring skills to assess my performance to make any improvements in myself and take the correct action.
I used social skills such as instructing to help the new customers to bring the right documents and why they are needed and I used negotiation and persuasion skills to make some customers change their minds that if they made sales during Sharjah spring festival it will be cheaper for them if they made it after the festival.
I used to report to Miss Mona Qambar and Mrs. Mariam Saif, both them are service coordinators at Sales and Promotion section. But unfortunately Miss Mona has been shifted to another department by week 5.
I didn’t get any on-the-job training because im only a temporary trainee in SEDD so they just showed me how the daily and the monthly reports are done and what they do everyday.
Arabic was the main language but English was used too but not as much as Arabic. English was used only with foreign customers while Arabic was used also between customers and between employees. In addition, all the reports and letters were written in Arabic
I used many types of equipment at my work such as the telephone to communicate with the shops that didn’t bring the original coupons for checking or to pay money for the prizes that has not been received by the winners. The printer was used to print reports and letters and fax as well. Also I used the computer to record information about shops. Beside of using the computer I used Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Microsoft Outlook. The word was used to write the monthly report. Whereas the excel was used to write the daily report and to calculate the amount collected for the day and PowerPoint to record the companies names, location and offers for the Sharjah Spring Festival and used to create the organizational chart for the Economic Relation and Public Relations Department and Microsoft Outlook was used to send and receive emails among employees.
I have faced some problems in my work experience. One of the problems I had, when Mrs. Mariam was absent I was in here place and an angry customer came in because she gave him a notice because they published sales advertisement in the newspaper without getting a permit for that. I looked back in the files of shops that have been given notes and took out the one for his shop. When I looked back on the reason of the note that his shop was given, it appeared that they are making sales all around Emirates but the sales was only in Dubai, so he was supposed to write down in the advertisement that the sales are only in Dubai. He still was angry and he didn’t believe. I went back to the brochure of Sales and Promotion section and showed him the conditions of making sales which says that he must specify where the sales is happening and in which branches and Emirates. He just turned red and apologized.
As I am a fan of shopping, it is important for me to know when the sales days for my favourite shops are going to start. Besides I liked my colleagues and it was nice to work with them because they are always there to help each other if any of them is in a problem, I really felt that they were my family. Also, the daily work wasn’t so hard and it was easy to understand.
But there are things I hated in my work that sometimes I spent days without doing anything at all which was extremely boring and the employees also don’t have any work at all that they get so bored. I asked them many times to transfer me to any section that might needs extra help but unfortunately no one want any help because they have enough trainees.
successes of the work experience
My manager and the other employees that I worked with treated me as I am one of them. They showed me how the work is done and watches me while im doing it until they make sure I can do it by my own. Briefly, they were so helpful and love to make others learn.
the manager or whoever showed u how the work is done,, they treat me like am one of the real emplyees not a trainer
I believe I was good and did well at calculations and report typing and being accurate in recording information in the system because my supervisor said to me usually we don’t allow any trainees to use our system in recording any information because everything inside the system should be accurate and without any mistakes.
There are some skills I gained from the college. One of these skills is taking the initiative. For example, when I completed my third week, I knew my daily job very well without going to the supervisor to tell me what im supposed to do and after I finish she give extra work if there is some work or she give me a one hour break to rest. Briefly, I was Self-starting rather than passively accepting the work.
Taking the Initiative- I remember doing only what I needed to do to get by when I was in college. It was easy doing only what my professors required of me, and often, most students never learned to think for themselves. My boss now expects me to come up with ideas and unique solutions to problems, not just “meeting the minimum standard.”
Strategic Planning- Though I learned study skills in college, I never had a clear plan or strategy for what I was doing or where I was going, other than completing my courses. In the business world, every outcome is measured, every result analyzed. I have learned to formulate strategic plans to accomplish my objectives so that I am more focused and productive.
I have learnt a lot from the work experience I have attended over the last 8 weeks. I learnt the speed of the procedure while maintaining the accuracy, Building a database of personal customers especially next to the public database and Completion of a day’s work at the same time and not to give an opportunity for the accumulation of deferred work.
Beside of the previous skills I gained new skills. Sometimes angry customers with no knowledge of Arabic or English come to me to finish their work but some time misunderstanding happens so what I learnt is to maintain calm to deal with others.
areas for improvment
Almost every two weeks, the Head Sales and Promotion Mr. Mohammed Bin Fares sets a meeting around 1:00 pm to discuss with the staff any problem that they have faced during these two weeks and they have to add recommendations at the end of the meeting. What the manager did that he announced about the meeting without telling me to join them, I was really sad because I really wanted to give them some ideas that might be useful for them.
While I’ am there, I saw Miss Mona and Mr. Abdul-Aziz register the shops when they come to make sales or want to advertise. I told Miss Mona to let me do it for one day and it was difficult. For example, if any shop wanted to hang pictures on their windows as advertisement, I have to know how many windows and doors in this shop by meters and according that I have to calculate how much they have to pay for this advertisement which is I didn’t get it until now.
In my college I’ve learnt how to be responsible and how to be in charge of many tasks. Also, I’ve learnt how to manage my time between my personal time and my working time and do all what my the tasks that are given to me on me and submit them neatly.
I’ve learned in the university the responsibility and how to be in charge of many tasks. also i’ve learned how to manage my time and do all what given to me on time neatly
I believe that the college didn’t prepare us well for this work experience, well it might be but I think for the private sector not the public sector, because at the work experience I faced some difficulty at the beginning in writing Arabic reports and letters which I believe is extremely different than writing them in English and much harder. Now I know how to write Arabic reports and letters but I don’t think as professional and neatly as the English.
If I was an employee in Sharjah Economic Development I would participate more in sessions that are held by the department itself to improve myself. For example, there are sessions for communications, how to deal with customers and sessions of how to answer the phone. I believe these sessions are made for the fresh graduates and for new employees with no degree so they can learn what they might not learnt before.
I would recommend this work experience for students and at the same time I wouldn’t recommend it.
I recommend it for students who would like to work in public sector, where they can see how the working environment there and prefer less working hours. While I don’t recommend it for students who would like to work for public sector, because in public sector Arabic is wildly used which I think it would affect what they have studied at college and it will be difficult for them at the beginning. Another thing which I think it is most important, in public sector, employees don’t ever work regarding their degree which I think it is a waste for all the years that they have studied. For example, in my working experience I wanted some accounting work and they said that the section is full, and then the lady there told me do you think tomorrow if you applied here you will work as an accountant? She said in our department most of the employees here got high degrees but they are working in different jobs than what they have studied.
In the future I would like to work in this department or a similar department because im welling to work in any public sector as it has many advantages such as accommodating high market fluctuations and favourable work environment. In addition, the working hours in public sectors are very flexible which is very important to me as I’m a mother, besides of that most of the public departments are near to my home so I’m taking advantage of that.
The work placement gave me a chance to apply some of my studies in the field. In addition, I experienced the real deal in applying my knowledge in work placement and how the real job is done also use my knowledge in solving some workplace problems using team techniques I studied.
I strongly want to work in public sector and I’m planning to work in any public sector. Briefly, in the future I want to be in a position where I can use my skills I have learnt and challenge my colleagues.
I strongly want to work in public sector and im planning to work in any public sector. Briefly. in the future i want to be in a position were i can use my skills i learned and challange my colleges
i;ve learned alot in this experince placement and i’ve experinced how the real job is don, and in the future i want to be in a position were i can use my skills i learned and challange my colleges
It may mark a turning point or change to your way of thinking or acting in a particular way.
A standard costing and variance analysis
Study suggests that many companies use standard accounting to determine costs and for measuring performance. However, there has always been speculation on standard costing being the most effective measurement. The actual cost usually differs from the standard costs, which is based on calculations and assumptions. Standard accounting takes into account various factors like price, specifications, quantity and quality of the material. The estimations involved in analyzing and setting standard costs involve the efficiency of the management. If a difference between the actual cost and the standard cost is observed, an investigation is required since it suggests the inefficiency in the calculation of estimates.
Relevance of Standard Costing and Variance Analysis The standard costs are calculated according to the following flowchart and the variance is monitored and recalculated at every interval to reduce cost variance.
Definition of standard cost: “a pre-determined cost calculated in relation to a prescribed set of working conditions, correlating technical specifications and scientific measurements of material and labor to the price and wage rates expected to apply during the period to which the standard cost is intended to relate, with the addition of an appropriate share of budgeted overhead” (CIMA [ICMA] definition)
The standard costs are to be set by the management after a set of calculations. These calculations can either be based on historical records or on engineering studies. Depending on the type of company and volatility in costs, a great deal of care is to be taken into setting standards.
Standard costing is usually applied in conjunction with other costing methods (or variance analysis):
Absorption and marginal costing
Job and process costing
Budgeting and budgetary control
Advantages of Standard Costing The costing standards are helpful in establishment of prices, budgets and production schedules. The employees are motivated to maintain efficiency to reduce errors in achieving a target. ‘Management by exception’ is allowed to be practiced by variances. Record keeping and stock evaluation are harmonized and simplified due to a standard set of costing used across the system. Responsibility is defined with the help of variance analysis. The technical analysis necessary to set standards will result in better methods, greater efficiency and in cutting costs.
The standards provide essential control information which help in comparing the actual costs to the standards.
Disadvantages of Standard Costing Firstly standard costing will not be very efficient for companies that use a ‘lean’ system. In lean production, the volumes produced are lowered and the inventories re consumed only after the determining amounts of the quantity demanded.
Secondly, there might be changes in the working practices, the prices and volumes of the raw materials, which reduce the standards and are misleading and inappropriate.
Many costs are incurred in maintain and calculating the standard costing systems.
Over assumptions of costs in an urge to make the standard costs favorable may lead to high cost variances. This may also lead to non-productive work like measuring and completing forms.
Standard costing is overly focused on statistical data and thus there might be a conflicting boundary between the standard cost and estimated cost. For example the overheads may require running at full efficiency even though the excess production is not required.
Standard costing maybe applicable in larger firms with high production lines and bigger resources, but for smaller firms, the basic thumb rule methods are more appropriate for use in control.
Alternative methods Activity Based Costing In this method, the costs are recognized due to the cause and effect relationship between the activities and costs that drive the company costs. This method can theoretically be used in any industry due to its flexibility in determining costs at different levels. ABC, just like the other traditional costing systems, it often results in recognizing indirect costs on easily identifiable figures such as ‘direct labor hours’. It often results in inaccuracy in assigning the costs to its relevant activity.
However, this method is used effectively in complex companies where certain costs are not easy to record and evaluate. It is used in companies which are not completely service based.
Balanced score card The balanced score card is used as a performance measure and for strategic planning in major organizations. It was invented by Dr. Kaplan and David Norton that analyzed measurements in a combination of traditional and strategic method to give a more ‘balanced’ view to the management. The balanced scored had four main perspectives:
Learning and growth perspective The scorecard considers learning as one of the most important perspectives in the case of employees and at an organizational level. Funds can be adequately allotted by managers to ensure the training needs of a worker since the developing industry requires a continuous improvement in the skill level.
Business process perspective In this perspective, metrics are used to allow the managers to understand the importance of their internal business and whether the products and services are capable of satisfying the customer’s needs. The metrics for a business process are best when designed by a highly experienced internal manager.
Customer perspective The constant increase in the market trend from a customer’s perspective has increased companies to use metrics to define customer satisfaction levels. If the quality of the products and services reduce, the customer satisfaction would drop and thus he would switch to a more competitive company. Hence, frequent measures such as the scorecard and customer feedbacks have to be used to understand the customer’s requirements.
Financial perspective A company needs to constantly calculate its financial data and create a capacity to fund the current projects. The accuracy involved in this data will help the managers create a planned and organized expenditure. Data such as the risk assessment and cost-benefit data has to be identified in this perspective. The standard costing requires accuracy in calculating this data since any errors could cause a large cost variance and affect direct labor and direct material cost.
Target costing Target costing is a cost management tool for reducing the overall product cost in a production life cycle. This approach is most commonly used in Japanese companies along with Six Sigma, Kaizen and various other approaches. Unlike traditional methods, target costing takes a very proactive approach to pricing. It analyzes the costing information of the product and suggests the best possible price upfront. This saves the wastage in time and costs involved in re-engineering and design. In particular, target costing concentrates on phase wise reduction of costs in a product life cycle. The decisions involve a large team a multi-level team of staff from production, engineering, etc. to determine the acceptable market price.
Just-in-time method The JIT method is one of the lean methods used in the new production systems. It is very efficient in supply chains and production units in determining the quantity of products to be produced depending on the customer requirements.
However, JIT method also results in a few disadvantages such as purchasing inventory that is not required immediately. Due to the stock up of inventory, there are chances of the goods being damaged or lost. Also, the more assets a company is holding, the higher premium it has to pay. Thus having excessive assets is not an efficient option. Assets include both ‘cash’ and ‘inventory’, but cash is more flexible and helps in precluding loans which means lesser liabilities for the organization.
When the demand increases, the orders would have to be rushed and thus greater staffing working in overtime is required. This would lead to an increase in the direct labor costs and also would reduce employee satisfaction. The company would also have to manage the orders in a short period of time which create a lot of trouble for the middle level management. This change in costs further affects the standard costing of a company.
Total Quality Management Total quality management involves the continuous improvement of products and services while also involving the managers and employees in a quality management approach. TQM is aimed at increasing the quality while reducing the wastage in production of goods.
Some of the popular companies involved in the adaptation of TQM include Toyota motor company, Ford motor company, Phillips semiconductor and SGL carbon.
TQM involves the continuous improvement of a process, and thus improving the future results of a process. It contains a combination of quality management tools which helps in increasing the quality at pace with the improving market standards.
Kaizen methods Kaizen in Japanese stands for improvement in simple terms. When the word is split, ‘kai’ means change and ‘zen’ means good. The most important aspect of a kaizen method is to standardize your process. Most of the companies that follow the kaizen method use a PDCA life cycle.
One of the leading motor companies using this method efficiently is Toyota motors. Toyota has extensively implemented the ‘continuous improvement’ strategy in its lifecycle.
The basic steps of the kaizen method involve the Plan-Do-Check-Act life cycle. As the title suggests, the first step of the process involves planning the costs and estimating the costs accurately. The next step involves measuring and implementing the costs and the effectiveness using various measuring techniques. The third phase involves checking whether the standards are optimal and efficient and if not act accordingly towards continuous improvement. After achieving the new results, these are set as the new standards and thus create accuracy. The cycle repeats itself continuously improving the process.
Pricing decisions in service sectors Most healthcare organizations do not realize the benefits of standard costing in an organization and thus result in high cost variances. The application of standard costing systems used in such organizations can help in realizing the losses in unrecovered overhead on time and hence take corrective action.
In today’s world, customers in the service sector demand the prices to be lowered and a better cost information system. The most effective way to deal with this is to use standard costing and variance analysis. Full costs per unit should be measured in advance of providing a service. The variable costs can thus be easily estimated since the facilities in the service sector directly use the pricing process.