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[New Retail + New Platform] Chapter 4- Going Paperless

Oct 26 / Charlotte Liew

In business, we all too often get caught in our ways. We like to stick with what’s familiar. “If it’s worked well for us so far, why risk the change?” Some changes however, are inevitable - if you want to keep your organisation afloat that is. One example is digitalisation. Despite new technological advancements, many organisations choose to continue their business processes traditionally. While this keeps the organisation within a safe comfort zone - it costs the business in terms of cost, manpower and time efficiency in the long run. With that said, Senheng had embarked on an ambitious paperless initiative in 2015. We explore this paperless journey further in the fourth chapter in New Retail + New Platform, along with the challenges faced.   The five pillars of going paperless. While the move to becoming a paperless company had roots in 2015, Senheng had been undergoing a digitalisation journey from as early on as 2000. For Senheng’s visionary managing director Lim Kim Heng, the rapid changes in business meant it was essential for a business to adopt the necessary technologies to keep up - hence why it has always been a priority. “The business world is changing rapidly, and the information I received 30 minutes ago is now obsolete.”   The organisation approached this paperless transformation from five main aspects: Upgrading of the Senheng App Clear communication with relevant business partners regarding the paperless initiative Creation of an e-merchandising list Instalment of an e-document management system Standardisation of the e-form and e-transportation procedures   As a whole, Senheng’s ambitious paperless initiative couldn’t have been realised without the business intelligence (BI) solutions the organisation had in place. The  BI system that Senheng adopted covers analytics such as sales performance, inventory management, staff productivity, stock age, and automatic replenishment. It put the company two steps forward by allowing for clearer understanding of the company’s past, present and future.   What did going paperless do for Senheng? The benefits of digitalisation need no introduction. While the initial hurdle will be high, organisations see enhanced efficiency, reduced cost and less need for storage space - not to mention its environmentally-friendliness.   The digitalisation of Senheng’s business processes has successfully reduced its per-transaction cycle, savings resources and manpower in the long run. One of the best examples of how this initiative has impacted the organisation can be found in the company’s B2B management system. The system boils the purchasing process down to four simple steps: Purchase order uploading Goods delivery via system confirmation Delivery order confirmation Payment matching   Transformation is an uphill road: How does one manage change? With all that said, an initiative like Senheng’s paperless initiative is no easy task, especially when it has to permeate the entire organisation from top to bottom. Perhaps the biggest challenge faced by Senheng during this transitional period was the buy-in of other managers within the company. This is especially relevant for well-established companies like Senheng, which tend to rely on their tried-and-true fixed frameworks. Lim explains that having a clear and precise vision is key. Top management must be persistent in their goals and communicate their intentions clearly down the chain of command. Another challenge businesses must consider when it comes to the topic of digitalisation is technical suitability. The goal of any organisational transformation is to enhance productivity by simplifying burdensome processes of the past. If new technological systems are just as complicated, there’s simply no point.   Thus, a thorough assessment should be carried out beforehand to identify the company’s current technical availability, along with the team’s capacity and capability.

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[New Retail + New Platform] Chapter 3- The Lover Economy

Oct 13 / Charlotte Liew

Love is important in business. Love for your business, your team, and most of all for your customers. This could mean treating your customers as sweethearts - nurturing a valuable relationship between retailer and customer then maintaining it for the long run.   In Chapter 3 of New Retail + New Platform, we delve into how Senheng has exercised their version of The Lover Economy. We explore how they have cherished and pampered their customers just as one would cherish their significant other, and how this has earned them loyal customers who trust them wholeheartedly.   ♦ Building loyalty and customer retention. After the initial excitement, romantic relationships without a strong foundation are bound to wither away. Senheng’s strong foundation of customer loyalty has been built through various ever-present programs and events, namely the infamous PlusOne Program, PlusOne Members Day and EZ Credit Rebate Program.   PlusOne Program In Chapter 2, we introduced the PlusOne program and how it was paramount in boosting customer loyalty despite the slightly higher price tags that came with implementation of the Fixed Price Policy. The program absolutely showers members with personalised rewards. Additional one-year warranty, 24-month one-to-one replacements, free delivery and additional service name it. Perhaps the biggest differentiator however, is how Senheng identifies each group of customers and caters to each of them individually with their own PlusOne program.   The PlusOne Classic aside, the PlusOne Gold offers up even more exclusivity, while the PlusOne Lady Gold caters specifically for the female audience. The PlusOne Citi is a notable partnership between Senheng and Citibank, where Citibank card members get to enjoy the best of both worlds with benefits from both parties. PlusOne Members Day Held three times annually, Senheng’s PlusOne Members Day has been a constant for the past 15 years and counting. During these events, members are treated to exceptionally exclusive offers and discounts from not only Senheng but also third party merchants such as Starbucks, Kenny Rogers and other well-known non-home appliance retailers.   EZ Credit Rebate Program The EZ Credit Rebate Program is a loyalty program that’s once again, exclusive for PlusOne members. Members can earn EZ Credits from purchases on selected products to accumulate and redeem as discounts for future purchases.   ♦ More than just face value. In romantic relationships, it’s often the small things that make an impact. The same goes for relationships between customer and retailer. As minor as they may be, it’s the small details that further enhance the overall experience for customers in a Lover Economy. In Senheng, these changes can be observed in their paperless project and Senheng app.   ♦ Going paperless. As early as 2015, Senheng has been taking the company digital, transitioning all company processes to their paperless, digitalised counterparts (read more on Senheng’s digitalisation journey here!). Today, the membership application process for PlusOne membership registration is done via e-form on a tablet. This not only downsizes Senheng’s carbon footprint, but also makes for a more accurate and efficient application process.   ♦ The Senheng app. The Senheng app takes convenience one step further for customers. Through the app, customers can view: PlusOne points EZ Credit points Warranty validity E-receipts Store locations Current offers and promotions Within the app, the QuickChat function connects customers with their nearest Senheng store, while the e-Wallet function makes payments a paperless breeze.   ♦ For a better tomorrow. Positioning your customers as your brand’s “sweetheart” extends past mere loyalty programs and member-centric features. It also means genuinely taking feedback to heart. In a May 2019 survey involving over 18,000 PlusOne members, 90% stated that they will recommend Senheng to relatives and friends.   When asked what they like about being a PlusOne member, the top three perks echoed by the majority include: Free premium warranty services Attractive promotions Devoted customer service   On a more negative note, the top five issues members were dissatisfied with include: Attitude and image of the salesperson Slow follow-up and response Delayed delivery Untrained staff Desired products being out of stock   Positive or negative, feedback allows a business to further grow and reward their customers with the pampering they deserve - whatever your business’s version of a Lover Economy may be.

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