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[New Retail + New Platform] Chapter 6- Franchise

Nov 25 / Charlotte Liew

What would a company be without its employees? As the Founder and Managing Director of Senheng, Lim takes human capital seriously. You’d be hard pressed to find a leader who invests as much into his employees - from sponsoring Masters’ degrees to learning trips worldwide. In Chapter 6 of New Retail + New Platform, we explore how Senheng’s franchise system expands not just the company alone, but the team as a whole.   Franchising for employee entrepreneurship. Since 2015, the Senheng Franchise Academy has successfully created more than 23 millionaires with an accumulated profit of RM67 million. But before the success of the Senheng Franchise Academy present today, the program had undergone much reviewing, refining and relaunching. In its first stages in 1995, the program was called the “Staff Franchise Program”. Applicants were guaranteed RM36,000 profit - but response was low. Just 6 years later, the program was relaunched with four franchise shops. This sparked more interest from employees, but concerns such as financial support continued to dissuade them. In 2003, a new franchise model was launched – “Franchise – A Scheme”. This program gave store managers the opportunity to compete via sales targets for the chance to choose a Senheng outlet out of the 115 available at the time as their startup store. On top of that, the winner would also receive an interest-free RM20,000 loan and the right to select store employees as he or she wished.   So, what was the turning point which led to the Senheng Franchise Academy? Lim came to the realisation that preparation and guidance was the missing key. Thus, the Senheng Franchise Academy was launched in 2015 to guide Senheng staff to embark on their own entrepreneurial journey. Through the program, candidates go through several stages before being qualified to call an outlet their own. Candidates are guided on sales techniques and procedures Undergo store manager training program Assume the role of a store manager Two years of experience and fulfillment of monthly KPI Learning to manage expenses in a Senheng franchised outlet Qualified to own a Senheng franchise outlet!   Be the supporting pillar for your staff. Senheng offers the support that franchisees need in terms of: Before sales (by HQ) 1.         Product Merchandising 2.         Advertising & Promotions 3.         HR and Training 4.         Finance and Accounts 5.         IT & Business Solutions 6.         CRM and Loyalty Program   During sales (by Franchisees) 1.         Display and cleanliness 2.         Auto replenishment system and management of inventory safety level 3.         Staffs discipline monitoring 4.         On-the-job staff coaching 5.         Customer service handling 6.         Price tag update and Point of Purchase (POP) update   After sales (by HQ) 1.         Warehouse 2.         Logistics 3.         Home delivery & installation 4.         Repair & service   How about outside of the franchise program? Senheng also organises business study visits for their team locally and abroad such as China, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan. The company provides training for over 3,600 employees per year. In 2018, Lim even took a team of 30 employees to the headquarters of Alibaba in Hangzhou, China to learn from the best - an investment costing RM12,000 for each participating employee. Senheng staff also have the opportunity to learn from various international courses such as the Executive Business Management (EMBA) program, Management Training Program (MTP) from Taiwan and the Advanced Retail Marketing Workshop (ARMC) from Japan. At present, more than 80 employees in the company are Master’s Degree holders.   Growing together Clearly, the company holds the employee’s interests close to their heart - but it’s not all work and no play. The company advocates self-development in both career and personal life, gladly sponsoring team building activities such as badminton sessions, indoor football sessions, Qigong classes, movies, bowling and even leisure Fridays. On top of that, the company recognises that having a little bit more flexibility to meet family needs and personal obligations will in turn improve employee well-being and reduce employee burnout. With three flexible working hours (8am-5pm, 9am-6pm, 10am-7pm) to choose from, employees are free to schedule their working hours according to their lifestyles. Even today, Senheng continues to promote employee wellbeing from within the company - be it through providing franchising opportunities, professional development, team building or flexible working schemes.

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[New Retail + New Platform] Chapter 5- Territory Champion

Nov 09 / Charlotte Liew

Senheng is a company of many firsts in Malaysia. In Chapter 5 of New Retail + New Platform, we flip through the company’s past to view the many achievements that have ranked them at the top within their circle today.   1. The leading brand with the most significant brick-and-mortar store presence. Senheng is electronics, electronics is Senheng. This narrative has been crafted as a result of strong emphasis on the outlook of Senheng’s brick-and-mortar stores. Think of every Senheng store you’ve been into. The sheer size of the outlet, along with the vast variety of products displayed certainly welcomes you with open arms. That’s because every Senheng store stands as the largest store with the most up-to-date variety of products within its five-kilometer radius. As a business that started as a brick-and-mortar store, Senheng stays true to its roots and continues to build on that experience.   2. Suppliers’ first choice. Being top choice for customers is an impressive feat in itself. However, retailers often place less emphasis on the other half of the equation - the suppliers. Since 2013, 90 percent of the brands displayed at Senheng are high-end and top-tier names in the industry. By focusing on building and maintaining a sincere, trusting relationship, brands are happy to give Senheng higher marketing budgets.   3.Largest marketing budget. Senheng understands that marketing isn’t an area that can be afforded to be withheld on. In response to the trust given by suppliers, Senheng returns the favor by investing heavily in marketing and advertising - a win-win situation for supplier and retailer both. In 2018 alone, Senheng’s marketing budget amounted to a whopping RM15 million! That year, the budget was recorded as the highest among consumer electrical appliances retailers in the country.   4. First to market new products. As a leading brand in the industry, one of Senheng’s proudest achievements is its ability to offer customers the latest products in the market. Before other retailers have even received the products, Senheng’s storefronts are already displaying the new releases. To be given priority by partners is a valuable thing indeed. One that comes alongside strong, concrete relationships.   5. First in product categories. Another example of how strong supplier-retailer partnerships are pivotal to Senheng’s success can be seen in their product categories. To be the leading retailer in product categories offered is not a one-man feat. Senheng pushes each and every one of their partners to rise to the top within their respective categories as well. In the eyes of Senheng’s managing director Lim Kim Heng, this creates a positive cycle in the retail chain. “Once they have better brand value, it benefits us too. When we are purchasing a sizable quantity of a certain product category, the cost is lowered and thus, giving back this saving to our customers in terms of discounts or additional warranty. Isn’t it a win-win for all of us?” With this principle in mind, Senheng is proud to house at least 2,500 top-ranking products at any one time.   6. Pioneer in branding. Senheng is the first local consumer electrical appliances retailer in Malaysia to build its own branding, only adding to their list of firsts. This happened at a time when very few others in the industry recognized the importance of building its own brand. Today, Senheng is happily reaping the results of their actions and early thinking.   7. Best logistics. In Malaysia, many retailers rely on services for external logistic companies. Senheng on the other hand, has gone to the extent of building their own logistics infrastructure and delivery team. This makes a difference because it allows the company to place strict SOP in accordance with the company’s direction. When combined with their emphasis on after-sales services, customers are treated to a holistic shopping experience - all the way from beginning to end.   8. Fastest repairs. One important component of Senheng’s after-sales service is their product maintenance services which boast the fastest repair speed. Unrivaled in the market, customers who come to Senheng for maintenance or repairs only have to wait for approximately 10 days or so depending on the product’s condition. In contrast, the majority of other retailers take about a month or so. As most of us know, a company’s proudest achievements are often just an accumulation of smaller successes over time. All the above firsts have brought Senheng towards three major “firsts”: First in brand recognition. First in online platforms traffic. First in offline visitors count.

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