CHINHOYI UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY
DEPARTMENT OF TRAVEL AND RECREATION
A REPORT ON THE INDUSTRIAL ATTACHMENT CARRIED OUT AT NATIONAL HANDLING SERVICES IN VICTORIA FALLS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT.
SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE BACHELOR OF SCIENCE HONORS DEGREE IN TRAVEL AND RECREATION
31 OCTOBER 2018
COMPANY PHYSICAL ADDRESS AND CONTACT DETAILS
National Handling Services
P.O BOX 60
Victoria Falls International Airport
Phone Numbers 00(263) 1344316/44665
Fax 00(263) 1344252
Email [email protected] www.nhs.zw
Airport at which the report was done:
Victoria Falls International Airport
Report for Rebecca Muriva student at Chinhoyi University of Technology
Approved by Station Manager
Email Address; [email protected]
I Rebecca Muriva declare that this attachment report is original work that has not previously submitted to any university or college. This thesis is a preparation of original work, otherwise stated and acknowledged. I also declare this report to my parents Mrs S. Kandenga and Mr T Kandenga. It was hard but thoughts of your wise words kept me going.
The purpose of the report is to cover the period during which the reporter was attached to National Handling Services, the departments exposed to, and how this exposure helped to create a link between the theories learnt and the reality of industry .It seeks among other objectives to give a detailed account undertaken by the author during the attachment period which correspond with the courses carried out at Chinhoyi University of Technology. The purpose of having a report is to clearly highlight the activities that the students were responsible for during their term of attachment.
The objective of this report is to give a general overview of the organization, background and its structure and outline the opportunities gained, threat, strength and weakness faced ,, hence recommendations that would suggest an generate to improve the systems. Generally I managed to advance a lot during the period of my attachment and it was a pleasure to spend some time at National Handling Services as I gained a lot from the learning process.
Firstly l would like to thank God for guiding me through my attachment process and giving me power and wisdom to keep on going through the hard times. l would like also to thank everyone who has kindly supported me through this attachment journey.
I also, want to express my deep gratefulness to Mr. D Karugwambe (Area Manager of National Handling Services at Victoria falls International Airport) for allowing me the opportunity to experience the practical situation on the ground at this company. My greatest appreciation goes to my supervisor Mr P Idana who looked with blood shooting eyes towards the success of my attachment report and for his continued support motivation, knowledge and guidance throughout the good and bad times. His support will be remembered and valued for many upcoming years.
My deepest gratitude is also extended to the department of Travel and Recreation at Chinhoyi University of Technology for helping me with the relevant informational documents and moral support. Lam also grateful to Mrs F Butshe and Mr L Chikukwa assisting me to come with this work without them l would not be able to reach this far.
I appreciate a word of advice from my family and friends who helped me directly and indirectly, only God knows how grateful lam. Without you all this report would not have been a success. May the Lord bless you allTABLE OF CONTENTS
This report is submitted in partial fulfillment requirements of Bachelor of Science in Travel and Recreation (BSTR) one has to experience one year of attachment at a certain organization. Industrial attachment also acted as the linking factor between the theory aspect of the program with the real process and operations of the industry. The report is not an exhaustive account of all the experiences l went through over the year, it’s a mere summary on the rich experience and a comprehensive picture of appreciation and skills offered at NHS. In addition, this report serves to give an overview of the functions and operations of the organization as well as the organization’s target market.
1.2LOCATION AND BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ORGANISATION
National Handling Services (NHS) is located at Victoria Falls International Airport (VFA), 23km in the south direction. Its operation currently is being done at other internationally airports like Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Airport in Bulawayo and Robert Mugabe International Airport. It has got the capacity to operate at all airports in Zimbabwe National Handling Services is a company entirely owned by government of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Transport Communication and Infrastructure Development. It was formed by Air Zimbabwe in 1989 and went on to be incorporated. It has the largest market share in aviation ground handling in Zimbabwe.
1.3 VISION AND MISSION STATEMENT OF THE ORGANISATION
To be a world class provider of aviation ground handling services by 2020.
To provide ground handling services to its aviation clients.
ORGANIZATION CORE VALUES
Client Focus: The interest of the customer comes first, we are committed to meeting the service level expectation of our customer.
Teamwork: We believe that the organization hinges on the collaboration of individuals in the company and will promote and uphold teamwork and staff motivation.
Safety and Security: We go all out to develop the culture of promoting safety and security and order to mitigate risks arising from loss and damage to cargo, passengers within the work premises.
Accountability: We strive to provide clients and stakeholders with the info they may require to know about the company from time to time and we are accountable to the shareholder.
Professionalism: We have the right attitude to all our clients and stakeholders. As a corporate citizen we uphold professionalism in whatever we do.
1.4 ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
It determines how the roles, power and responsibilities are given also controlled and coordinated to show how information flows between the different levels of management and where it reports to within the organization. The organization structure is easy to recognize thus principle of unit of command.
The organizational chart shows the relationship between members of National Handling Services, how they lay out in terms of formal communications showing how managers do and staff relate to each other. National Handling Services is currently using vertical organogram in which the highest level is of general manager then number of subordinates under each department.
1.5 THE ORGANIZATION’S BUSINESS
The writer was attached as the Marketing Operations Customer Services Agent. National Handling Services offer various departments which are passenger check in, load control, lost property office, ramp control, lounge service, cargo departments and information desk. In these departments there were number of task that the student have been assigned and initiated through her attachment period. The student was rotated among these departments to ensure that she was equipped with the skills expected and acquires knowledge as a source of experience.
1.5.1 PASSENGER HANDLING
Checking in passengers
The company gives service of checking in passengers and their baggage. This practice is still being done by individuals, for example National Handling Services which provides ground handling services to its clients unlike in other countries where passengers log in online they just come to board their plane. Check in involves of verification of identification on the passport validity and questionnaires to passengers on what they are carrying to avoid accepting dangerous goods to the aircraft. Apparently on check in process National Handling Services it offers special passenger assistance such as to wheelchair passengers, assistance to an unaccompanied minor, assistance to expecting women and mothers with babies and assistance to first time travellers. This process is carried out through to the boarding gate. All these passengers are given the priority to be boarded first including business class passengers, executive members and passengers with gold and platinum cards.
SPECIAL PASSENGER ASSISTANCE
To wheelchair passengers
This is a special assistance given to passengers with reduced mobility with the aid of wheelchairs. Wheelchair is required by the passenger who cannot walk long distance from the point of check in till one is boarding his or flight.
Assistance to an unaccompanied minor
An unaccompanied minor is a child travelling alone. NHS is effective in facilitating their travel prior to their departure. A customer service agent is assigned to escort the minor through the departure route for all exit procedures up to the boarding gate and inform the next station prior to their arrival of the flight.
Assistance to Expecting Women and Mothers with babies
National Handling Services customer service agencies are also responsible for assisting pregnant women and mothers with babies when they request for assistance.
The sorting, recording, loading and offloading bags for passengers was also on my duties. On loading the baggage, we used the (LIR) loading instruction report to load the baggage of the passengers into the aircraft’s cargo hold. Also on recording the baggage, we used the Bagera machine which indicates the barcode of the identified baggage. This process ranges from baggage check in to offloading of baggage and may reach as far as baggage tracing in case of any loss of baggage. NHS staff should make sure that no dangerous items like daggers, guns and flick knives are declared as cabin baggage instead they should be kept in a deep locker which is out of reach of the passenger while aboard the plane. The baggage handlers collects, sort and check all the bags and load them to the respective aircraft with the reference of the baggage tags, that is to collect and sort checked in baggage. All the checked in baggage is screened before it is loaded so as to ensure safety and the security personnel escort the incoming and outgoing bags, which is also called baggage safety and security.
The student was responsible to handle the lost property office; also it is a sensitive office. A system called a World Tracer is used for tracing passenger delayed or missing bag.It is very common that most of the times an aircraft fails to deliver the entire luggage for the passenger it carries. There are some discrepancies that can happen as people check in their bags, at connecting from one flight to another and when disembarking. There are three types of luggage complaints handled by the lost luggage office: Delayed bags (AHL), Bag on hand (OHD), Damage and Pilferage (DPR). If a client cannot find their bags after a flight, they come to the lost and found office to file a report. The office is located in the arrivals area. National Handling Service agent helps passengers to fill reports and deliver luggage to the passengers.
National Handling Services is a company that is dedicated to offer luxurious lounge facilities to its valued customers were internet facilities are offered and service of refreshment. However, this facility is given to first class and business class passengers or passengers with required cards such as priority pass, diners club, dragon pass and lounge key. If a passenger does not have the required cards above he or she can pay an extra fee of $20 to access if one is an economy passenger. The lounge service is associated with the VIP handlings were the VIP’s are handled in accordance. National Handling Services has two lounges, the one is at domestic side and the one is at international side all are Dzimbahwe Lounges for NHS. Hygiene at lounge is the first priority given to the passengers. Full buffet service of beverages and snacks were, provided to customers together with satellite televisions, internet (Wi-Fi) connection, and conferencing facilities with a serene environment. Passengers can enjoy this service while they are waiting for their flights to start boarding and their friends or relatives. The passengers for Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airline were having a contract with NHS with passengers who are in business class to have access to the lounge. Unfortunately, passengers in business class for South African Airways, British Airways and Air Namibia were not permitted to use the lounge unless if a passenger has an required card to access the lounge.
The executive lounge offers admitted passengers the ability to relax in comfort whilst waiting to board the aircraft.
The lounge executive provides a wide variety of goods which includes refreshments snacks satellite television newspapers and magazines internet access. NHS personnel are always available in the lounge to help passengers with every request. Not all airlines are admitted in the Dzimbahwe lounge.
This is when the load controller has the procedures in accordance with the requirements of each airline to ensure each flight production of weight calculation does not exceed the structural limits of the aircraft type. National Handling Services does load control for all aircrafts that tours Victoria Falls International Airport. They give loading instructions and load sheets on how to load the aircraft r some calculations. These vital factors is proper weight and balance which is one of National Handling Services, products provided to international, regional and domestic flights. Refueling is also a factor to be considered when doing load control. The safety of the aircraft lies in the hands of the load controller without this service an aircraft cannot depart any destination. It is done by well trained professionals for a specific aircraft.
Also this office is combined together with the activity of ship papers. This also needs one who has speed in processing paper work for General Declarations incoming and outgoing for each airline and the distribution of passenger manifest to the police, defense, ZIMRA, immigration and presidential office all these needs one who is very fast so as to avoid the delays on flights. After dispatching the aircraft we file all copies of both outgoing and incoming load sheet, loading instruction, NOTOC, general declaration, passenger manifest, cargo manifest and the bingo sheet. Then also prepare the same filing to the airline representative office after the aircraft is airborne.
NHS ensures that the aircraft is stable on the ground before conducting loading and off-loading activities. Monitor aircraft loading and off-loading operations to ensure that the aircraft stability is maintained throughout the loading and off-loading operations and that there is no aircraft movement. It is the role of the ramp staff of NHS being monitored by a ramp supervisor to manage aircraft turnaround time. The aircraft pushback is being done by National Handling Services which is the expertise to tow and pushback, all types of aircraft loading and unloading aircraft they are handled wide and narrow bodied passenger and freighter aircraft. The process of toilet and water services, it involves the drainage of the aircraft lavatories and refilling of toilet water tanks, hence this process is being controlled at ramp by the ramp supervisor. Aircraft push back and towing is a ramp procedure during which an aircraft is pushed backwards away from any airport parking bay.
This is the process whereby checked in passengers are finally getting into the aircraft. Since check in opens earlier, passengers would have been waiting for boarding in the departure lounge and in boarding gates. In the departure lounge passengers of various airlines will be mixed whereas in boarding gates each airline passengers will be on their boarding gates.. An announcement is made before boarding starts, which notifies passengers which aircraft is boarding at which gate and to which destination. The announcement also specifies the flight number. An example of a boarding announcement is as follows:
“Good morning ladies and gentlemen. This is a departure call for Air Zimbabwe flight UM467 to Johannesburg. All passengers on this flight kindly have your passports and boarding passes ready for inspection and proceed on board the aircraft through gate number 2. We wish you all a pleasant flight. Thank you”
Air craft cleaning
Cleaning of the aircraft was being done by the student with the help of the flight attendants and aircraft handlers. National Handling Services provides cleaning services to airlines such as South African Airways, Ethiopian Airways, Kenya Airways, Airlink and Air Zimbabwe soon after all passengers have disembarked an aircraft. The cleaning of the aircraft floor, toilets and cabin seats as well as removing of all the rubbish containers of all the empty food containers so as to ensure an odor free environment. Also the cleaning process has to be done quickly and effectively in order for turn around the aircraft within the shortest time frame possible so as to avoid delays. They use the ground handling standards of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as the basis of service delivery
Aircraft loading and offloading
National Handling Services offers a service of loading and unloading of cargo as well as passenger baggage. Tugs they are responsible for that, currently in Victoria Falls only South African Airways and Ethiopian Airlines carries heavy cargo. It also has a facility of storage where the cargo can be kept before transportation and when the cargo has been received.
This is also called baggage wrapping. The National Handling Services offers a crucial role to protect passenger’s luggage, suitcases, boxes, baby buggies, car seats and any souvenirs through a safe wrapping before, during and after flights. Shrinking wrapping provides safety and security on passenger’s bags. The service offers a strong stretch wrap plastic around luggage forming a secure envelope of protection against objects being inserted or removed from passenger’s baggage the amount of $5 or $10 depending with the size of the bag.
The company offers handling and storage facilities of valuable, vulnerable, perishable, dangerous goods and mail. NHS receives and stores cargo in transit awaiting collection by the clients. In this regard, the company gets some of its revenue from storage fees. The company has well trained staffs which knows how to treat different types of cargo.
ORGANISATION’S TARGET MARKETS
National Handling services markets are mainly Airlines which include the following:
Fast jet (FN)
Air Malawi (3w)
Air Namibia (SW)
Air Zimbabwe (UM)
Angolan Airways (DT)
British Airways (BA)
Ethiopian Airways (ET)
Kenya Airways (KQ)
South African Airlink (SAA)
South African Express (SAE)
South African Airways Express (SAX)
DEPARTMENTS THE STUDENT WAS EXPOSED TO WHILE ON ATTACHMENT
The writer was attached under the department of Marketing and Operations Customer Services. It is divided into various departments which are ship papers, lost property, ramp handling, and passenger service and lounge operations. In these different departments there were a number of tasks that the student was assigned and initiated through her attachment period at National Handling Services.
THE ORGANISATION’S OBJECTIVES
It ensures a smooth service delivery as agreed in their airline service agreements. Effective customer service through service provision at all times enhancing customer satisfaction. It ensures accountability that is striving to provide clients with information from time to time and hence being accountable to the shareholders.
Check in is a process whereby a passenger gets a boarding pass and hands over any baggage that they cannot carry into the aircraft cabin. This is the first post of call when using air transport. Check in opens 3 hours before departure for all flights and check in closes 45 minutes before departure, 30 minutes before departure. It is the check in agent’s duty to check whether a passenger has the valid documents and TIMATIC it’s a guideline for visa. For cabin baggage, a passenger is asked some security questions regarding the contents in their bags to establish if they are not carrying any prohibited and dangerous items inside their bags. Checked luggage should be tagged, the tags have the name of the passenger, number of pieces of checked in luggage, their total weight and destination. If it is through check in it also shows the routing on the tag, for example, VFA-JNB-LHR which means the passenger started the journey in Victoria Falls and is going to London Heathrow airport via Johannesburg. Through check in is when a passenger who is supposed to connect to other flights is checked in just once at the starting point and is issued with boarding passes to be used later on subsequent flights. It is a prerequisite to ask these security questions so as to inform passengers. The security questions are as follows:
Is this your bag?
Did you pack it yourself?
Has anyone given you anything to carry for him or her?
From the time you packed, have you left your bag unattended?
Do you have any battery-operated items in your bag?
Do you have gels, perfumes and fluids exceeding 100ml packed in your bag?
The boarding pass issued at check in shows the aircraft’s boarding and departure times, name of passenger and seat number. Below is what a boarding pass looks like:
EVALUATION OF PASSENGER CHECK IN
Check in agents should be highly trained and have good communication skills, because they get to have interaction with different people from all over the world, including some who do not speak proper English and who does not know English at all, hence it is where customer experience first impressions hence they should get it right the first time . Delicate issues are handled at this point. Delicate issues are handled at this point. There is needed to be always alert so that you make good passenger profiling. Passport verification, security questions and entering information into the system requires good training. It is at this point that a person can be denied access to board the aircraft and so the agent should have good public relations skills to be able to deal with different customers.
SHIPS PAPERS OFFICE
This office operates for the arrival and departure of the air craft. The ships papers office is a very busy office that requires speed so as to avoid any delay in the aircraft turnaround time. Any delay for the quick turnaround time for the aircrafts National Handling Services is charged. The load controller is the one who operates the ship papers office; hence otherwise he or she will be having a student who will be assisting on the distribution and meeting of the flights. To distribute passenger manifests and general declarations prior to its arrival to offices like Presidents’ Office, Immigration, ZIMRA, police and defense offices. Ships papers officer also meet flight upon its arrival to collect the incoming general declaration and also prepare general declaration for outgoing aircraft and have it stamped at the Immigration and ZIMRA office then take it back to the aircraft before its time of departure. Also records the flight movement statistics of the day which comprises the addition of wheelchairs, toilet services, water and the expected time of arrival and departure of each and every flight hence combining the turnaround of each flight being handled on the ground. This is done to generate revenue through recording statistic from the flights for the services being offered to the clients for the day.
Computer, printer and the photocopier are always malfunctioning hence it becomes difficult to perform the all the paper work efficiently. On a busy day permanent workers used to roaster one student of which it’s a challenge on the firm as much of the paper work will be left unattended. The student fined it so difficult to file the flight package and updating statistics accordingly. . The challenge on the load control office is poor communication with the check in, boarding gate which delays the flight. The other process is profiling done by Immigration it delays the whole flow for the turnaround of the aircraft which creates pressure to the shippers papers
EVALUATION OF THE SHIPS PAPERS OFFICE
Two people should be assigned to work in this area at a time when one is distributing papers one will be meeting the flight. The equipment used in this office like computers and printers when it goes down it require regular servicing such as manual. On filing flight package the student need the assistance of the permanent staff.
LOST PROPERTY OFFICEThe student was responsible to handle the lost property office; also it is a sensitive office. A system called a World Tracer is used for tracing passenger delayed or missing bag.It is very common that most of the times an aircraft fails to deliver the entire luggage for the passenger it carries. There are some discrepancies that can happen as people check in their bags, at connecting from one flight to another and when disembarking. There are three types of luggage complaints handled by the lost luggage office: Delayed bags (AHL), Bag on hand (OHD), Damage and Pilferage (DPR). If a client cannot find their bags after a flight, they come to the lost and found office to file a report. The office is located in the arrivals area. National Handling Service agent helps passengers to fill reports and deliver luggage to the passengers.
The major challenge that was faced in this office was the inadequacy in computers as the service needs to be delivered in time of peak business. Another challenge faced by the student was embarrassment from frustrated passengers with missing bags and hence the office is very sensitive.
EVALUATION OF THE LOST PROPERTY
NHS Company needs to provide adequate computers in each every department so as to avoid delays on task at hand. Also passengers need to be handled with care and a certain eye of understanding the embarrassments from the passengers.
Load control (weight and balance)
This is when load controller has the procedures with the requirements of each airline to ensure each flight production of weight calculation does not exceed the structural limits of the aircraft type. National Handling Services does load control for all passenger aircrafts that tours Victoria Falls International Airport. Load controllers are responsible for doing load control and at times it’s a busy office they can do ship papers for the flights. They give loading instructions and load sheets on how to load the aircraft after some calculations. This office operates to arrival and departure of the air craft.
EXECUTIVE LOUNGE FACILITIES
The student played a significant role into the lounge with the hospitable manner to the passengers. The executive lounges are code-named “Dzimbahwe lounge”. The lounge caters for passengers travelling in business class and first class. They use the lounge when they are waiting to board the aircraft.
I cleaned the lounge, making sure l hover the carpet, mopping the floor using detergents dusting of all the furniture and applying oil on wooden furniture . Plates and glassware polished to remove dust after hovering. The emptying of bins was also done constantly for the preparation of the next flights to avoid unpleasant rubbish. Lounge office is very sensitive it needs one who is hygienic and who pay attention all the time.
CHALLENGES FACED IN THE LOUNGE
Permanent workers are not willing to work in the lounge their duty is to sit and give instructions as well to check on your mistakes. This demotivates us students at working place because at the end of the day no one will appreciate the job well done. Also the issue of theft in the lounge was upon on us students due to the fact that you have no say to argue with the permanent workers. A challenge was upon on the documents which were needed to be always completed with figures these are daily hand over, airline registration form and lounge patronage report. Lack of a printer in lounge most of the documents were to be printed in the load control that is where the printer was inserted for the whole station.
EVALUATION IN THE LOUNGE
Permanent workers must accept and appreciate new ideas from students. Also participation both a student and permanent worker need to be taken serious to avoid mistakes, fatigue and delays. Computers and printers must be distributed to all departments in the firm.
2.2 COMPARE AND CONTRAST ACTIVITIES IN EACH DEPARTMENT AND SOLUTION
National Handling Services has many departments which some are interlinked and some are not. Activities held at the company are intact to each other as they both generate revenue.
Lost property and lounge office are very sensitive they need more attention from the passengers. Load control and information desk are also busy office as passengers and workers will be requesting for information of the outgoing and incoming flights. More so, ramp handling need more equipment as it deals with offload and loading activities whereas load control ensure the flight production of weight and balance calculation. To add on aircraft boarding and information desk they both use PA system when announcing information of the flights. Also lounge and check in they both check in passengers using different document requirements. However, NHS as company need to have adequate computers and printers because all activities held in Victoria Falls airport are being done in load control office, with this it distracts the image of the firm. Last but not least, lounge is more of a relaxation environment whereas load control is a busy office.
3.1 SWOT ANALYSIS
A SWOT analysis is a strategic preparation method that is used to assess the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or business undertaking and in this instance an organization. Neil Ritson (2011) argues that the SWOT analysis is to identify strategies that align, fit or match an organization’s resources and capabilities to the demand of the environment in which the organization competes. SWOT analysis is alienated into two main categories, the internal factors which are the strength and the weakness and external factors which are the opportunities and threats which are of the organization.
A Diversified Range of Services
National Handling Services offers a diverse range of services for example lounge services, conference facilities and handling, check in, provision of air start units, ground power, aircraft cleaning, aircraft loading and unloading. These services being offered by National Handling Services they bring revenue in the company. AGS its competitor does not offer most of the services offered by NHS hence customers looking at NHS for service provision and this will upgrade the company’s image.
NHS has got a very huge market share it is the only company with the passenger handling concession in aviation ground handling in Zimbabwe. It has got a domination status to strengthen the greater chances that will stay in business for long and maintain its supernormal profits even in the long run. Also a leader in Ramp handling services at all major airports in Zimbabwe
Apart from its business activities National Handling Services also has the duty to benefit society. Outskirts of the airport there is Jabulani Primary School the company it is an obligation to help school children with food stuffs at their level best as part of their social responsibility. Social responsibility is a strong strength which pays a significant role in the survival of a business. The society then appreciates the good endeavor and their perception of the organization as it need arises on the positive effect.
National Handling Services has many operations department offices such as staff rest rooms, load control, baggage store, lounge offices and ramp equipment are strategically located at the international terminal where all the day to day department core business is undertaken. This enables the staff to meet the flight on time in order to reduce delays and promote quick turnaround. National Handling Services is located in the Victoria Falls which is a tourist destination therefore it generates revenue. This has become an ideal location for business passengers and travelers who wish to travel around different places of the world.
Team work from all the work stations
Team work is one of the core values. Team work is forever strength to any company or department. As a result the department is certain of working as a team in order to achieve one common goal. For example on busiest days like Thursday and Sunday morning almost six flights lands at the same time like from 09.00 to 14:00 hours and with this pressure one could see the shift managers and ramp supervisors will roast two or more people on each department and high loader machines to offload baggage containers. Therefore team work is strength in a way that it improves quality of a product or service and gives advantage over its competitors.
National Handling Services has the most qualified personnel in the aviation ground handling industry. This is supported by the organization’s mission statement which reads ‘To provide ground handling services to its aviation. National Handling Services has managed to offer its customers highly personalized services than its competitors and also meet targets set within exact time frames.
National Handling Services has remained facing cash flow problems due to Air Zimbabwe’s failure to pay for services offered to them and the fact that the shareholder is not giving its full financial support.
National Handling Services has been affected by manpower shortages as a result of work over load. For the simple reason that NHS is understrength, numerous times, members of staff are reassigned from less busy departments to busier ones and this is linked with problems of less quality professionalism and poor services delivered to customers.
The staff at National Handling Services faces a challenge of inadequate equipment. Machinery used within the company’s operations is not enough. This shortage will also have adverse effects on the smooth running of the company’s activities and can hinder the company’s objective of customer gratification. The equipment is too old to handle the well advanced aircraft. In which working with inadequate machinery obviously reduce service efficiency for example shortage of wheelchairs of which it resembles a special assistance to the passengers.
Unfavorable working conditions
The working hours can also get stressful to the workers when there are delays in the flight and one gets home late and will be expected at work the same day. In Victoria Falls there are three shifts therefore the one will be on off hence two shifts on duty the afternoon shift at National Handling Services automatically transforms into the night shift as they extent till the early hours of the following morning when the last flight departs. This reduces staff morale thereby resulting in the workforce providing substandard services. In Bulawayo employees do not get off days to rest and work for long hours this will result to fatigue in the long run which will impact badly on their performances at work.
Loss of experienced manpower to airlines
National Handling Services has faced a lot of challenges in trying to provide world class services in the airline industry because it has lost most of its experienced employees to airlines, therefore now it depends more on students on attachment and thus these students perform duties poorly because their level of expertise is not of high quality for example on check in points, load control, ramp, cargo handling and lost property
The machinery used at NHS is outdated and this can cause delays to complete a task thus reducing efficiency. The tugs and vehicles used on the ramp are old and this has a negative impact on service delivery. Old computers are stationed in some of the company’s areas which will also affect service delivery. For example the computer used in the check in points especially for Air Zimbabwe, Air Namibia and Fly Africa, they are malfunctioned which makes them poor in performance and delivers poor service. Amount of simultaneous failure of elevators cause inconvenience to clients and this certainly impose on the beauty of the airport in an undesirable manner and this affect the overall traveler’s happiness even though they are not aware that the will just assume we own them as we will be handling them in each and every way possible.
The company put very little effort in marketing itself because its website is not up to date and also the company does not market itself in the media. Also the company does not conduct some surveys to gather information which will result in the creation of a good image for the company and the marketing department for the company is disinclined to invest in research and development. There is need for the company to create awareness to the airlines around Africa so as to make them known by their target market. The more the business for the company
Open skies policy
The open skies policy is an opportunity for National Handling Services to stay in business as it permits many to fly in and out of the country and therefore the company will have increased profits through increased aircraft and passenger handling services. According to the IATA definitions booklet (2011), the open skies policy refers to a concept which deals with the liberalization of rules in the creating a free market economy in the airline industry. This comes as an opportunity for the department and NHS at large in the way that the open skies policy results in many new airlines being free to fly in and out of Zimbabwe and NHS being the major passenger handling company will have the privilege of handling all the airlines thus increasing profits and expanding their business mounting as a company
National Handling Services is getting new business from new airlines for example the company witnessed the coming of airlines such as Dram Liner Ethiopian at the Victoria Falls airport in 2018.To add on tourism in Zimbabwe is coming to life, and thus NHS will need to work the figures in terms of the number of tourists visiting Zimbabwe that are generating revenue.
Recruitment of students on attachment
The involvement of students on attachment will bring new ideas and views in the organization. The organization gets labor from universities and polytechnic colleges in Zimbabwe such as Chinhoyi University of Technology, National University of Technology, Great Zimbabwe University, Solusi University, Harare Polytechnic College and Midlands State University , this gives them a chance to broaden and widen their possibility of business and continually improve their service delivery. NHS by offering students an opportunity to do their industrial attachment with their organization provides itself with a chance to have access to a diversification of ideas.
National Handling Services uses modern technology to attract passengers and airlines in the travel industry. Most airlines have introduced online booking as well as online check in as an advanced level. This is a greater opportunity for NHS to obtain more customers as well as improving efficiency. Most worldwide passenger handling companies have realised new business to new technology.
These are the elements in the environment that can cause trouble for the business. The threats that are being faced by NHS include:
Some of the company’s staff is dragging out to go to other countries for greener pastures. This has developed a negative impact on the company as it might lose some of its highly qualified staff. Also some of the staff is opting to occupy some of the vacancies that arise within the airlines at the airport creating some openings for the company.
This company is based in Zimbabwe; also it is more affected by legal necessities of this country like taxes, healthcare allowance, employee dividends funds, taxation and other regulating business operating requirements so it has to spend money to keep a proper legal structure of doing business. NHS is a government entity hence all its profits go to the government as it is solely owned by the government.
Competition is forever a threat to any business and no special case to National Handling Services. The executive lounge operation has also come under threat from Makuwa lounge and South African Airways who are now operating their own lounge and being within the star alliance have managed to win the contract of handling passengers travelling on Fly Emirates. The present-day level of competition may result in National Handling Services losing part of its large market share. There has been Aviation Ground Services picking up behind NHS for some time now in passenger and cargo handling respectively.
Epidemics like Ebola, HIV AIDS, also disturb smooth running of business like yellow fever in Zimbabwe. The passengers fear to visit Africa as a whole which reduces the business of NHS by getting few airlines since the passengers are the core business purposes for all airlines being handled by NHS.
In conclusion threats and weaknesses presented in the swot analysis affect the organization’s progress in achieving its goals, vision and mission, however the company has a potential to achieve the best with team work and use of its strengths and opportunities to attract more regional and international airlines. This is clearly evidenced by the fact that the company is now internationally acknowledged ground handling company since it has the ISAGO and IATA certificates to provide ground handling operation. The possible expansion of Victoria Falls and Bulawayo airports to get international flights is a symbol of potential growth of the company. Despite all the above mentioned threats and weaknesses that hinders the marketing and operations customer services’ progress in achieving its goals, vision and mission. For example unfavorable working conditions they cause fatigue to the workers as a result it is a hazard to a human factor, as one gets home late and will be expected at work the same day.
3.3 RECOMMENDATIONS BASED ON THE SWOT ANALYSIS
The company is capable to succeed its needs and engage on the activities that are pulling the company behind and focus on solving them.
Customer satisfaction the writer come up with some recommendations based on SWOT analysis that the company can familiarize in order to pull its strength in the current environment for better customer satisfaction.
The company has to make use of social networks such as face book, twitter and you tube therefore this will improve is market share to the clients. Using social media in a company made the communication intact with the clients together with the employees itself. . Distribution of brochure, flyers to exporters and importers to lure customers to send and receiving using NHS is marketing strategy to use This will help the company effectively and benefit the organization as its image will be well known.
The writer recommended the use of social media. It helps to enhance social relations with the customers and to communicate with them and this can provide a global access point for customers. The organization will improve its home page on the internet in order to make it more accurate and presentation of services offered.
Acquiring new equipment it helps to deliver services in time and avoids delays. Repairing the old ones that are there it is a solution than hiring from AGS as a way of reducing costs to the company. Increasing the number of the ground handling equipment is also a necessity as it encourages the manpower. There is also need to update the check-in equipment and system used as way of practicing quick turn around and avoids delays in every flight.
The participation in international exhibition and trade fares for National Handling Services will expose greater exposure instead of restricting itself to the local and regional market. This stands out to be an admirable marketing plan that cannot only catch the attention of new airlines but assists the organization to innovate and share productive ideas.
PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION.4.1 Problem within the organizationThe problem within National Handling Services at Victoria Falls Airport is poor marketing. Poor marketing at National Handling Services in Victoria Falls Airport affects the usefulness of the organization since this may risk efforts to attain organizational objectives if it is not addressed by top management.
Kotler (1972) defines marketing as a social and managerial process by which individuals and or groups obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging products and value with others. The company does not involve itself much in marketing their services despite the fact that it is a monopolistic. There is no of sound marketing in the company this is shown through their obsolete website which is not active and has not been updated in years. Yet the company has marketing operations and IT department. It is the only ground handling company in Zimbabwe but does not use the internet to be on the global face.
Brochures are not widely distributed to promote marketing of the company. Also the company has no societal relationship as it is located in many stations in Zimbabwe.
Obsolete technology and manual handling in ground handling services are the major problems being faced by National Handling Services in its line of duty. The organization is still using old equipment that is now obsolete whose technology is outdated which needs the company to put effort in marketing itself. The company’s website is not up to date and the company does not market itself in the media. The company does not conduct some surveys to gather information about how passengers would want to be handled as good passenger handling will result in the creation of a good image for the company, but the marketing department for the company is reluctant to invest in research and development. Marketing helps lure more airlines to do business with the organization
4.2 LITERATURE REVIEW
.Abella et al (2006) states that marketing strategy is the backbone of any business, it generates the required awareness about your services among customer. Marketing the company itself helps to meet the needs and desires of its customers. The way National Handling Services market its self does not motivate its existence to the world there by not encouraging new businesses and give a good image of the company. Hooley, T. et al (2015) argues that excellent customer services are a vital part of marketing because it begins before the customer arrives and ends long after the customer leaves your enterprise. However marketing strategies it’s not an overnight thing that can be achieved, it takes time to implement and it needs investment to deliver consistent standard to conquer the competitive edge.
4.3 POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM
NHS is growing in business, as more and more airlines want their service, therefore their office equipment should be up to date, in terms of technology.
Creativity and Innovative
The innovativeness and creativity of the marketing department as a degree to which it contributes to the developed new products within the firm can also bring new ideas in the organization.
Recruit more staff
National Handling Services should employ workers that are adequate for the completion of tasks; this helps them to minimize the participation of advertising to passengers through various methods such as brochures, fliers, bill boards and catalogues. An organization can implement telecommuting via computer or modem and video conferencing; also the organization can use other platforms like whatsup, face book or twitter as many employees and passengers prefer using social networks.
It is all about representing the company’s image to the customer, using every trick to make the company’s best interests. The marketing departments should actively advocate for good public relations to customers. The example of these products are the power stow, the sliding carpet or the ramp snake, which speed up the loading and unloading of the aircraft and make the process in the baggage compartment more efficient and effective in line with the service. The Sliding Carpet System is integral in minimizing the time and labor to load and unload aircraft with baggage and freight to and of the aircraft
The company needs to communicate frequently and should improve on the type and means of communicating with the outside world. NHS needs to create its own line of communication with own switchboard and this line can be open even to call other stakeholders at the airport and at the same time connecting to lodges and main hotels which act as commendations in hosting immigrants. The website should be updated in such a way that it will be providing everyday movement of flights. This can be achieved by having the website edited all the time and this is a move to cater for passengers who might face challenges connecting to the Information desk since they can just log into the website and get all the information they need.
The marketing functions consider promotional activities. These are best ways to pull potential customers. The company can introduce reduced tariffs to those who would be exporting huge quantities of cargo and offer free tickets to frequent fliers this can be an initiative to increase the amount of services handled and in revenue generation. Many factors contribute to market uncertainty in terms of the demand for tourism products. For example, effective advertising can attract more tourists whereas negative word-of-mouth effect can lead to a fall in demand. The economic conditions in tourist generating countries and regions often serve as a push factor, influencing the demand for tourism products in a particular destination.
Updating company’s website
National Handling Services must constantly update its website and create an interface that allow interactivity with its customers on daily basis. By adapting the new technology the company can encourage checking online so as to reduce queues and late check in and this reduce labour and makes work easy when done by the system and avoids the miscellaneous activities that is done by check in agents. Also the website should provide the information like time of arrival and departures times of the day, more so the confirmed times such that the company will move with the changing time. As it wants to be a world class provider of ground handling those qualities can be seen and gained through marketing and having a larger market. The adaptation to modern technology will not only enhance passenger satisfaction but will make work easier and therefore provide the company with a competitive edge.
5.1 SUMMARY REPORT
This report clearly introduces National Handling Services as an overview of the company.National Handling Services it provides the services in the aviation industry of Zimbabwe. This is the only organization currently with the obligation to provide the ground handling services to any organization working the Zimbabwe skies. However this was a good place for me to do my internship .As a student l learnt and observed new things due to the fact that I was attached in the various departments because a student was supposed to rotate in all sectors to gain experience. Furthermore more this internship gave me the general appreciation of my study of area travel and recreation industry. More so, being attached at the aviation industry gave me the opportunity to appreciate some travel concepts, even though I had less interaction with travelers from check in, lost property office, information desk and lounge department and get to associate with the international passengers that I was able to understand and respect different cultures, religion and social backgrounds of the world. The attachment period provided me with great knowledge and experience of the aviation and air transport industry as l had little knowledge before l was attached in aviation industry. Last but not least industrial attachment is an integral part of all undergraduate degree programs offered at colleges and universities. Lastly on this report the student highlight challenges that she faced as well as recommendations that she gives both to the organization and to the university and closes this report with an conclusion.
5.2 CHALLENGES AND PROBLEMS FACED BY THE STUDENT
The internship was not easy at National Handling Services as l faced problems and challenges in the organization but through getting used to the system things changed. Expectations and experience needed from the organization differed from school work, hence this was a challenge to a student. These include lack of communication, shortage of accommodation, lack of essential information, shortage of equipment and the need to adjust to new working conditions to mention a few.
Shortage of accommodation
Communication plays a crucial role in the organization. The top management they had made the contract with the attachment students due to the fact that they were moved from Harare and Bulawayo airports to go and do their internships in Victoria Falls airport as there was serious shortage of manpower. As a student l reached Victoria Falls and nothing was planned by the top management as we agreed on the contract since we were being moved from our hometown. As a result the company has its own accommodation but it was not meant for the students on attachment only to the permanent staff.
Lack of information
Most permanent workers were not willing to teach students on attachments or disclose information with regards to work being carried out, they would leave you to figure things on your own even when you are not ready to complete tasks. A good example is when l checked in a passenger going through London Heathrow, one has to put all visa information in the system and get help from the Timatic book. As a result this was discovered by the manager when the airline representatives complain to him that they need payment on that as a student in this case I should have been encouraged to notify or to be taught on visa requirements in the system.
Working conditions at National Handling Services are not favorable especially to the students as they are not getting overtime for example to most of us who were involved in shift work. This disrupts the body clock and cause fatigue as a result it was a challenge to me to adapt to such conditions.
Shortage of equipment
In most work areas f there are shortages of equipment such as printers, wheelchairs, computers and earmaphs. A good example, is when l was roasted at ramp of which ramp handling needs one to have earmaphs for security reasons but these were only given to the permanent workers only not to the students. Further available computers are used by everyone in the department and due to the fact that there are more personnel than equipment in order to complete a task at hand and sometimes you have to wait your turn in order to use a computer.
To the organization
The company should come up with marketing methods which will make them competitive, such that they will be chasing business rather than seating behind waiting for business to chase after them. According to Phillip Kotler (2000) marketing understands returns to the business from marketing activities and programs, as well as addressing broader concerns and their legal, ethical, social, and environmental effects.
Purchasing of new equipment
Ramp equipment needs to be replaced and earmaphs which will cater for everyone as it states its value called safety and security. New equipment can be stored in the warehouse to avoid shortages. As NHS Company it must have adequate computers as its operations are taken through online.
Updating company’s website
National Handling Services must constantly update its website and create an interface that allow interactivity with its customers on daily basis. Also the website should provide the information like time of arrival and departures times of the day, more so the confirmed times such that the company will move with the changing time. As it wants to be a world class provider of ground handling those qualities can be seen and gained through marketing and having a larger market. The adaptation to modern technology will not only enhance passenger satisfaction but will make work easier and therefore provide the company with a competitive edge.
Increase division of labour
Shortage of workers at NHS is an issue since they are various departments need to be handled. As much as they rely with students they also need guidance from permanent workers so as to avoid incidents and mistakes being done by student due to the lack of unknown. The company has to recruit qualified staff to fill in the vacant posts so as to close the gap of understaffing in respective departments. External hiring may help in attaining more creative ideas that may also improve the company’s operations. Also the issue of cover ups were workers come to work during their off days need to be taken care off.
To the University
Regular inspection of the university to the student
The University and the industry should maintain close relationships and therefore share the information on what could be done to improve the quality of the students on job at hand practice. The university has to negotiate on behalf of the student a certain amount of allowances to finance certain bills such as housing, transport as well as the general upkeep of students while on attachment. This would also motivate students to do their work in a motivated manner knowing they are financially stable to cater for their bus fare, food and rent come end of the month. More so partly from that allowance the student has to pay her fees on her last part of his studies.
The university needs to make follow ups on organizations that employ their students in order to inspect the student-employer relationship. This needs to be done especially in organizations that will be recruiting students for work related learning for their first time. Some organizations have no idea what a student is supposed to be working on and knowing that students are sppose to rotate wisely.
Improvement on modules offered at the department
Modules being offered at school need to be improved in terms of addition of some and practice more of vernacular such as French, Chinese and Portuguese. This is done because I recommend that the department of Travel and Recreation its students they dwell more in tourism I recommend that there is a need of doing more school trips per semester this will also help a student to have general appreciation on the tourism industry and practice computerized reservations systems than theory and manual way of doing it. Reservations lessons need to be done more frequently with the use of Amadeus, Sita, Sabre and IATA system so as to help the students when they do reservations in the industry and accommodation studies need to be taken serious as one can be attached in hotels.
Help students seeking attachment places
The writer recommends the University to help students in securing places for attachment, since it can be a challenge for some students as the market is hard to find on your own. When the university assist in one to get the attachment it gives the student assurance that he or she is doing the right thing at the right place and at the right time. This also gives good relationships between the firm and the university.
National Handling Services is a good company an eye opening to the students. It was a great opportunity working on that firm as it allowed me to gain more experience and exposure to the reality of the world from working at the International airport. The company is the only company with a ground handling concession, this is a great opportunity for business, and also it has a limited threat from new entrants because it is protected by the Zimbabwean government. Finally, l personally learnt the true value of working as a team at our work place and this boosted a lot of confidence when I was instructed to talk to clients helping them in any way as possible. This innovate the thinking capacity of a student.
To add on, the company has a relationship with the local companies which give them products in bulk and at a discount which has increased the performance of the company since there is a smooth flow of operations. Last but not least the company has good relations with so many
universities as it recruits different students to gain experience and exposure at the same time.
Hooley, T., Neary, S., Morris, M. and Mackay, S. (2015), Customer satisfaction with career guidance: A review of the literature. London and Derby: SQW and International Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby.
Buchanan, Leigh (2011), A Customer Service Makeover, Inc-magazine. Retrieved 29 October 2012
IATA definitions booklet (2011)