Company Background – Elken Essay

ELKEN is a well-known direct-selling company in Malaysia and other countries. The name ELKEN is synonymous with innovation, quality and aspiration, with its vision “Contributing to the progress of mankind through opportunities and knowledge empowerment, thereby enriching lives.” ELKEN’s vision of a better tomorrow is driven by the aspiration of their distributors and the trust of millions of consumers around the world who use their products every day. They share their dream to live a fuller life. While sharing the rewards of ELKEN’s innovative technological advances in health and beauty care, they also provide a rewarding global business opportunity for those who dare to follow their dreams.

Since 1995, ELKEN has been helping millions of people realize their dreams. It has established a network that spans the international arena and they manage their operations professionally in strict accordance with the world-class ISO: 9002 certification.

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The extensive ELKEN network represents a mutually beneficial partnership of more than 300,000 enthusiastic independent distributors in 7 countries, with more partners joining them every day. Significantly, the amazing ELKEN marketing plan enables a distributor to accrue wealth and health faster than any other.

As ELKEN move forward together with its distributors into the rough uncharted seas of the 21st century, ELKEN’s vision is still firmly grounded in its belief that every person can take control of his or her life if he or she is given the right knowledge and opportunity. And such freedom comes from true mental and spiritual growth.

At ELKEN, they believe in knowledge empowerment. Success in the ELKEN business requires the development of skills, and continuous self-improvement and commitment. In the mature market that they operate, more than 2,000 ISO-registered skill enhancement training sessions and events are conducted every year to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit and full potential in its distributors, who come from diverse strata of society. Access to ELKEN training is limited only by the desire to grow. Besides economic independence, ELKEN is able to grant its distributors a sense of self-actualization.

ELKEN also believe in fostering unity in work and life regardless of status, race and belief, thereby creating a truly Global ELKEN Community. Their belief is that unity among ELKENIENS will bring about immense development, growth and prosperity in the most harmonious manner. It has been repeatedly proven that only through team spirit unity they are able to unleash the power of duplication, from individual to individual, network to network and country to country, hence making ELKEN a truly global business opportunity for all.

ELKEN’s Milestone of Success

Since commencing business in 1995, ELKEN has chalked up an enviable record of milestones in corporate growth, expansion, manufacturing, research and development, product excellence, people development and distributor success, to name a few aspects. With the support of its loyal customers, distributors, staff and business associates, they are confident of achieving further milestones, not only in the ELKEN business arena, but also in reaching out to people and for the people whose lives have been touched by ELKEN in one way or another.

Some of the significant ELKEN milestones are as follows:

YEARS

ACHIEVEMENT

1995

* Establishment of ELKEN Sdn Bhd

1997

* Earned Top Ten status among Malaysian Direct Selling Companies, as reported in “Today” magazine.

* Establishment of ELKEN Singapore Pte. Ltd.

1998

* Establishment of Narisia Sdn Bhd, a manufacturing arm for production of state-of-the-art Reverse Osmosis (R.O.) Water Purification System.

* Became the First Direct Selling Company in Malaysia to be accredited ISO 9002 certification.

* Achieved monthly sales turnover of RM10 million.

1999

* Establishment of ELKEN Indonesia.

2000

* Acquired property for Head Office measuring over 100,000 sq.ft.

* Establishment of ELKEN Thailand.

* Establishment of ELKEN Medan.

2001

* Established a GMP Factory.

2002

* Establishment of ELKEN Hong Kong.

* Establishment of ELKEN Hatyai.

* Establishment of ELKEN Brunei.

* Establishment of ELKEN’s first retail outlet, EK One.

2003

* Establishment of ELKEN India.

BUSINESS ACTIVITIES

ELKEN’S PRODUCTS / SERVICES

Products

* Health Care

* RO Water Purification

* Skin Care & Cosmetics

* Foundation Lingerie’s

* Fast Moving Consumer goods – Foods, beverages, car care, house hold, personal care

Services

ELKEN stands for Quality. As a reputable organization, it is committed to quality in everything it does and offers its customers, from extraordinary products to exemplary service. It commitment to Quality goes beyond word-of-mouth advertising. It is backed by the seal of approval and recognition from international authorization and certification authorities.

As the First Direct Selling Company in Malaysia to be accredited ISO 9002 certification in 1998, ELKEN is proud to operate in strict compliance with ISO 9002 standards. It believes in and practices good Business Governance. ELKEN is proud to be a responsible corporate member of the direct selling industry, and abides by the relevant government regulations and associations’ Codes of Conduct governing members’ operations and conduct. ELKEN is an active member of the Direct Selling Association of Malaysia (DSAM), the Direct Selling Association of Singapore (DSAS) and the CTFA (Cosmetic Toiletries of Fragrance Association).

Product quality is one of the competitive edges to ELKEN. Many of ELKEN’s products have been conferred prestigious awards by quasi-government bodies and associations; certified by international accreditation organizations; and clinically proven by reputable institutions such as The Golden Award of Excellent Food Evaluation in Taiwan, SIRIM, Japan Health Food Association, Safety Mark, USA National Sanitation Foundation and others.

ELKEN’s aim is not to provide a one-time sale but to develop a long term relationship with customers, to the extent that they become more a partner than a customer. Its customer decides the growth and success of the organization. This is why it is committed to a Total Customer Satisfaction (TCS) approach.

ELKEN wants to satisfy customers not just by providing quality products but also quality services. With this in mind, it offers not only occasional free gifts, personalized service but also speedy delivery services and an efficient Customer Service Department. In order to understand customers’ needs, it also conducts surveys to constantly improve and meet customer expectations.

In fact, it has established EK One retail outlet, a one-stop shopping centre at its branches. Decked with the latest selections of the products, customers may shop conveniently with product information written in prints or its outlet personnel ready by their side to assist them.

Customers who want to try the beauty products or have a make-over can enjoy an exclusive experience at Elken Beauty Gallery. Its spacious Beauty Gallery is furnished with posh sofas, amenities and fitting rooms.

ELKEN relationship with customers does not end after a product is sold or the warranty period has expired. It has established a company, Elken Services Sdn Bhd, formerly known as Narisia Sales and Service, to concentrate on attending after-sales services to its customers. Elken services not only installs and repairs R.O. Purification System, but also takes care of the maintenance of the R.O. Purification System that customer bought. Elken Services has a team of dedicated personnel who had have gone through a special training programmed, namely the K-Tech program.

Distributors can log on to ELKEN On-line any time any where to check sales volume. The latest updates are just one click away. In addition, ELKEN SMS service will update distributors on their sales volume top-up. The SMS is a crucial assistant to the busy distributor who is always running on tight schedule.

ELKEN’s impeccable customer support facilities are also available for the convenience of its distributors. It offers an exclusive discussion area, tastefully furnished lounge, a training hall and meeting rooms for distributors to conduct recruiting and group discussions. Also, ELKEN has established an extensive network of branches and stockist centres that provides wide coverage to ensure convenient accessibility to products.

In respect of achieving TCS, it has gone a step further by advocating a World Class Service standard. ELKEN assure an extensive and similar standard of service across all cultures, regardless of national boundaries. All this is because it wants everyone to be proud for choosing ELKEN.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

Ethical and professional business comes with responsibility, and ELKEN is proud to assume its role as a corporate citizen. It aims to help make the world a brighter place for its customers and distributors, its employees, and the communities it operates in. It practices a win-win relationship, and acknowledges it ultimate success is dependent on the well-being of all groups of people that it interacts with. This belief is reflected in the number of charitable activities that ELKEN has undertaken, which is a responsibility it takes seriously and which it has chosen to undertake annually. The charity activities that ELKEN involves are such as follows:

Saving Life

Many hospitals depend on blood donation from the public to maintain their blood banks. ELKEN has a special commitment to the cause of blood donation as part of its `sharing and caring’ community service. In Kuala Lumpur, ELKEN holds the record of the most number of bags of blood collected from a corporate organisation in a single day at the office premises. For 2003, ELKEN is going regionally with its blood donation campaign and has launched its inaugural region-wide blood donation campaign covering 3 countries – Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei. This campaign will be conducted at all ELKEN premises.

Disaster Aid

In 1999, close to the entire pig farming community in Malaysia faced financial ruin and total loss of livelihood with the onslaught of a virus that decimated the pigs. In this dark and despondent hour, ELKEN initiated a fund raising campaign (as part of the Nanyang JE Humanitarian Fund) to assist the farmers.

Haemodialysis Patient Support

Haemodialysis treatment requires pure Reverse Osmosis (R.O.) water. As ELKEN manufactures our own R.O. systems, we were pleased to donate Bio Pure R.O. Water Purification System to the Mawar Haemodialysis Centre in 2001 in order to help improve the quality of life for haemodialysis patients.

Help for Needy Children and the Disabled

ELKEN donated nutritious Win IG6 Colostrum and Bio Pure R.O. Water Purification System to orphanages and children’s homes in and around Kuala Lumpur in 2002. The beneficiaries were Malaysia Care, Good Samaritan, Compassion Home, Charis Home, Damai Hostel, Pure Life and Sunbeams Home.

A substantial quantity of Win IG6 Colostrum and Bio Pure R.O. Water Purification System worth more than RM503,000.00 were also donated to the Disabled Industrial Training and Rehabilitation Centre in Kuala Lumpur in 2002.

ELKEN R;D (RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT)

ELKEN’s success and international reputation can be attributed to its world-acclaimed products that reflect the time, effort and financial resources ELKEN has invested in developing them. Further, ELKEN is constantly upgrading and expanding its range of products with the aim of continually improving the lives of consumers.

So committed is ELKEN to product quality that it took a bold step in 1998 to establish Narisia Sdn. Bhd. to manufacture its own Reverse Osmosis technology water treatment system to assure the desired standard of quality. Its system, the Bio Pure R.O. Water Purification System, is a Malaysian initiative using component parts produced by the world’s leading manufacturers – a strategic, synergistic move that has proven to work successfully in the quest for the best quality pure water.

They added another feather to their cap in 2001 with the establishment of their own manufacturing plant, Elepac Sdn Bhd, which compliance to the well-recognised Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standard have been granted a manufacturing license by the National Pharmaceutical Council Bureau (BPFK) to be a Traditional Medicines and Over The Counter (OTC) manufacturing site.

Year 2002 marks remarkable milestones as they officially became a member of the American Nutraceutical Association (ANA), received HALAL Certification by Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM), and were awarded the ISO9001:2000 Certification by TUV-Pfalz Certification Body.

Through their commitment to continual excellence through compliance to international standards, they aim to share the same values and objectives with their members, to whom proven efficacy and safety of health food and dietary supplements are of the highest priority.

McGregor Theory Y

Elken Sdn Bhd is practicing the McGregor Theory Y. This is because Elken’s employees are cooperative and well disciplined. In the EK One retail outlet, the personnel are always ready by the customers’ side to provide them assistances while shopping in the retail shop. Besides that, the Customer Services Department staffs are all trained to provide fast and quality services to satisfy the customers’ needs and demands. For Elken RO Water Purification services, a well established service centre named Narisia Sales and Services are having a team of professional technicians that provides speedy installations and services to the customers.

On the other hand, Elken’s distributors and members are having positive thinking and are moving in the same direction to achieve the organization’s goals. The distributors and members contribute themselves to the company as they are one of the company’s partners. Besides that, they are willing to accept changes, ready for improvement and skills development in order to accrue the wealth and health that Elken offers for them. Furthermore, they are also having high self-esteem that drive and motivate them to promote and sales the Elken’s products to all kind of customers over the countries.

In addition, the Elken’s management always comes out with new ideas and strategy plan in order to improve the company’s marketing, sales and goodwill. At initial stage, the organization did not have any online system or website. However, in order to make all the distributors over the several countries to be more convenient, it implemented an online system for them to check their points and redemptions more sufficiently. Besides that, Elken also involve in many charity activities and corporate with many community in order to obtain good reputation. Furthermore, Elken also always comes out with more variety of products and services through the research and development activities, whereby, it can attract different range customers with the unlimited products and services.

Elken should keep on practicing this theory and always think of new way to improve and motivate its employees, distributors and members. Elken can do this by establishing recognition for the best employee of the month in each department. Besides that, it can also apply the same strategy to identify the best distributor of the month. And those who achieve this recognition will get incentive or redemption 100 points.

In addition to that, Elken can also motivate its employees by offering the ESOP, the Employee Stock Ownership Program. Hence, the employees will feel their significant to the organization. On the other hand, the technicians teams in the Narisia Sales and Service centre had became one of the most important part of Elken because they directly influence the customers’ satisfaction through delivering the RO water purification services. Therefore, Elken should provide a well-planned training program to those technicians and award them with certificates when they successfully complete the training program. Besides that, Elken can also motivate them by offering them commissions if they successfully deliver services and installation to more than six customers a day.

Analysis of the Business/IS/IT Strategies

Since Elken is a direct-selling company, its value customers are the distributors who help to spread its business and products to other people. Elken current business strategy is attracting more people to join its company by offering various rewards and incentives. Those people who join Elken or also known as the distributors are given wide variety of attractive benefits if they able to achieve the organization’s goals within a certain time frame. For instance, the distributor will get a car if they can reach to become a manager within a specific period of time. Besides that, they can also collect points through every purchasing of Elken’s products and can redeem the points with other products. In addition, they can also purchase the products with discount up to 30 percent or known as the “member price”.

Besides that, Elken also provides various training program for these distributors, whereby can help to build their knowledge and skills and thus improve their self-esteem in marketing the company’s products. At the end of the year, Elken will organize an annual dinner for all its staffs, distributors and stockists to meet and have fun. In the annual dinner, everyone will get at least a prize from Elken and the grand prize is a vacation to overseas.

Due to the numerous competitions in this industry, Elken had gained competitive advantages by providing not only quality products but also quality services. With this objective set, Elken came out with a business strategy that always includes these two qualities. In order to produce good quality products, Elken had established its own manufacturing plant to manufacture the products, which compliance to the well-recognized Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standard. For delivering high quality services, Elken provides speedy delivery, personalized services, occasional free gift and always conduct survey to constantly improve and meet customer expectations. In addition, Elken also open its stockists at every area in the countries to allow the customers to obtain its products easily.

Other than that, Elken also provide after sales services to its customers in order to meet the competitive position. Its Customer Service Department has kept the records of all the customers’ details in a computerized database for easy access. Therefore, when the customers call or personally approach to the company, they can easy track the customers’ record and the products that they had purchased. For the Reverse Osmosis Water Purification, Elken had established a service centre named Narisia Sales and Services to deliver a flawless after sales services to the customers. This centre had train a team of dedicated personnel who had have gone through a special training programmed, namely the K-Tech program. They provide services not only installs and repairs R.O. Purification System, but also takes care of the maintenance of the R.O. Purification System that customer bought. In addition, Elken also cooperate and involve in many community or charity activities as one of the business strategy to build company’s goodwill.

On the other hand, Elken also implement several Information Technology strategies that help to improve its business and to achieve its organization goals. Elken had established its own website, whereby can help to promote and advertise its products and services via the Internet to all the people around the world. Besides that, Elken also states its company history, achievements and other rewards and benefits by joining Elken on the web. In addition, this websites also embedded with a function that allows the distributors to check their volume sales and perform other business activities conveniently, which is the Elken On-Line (EOL). For those busy distributors, Elken had also implemented a sales volume top-up through SMS.

Furthermore, in the Narisia Sales and Service centre, Elken had implemented a computerized system named ROSMS (Reverse Osmosis Service Maintenance System). This system is used to keep track the customers who had bought the RO water purification. For a certain period, the staffs need to retrieve the customers’ record in order to provide annual maintenance service to them. Besides that, the staffs also used the system to update the customers’ details, their service remarks and other information related to the water purification and the customers.

With the various business and IS/IT strategies, Elken has successfully gained some competitive advantages. One of the significant successes is building the long term customer relationship. This is achieved through the after-sales services and the computerized customers’ databases maintenance strategies. Many of its competitors such as Amway, Cosway and others do not maintain its customers’ records properly. These competitors only kept its distributors and members’ records. For those non-member customers, they do not really provides good after-sales services and thus difficult to develop long-term customer relationship.

Besides that, Elken also successfully provide a very convenient, effective and efficient working environment for its distributors through the EOL system and SMS strategies. These two systems have make the distributors’ works easier as they can up-load and view their sales volume anytime and anywhere. This helps to attract more people to join Elken. In addition, the rewards and benefits offer by Elken are also attractive for the distributors.

However, the current business and IS/IT strategies faced some failure too. Many customers provide some similar feedbacks especially about the Elken’s products prices. Majority of the customers claim that the company’s products prices are quite high. Even though Elken’s products quality is very good but many of the price sensitive customers are not willing to spend too much especially on the daily use products such as the shampoo, tooth brush and others. Therefore, Elken should implement a better marketing strategy in order to lower the prices of the products without decreasing its quality.

Besides that, the current customers’ databases and the ROSMS are not integrated from one branch to another. This brings many problems and drawbacks to the company and its staff, whereby, it results in inconveniency and ineffectiveness of customers’ record tracking, updating, retrieving and others. This will direct affect especially the Narisia Sales and Service Centre since it need to keep track of all the customers who had brought the Reverse Osmosis water purification from Elken.

Currently, the centre needs to call all the branches and stockists from other states in Malaysia to collect back the customers’ water purification warranty cards in order to record the customers’ particulars. This IS strategy is cumbersome. It is better for Elken to implement an integrated computerized system so that every branch can easily enter the customer’s record from their own branch and allows other branches to access the records conveniently.

Other than that, the Elken online and SMS strategies only provide effective and conveniences for the distributors but not to all the customers. Since Elken only establish one retail shop (EK One), the customers from other places or states cannot really personally approach to the shop and make purchasing. The customers can only purchase the products through their distributors. This is also one of the failure Elken faced in its IS/IT strategies. Hence, Elken should upgrade its online system to allow online purchasing or request for services and make purchase of Elken’s products via SMS. This will help Elken to reach and attract most customers all over the world.