Sunday, August 2, 2015

Internship Diaries #5

Rahul Dogra
Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd.

This summer I interned with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. at their Sothern Regional Office, Chennai. I worked on a project called ‘Beyond LPG Sales’ in the market research domain.
On the very first day of my internship, I reported at the Southern Regional Office (SRO) of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd.(BPCL) in Chennai. There were two more interns who were also assigned the same mentor as I was. After a general introduction, our mentor explained us what exactly is Beyond LPG programme of BPCL. Beyond LPG is an innovative concept of value added service according to which, not only LPG cylinder is delivered, along with it the products as per the customers’ preferences are delivered at their door steps. The products includes home appliances, geysers, water purifiers, kitchen wares, kitchen utensils, soaps, detergents, gas stove, etc. are delivered to the customers. After a detailed discussion, our mentor told us that we should first understand the whole business of LPG and Beyond LPG and then decide which part of the ‘Beyond LPG Sales’ we want to  work on.

The next day we went to the bottling plant of BPCL which is in the outskirts of Chennai. After a local train ride of about one and half hour, we reached the plant. At the plant, we were received by the Manager (Operations) who guided us into his office. There he explained us how the demand of LPG is met by their supplies and what kind of software tools they employ so as to make the flow of the process smooth. After this introductory talk, we went to visit the plant. There the process engineer explained us all the steps which are taken from unloading the empty cylinders from the Lorries, check the quality of the cylinders and then fill them again with LPG so as to load into other Lorries who delivered those cylinders to the distributor. With this our visit to LPG bottling plant concluded. The next day, I went to a BPCL distributor with one of the sales officer and understood the whole processes of the Beyond LPG business.

After these two visits, I went to SRO and after having a detailed discussion with my mentor, I decided that I will take a project in the market research domain of ‘Beyond LPG Sales’. My task was to conduct a market survey so as to gain insights into the aspects like what BPCL distributors were selling in ‘Beyond LPG’ segment, what kind of strategies they were using to sell the Beyond LPG products, what kind of problems they were facing, etc.

After developing a preliminary questionnaire and taking data of the distributors of Chennai, I started visiting the distributors. I visited a number of distributors, both in the city and in the outskirts of Chennai. Between these visits, I also used to report once or twice to the office and report my mentor about the progress. So after visiting a substantial number of distributors, I completed my survey and submitted the report to my mentor. I also had a discussion with my mentor about the ideas that could be employed so as to boost ‘Beyond LPG’ sales. This marked the completion of my project.

This was really a great learning experience in the sales and market research domain for me. The biggest challenge that I faced was of language but with immense support of my mentor, I was able to overcome this challenge and complete my project successfully.

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