Factors Influencing The Nigerian Custom-Goods Clearing Process and The Impact on Brand Reputation of UK Based Cargo Companies: Case Study of AAA Freights
1.0 Background of the Research
The process related to custom goods clearance is essential for the Nigerian and United Kingdom economy, which makes it possible for the two countries attain development (Ojadi& Walters, 2015, p. 3). This study deals with the issues related to AAA Freight Forwarding Agents & Customs Clearance Agents, which has its base in the United Kingdom and has branches in different parts of the world including Nigeria. The aim of AAA Freights is to provide the best services and at a favorable price for their customers (Baoqing, 2011).
1.1 Relevance of the Study
Brand reputation works both ways for the community and the business as it is embedded into ensuring that the two work together. The ideology behind establishing a business is to have sustainable profits.
At the same time, organizations that are influential to the society find it easy to make profits and remain relevant in the market since the society expect them to always do more. The business individuals who play the major roles in these organizations are expected to have other responsibilities within the society. The businesses cannot be separated from the management whereby the manner in which they are run would explain their position in the society and their profit sustainability.
Moreover, things might not be the same compared to the organizations related to the government since the social responsibility would not be the same. The core aim of businesses is to make money though this does not make them be in a better position to be successful if they do not take up responsibility of the society that surrounds them. The business should ensure that they are built on their name and brand instead of the money they make at the end of the day. Businesses that have the best brand reputation look at their impact in the society and the number of lives they change instead of the profits they make.
1.2 Case Study of AAA Freights
With over a decade of service excellence in freight & logistic solutions, AAA Freight Services provide the right freight solutions, unbeatable quality and timely services in shipping, marine and logistics across the globe. They have since emerged as one of the leading and highly regarded Logistics and Supply Chain Management Company in the UK region and several parts of the world where it has branches (Davis, Nicholas and Richard 2009).
The services that the AAA Freight offers include customer clearance, completion of procedures related to examination and payments, imports and exports, guidance and consultancy services related to pre and post-shipment services for containers and dealing with different forms of cargo through regulating the council, agent, and government agencies (Deng, Cao, Zhang and Zhang,2011).
Their core strengths lie in their ability to provide flexible, cost effective, and customized freight solutions that perfectly meet their different client requirements. They do not compromise on integrity and quality, which they believe are quintessential factors in achieving sustainable growth. They have learnt that growth is a by-product in the pursuit of excellence, and not itself a primary goal (Finch, 2006).
As such, during custom goods clearance that takes place in AAA Freights, numerous things need consideration before the AAA Freights can attain better working conditions and results. There are occasions that might lead to selection and recruitment of new personal into the AAA Freights so that they implement custom goods clearing properly (Forcolin, Fracasso, Tumanischvili and Lupieri,2011).
The reason behind establishing the Custom goods clearing in the AAA Freights is to remain relevant and competitive in the market. The processes of implementing the Custom goods clearing in AAA Freights are re-engineering, reorganizing, implementation of new technologies and downsizing. The element of change in this regard is constantly remaining relevant (Baoqing,2011).
Numerous companies, especially in the American market, would attest to a change initiative in the AAA Freights per year. However, only 46% of those companies attain the required results related to the Custom goods clearing. This, the AAA Freights attributes to the lack of better strategies and visions to implement the Custom goods clearing accordingly. Other failures include lack of better trust and communication skills, lack of commitment by the top management, lack of resources, change management skills and resistance to change (Davis, Nicholas and Richard 2009).
The AAA freight management team possesses varied background, but guided by a central vision and a common goal. They have long standing experience, in-depth market knowledge and a thorough understanding of logistics & supply chain management. Together, they sustain an intense focus on the customer satisfaction and service excellence (Deng, Cao, Zhang and Zhang,2011).
1.3 Research Rationale/ Justification of the Study
Research that has been previously conducted in AAA Freights about Custom goods clearing has always focused on the AAA Freights and neglected the important element of the people supposed to implement the Custom goods clearing. The person-oriented implementation of Customs goods clearing in the AAA Freights can assist AAA Freights in dealing with failures in AAA Freights Custom goods clearing (Ojadi& Walters, 2015, Pp. 4). AAA Freights Custom goods clearing have always focused on macro-level implementation of AAA Freights Custom goods clearing, forgetting the micro-level element responsible for success. It is also essential to determine the personal attributes and characteristics of individuals, which would help in ascertaining the Custom goods clearing, take place in a positive aspect (Baoqing, 2011, Pp. 279). The skills and characteristics need directing towards the important people given the mandate for implementing the Custom goods clearing.
1.4 Study Rationale
The rationale of the study is to identify some of the issues related to the cargo companies in the UK and their connections to the Nigerian companies. In this case, the paper will discuss some of the issues that AAA Freight Customs deal with during their daily operation of business in Africa.
1.5 Research Aim
To identify factors influencing the inefficiency of the Nigerian customs goods clearing process and to understand the impact these inefficiencies will have on the brand reputation UK based cargo companies.
1.6 Research Objectives
- To identify the factors influencing inefficiency of clearing process of the Nigerian Custom Service
- To understand the current brand reputation of the UK cargo companies
- To ascertain whether or not factors influencing the efficiency of the Nigerian Customs clearing process can be influenced to improve the brand reputation of the UK based cargo companies
1.7 Research Questions
- 1) What are the factors influencing inefficiency of clearing process of Nigerian Custom Service
- What is the current brand reputation of the UK based cargo companies
- Can the factors influencing the NCC process be influenced to improve the brand reputation of the UK based cargo companies
1.8 The Structure of the Project
The project is divided into six chapters whereby each chapter focuses on the different fields within the perspective of the topic.
Chapter 1 Introduction: This chapter lays its focus on introducing the project, background, objective, rationale, research aim and the research question.
Chapter 2 Literature Review: This chapter will explore the theories, concepts and relevant literatures.
Chapter 3 Research Methodology: The chapter will give a clear perception of the research method, design and research philosophy of the project.
Chapter 4 Data Analysis:In this Chapter, an analysis of the collected data will be presented.
Chapter 5 Discussion: The chapter would establish exclusive detailed critical evaluation and discussion of the outcome of the result from the data analysis.
Chapter 6 Conclusion and Recommendation: The final chapter will summarise some of the basic findings of the research and propose viable business recommendations.
2.1 Scope of Literature Review
This Chapter looks at the different literatures and some of the topics related to the different factors related to customs clearing in Nigeria and the influences they may have on the brand reputation of AAA Freights which is a company based in United Kingdom. Additionally, the chapter will scrutinize the brand reputation of the company and the manner in which it is connected to offering services in foreign land (Finch, 2006).
Brand reputation completely depends upon the overall effective working of any organization. If clearing process of any organization is not well managed, then it can harm the brand image of that business entity to a great extent. Goods clearing process of Nigerian customs service is the most important part of cargo companies’ operations. Banker checks all presented documents and in the next stage they send these documents to customs office of the country.
2.2 Concept of goods clearing process of Nigerian Customs Service
According to Yan, Xue-jun and Wei, (2011) cargo companies transfer goods from one place to another by following all regulations and norms. Value handlers International (VHI) helps in clearance of cargo and also offers quality freight activities. It offers professional services in handling commodities. VHI cargo helps these organizations in customs clearance documentation processing.So that transporters can clear their goods in the Nigeria airport easily. In the clearing process cargo companies have to start process through consignee’s banker. In this entities have to send proforma of involve and marine insurance copy to the banker (Deng, Cao, Zhang and Zhang,2011). After that banker check all documents and if there is no mistake then give permission to further process goods. In the next phase of clearing of good supplier or manufacturer have to forward shipping documents. These shipping documents include bill of landing, final invoice, Combined Certificate of Value and Origin (CCVO). Still, I couldn’t see the meaning and definition itself [(full meaning of CCVO)]
As per the view of Finch, (2006)PAAR(Pre-Arrival Assessment Report)is generated by customs which it transmits to importer’s bank. Finch (2006) is of the opinion that tasking and technical areas of clearing process are quite complicated.Davis, Nicholas and Richard (2009) has argued that it is essential to submit several documents in the goods clearing process. These are form, original bill of lading, packing list, invoice proforma, CCVO, necessary certificates, letter headed application for PAAR and value (Baoqing,2011).
According to Forcolin, Fracasso, Tumanischvili and Lupieri, (2011) cargo companies have to follow customs clearing process carefully because small mistake in customs can create big trouble for the owner and the organization as well. Author has stated that once the airway bill is generated and it is received by the person then on immediate bases responsible person is required to the office of airline for cargo advice. In this process when individual has received advice and has made payment for its goods then related documents are needed to be released Baoqing,(2011) it is essential to have good knowledge of customs clearance charges. If any mistake find by the custom officer then cargo company will be liable to pay charges for the mistakes (Davis, Nicholas and Richard 2009). Cost of handling changes is depends upon the weight of the goods. Generally it is charged N52 Naira per kilogram of shipment.In this handling changes VAT and other things are included. It is essential for the cargo firm that to take care of the thing that custom duty and handling of goods and services go side by side.
According to Davis, Nicholas and Richard B. (2009) terminal and shipping companies have to pay their respective amount in the designated bank.Goods cleaning process has one ending procedure in which when the truck or ship reach to the gate then they have to wait for document verification again (Finch, 2006). Customs officers check the duty payment, endorsement and multiple registrations of documents. After second conformation of all these documents container gets way out of the sea port. This clearing process is quit complicated for the new cargo companies but those which are working since longer duration they have all information and follow all these phases carefully.
2.3 Factors Influencing Custom Goods Clearing in Nigeria
- Leadership: According to Forcolin, et al (2011), it is fundamental for AAA Freights planning to implement Custom goods clearing in their system to have encouraging individuals who are ready to ensure that the Custom goods clearing are implemented successfully. The individuals would instigate new behaviors that will be helpful in achieving the desirable Custom goods clearing. There should be the implementation of charismatic leadership that deals with transformation in the management in the AAA Freights to attain reputable Custom goods clearing (Deng, Cao, Zhang and Zhang,2011).
The top leadership would have to implement the AAA Freights Custom goods clearingthrough dealing with phenomenon associated with resistance to change. The same implications should deal with the predisposition and psychological Custom goods clearing of individuals associated with Custom goods clearing (Deng, et al, 2011, Pp. 251).
- Economy: As per the view of Anupindi, Sunil, SudhakarDeshmukh, and Eitan (2006) economy is the major factor that impacts the overall working of cargo companies. Changes in oil rates can impact on the economy of the nation. By this way cargo firms have to pay more amount to deliver the goods on the particular destination. Nigerian economy plays significant role in the field of exports.The growth and stability of an economy in a given area are directly proportional to the income of the business structure. For there to be high living standards and high job opportunities which will lead people wanting to purchase more goods, the economy should be stable to ensure the demand ofAAA Freights goes up (Deng, et al, 2011, Pp. 251).
- Spending Power:with the people has brought about more purchase, of goods from AAA Freights, which means that there is more income within the area and this is viewed by analysts to continue even for next ten years because of the growth of the economy.
- Leadership strategies: On the other hand, managers have embarked on strategies, which rely on observing measures related to personality and dispositional traits in evaluating suitable applicants to the AAA Freights (Ojadi& Walters, 2015, Pp. 4). The attitude of Customs goods clearing that employees exhibit depend on the change Schemata of the individual. The capabilities of Customs goods clearing define themselves as the mental maps attributed to knowledge structures required for attaining Custom goods clearing (Yan, Xue-jun& Wei, 2011. Pp. 4219). At the same time, the change schemata have a significant relationship with the reaction of an individual towards change. Some employees have the high levels change related self-efficacy, which have enabled them to evade distresses associated with Custom goods clearing that sometimes make individuals feel inadequate (Forcolin, et al, 2011, Pp. 9). This enables employees to manage the issues related to AAA Freights Custom goods clearing.
- Issues related to Custom goods clearing: This sometimes make it difficult for employees to cope with the Custom goods clearing. It is essential to understand the personality variables, which can be associated with successful implementation of Customs goods clearing in AAA Freights. The personal attributes of an individual would enable him to have the motivations and abilities to cope with the desired Custom goods clearing (Baoqing, 2011, Pp. 281). The personality variables include generalized self-efficacy, the locus of control, positive effectiveness, and self-esteem, tolerance to ambiguity, risk aversion and openness to experience.
- Customer satisfaction: There are also variables associated with positive affectivity, locus control, tolerance for ambiguity and openness are some of the characteristics that help employees in changing their attitudes towards Custom goods clearing in the AAA Freights. For instance, AAA Freights should look at the customer satisfaction and AAA Freight commitment, which are related self-prediction and supervisory assessment, which are required for coping with Custom goods clearing.
2.4 Current working and brand reputation of UK cargo companies
According to Baoqing, (2011) cargo companies are working well and they have strong brand image. One of the main agenda of these firms is to provide quality services to consumers and to deliver the products on time to them. Importers expect that they get their goods on time but if they do not get timely delivery then it impacts on the brand reputation of these cargo companies (Baoqing, 2011). UK is one of the top most country which exports good in high amount. Many other nations are making trade agreements with United Kingdom and that is why number of exports contract is increasing in the region. That helps in raising currency value and enhance foreign reserves in the country (Baoqing, 2011).
Deng, Cao, Zhang and Zhang, (2011) mention that UK cargo companies are concentrating on working legally and ethically. That helps them in resolving mistakes that is why importers all around the world keep faith on UK exporters. Author has argued that working of cargo companies are systematic and they pay attention on completion of documentation of the custom service. That supports these entities in raising the brand reputation of the corporations. As per the view of Baoqing, (2011) currently some of cargo firms have poor image in the importer’s eye, it is because they have not delivered the goods on time according to the timescale given to customers at pickup or collection of goods. Apart from this some organisations have not strictly followed the guidelines provided by Customs which is one of the reasons why Customs has canceled their licensee (Finch, 2006).This cancellation of license has an impact on the importer’s brand reputation which can be badly damaged.
For one to understand the brand reputation of AAA Freights, PESTLE (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental) analysis is used. A PESTLE analysis is a vessel used to highlight the aspects that affect a given organization and to evaluate the macro environment external to a business as illustrated below on the AAA Freights case study.
The level of customer taxation and corporate tax is a political aspect that influences corporations’ income. Yan, Xue-jun and Wei (2011).Many companies chose to move their business headquarters to countries with benefits to their profit purposes as fluctuations in the corporate tax percentage could affect business operations (Yan, Xue-jun& Wei, 2011. Pp. 4220). Many corporations, however, do not comprehend that this could impact on the overall corporation’s reputation. AAA Freights has seen a positive impact on its ethical reputation in spite of its loyalty to United Kingdom.
Imposition of trade barriers and tariffs is another political aspect that helps protect the producers and local employment through an increase of the country’s imports (Yan, Xue-jun& Wei, 2011. Pp. 4220). There is, therefore, a protection of the overall country’s economy, and AAA Freights has merged its tactics on local sourcing into their Corporate Social Responsibilities endeavors and focuses on developing and utilizing the skills of the local laborers.
A business can also be affected by the difference in age. This may be in terms of goods, delivery of services and more importantly selling and maintenance of a business in its place. Over the years, it has been said that a population that consists mainly of elderly peopleare not likely to use the new cargo clearing companies that are in the market, so this can be used to identify the most appropriate place to set up the business (Ojadi& Walters, 2015, Pp.5).
Social media has made many people more aware and this has simplified the work, meaning that the group targeted are been reached. The clients are now able to send their feedback to the company since there is an online platform that allows positive interaction and this has led to the company building a strong reputation (Andritsos, 2013: 5). Consumers have been empowered by mobile devices that allow access to the Internet. If one wants to purchase a particular product there is a webpage specially made for clients to compare products then choose the most suitable that fits their needs and is pocket friendly.
A company with a suitable environmental program is more like to succeed if it has a better way of waste reduction and recycling. To avoid such degradations of the environment, both locally and international standards have been put up to reduce such degradations (Deng, et al, 2011, Pp. 252). Recyclable and eco-friendly products have been put up by AAA Freights to meet the required standards.
One of the objectives of the company has been to establish a comprehensive, cost-effective plan for clearing process logistics. The management has also realized that new technologies are effective in developing effective clearing process models in any company (Ojadi& Walters, 2015, Pp. 7). New technologies offer a full combination of services to handle any challenges in cost reduction, return on investment and servicing of client orders. The company has deployed services similar to those of other Freight and cargo companies to develop effective clearing process models.
These services have been very effective in warehouse management, transport management as well communication management (Deng, et al, 2011, Pp. 252). Warehouse management systems have enabled the company to make critical savings in the management of labor, space and auditing activities while transport management systems have enabled the company to make valuable savings on freight audit, carry capacity and contract management in the firm.
The main concept is to ensure that the founding document in the sustainable development for the company remains applicable to the letter. It provides that the consumption and production of unsustainable standards which are not allowed. This is the policy driving AAA Freight Forwarding Agents & Customs Clearance Agents as they ensure that the products set on their website are of the highest quality (Yan, Xue-jun& Wei, 2011. Pp. 4221). This has always made their clientele base to remain the same, as they will always trust their products.
Through following this, they have translated their policies to engage the required standards of social, economic and environmental stability. On the other hand, the company has also defined the principle of sustainability to be the actions taking place in the company should not interfere with the social, economic and environmental principles of the company (Baoqing, 2011, Pp. 281). This makes businesses to work on an independent world whereby their sustainable corporations in the global market remain purposely for the creation of profits. The initiative provides changes through protection of the environment and improving the lives of the people connected to the company such as stakeholders, employees, and the customers.
As such, the important stages of implementing AAA Freight changes focus on dealing with the individuals who will ensure that the changes take place. The important aspect is to find individual ready to execute and design the required changes successfully (Hoffman, Lusanga&Bhero, 2013, Pp. 1607). The individual required for this job are the change agents who are always called upon to ensure that the changes are implemented successfully.
Their main mandate will be to facilitate and plan the processes of changes required. At the same time, they will empower and enable several employees on individual capacity to take responsibilities of implementing the changes (Forcolin, et al, 2011, Pp. 9). The employees will also be required to act as consultants of the effort applicable in attaining the changes. Therefore, AAA Freights are obligated to select reputable change agents who will help in promoting changes in the AAA Freight. Consequently, the employees should ensure that they act as the change agents.
2.5 Impact of inefficiencies of clearing process on brand reputation of UK cargo companies
Inefficiency of clearing process creates problem for the organization because it will hinder any company not to be able to run its business smoothly. As per the view of Baoqing, (2011) inefficiency in the clearing of goods process cause inaccurate forecasting. Not to accurately forecast how easily goods can be cleared can create problem in the future if there is a sudden increase in the number of goods that needs to be cleared.
According to the view of Finch, (2006)inefficiency causes poor product quality. The quality of any good can either motivate or demotivate customers. Once customers are able to make out that the quality of any good is poor, they become negative towards the brand. The negativity results in low sales numbers which in turn causes companies to fail in accomplishing its set or annual objective (Finch, 2006).On the other hand,Davis Nicholas and Richard (2009) argue that inefficiency causes any management of obsolete inventory, which leads organisations to manage its operations well.
According to Finch, (2006) sea transportation is the main medium for cargo companies. To buttress this point, Ojadi and Walters (2015) indicate that seaports have very important roles to play in trade development as “serve as gateways and transit points through which imports and exports flow into and out of a country”. Therefore, seaports are regarded as “critical elements of global supply chains”. As trade globally is the gateway to economic development, so many countries have taken advantage of this link and eliminated or reduced the barriers that cause reduced or slow movement of cargo at their seaports. Ojadi and Walters (2015) furthermore state that “slow moving cargo often results in high dwell times that lower seaport efficiency, and negatively impacts on the cost of trade and the competitiveness of a country”.It is the duty of exporter that to deliver the goods safely to importers. If it does not happen then it impacts on the brand image of the organization to great extent. Inefficiency in the documentation process create trouble for the cargo company and they became unable to get permit of delivering goods to the importers. Inefficiencies in the clearing process impact on brand image badly because due to this shipment get delay and importer do not get contract to the cargo firm in future again. On other hand if person takes care of documentation and prepare all documents carefully then individual will be able to get immediate permission from the custom officers (Finch, 2006).
As per the view of Davis Nicholas and Richard (2009) inspection is considered as major factor that impacts on the brand image of the cargo entity to great extent. It is stated that related authorities come to shipment and check quality of the goods and services. If they find any drawback in the quality then they immediately stop the shipments. Pre- shipment inspection is done by the exporter’s agent and final approval is given by concern authority. Inefficiency in the inspection create problem in analyzing the mistake on the goods on time. After that damaged or poor quality goods reach to the importers that make customers negative towards the brand. Thus, it is the major issue and inefficiency in the inspection process harm the image of the company badly (Davis, Nicholas and Richard 2009).
Finch, (2006) has argued that it is the duty of exporter that to make arrangement of inspection and load the ship as per the specific norms. If there is issue that it is over load then chances of occurring accidents get increased. That impact negative on the financial and brand image of the entity negatively. Container loading is important part of the equipment so if there any inefficiency in the process then that may cause damage to the goods Hall (Baoqing,2011).
3.0 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
This chapter will focus on the research methods of this study which includes the approach, paradigm. Instrument selected and the strategy for the research study and justification as to why they were selected. It is very important to select appropriate research methods as it dictates the quality of the findings of the study.Easterby et al (2002) are of the opinion that “selection should be made with consideration to the aim of the study, research questions and resources that are available”. In this study, all the factors listed above have been properly considered.The purpose of this study is to determine factors influencing the Nigerian custom-goods clearing processes and the impact on brand reputation of UK based cargo companies.
Research has shown that brand reputation has different interpretations and aligned to country specificity because of cultural, national and market economy differences (Davis, Nicholas and Richard 2009). This makes it difficult to determine and compare brand reputation practices worldwide.
It is hard enough to have a phenomenon which has various definitions and concepts that change in respective nationalities, however just as there are general rules of conduct for all countries and cultures, there can be guidelines for companies operating in whichever countries they find themselves (Baoqing,2011).
The nature of MNC’s offers the platform to determine brand reputation behaviors across different cultures. Owing to the fact that in most African countries, systems required for accountability are mostly lacking, it is a good context to test the behavior of foreign companies that are usually accused of rent-seeking behavior (Finch, 2006).
Although qualitative, this study may be generalized in most African countries in aligning policies for multinationals where national laws are difficult to enforce. This could also serve as a platform for coming up with national laws and enforcing them as well with the help of international backing. A study that most companies in developing or emerging markets who are trading globally adhere to a significant level, some brand reputation codes of conduct commensurate to international expectations. We assess the level of brand reputation using the GRI guidelines and standards to determine the content of the organizations under study (Deng, Cao, Zhang and Zhang, 2011.
Our data set will be from AAA Freight that is not a multinational company to serve as a validating company for the study. Brand reputation reports (either in annual reports or standalone brand reputation reports) from companies’ websites will be acquired and analyzed through content analysis. Information reported or not reported in relation to the GRI standards is examined based on equal weighted index (Forcolin, Fracasso, Tumanischvili and Lupieri, 2011).
First of all the criteria for reporting under the GRI standards will be used. Items in the GRI guidelines include;
Secondly the amount and percentage of revenue allocated to brand reputation is also established and compared.
The purpose of this study is to identify and explore reasons to the differences in the level of brand reputation in developing.
3.2 Research Philosophy and Strategy
Research philosophy is the technique that explain the scholar way of collecting information about the topic (Baoqing, 2011). Author has to develop their understanding for conducting the study in effective manner. Selection of appropriate tool supports in gathering in-depth information about the subject matter to the researcher.Interpretivism and positivism are two major types of research philosophy. Positive philosophy is the type of philosophy in which scholar does not involve the human in the investigation and individual collect data from observation (Davis, Nicholas and Richard 2009). On other hand interpretivism is another type of tool in which researcher has to involve human participants. Scholar ask questions with these respondents in order to gather information about the subject. In the present investigation researcher has used the interpretivism approach. That has supported the researcher in gathering in-depth information about the topic. With the help of this tool scholar has got to know what major factors can impact the goods clearing process and brand image of UKL cargo companies.This study is interpretive and naturalistic in nature (Deng, Cao, Zhang and Zhang, 2011). Interpretive studies are “meaning” focused and could use multiple methods in order to reflect different aspects of the issue. The use of this method is ideal for cross cultural studies such as this one and lessens considerably the tendency for bias associated with the interpretive process (Manoharan, 2010).
Research strategy is considered as one of the essential tool that helps in determining the way of gathering information about the subject matter. Selection of appropriate strategy helps the researcher in carry out the study in effective manner.In the present topic scholar has used the qualitative strategy in order to gather in-depth information about the subject (Forcolin, Fracasso, Tumanischvili and Lupieri, 2011). It is a qualitative study of multinationals in Nigeria as a subset of foreign companies operating in Nigeria. There are studies focusing on foreign companies and comparing foreign companies and Nigerian ones, but this research is looking at the practices of foreign companies in two environments, the UK and Nigeria to determine the level of brand reputation in either contexts. Using a qualitative research approach gives the opportunity to make new discoveries (Baoqing, 2011).
This study is deductive. It draws on findings of reviewed literature and theories and is expected that the consequent observations from this research will establish or disaffirm an earlier stance assumed by researchers. In other words, this research is empirical and is interpretive in nature.Conclusions are arrived at deductively (Manoharan, 2010). Our hypotheses are derived from the institutional theory and Legitimacy Theory and deductions made from the literature already reviewed. Our assumptions will be tested to ascertain their robustness and will be confirmed under varying degrees or rejected from our data gathered (Davis, Nicholas and Richard 2009).
3.3 Research design
Research design is another tool of research methodology. That helps the scholar in including several elements so that dissertation can be prepared in effective manner. That shows outline of the study so that researcher can work on the subject matter easily. Descriptive, exploratory are two major parts of designs which are used in the preparing the dissertation. Descriptive research design is generally used by the scholar in qualitative type of investigations. By using this design scholar can identify issues and can define situation more effectively (Deng, Cao, Zhang and Zhang, 2011). On other hand exploratory research design supports in exploring different research questions. In the present topic of factors influencing the inefficiency of the Nigerian customs goods clearing process and to understand the impact these inefficiencies will have on the brand reputation UK based cargo companies scholar has taken support of descriptive research design. This study is a multiple case study of a selected multinational company operating in Nigeria. The selection is based on getting a balanced view of MNC’s of different industries. Conclusive and descriptive in nature, the purpose of this research is to provide answers to the research questions provided in this dissertation (Finch, 2006).
The research includes various multinational companies in Nigeria operating in the UK. Although there are other companies based in the UK and also operating in Nigeria, our concern is with multinationals that are likely to be operating in many other countries in Africa and other parts of the world (Deng, Cao, Zhang and Zhang, 2011).
3.4 Research Approach
This refers to the planning and choices researchers make about research strategies such as case studies, data collection and analysis in ensuring a well-executed study (Silverman, 2005). It is paramount for researchers to carefully choose the research approach, as it helps make a more informed decision about the research design and in ensuring the design caters for constraints (Easterby-Smith et al., 2008).
When the purpose of a research happens to be an accurate description of a situation or of an association between variables, the suitable design will be one that minimizes the reliability of data collected and analyzed (Kothari, 1990). To achieve this, the study will employ descriptive methods to establish the relationship between foreign companies and the perception of brand reputation in the different environments by describing and measuring possible characteristics and their relationships.Inductive and deductive are two main types of research approaches. In the inductive approach researcher has to develop theories by considering available data. In the inductive approach investigator needs not to form any hypotheses. On other hand deductive approach is generally used in such type of investigations where scholar is required to form hypotheses to get optimistic results. Present investigation is qualitative thus, scholar has used inductive research approach tool (Forcolin, Fracasso, Tumanischvili and Lupieri, 2011). That is the best way of developing relationship between custom clearing process of goods and impact on brand image. With the help of this technique researcher became able to get optimistic results.
Qualitative approachis research where data is not analyzed in the form of numbers (Punch, 1998). The qualitative method elucidates a contextual understanding of behavior, values, beliefs etc. as human behavior cannot be measured easily and each phenomenon is unique thus this method helps analyze findings in a descriptive way (Murphy et al., 1998).
3.5 Research Methods
Two data collection tools/methods will be employed. These include:
3.5.1. Secondary Data
Secondary data refers to data that have been collected by someone other than the user. This type of data is readily available from other sources, cheaper and easily obtainable (Forcolin, Fracasso, Tumanischvili and Lupieri, 2011).
It also involves the analysis of historical records and documents as concerns cultural landscapes for purposes of examining and studying their usefulness on a basis of further research and through this trying to gain non-empirical data on the subject (Forcolin, Fracasso, Tumanischvili and Lupieri, 2011).
An advantage of using secondary data is that there is no doubt about the quality of the data collected by the researcher and lastly, data that is specific to this study alone will be collected. Literature Review is a type of secondary data. It does not report original or new experimental work.
Moreover, secondary information presents an opportunity to the researcher to get access to an array of ideas from other authors. Researchers’ process is an important process, but not a one day event. It makes up succinct data collection and evaluate the ideas from different sources. In our case, peer-reviewed journals served an important role in establishing the base of the argument (Amungo, 2016). Works done by other scholars gives a chance to interact with their thinking and either criticize or prove their thoughts. Researchers and other scholars assumes that any published paper adheres to all rules of intellectual property, hence contribute in the process of developing the paper. It is important to note that the topic was used as the criteria for choosing the literature. Additionally, only peer-reviewed work written in English were selected to aid through the process. However, the challenge of this type of secondary data is ethicality (Boone et al., 2011). The researcher only assumes that the information is perfect.
3.5.2. Primary Data
Primary data is the information gathered from the respondents. It factor in their experiences, attitude, and other emotional feelings, which are identifiable through eye to eye contact. This method is effective, since it evokes the feeling of sensitivity. In any research work, the accuracy and quality of information are pertinent. At no point would a researcher like to integrate speculation in his or her work. Finch (2006) asserts that the preliminary stage of any research work is essential. What you input is what you get as output. To achieve the objectives detailed in the previous chapter, engaging primary data collection involves reaching out to the people and allowing them time to voice their concern. This is done by use of questionnaires, with structured questions to handle the topic. Basically, they are designed within the scope of the investigation and respondents allowed to answer them according to their knowledge (Amungo, 2016). Direct or e-mailed interviews could be conducted to get more information. The advantage of this method is ability to learn other attributes of the interviewee. The interviewer can tell when the respondent is lying and employ right measures to mitigate such errors. After completion of the entire process, all responses were consolidated and analyzed. This is the point where graphical representation helps in gauging the outcome of the survey
Selecting the type of primary source that will be used is a critical decision in any social research context.Questionnaire, as a type of primary data, studies the sampling of units from a population and the questionnaire data collection technique used. It focuses on questioning individuals on any given topic and then describe their responses. An advantage of this type of data is that it is tailored specifically for this research needs.
3.6 Data Collection Techniques
Data collection is most important part of dissertation that supports the scholar in developing understanding about the subject matter. There are two sources through which investigator can gather information about the topic; Primary and secondary sources. Primary sources are these tools in which researcher has to gather firsthand information by own as per the requirement of study. On other hand secondary sources are those sources which are already available and researcher can use it as per the need of topic (Finch, 2006). In the present study scholar has used both primary and secondary sources. It has framed standardized questions and collected data on the cargo goods clearing process.
Peer reviewed Journals
Academic works done by other scholars form a good base for starting research work. They document facts, which could be difficult to find from direct interviews. It is also important to note that some information becomedifficult to find, especially where one has to follow predetermined bureaucracy process (Eckert, 2016). To shorten the extended time of seeking information from institutions, one can directly extract it from existing papers. It is conventionally acceptable to reference other people’s work, with much emphasis on obeying intellectual property policies. Facts and information should not be manipulated to fit the individual’s interest. Academic paper becomes a tool of research, because before publication they undergo review by a panel of experts, which proposes it for publishing. Before any paper is classified as peer- reviewed, lengthy quality identification process is taken. It’s therefore a dependable tool, which has been appreciated in the current academic work.
These enable the collection of related data thus it is easy to test for reliability and validity. Responses, beliefs, perceptions and significance that the respondents attach to the existence of the brand reputations will be captured in the questionnaires. The questionnaires will be read, interpreted and explained to those who are illiterate but those who are literate should fill the questionnaires themselves (Baoqing, 2011).As it was alluded in the previous paragraphs, questionnaires become a primary source of data collection since they evoke personal attributes. This is contrary to secondary data collection such as past literatures, which is difficult to ascertain the validity of information (Amungo, 2016).
3.7 Sampling Techniques
This refers to a definite plan for obtaining a sample from a given population (Kothari, 2004). It is therefore the process of selecting subjects from an accessible population.
3.7.1 Sample Size
A sample size should be optimum, that is, neither too small nor too large. An optimum sample is one that fulfills the requirements of efficiency, representation, reliability and flexibility (Kothari, 1990). A questionnaire will be “administered on a representative sample size of the main stakeholder” (Ojadi& Walters, 2015) to ascertain their views on the challenges faced at the Lagos seaports that impact on the efficiencyof custom-goods clearing process.
3.7.2 Simple Random Sampling
Every member in the population has an equal and independent chance of being selected. It ensures the law of statistical regularity, which states that if an average on the sample chosen is a random one, the sample will have the same composition and characteristic as the universe (Kothari, 2004). The process will be administered continuously until the required sample of respondents is achieved.
3.8 Method of Data Analysis
Andritsos (2013) asserts to the view of thematic analysis is considered as a perfect tool that can support in analysing information in an effective manner. In this method, the researchermakes useof graphs and charts in order to present information in effective manner. It is an empirically grounded method and has contemporarily developed certain characteristics. Apart from it being an exploratory and empirically grounded to predict or make inferences through exploration it is a methodology of its own and helps researchers to go through a whole research process including analyses. One of the reasons for it evolving into a methodology is the fact of large volumes of electronic data that require novel research techniques (Davis, Nicholas and Richard 2009).
Selection of appropriate data analysis tool is very important because by this way any researcher can draw valid conclusions. In quantitative study, a researcher takes support of SPSS, T-test etc. in order to get results. The present investigation is qualitative in naturethereforewill make use of questionnairetherefore a thematic analysis tool for data analysis will be employed (Baoqing, 2011). With the help of graphs and figures, it results will be analysed.
Baoqing (2011) defines content analysis as a “research technique for making replicable and valid inferences from texts (or other meaningful matter) to the contexts of their use”. Naturalistic in nature, three approaches to this method have been widely used. The conventional, directed and summative approaches are all used to derive meaning in context, however, there are differences in the approaches, that is, in determining coding schemes, the origins of codes and their reliability level. The summative approach utilises counting and comparing of major words which is then followed by interpreting the words in their context.
From theory or research findings. Additionally, when a researcher’s aim is to describe a phenomenon, usually because of very little existing theory, the conventional approach to content analysis is used. A directed content analysis approach is deductive as opposed to the inductive nature of conventional approach and is used to support a theory or otherwise giving existing theory an additional length (Baoqing, 2011).
The findings of the conventional method do not perfectly represent the data because the understanding of texts within text contexts is limited. Andritsos, (2013) indicates that “member checks, referential adequacy, negative case analysis, triangulation, persistent observation, prolonged engagement and peer debriefing” are ways to reduce this imperfection in findings.
Also, the use of theory can cause a bias in research for directed content analysts. Unless with texts that have already been printed, interviewers can lead interviewees into a responding in a biased way that can skew results. Additionally, giving too much importance to theory can make researchers lose sight of other important contexts that could have been assessed. To make results neutral (because there is a case of the lack of objectivity and neutrality) recommends that an audit trail and process be used.Summative content analysis can have its issue of credibility rectified by aligning the evidence in the texts to at par with the interpretation.
For the purpose of this study we will employ the use of summative content analysis. Summative content analysis is not only a manifest of the content to be analysed, that is, quantitatively determining the frequency of words used, but also latent, that is analysing the content in its context (Baoqing, 2011). Content analysis will be successful with a well catered for coding process
3.8.1 Logic of Summative Content Analysis
- Are the designs and methods for the proposed study fully described, explained and justified?
- Will the design and methods of the study deliver the aims and objectives?
- Are the design and methods of the proposed study the most efficient way to deliver the aims and objectives?
- Will the results of the study be generalizable or transferable beyond the immediate research setting?
- Does the proposed study design take account of issues of representativeness?
- Does the proposal describe and explain the approach the study will take to avoid potential sources of bias?
- Can the proposed study meet the relevant legislative and regulatory requirements?
3.9 Data collection, analysis Techniques and procedures
The data collection was based on qualitative and quantitative path. Qualitative data assumes a purposive sample, which is given time to air their responses (Elegbe, 2017). In this case, various stakeholders were incorporated to give their views regarding the supply chain in Nigeria.It was based on the years of experience in the industry, age and location. Government agencies and private organizations formed a good source of the information. Additionally, quantitative data are basically collected through questionnaires and other literature. This method is devoid of human interaction. Integration of the two methods gives the research work an upper hand in its reliability (Amungo, 2016). All the information was consolidated, while employing varied methods of analysis. Two types of data were evident in this scenario. One is normal responses from the respondents and numerical data collected from the secondary sources. In order to analyze information from the questionnaires, Likert Scale was developed to measure statements written on the questionnaires (Farmer, 1993). Further, tabulation of information and also a graphical representation helped in giving the clear visual impression to facilitate making conclusions. Notably, not all information can be analyzed though Likert scale.For example, qualitative is unstructured and complicated.The data was collected from diverse localities which necessitated the use of a powerful software.NVivo is an option that was settled on due to its versatility in data analysis. It provides information on correlations, regressions and also gives a graphical representation (Grubendorfer, 2012). This is useful during interpretation of the results.Also MAXQDA and SPSS serve the same role of organizing data into meaningful form (Baoqing, 2011).
3.10 Data Reliability
The data compiled for the research was for a period of three years 2014 to 2017. They are secondary data sourced from company websites. Since they come from company websites, they are assumed to be the reliable since they were put there by the company itself. Future studies utilizing these sources will be consistent with the findings of this research (Finch, 2006).
3.11 Limitation of Data collection
Research of every kind has some form of limitations and it is dependent on the researcher who is aware of this limitation to minimize the effects. The limitation of this research in collecting data was the difficult access to a full compilation of UK multinationals operating in Nigeria. To lessen this effect, data from Nigeria Investment Promotion Centre as well as that of the ANI (Association of Nigerian Industries) were compared and overlaps levelled out to get a complete set of relevant company information (Finch, 2006).
3.12 Time Horizons
A cross sectional study of foreign company (AAA) that is multinational reveals that there are a number of foreign companies in Nigeria. This means that there is a variation of multinational companies with differing homes of origin. This study focuses on just UK multinationals operating in Nigeria. This study also employs a longitudinal stance of analyzing data for a period of five years
3.13 Analysis of Reports
Key words will be used to analyze reports and then the context will be assessed to infer adherence to the said Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).These are standards which enables business and government to understand and communicate certain issues in the country.Each requirement is given a score of 1, and a simple percentage computed to determine the level of brand reputation as against the GRI standards.
3.14 Ethical Considerations
Ethical consideration in a research process is critical. Ethics are defined as norms which distinguishes wrong and right. They are basically guiding principles which align the objective of the project with the expected policies (Hwang and Chung, 2016). Acceptable behaviors are core in every profession. In academic work, it is regarded paramount and violation of the same could lead to jail. One of the importance of ethical consideration is avoidance of information fabrication. False assertions might harm the public. Some researchers go ahead and publish information they have not taken the time to determine its truthfulness. Knowingly or unknowingly, it is regarded unethical. Besides, it enhances collaboration. The entire process involves sharing of information with various stakeholders, copyright issues and revelation of confidential information (Joda& Nigeria, 2010). It is necessary to position oneself in a professional manner by concealing the information between the two parties. Additionally, ethical consideration makes the public believe the research. If people realize any false information, the work loses meaning. The measure to sail the work to acceptance is not only through the content employed. Actually, non-scholars might fail to understand sophisticated data. They employ simple aspects such as respect for human rights, compliance with the law and following guidelines. These constitute ethical standards (Amungo, 2016). The conduct of the researcher impacts the integrity of his or her work.
The paper employs both primary and secondary forms of data collection. For effectiveresults, ethical considerations were highly regarded when questionnaires were being issued. One, the respect was accorded to all parties irrespective of age and gender. The interviewers were trained in the best way to behave while handling the respondent. They were made aware of different attributes of the people they would meet. In order to mitigate the challenges, the questionnaires were issued to willing people. It was a voluntary exercise without any form of coercion. Along, confidential information was highly concealed. After the respondents had given their views, all questionnaires were sealed and only opened during the analysis process. The interviewers also were instructed not to assist in giving ideas. Exceeding, secondary sources such as literatures served a better part in developing the topic. In order to adhere to the stipulations of intellectual property, all sources were accurately referenced. No additions or deduction was made to any statement documented by a certain author. However, criticism of thought was embraced in developing the literature review.
4.0 DATA ANALYSIS
The findings established that the implementation of brand reputation benefited the regions in four different scopes(Economy, Corporate Image, International relation and Technological advancement). The first area that benefitted was the economic sector where it catered for different investments, taxes and creation of employment for the people in the community.The level of development in any country is determined by its ability to sustain its citizens. There are concerted efforts by various governments to embrace the promotion of international brands with the aim of encouraging investments in the host country. Nigeria is a good case study which has greatly benefitted through this initiative.The economy is an essential element of consideration in fostering growth, and therefore is influenced by engaging other nations through offering good investment policies (Matthieson, 2005). For instance, the multinational companies in the UK can be explained by the chart below:
Moreover, international relationship was strengthened. Continued cooperation with other nations is cited as a core point of consideration. A single nation cannot operate on its own since it requires to trade with others in the global or regional space. One cannot negate the input that international companies bring into the host nation. A good relationship is established through supporting their initiative. Consequently, new entrants brings technological innovations, assisting the nation to remain informed of the current trends. The findings depicted a shift towards faster clearing procedures. AAA Company established, reliable systems which increased the rate of clearing products in the market. It involves the locals who have gathered enough experience. This is a plus to the country’s labour force. Further, corporate image of the host nation’s commercial transaction rises to higher levels. For example, AAA is a known company with international coverage. Investing in Nigeria is an indication to the outside world of the economic potential of this nation. More investors are attracted to do business.
4.2 PESTEL Analysis of Nigeria
Most of the people in Nigeria live in poor conditions and they expect AAA freight to solve all their problems. A single organization cannot entirely change the living standards of all people (Miller, 2013). Those who get employment are lucky to benefit largely. This leaves most of the people frustrated and betrayed. The PESTEL analysis of this country might also lead to poor brand name. Currently, Nigeria has a stable government with two factions of the rulingand opposition parties. Nonetheless, the country faces regular terrorist attacks which come unprecedented. It scares away the investors and residents to conduct the business. Another factor is constant wars among the residents over the oil revenues (Parahoo et al., 2014). Complete sharing of revenue collected from oil mines is not well shared. This trend has made business volatile and unpredictable. Alongside this, the corruption levels are also high. The survey, conducted by the Central Bank of Nigeria placed the corruption index of the country at 26 points. The value has lowered business confidence.
The economic state of Nigeria is not that buoyant in the current time. This country is the mono-economy, with most of its revenue coming from sales of oil products. The prices of oil are changing drastically and therefore difficult to predict the incomes (Priporas&Kamenidou, 2010). Internally collected revenue has also lowered, with businesses finding it hard to survive the hostile market. The trend leaves the citizens with little disposable income and they can only spend on the basics. Unemployment levels among the youth stands at 21.5%, which is challenging for any business in the country (Ramanathan&Velavudhan, 2015). The implication of this is increasing crime rates.Beyond, the rates of borrowing are also high, with banks charging as high as 15%. Investors are therefore left with little hope to secure loans to start and run the business. To cater for such high charges, cost of services is increased and sometimes quality compromised to suit the needs of the customers (Steward &Gallen, 1998).
Correspondingly, Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa. It has a population of 181.56 million people as per the statistics of the year 2015(Vinjamuri, 2008). The data suggest a huge potential market in this country. The country has high respect for ethnicity and religion. Before conducting any business in the country, one is required to understand market segment based on religion and culture of the people. Diversification is well represented. The challenge is an advertising and making the product known to all people. However, Nigerians are people who like new brands and fashion. An average citizen would spend more on luxury products without much consideration (Amungo, 2016). This is affirmed by information released that the highest market for smartphones in the world is in Nigeria. This gives the purchasing levels of the populace. Too, technological advancement in this country is taking shape compared to some years back. The young people are becoming computer savvy and embracing the evolvement. Anyone willing to do business in this nation can capitalize on online advertising. Although the computers might be expensive, smartphones are widely used, making social media a hub to reach potential customers.
In like manner, legal policies stipulate that an average Nigerian should earn a minimum of eighteen thousand Naira. Adding to this, they are taxed progressively depending with one’s income (Boone et al., 2011). The higher the income the higher the tax. However, government and other organizations pay some of their employee lower salaries, which leaves them with little to spend. Also, the dwindling oil revenue has made it difficult for the economy to grow. Tighter policies have been put in place to eliminate chances of tax evasion. Any business set up in the region should be prepared to comply with the law. Nigerian federal government is keen on protecting the ecology (Eckert, 2016). The environment is pertinent and form the better part of the production process. Due to lack of enough electric grid connection, industrial processes and other sectors running the economy depends on power generating machines. This causes noise pollution and makes the country uncomfortable to do business. Every state is allowed to design their own policies regarding the environment which might not favour location of business in some places. A PESTEL analysis keeps on changing as business trends evolve. The information serves as a guideline in illustrating the present scenario in this country. However, the conditions might improve with time since growth is not static.
4.3 Result and Discussion
The brand reputation standards and regulations set within the international platform enables the UK companies to outpace those in the United States through publishing a promotion of the brand reputation policies that work better within the international market.
Their concept instigates that the executives working in the US Multinational firms have not been quick to come up with the agreement, which would allow the practice of brand reputation within the global framework. Furthermore, 88% the firms in UK have reports associated with the surrounding compliance, while 25% of the firms in the United States engage on the same ideologies (Davis Nicholas and Richard 2009).
While the firms in the US do not have a proper setup on these policies, the UK has ensured that majority of the companies make great strides in implementation of the policies. For instance, there is a ministry in the UK that has been set to ensure that brand reputation is implemented by organizations within the country.
The important aspect behind the establishment of brand reputation in Nigeria is the manner in which the communities in the region operate and the different multinational companies setting base in the country have influenced their operations. If a company has good governance, their aim would always be to have a long term relevance within a specific market which would assist them in having a good relationship with groups, institutions and individuals in their region of operations.
At the same time, organizations understand that they would always prosper in regions that the community is successful and they would not do well in regions that the community has failed. The reason for this might be due to environmental or social challenges, and issues related to problem with the national governance. The private sector is rated highly by the public when it comes to responsible behaviour. The expectation of the public is that the goods and services from the organizations are environmentally and socially responsible. The companies might have different ideologies but their main impression has always been to make profit and remain relevant within the market by being on top of the other firms. The companies have made it a habit to have their core motive being to make profit whereby forgetting about the government policies and regulations, which are relevant to the society in controlling the corporate behaviours.
Nigeria is well known for its oil rich area which brings a lot of money into the disposal of the citizens. It is one of the largest oil production in Africa and therefore enjoys a well developing economy (Miller, 2013). Changes in oil prices affect the standards of living. Current prices of the petroleum products are at stable levels. The nations, which produce oil, are enjoying considerably better prices. Further, the market has been regulated all over the world, ensuring that all countries producing petroleum products have balance in prices (Miller, 2013). This trend has led to the surplus money circulating in the market as well as improved the purchasing power of individuals. Companies such as AAA freights, which specializes in management of exports and imports, benefits largely in such instances.
Another contributing factor in investment attraction is that Nigeria is not known for agricultural production. Its economy is sustained by mining of petroleum products. AAA freights therefore receive a lot of purchases as people and other businessmen have to import such products (Boone et al., 2011). Far and above, there are a lot of oil exports to other countries. This is the major sector where the company benefits, hence contributed to its expansion in the country. Subsequently, spending power of the citizens is also high. Establishment of trading platform in a country is pegged to understanding their culture and way of doing things. This is the preface before channelling capital to a new market. Considering the topic of our discussion, custom goods clearing in Nigeria is one area that requires real exploration. AAA freights identified a niche in the market and utilized for their benefit.
Multinationals companies across the globe have their own ways of instilling the different methods that has supported in getting optimistic results.
The brand reputation practices are not obvious and the rationale behind their success lies with the establishment of the goals, which tend to factor in the profit generation activities. Through proper investigation, it is easy to understand that the there is a very big difference in practicing brand reputation in Nigeria compared to the practice in the United Kingdom. Brand reputation might ensure that the organization makes profit though it is important to note that organization in Nigeria and UK tends to be different.
The concept behind brand reputation has a global support and is seen to be one of the business practices that are practiced by different organizations across the globe. Globalization has made it possible to for the practice to be carried out differently since it establishes transparency, which is required by the different business organizations.
In addition, the government in the United Kingdom supports the ideology and the practice of brand reputation though it is faced with austerity, which also interferes with businesses across the globe. On the other hand, the people across the world do not have confidence with some of the concepts portrayed by the government institutions, which makes companies have their own concepts that they find favourable for them.
Moreover, the private sector within a country plays a bigger part in engineering growth, which makes it possible for organizations to omit the ideologies practiced in a normal concept of business. The concept also assists businesses in getting better through ensuring that they add values to the society since the brand reputation would make them acknowledge the different people associated with organization.
Apart from adhering to the standards of the new market, international companies, such as AAA freight, have strategies which enable them remain unique (Farmer, 1993). They design their product in a manner that pleases the user. Different methods are used by customs goods clearing companies. Every single institution has distinguishable attributes which vary from the rivals in the market (Amungo, 2016). The leadership strategies employed by AAA have enabled it to remain relevant. Elegbe (2017) affirms that the personal branding of the employees have the capability of building or destroying the business completely. The management has structured its operations to suit the requirements of its clients. They have achieved this through training workers on various ways to handle human beings. Custom clearing is a lengthy process, which requires tolerance. Irrespective of the laborious work involved, the employees are required to encourage their customers until the entire process is completed (Joda& Nigeria, 2010). However, AAA has managed to lessen the paperwork and incorporated modern technology in processing some documents and certification checking, reducing the long hours of waiting. The company has invented on-time reduction, which is crucial for any client.
Likewise, customer satisfaction is an element of consideration. Customers are important assets in any organization. If customers are not satisfied, then, there is no business. This is a reputation, which has to be guarded by all means for fruitful progress in the market (Parahoo et al., 2014). Despite some challenges in accommodating beliefs and cultural practices of a new country, any new organization can conduct a survey to understand the nature of the clients. This initiative helps in designing the right marketing strategy. Some characteristics of the customers cannot be ignored at any given time in this business of custom goods clearing. Understanding the emotional strength of the customer would assist in a good relationship.
Therefore, it is essential to note that brand reputation makes it possible for people to understand that the business is an active entity rather than perceiving that the businesses are passive which would make it possible to have growth within the economy.
4.5 Brand Reputation
There has been an increase in the number of countries that have passed regulations on companies disclosing their role in the society and the corporate environmental information though the brand reputation has been left to be a voluntary affair. The brand reputation in the United Kingdom and the European nation has been intended to be practiced in areas such as market place, workplace, community, environmental human rights and ethnic settings.
According to the European commission, brand reputation is all about an enterprise practicing their responsibility within the society and impacting lives of the people that are associated with them(Alderton,2008). Moreover, brand reputation should be something that the organization imposes by itself though the public has a better role to play in ensuring that the organizations implement the best policies and regulations that favours both the society and the company.
Consequently, a company would be rendered to be socially responsible if it ensured that all the laws of the land are followed and integrated within the scope of environmental, social, consumer, human rights and ethical setting during the conduction of the daily business operations (Anupindi et al., 2006). The companies in the United Kingdom are encouraged to practice brand reputation which is regulated and standardized. The enterprises within the UK are encouraged to ensure that the brand reputation that they are following are in accordance with the international guidelines, which would favour their businesses. Such guidelines include OECD, which is recommended for the multinational enterprises (Alderton, 2008).
Other guidelines include the 10 principles set by the United Nations on Global Impact, the UN guidelines that are associated with the businesses and Human rights, ISO 26000 guidance of the standard social responsibility, ILO Tri-partite Declaration of the multinational enterprises and social policies and the ISO 1400 EU’s EMAS(Davis et al.,2009)
According to the regulations cited by the Nigerian government, the brand reputation approach is essential and majority of the companies fail to notice the best practice that is essential in their practice (Davis et al., 2009). However, it is important to note that each organization has its own way of handling their businesses due to their uniqueness of their operations and characteristics. The differences would lead to circumstances, which would interfere with the manner in which the context of their operations are defined in relation to defining their social responsibilities.
At the same time companies have a varied pinion in dealing with the brand reputation since their awareness of the issues related to brand reputation might be different and they might have a big task in understanding its components and approaches (Deng et al., 2011). An organization would be rendered to have social responsibility if it ensures that its operations improve the environment and its locality. The multinational organizations working within Nigeria ensure that they meet the environment and social concerns within the society which they conduct their operations.
A firm will not be seen as socially responsible if it only meets the environmental laws within the location of its operations but it has to comply with the laws that instigate social responsibility (Anupindi et al., 2006). Furthermore, if a company works to ensure that the environment is improved, it would have a better chance of enhancing its reputation within the region it is operating on making it have a competitive advantage over the others in the market. There are organizations that would see the problem but there are those that would establish a solution that would enhance the lives of the people within the society. There are different brand reputation strategies that have been applied by numerous multinational organizations working within Nigeria.
The brand reputation policies applied in Nigeria majorly concentrate on sectors such as education, health and the development of the country since the country was interested in ensuring that the country is in a better place when it comes to development and change in the lives of their people (Davis et al., 2009)
The image portrayed to the customer is final in determining acceptance or rejection (Steward &Gallen, 1998). Customers are much more aware of their rights than before. Any organization that is not ready to serve the customers diligently risks to extinct. This is a secret, which has been held by larger corporations. Their first consideration is the welfare of the customer, who is actually the reason behind business existence. To ensure the customer service meets the required standards, it is crucial to have a good public relationsdepartment (Priporas&Kamenidou, 2010). Complaints and any other negative aspects, which could affect the business, would be handled at this level and solved appropriately.
Branding of the company comprises of several elements such as quality of the products and services offered. It also entails a corporate aspect in terms of ethical behaviour of the staff. Poor services eat the business slowly, until it is faced out of the market.Customers are strong marketing tools because they share information with the outside world (Ramanathan&Velavudhan, 2015). If one is not satisfied, he or she communicates with a friend and the chain continues. Before realizing, the business name is tarnished beyond reconstruction. Remarketing the business would require offering a different product or even lower prices to unanticipated levels. Conjointly, unethical behaviours are linearly related to performance. Ethics are defined as a set of conduct stipulating the manner, in which employees should behave at place of work.They are policies to direct every act to mitigate harming the customer emotionally and even physically. Therefore, branding encompasses both the business as a whole and even individual’s behaviour. The two are inseparable, hence, complement each other.
5.0 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Brand reputation is a major factor that influences the performance of any business, and AAA Freights is not an exception. Ideally, the entire company owes its outstanding performance to its brand name, as people believe that it does not just provide flexible services, but it goes further to offer cost effective and customized freight solutions, which believably, satisfies most of the firm’s regulars. This is all about caring for the consumers; whereby, the corporation wishes to give its regulars quality services, which would ensure their loyalty to the firm.
However, change is inevitable, and therefore, the business’ environment, constantly, changes with time. For this reason, AAA’s process of clearing custom goods, which entails re-engineering, reorganizing, implementation of new technologies, and downsizing, should change to suite the customers even more.
From the above study it can be articulated that terminal and shipping companies are required to pay respective amount in a designated bank. Goods clearing process has ending procedure in that when truck or ship reach to the gate, they have to wait for their document to be verified again. Cargo companies have to arrange facility for quality assurance process so that further complications can be avoided. It is the duty of customs officers to check duty payment, endorsement and multiple registrations of documents. If it is found that all documents and quality cross check have been done twice and is up to date, then it gets green signal to get out of the sea port. This clearing process is quite complicated for new cargo companies but those that have been in the business for longer duration have all of these information and can follow all these phases carefully. From this research, it can be concluded that companies have to follow clearing process properly and have to prepare all document as requested of them by the relevant authorities. Otherwise it can face penalties which in turn can affect the brand name of the firm in the mind of customers.Most companies like to have good reputation and be seen as trustworthy and reliable by their customers.
Nonetheless, seems to lack the vision for implementing such a useful change, and this may cause its downfall. Furthermore, it seems to lack better trust and communication skills, commitment by the top management, resources, and change management skills, thereby, showing some resistance to change, which could become its Waterloo. Comparing the AAA Freight in the UK and that in Nigeria would lead to the most appropriate recommendations on how to better the enterprise.
From the above investigation, it can be articulated that the economy is the major factor that impacts on the process of clearing goods. The economy on the other is also impacted by the sudden changes that can arise in the price of crude oil. The price at which oil is sold at any given time, sets the level at which customs places on the cost of imported goods.
Apart from this, changes in government norms is another factor that affects clearing process goods. Due to this exporters have to cross check their quality and container’s weight before it can be ready for exportation. This quality assurance process causes a delay in service delivery and is a major factor that impacts on brand image of cargo companies in the UK to a great extent.
Point to note, the two enterprises belong to the same company; nonetheless, they differ in many ways. First, Brand reputation is compulsory in the UK, therefore, the state has a ministry that ensures that every firm promotes its brand name within the country. To achieve this, the organization would have to ensure that its actions benefit the society, and this would call for activities that include ensuring fair prices, thereby, attracting more customers to use the firm’s services.
From the discussion it can be concluded that UK cargo companies are concentrating on working legally and ethically. This way of working to legal and moral requirement is helpful for them in resolving issues relating to time management and trust issues. It has been found that cargo companies are systematic in their way of working and these firms conduct their operations well. Documentation and timescale of custom service of these entities are crystal clear. These processes supports these entities in raising the brand reputation of these corporations. It has been found that currently some cargo firms have poor image where importers are concerned, because they are unable to deliver goods on time. If companies do not follow set norms properly and on time, then it causes damage to their brand image. It may be possibility that customs could revoke their licensee which will impact negatively on the reputation of the cargo companies, especially if customers have already delivered their goods to these companies.
However, in Nigeria, the issue of brand name is not so much a propelling factor, but then, the AAA company has the belief that the success of the society would lead to the firm’s success, and that is the reason the organization practices corporate social responsibility. Nigeria being a developing country, community development forms part of the company’s corporate social responsibilities, and therefore, the AAA Freights in Nigeria would engage in such activities as improving the technology, among others that would develop the community.
On the other hand, UK is a developed country, therefore, the organization would only major its efforts on such activities as ensuring fair pricing, quality services, and timely clearance of goods, as that would gain the firm the consumer loyalty. Evidently, the two branches exist in two different environments, and therefore, the performance of each may differ.
Also worth of mentioning, the factors of the external environment pose major variations in the corporate social responsibilities that the firm has to engage in. For example, politically, most regimes, often, impose high taxes on imports, and to deal with this, the AAA Freight in Nigeria offers employment for the locals, thereby, earning favors from the government. these factors of the external environment, including the demographic aspect of the environment may determine the brand name. Point to note, these factors also vary from one state to another.
Unlike developing states, developed countries have factors that would favor the growth of any business. Nigerian external environment, as enlisted in the PESTEL analysis, probably, lead to the poor brand name in the country. The people live in poor conditions; therefore, they expect too much from the AAA Organization. Consequently, the feel betrayed by the firm if the industry does not perform some of their expectations.(Some good points here but has not been well articulated in chapter 4.) I Includedthe point in chapter 4. Please check the section labelled PESTEL analysis. In 4.2
Summarily, AAA’s brand name in the UK is quite good, but that does not apply with its Nigerian branch. It is a fact that brand reputation combines and transforms various resources used in the custom goods or operation subsystem of organization into value added product or services in a controlled manner as per the policies of the organization. So cargo companies should follow all legal regulations properly and have to apply these policies in its goods clearing process. That would help the entity in running its business smoothly and enhance brand image.
Hence, we can say that it deals with the offering of a little more to the public apart from the normal freight services. AAA Inc. deals in shipping and clearance of goods in all the ports it operates, but then, the brand name differs from one country to another, regardless of its similar activities. Inasmuch as the UK citizens appreciate the services of the organization, the Nigerians may have a different perspective of the firm. This situation does not just jeopardize the performance of the corporation in Nigeria, but it is also a potential threat to the entire company.
Cargo companies should use more advance technologies in their operations. It will help in keeping systematic records of all data and help in minimizing errors. By this way organisation will be able to get updated with the process and it will pay custom duties on time and documentation process will be more transparent. Argumentatively, with the rising technology, Nigerians may write their reviews about the company on the internet; therefore, the situation poses a risk to the firm losing the public trust in the UK. In other words, since brand name is compulsory in the UK, it would be offensive for an international firm that has its foundation the UK to be termed as socially irresponsible in Nigeria. This may then lead to many detrimental impacts, which the company needs to see a way of avoiding. In that retrospect, the following recommendations would apply for the AAA Freight:
- The UK branch should extend its wings to support the Nigerian branch, as this would lead to a collaborative advantage, thereby, making the firm to succeed in the prevailing conditions.
- The Nigerian branch should consider partnering with the government in identifying some of the areas that need attention, and then advise the regime to take action, as the firm’s main purpose is to make profit, benefiting the society is not the priority.
- The whole company should take advantage of some opportunities to promote its brand name. For example, since developing countries are prone to disasters, the company should stand out to help in times of such misfortunes. This action would turn the perspectives of the Nigerian citizens about the organization.
- It should hire skilled and experienced employees who have good experience in the relevant field. By this way skilled workers will contribute well in the smooth running of the business operation. This in effect willminimise documentation errors and its brand image will be improved to a great extent.
- Since people love cheap services, the organization should consider computerizing most of its activities, as this would reduce the use of the human resource, thereby, cutting cost of production and a reduction in price would follow. However, this should not lead to price discrimination, and therefore, the firm should consider using the technological advancement in all its branches to its advantage. Cargo Companies should pay attention on the needs of importers and accordingly it should deliver the goods with required quality. This will support in increasing satisfaction level of consumers and the customers in turn will promote the companies brand image.
From the above study, the issues involved around custom clearing processes have been highlighted. On the bases of this research solutions have also been discussed clearly with recommendations listed.Above all, the AAA Company should consider further research to acquire other results that would help support this one; therefore, it would take the best actions possible to solve the problem in its Nigerian branch.
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