My new role as area manager has given me more control and power to dedicate my time and effort to bring change to the company, with fresh ideas, thoughts and better plans for its future success. Having over 20 years’ experience, I reformed and brought changes to the company from the office, to the shop, to he forecourt.
I got married at the age of 18 and have four boys and a caring and loving wife, who is always very supportive. Yes, that’s right four boys a real handful especially when it comes to football, with Liverpool, Arsenal, Real Madrid and Man United supporters, so you can imagine the atmosphere at our home when rival teams are playing. It’s all fun!
My typical day entails taking the kids to school, eating breakfast, which I never miss, because skipping breakfast is like trying to run a car without fuel (BP Ultimate gives you more miles, by the way) you will not get very far. I drive to Wolverhampton on a Monday, where my week starts and it ends in Birmingham. As soon as I pull up at the site, work begins by site analysis: a clean and presentable forecourt, full of offers, banners, posters etc pulls in the customers.
I make my way to the manager’s office. He usually spots me on the CCTV, greets me and I get to work. Sharing the office with the manager can be challenging, but while he is busy doing his office work, I start by checking the sales reports, performance reports, site audits etc via my KPI report. KPIs help organisations understand how well they are performing in relation to their strategic goals and objectives. Once I have completed the report, urgent matters are sorted straight away and the rest is then left to the manager to sort out ASAP.
My boss, Bal Sharma, also attends the sites with me on a daily basis and my second boss, Kumar Sharma, deals with head office work. We work as a team and make sure that the sites are running efficiently and employees are providing good customer service. I personally check the staff for company compliance on uniforms and name badges. Usually I carry spare badges with me! Appearance is vital for customer service and helps the barrier between staff and customers. I provide on-site training to managers and all employees on a three-to-six monthly basis.
Once all audits (due diligence) are completed, I focus on the shop sales, promotions, pricing and offers after a nice cup of tea! And sometimes I get spoilt by the staff and managers who treat me with biscuits, cakes and samosas.
I make sure that the forecourt and shop is looking at its best and ready for business, with promotions, offers, essentials, availability etc and also deal with all customer queries and address complaints, if there are any. I also meet suppliers, contractors and reps as it’s a good way to make them feel at home. I always treat everyone with respect and expect the same back.
The biggest challenge in life is to be yourself in a world that is trying to make you like everyone else.
We’ve worked hard to change the customer perception that forecourts are expensive. Ward End Service Station in Birmingham was our concept site for Premier. We worked very closely with Premier to increase footfall and to attract customers who did not spend in the shop. We decided to change the shop layouts, and we removed some of the shelving and replaced it with pallets on the shop floor of Mega Deals and When It’s Gone It’s Gone! We also buy priced-marked stock and run a number of promotions throughout the store.
I check shop pricing, barcodes and shop margins to make sure that we are achieving our targets set by the company and instigate last-minute checks all around the site.
Finally, I do the ’jobs to do’ list for the manager, who has deadlines to complete the necessary tasks and jobs and end the day with last-minute thoughts/reviews/training etc with the manager.
Phew! The working day’s over, and I’m off home to spend quality time with my family, until tomorrow, and whatever that brings.
Name: Saeed Noorani
Company name: Sharma Garages
Job title: Area manager
Career History: In 1993, I started off as a waiter in a restaurant, then in 1994 moved to Gulf. After being made redundant I joined Sharma Garages, under the Total brand in Oldbury as a sales assistant. I was promoted along the way up to my new role of area manager
Greatest Achievement: My role as an area manager
Tips for business Success: Trust, determination, customer service, product knowledge and the ability to communicate
Most likely to say: "Be good, do good"
Least likely to say: "It can wait till tomorrow"
Other Interests: Fine dining, family time, travelling and seeking knowledge