April 1, 2020
After two years in Malaysia working in the sanitaryware sector, Marta Jalón has joined Porcelanosa as manager of the country’s associate showroom. Following a training period in which she gained an in-depth knowledge of the Group, she is now ready to embark on this new phase of her career.
The factory training lasted around a month and included a couple of days at each factory and a week in one of our showrooms. I spent the rest of the time in the Associates department.
Porcelanosa is particularly committed to employee training, which it considers an essential tool in order to obtain an insight into the brand and identify fully with this magnificent team. In my case, being such a long way from the central offices means that it’s essential to build up an excellent relationship with our colleagues in Spain.
I spent time with each of the sales managers responsible for South-East Asia, learning about the day-to-day work in each of the Group’s eight companies and gaining a technical insight into the materials, as well as the internal coordination between the various departments.
I also spent part of my training period in the Dubai showroom, observing at first hand how our showrooms operate. In-showroom training is essential in order to fully understand the internal organisation and management, as well as our customers’ tastes and behaviour.
One particular aspect that came up repeatedly during my training period was the need for a thorough understanding of the production process, together with the need to maintain an ongoing communication flow with the factory, teamwork and the positive impact of a good working atmosphere. Delivering outstanding customer service is another crucial key to the company’s success.
The Malaysia store manager explained that dealing with customers in Malaysia involves a series of cultural considerations determined to a large extent by religion (Islam), the country’s multicultural nature and the complex system of honorific titles used. She added that business styles are often based on an indirect approach and relations tend to take longer to establish than in other cultures.
On the one hand I will be responsible for the daily management of the showroom display area, ensuring it always looks its best, and checking that the materials are well-organised and available at all times.
Apart from this, I will also be in constant contact with the factory sales team in Spain, ensuring a good working atmosphere and motivating employees. Other tasks will include the daily showroom operations, meetings with architects and designers to monitor any potential projects.
Marta Jalón added that in recent years the building sector has been a major driving force for the Malaysian economy. She considers that the outlook for the ceramic tile sector is positive: products manufactured locally are mainly mid-range, leaving the high-end of the market for European companies. Malaysians with a high purchasing power tend to prefer European designer products, considered to be a status symbol. Jalón claims that competing on price is difficult in Malaysia, and therefore quality and design are crucial differentiating factors when competing with other brands.
Marco Zago (CEO Porcelanosa Cagliari)
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