Grameenphone Functions and Operational Strategy Followed by SIM and Scratch Card Management

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Functions and Operational Strategy followed by SIM and Scratch Card Management (SSM) unit of Sales Division of GrameenPhone Ltd.

About GrameenPhone

GrameenPhone is the market leader in the mobile telecommunication sector of Bangladesh. GP is the joint effort between Telenor and Grameen Telecom, where GP’s share is 62% and the remaining part is of Grameen telecom.


Telenor is the leading Telecommunications Company of Norway listed in the Oslo and NASDAQ Stock Exchanges. It has substantial international operations in mobile telephony, satellite operations and pay Television services. In addition to Norway and Bangladesh, Telenor owns GSM companies in Denmark, Austria, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, Montenegro, Thailand, Malaysia and Pakistan.

Telenor uses the expertise it has gained in its home and international markets for the development of emerging markets like Bangladesh Group revenues for 2005 reached NOK 68.9 billion – a growth of 14 per cent compared to 2004. At year-end 2005, Telenor employed 27,600 people (man-years) – 16,700 of whom were employed outside Norway.

Grameen Telecom:

Grameen Telecom Corporation, which owns 38% of the shares of GrameenPhone, is a not-for-profit company and works in close collaboration with Grameen Bank. Grameen Telecom, with the help of Grameen Bank, administers the Village Phone Program, through which GrameenPhone provides its services to the fast growing rural customers. Grameen Telecom trains the operators, supplies them with handsets and handles all service-related issues.

Mission, Vision, Purposes & of GrameenPhone:

Company Vision:

To be a leading provider of telecommunication services all over Bangladesh with satisfied customers, shareholder, and enthusiastic employees and that’s why works with the motto “Ideas that Simplify”.

Company Mission:

The company’s mission statement says that it can achieve the vision by-

· Connecting Bangladesh with ease and care

· Being user-friendly

· Providing value for money

· Providing simple and timely connections

· Having a right and understandable process

Company Purpose:

GrameenPhone has a dual purpose: to receive an economic return on its investments and to contribute to the economic development of Bangladesh where telecommunications can play a critical role.

Products of GrameenPhone:

The products of GrameenPhone can be characterized as:

1. Post-Paid

2. Pre-Paid

Figure : products of GrameenPhone.

Market Scenario of Telecommunication Market in Bangladesh:

As at 30 June 2008, GrameenPhone had a SIM card market share of 47%. In addition to GrameenPhone, there are five other mobile operators in Bangladesh. These operators and their market share according to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (the BTRC) data as at 30 June 2008 are: Banglalink (with a market share of 21%), Aktel (with a market share of 18%), Warid (with a market share of 8%), Citycell (with a market share of 4%) and Teletalk (with a market share of 2%). The intense competition between these operators led to a significant price decline during 2007

Source: BTRC

Figure: Market Share in Mobile Phone Industry (30th June 2008)

SIM and Scratch Card Management (SSM)

SIM and Scratch card Management is a supportive unit of Sales Division of Grameenphone Ltd. It is comprised of four wings as mentioned below:

  1. Product Management.
  2. Production Management.
  3. System Management and Reporting.
  4. Product Complaint and Query Management.

A structure of SSM is shown below:

Fig: Structure of SSM.
A synthesis of the activities performed through these wings is noted below the next page one by one.

· Product Management

Product management deals with two types of products:

  1. SIM Card.
  2. Scratch Card.

Under the SIM card, there are the following two types of work:

a) SIM Card Operation Management.

b) Technical Development of SIM Card.

These two functions are depicted in the figure shown below:

a) SIM Card Operations Management: SIM Card Operations Management has the following responsibilities that its designated personnel have to perform:

I) SIM card requirement analysis for procurement.

II) Vendor(s) Selection.

III) Sending SIM card software to the vendors selected for procurement.

IV) Arranging network configuration of SIM cards.

V) Ensuring optimum availability of technically configured SIM card to the distribution channel.

b) Technical Development of SIM Card: Technical Development of SIM Card has the following responsibilities that its designated personnel have to perform:

I) Analyzing the technical requirement of SIM cards of Grameenphone.

II) Corresponding with the selected global vendors for new technology information regarding SIM cards.

III) Finalizing the technical specification of SIM cards.

Operational Strategies: There are some operational strategies that are followed in this wing of SSM to ensure smoothness or enhance quality of work are noted below:

· Here a new strategy is going to be implemented that will replace manual process with automated process in SIM card data handling and hence will greatly eliminate the possibility of doing error in SIM card data handling.

· Though different types of planning are made in this wing, two prominent types of planning are made which are 1) Flexible Planning and 2) Market Driven Planning to response to the changing environmental stimuli, internal and/or external, in a dexterous way.

· Deviation in planning is rooted out through making necessary adjustment in plan by analyzing sales trend, status of stock of any particular product, and previous forecasting of that product altogether.

· 3-tier quality check: Three tier quality checks are necessary to ensure quality SIM at the end point to the fullest extent.

Tier-1: After production of SIM, vendor(s) selects sample cards from the production and checks the sample with the given check list given by GP. The test result is shared with GP, and on the basis of the result SSM certifies the vendor(s) for ship out if they are according to specification.

Tier-2: In the second phase, after the arrival of shipment of SIMs at warehouse, they brought at production location for packaging when necessary. Before packaging second tier product attribute check is made.

Tier-3: In the third phase network attributes are checked. Before market deployment this check is made to see whether the committed service features are available in the product or not.

Under the Scratch card, there are also the following two types of work:

c) Scratch Card Operations Management.

d) Technical Development of Scratch Card.

These two functions are depicted in the diagram shown below.

SIM and Scratch Card Management(SSM)
SIM Card
50 Tk

Production Management

Tagging on a great philosophy-“Smooth Product Supply in Market as per Market Need”, production management is with the Grameenphone from its inception. Dynamism in its action enables Grameenphone to make quick response to its environment that in turn also enables it to apply JIT or Just-in-Time approach successfully in its production process of SIM. Though vary with market trend, the daily production of Grameenphone Production unit is 30,000 -42,000 units (approximately) & its monthly production target is 6, 60,000-9, 00,000 units approximately

The production process in SSM maintains the following depicted structure.

Responsibilities & Activities of Production Unit:

  1. Keeping Inventory Status of the production (and other printing) materials: It is very important for production unit to keep inventory status for production (and other printing) materials for smooth production as without keeping inventory status authority cannot understand what materials are needed for next production.
  1. Raising Purchases Requisition for Production materials on the basis of sales forecast and preceding it: Market Research Division forecasts about product that it needs and through its forecasting, production unit raises purchase requisition for necessary production materials to Supply Chain Management.
  1. Co-ordinating with SCM Department and materials suppliers for smooth material flow: Production Section maintains close co-ordination with supply chain management & also maintains close co-ordination with suppliers to get materials timely and properly.
  1. Co-ordination with Market Communication department for Design & Specification of product materials: Market communication Department creates new design & specification for product materials. So Production section maintains close relation with Market Communication Department for design & specification of product materials and order to the vendor.
  1. Collect the necessary production materials from warehouse: Production Section collects necessary production materials from warehouse by maintaining ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) Channel.
  1. Preparing the required starter kits according to forecast: Production Section prepares starter kits (finished products) according to Market Communication department’s forecast.
  1. Delivering kits to the central Logistics Centre After preparing starter kits (finished products) Production unit delivers that kits to the Central Logistics Center. Central Logistics Unit delivers that starter kits to RLC (Grameenphone Distribution Center). GPDC delivers that kits to Dealer and then Dealer sell kits to the customer
  1. Maintaining a sufficient quantity of stock of both raw materials and finished products: It is obligatory for Production Unit to maintain sufficient stock of raw materials for next production and also maintain stock of finished products to tackle any time stock out problem.
  1. Checking order level & reorder level of starter kit, post kit and replacement SIM: Production unit of Grameenphone Ltd. maintains order and reorder level of starter kit, post kit and replacement SIM appropriately.
  1. Managing the contractual employees and daily SIM worker: There are six supervisors and sixty SIM workers as well as contractual employees in Grameenphone Production unit and it is one of the major activities for Production unit to manage them. Production Unit maintains an attendance sheet for daily SIM workers and on the basis of it, authority makes salary sheet.
  1. Monitoring the production activities for smooth production flow: Authority of Production unit monitors production activities regularly and if any problem arises authority solves it immediately and motivates all to run production smoothly.

Operational strategies:

    • It is in the plan to go for automated production process rather than manual process that will minimize cost and make the product more lucrative due to its smart look in the eye of the customers. Cost minimization and smart look will absolutely give the company a good competitive move and hence will be regarded as advantage.
    • Forecasting of kit sales and ensuring forecasting accuracy as much as possible that helps to minimize inventory cost without the possibility of stock out surely creates strategic advantage for the wing.

· System Management and Reporting

Here the activities performed are depicted in the diagram below:

Product Management
Product Complaint and Query Management
Barcode Configuration
Product Data Management
ERP Configuration and Reporting
SIM and Scratch Card Management


a) ERP Configuration: After the raw SIM came to the warehouse production management produces kit through using barcode sticker, welcome note etc to supply to the central log. Now the kit related information need to be given as input in the system which is known as ERP configuration.

b) Product Data Management: Here the responsibilities involved are ensuring and managing all kinds of SIM data to SIM and Scratch Card Management System or SSM system, responding to SIM related queries received from different internal stakeholders, coordinating with IT department to enhance the SSM system for smooth operation and development, managing delivery tracking database for smooth operation of central log center for distribution purpose, and ensuring availability of SIM kit data in the Bulk Subscription Management(BSM) database for Direct Sales unit..

c) Barcode Configuration: As per production plan here the task is to prepare barcode configuration aligning with ERP. When a production plan is made it will be given as input in the ERP. According to ERP system the personnel involved with the Barcode configuration will generate kit number through tagging the product code with SIM number that later on will be transformed into barcode. Barcode configuration also involves generating mobile number for a particular SIM/KIT number.

There are some operational strategies that are followed in this wing of SSM to ensure smoothness or enhance quality of work are noted below:

  • It is the all time focus to keep the prominent three activities, ERP Configuration and Reporting, Product Data Management, and Barcode Configuration, kept in alignment so that slowness in one activity (at least) does not slowdown the standard/rapid progress of other activities, if simply stated, to avoid system bottleneck. Because system bottleneck will impede the launching of a particular product on an already scheduled date and hence competitiveness through reducing prompt action in the marketplace where market scenario can change overnight.
  • Another common but important strategy is to do almost error free work which in turn create value through allowing executives to do their regular work rather than error correction which is a time consuming task and wastes organizations resources in terms of both money and time, and another value creation that is done is avoiding coordination hazard among the various interactive departments or various internal users which happens if there is any wrong input of information in the Enterprise Resource Planning(ERP) and thus enhances planning on the basis of right data/information rather than wrong information/data.
  • System Complaint and Query Management

System complaint and query management deals with the following two issues:

  1. Quality Assurance, and
  2. Product Complaint Handling.

Quality assurance is concerned with the 3rd tier of the 3 tier quality check, as already mentioned in the Product Management. It is the duty of the wing to go for sample check after making all products of a particular serial number available in the system. If any problem occurs before the product going to the customers end then related problem issues that are within in the responsibilities of the wing, have to be solved so that customer disappointment can be avoided.

After going to the customer end, it is the responsibility of the wing to solve problems if any complaints come from the customers as to the products. Various types of problem may occur which may be categorized as SIM Card related problems and Network related problems. Though the wing solves the SIM Card related problems, it can deal only with those network issues or problems that are within its authority.

Operational Strategies:

There are some operational strategies that are followed in generating and maintaining operating efficiency in performing tasks by the wing which are stated below:

  1. Maintaining continuous interaction with Networks, Customer Service, Logistics, Distribution Life Cycle Management, and IT to manage product complaint and query efficiently. Frequent interaction with networking, Logistics etc to give one step solution to customers that in turn fulfills its mission states that-products and service of GP will provide value for money, so value is created at the customer end that lift up GP’s image every time as to reliability on GP’s product customers have and thus gives a competitive advantage.
  1. As already said problems may be related to SIM or networks. The numbers of customer complaints, counted as problems, as to SIM handled on a particular time are noted under the headings of various vendors on the basis of which vendors performances are evaluated. This in turn ensures quality product that also build up image through ensuring reliability as to GP product in the mind of final customers.

SWOT Analysis of SIM and Scratch Card Management (SSM) Unit:


  • Young, Energetic & Skilled manpower
  • Experienced Supervisors.
  • Perform duties at any crucial situation.
  • Always maintain Discipline
  • Pay handsome salary.
  • Physical infrastructure.


  • Manual production process in the production wing.
  • Downward direction from the strategic level often without clear communication creates confusion.
  • Performance surely not the highest indicator for promotion.


  • Automation of production process can reduce cost make products smarter.
  • SIM card data handling process automation will reduce error to a great extent.


· Intense Rivalry.

· New product arrange by Competitors

· Frequent Change of Customer choice.


· SIM card data handling process automation.

· Production process automation should be initiated.

· Direction should be well communicated with its purpose well communicated direction will bear meaning to the employee mind and hence help the organization in the implementation of strategy.


  1. Annual Report of 2004 and 2005, Grameenphone Ltd.
  2. Website of
  3. Official records of Grameenphone.