Apprentice Service Administrator Organisation Molecular Devices

Apprentice Service Administrator Organisation Molecular Devices

This project is conducted for the company that I currently work for under the name of Molecular Devices. Molecular devices are known as among the leading provider of bioanalytical measurement solution that is highly effective for its research of life science. Basically, they offer solutions to life science to solve the most relevant issues, help customers to achieve a better quality of life around the world with the most advanced scientific instrument. Molecular devices is customer-driven, and it uses their experience to develop its products and services; they collaborate with the customers in order to establish technologies of innovation that allow the scientist to enhance lives. The company aims to provide the best innovative products and services along with quality and satisfaction for their customer’s services. Its core values and shared purpose guides the organisation in each aspect of its business.

My role as a service administrator is to ensure that the organisation operates effectively and efficiently. Moreover, I support the service administration team and provide assistance to customers. My job involves overseeing all aspects of the work orders, invoicing repairs and services within an agreed timeframe of job completion, to liaise with customers to ensure they are kept up to date with the progress of their service. Within the organisation, I am leading this project, responsible for planning and conducting the meeting with the line manager, mentor, engineers and team members; Also. I am in charge of creating a tool to analyses the data in this project and the one to be used in the future to track the progress of the work orders completion timescale, I monitor every phase of this project and analyse its outcome and track its achievements in order to meet the objective and the aim of the organisation and the project. In other words, my role is to maximise customer satisfaction, minimising the financial losses that occurred due to missed timescale and lost parts and prevent future losses by putting in place contingency plans.


The topic for this project is RMA (Return Material Authorization), the process of returning a defective or restock item to the source provider to receive a refund on the item. The objective of the overall project is to improve the productivity of the team, tracking the high-value parts missing and improving the communication with internal and external stakeholders. The improvement will result in a reduction in the unallocated parts, which saves money, time and manpower for the company; Also, it allows the administration team to concentrate on other tasks and to plan to resolve other issues to improve the customer service and boost the customer satisfaction.

The plan includes appointing some dedicated service administration employees, engineers, who are part of the overall process, how to keep the flow of returned goods easy and convenient, identifying trends within the issues of quality, analysing the historical data of the process, investigating with some engineers the reasons behind the delay to get the items back to the UK.

Planning or Managing

Before presenting the project plan, I have arranged a meeting with the team to discuss and plan thorough research needed to be carried out by following specific vital steps. The first step is recognising all the stakeholders as well as defining their individual responsibilities and roles. Some interesting roles shall comprise team members of the project, my manager, service administration team, engineers, and data analyst scientist who is an expert in the problem-solving process. The first meeting was held to meet the team, discussed the project, plan the following steps, allocate tasks to participants and give a chance to bring together all stakeholders to get their intake on how to move forward with it. The aim of this project is to improve the process of the return of parts, which is named Return Material Authorization RMA) completion timescale, improve customer satisfaction and reduce financial losses. In this project, I will be using historical and current data retrieved from the company software that accumulates the work orders information and reports; once the relevant data is retrieved, it will be analysed to highlight the root of the issue and help to draft a potential solution; This data collation varies from numbers, simple diagrams, to the use of risk analysis techniques and RMA problem-solving form. By maintaining simplicity, diagrams can provide the company with valuable information and highlight important milestones that can be achieved when the project will be successful, PSP form is considered an effective tool in project management which define the problem, provide an analysis, evaluate alternative solutions, implement and follow up on the solution, Graphs and charts condense large amounts of information into easy-to-understand formats that clearly and effectively communicate important points.

. The entire project plan has been discussed with prime stakeholders of the organisation such as team members, senior applications scientists, my manager, engineers and My mentor and This allow everyone to use their expertise, knowledge and understanding of the field, and they can highly contribute towards the project. The manager and mentor will perform their duty to assist and guide me, the team members, and engineers on how to carry out the process of RMA smoothly and efficiently. Besides this, each and every team member associated with this project will be assigned a task to deliver based on their job roles and will need to provide weekly feedback on how to make the return of the cost of the products effective and time-efficient. All the above-mentioned tools will be utilised as they have significant advantages to achieve milestones.

Communication to stakeholdersCommunication is a critical factor for the success of this project, as it is one of the major issues that I need to address for it to succeed. It is crucial in every step of this project, from planning to evaluating. It needs to be transparent, adequate, to the point, and very critical to identify and resolve any potential issues or problems. 

For this project, I had a meeting with my manager to discuss the project first and see if it could add value to the company; she thought about the advantage and disadvantages of carrying it out, drafting the resource planning, setting us the time scale, potential risks, discussing future contingencies plan, and tools needed; After that, I fed back to my mentor with the pre-plan and arranged the planning phase to start. 

During the planning stage, I have arranged to communicate with my mentor, my manager and the project participants using various communication tools such as instant messaging, email, team video conferencing tools, meetings and many more. At this stage, I managed to get to know who I’m working with, their roles and how they can contribute to the project. I shared and learned their point of view about it, ideas, tools to use, where and how to find relevant information and data and how to analyse them. This was the case for the implementation stage too.

As for the evaluation stage, I worked closely with my manager and mentor to assess and evaluate the results obtained by myself and the other participant of this project. I had a various meeting and used other communication tools to stay in touch and discussed my finding with them; Also, keep gathering information from the team members.

My manager has been a critical player in this project, as all tasks will need to be signed off by her. It was important that detailed and continuous communication were taking place daily to keep track of the project progress; this was done using emails, teams and face to face meetings.     


Resourcing planning is a process that helps identify the resources required to deliver a specific task. They are required to be at a task level in the plan and could vary from equipment, finance to personnel. It is crucial to ensure that the manager or the team lead in charge has the required data about the project and its requirements to enable them to make a decision on what is needed, where to start and how to use its budget. For my project, intensive discussions were taking place between myself and my manager around the vital area: Workforce, equipment, finance, and legality. 

First, I needed to identify the resources required, starting with staffing/workforce:

The number of teams and staff required to assist me and complete this project.

The work pattern of the staff, full-time, part-time, office or home-based

The skills and experience required to deliver my project

The diversity of the team to boost the productivity of the team and the variation of the ideas proposed.

The structure of the teams (I decided who is responsible for what task and who is the lead)

Identify if there are any Upskilling needs that might need to be considered, in what area and the time scale that needed to complete by.

Putting in place a forecasting plan based on the historical and current information to help plan any gap that occurred due to Holidays, natural wastage or moves that might affect the time scale complete the project.

The second resource is equipment:

The location: A decision needs to be made. Can it be done in the office or over team/online, depends on where the other participants are located and how convenient for them.

How many desks needed to be equipped with computers monitors, docking stations, software, laptop accessories (headset, mouse, keyboard), chairs, all in one printer and secure online storage. The meeting rooms are equipped with whiteboards, projectors, tables and chairs.

The other resources could be finances, what is the budget allocated to the team for training, overtime, the cost of the external staff like the security officers and cleaners (if we decide to work later than office hours in the building); For this project, the financial cost is the wages of the employees involved in the project, that have been taking of doing their day-to-day job and assisting with the project instead. Legislative requirements, complying with the health and safety law, by planning a fire and risk assessment conducted for the site; Also, we take into consideration the equality acts when planning the resources to avoid any sort of direct or indirect discrimination.  

Risks and Contingencies

 Handling Data GDRR

Our company has joined the leading organisations that increasingly adopt digital technology, the data we generate create both an opportunity for us to improve our customer’s engagement and a responsibility to keep customer data safe. These data, including location-tracking and other kinds of personally identifiable information, are immensely valuable to my company, for example, using data to better understand the consumer’s pain points and unmet needs. These insights help us to develop new products and services, as well as to improve customer satisfaction and to reduce losses. For my project, I have to make sure that all data are handled in a secure manner and that in compliance with GDPR, failure to do so might result in disciplinary action against myself, Leak of sensitive data that will have a negative impact on the organisation’s reputation, dissatisfaction of the customer and potentially lost contract and earnings.

If any failure of handling data occurred:

I will need to react to it as soon as possible by informing my manager and the relevant department, they will make a decision depend on the severity of the data leakage , if the customer needs to be informed or not.

I need to make sure that all other sensitive data are stored secure location with restricted and monitored access.

Only use the data needed and not access any sensitive data that is not needed and could lead to a risk of been leaked.

 The impact of the current pandemic (Covid-19)

Covid-19 has a huge impact on our productivity, as well as the time scale set to accomplish all the tasks. When a customer is contacted regarding retrieving a part, most of the time now, the customer will not be able to send it right away, as their employees are working from home and only have set days they attend the office, which could delay closing the work order and failure to comply with the time scale set for the task completion. Also, in the organisation, due to the covid -19 restriction, the number of people allowed in the building has reduced by over 60 %, meaning fewer employees to complete tasks will take a longer time.

As a contingency plan, I usually communicate with the client, arrange a set day for the pick-up of the part, contact the delivery company and agree the date and time, highlight it to my manager, so she knows the reason why the time scale has not been met.

I need to make sure that the client has been updated throughout the process using emails, so he knows where we are.

I also need to update the system with a note to reflect on where we are in the process of recovery.


Like any business, our company has been hit by the effect of Brexit. Now for every Part sent or retrieved from outside the UK, along with all paperwork, I have to create and send a commercial invoice, which has more information needed for the VAT process. This will be sent to the customer, or the engineer depend on the location of the Part retrieved. This is an extra task that requires a significant amount of time spent on it. If not done properly, this could delay the collection of the Part, lost the cost of delivery and increased the time scale to close the work order. 

So, if any of that happens, we need to action a new invoice as soon as possible, rearrange a new delivery time, inform the customer of the changes and updates notes on the system. 


Every Part sent or retrieved outside the UK needs to go through customs and needs to have the relative paperwork attached to it. They request some extra information like the country of origin and HTC code, value, the dimension and description of the Part. Failure to provide the information could delay its release and get stuck with customs until we satisfy their request for information.

In case this occurs, I need to create a more detailed commercial invoice and send it to either customer or engineer, along with the part purchase invoice that can be requested from the USA to the couriers to release the Part. This process needs to be done as soon as possible to avoid delays. 

 Mishandling of the parts and miscommunication internally

This is both in an external and internal problem that I have highlighted to my manager through analysing factors that have led to missing the timescale of the closing work orders; some of this issue was due to the following:

The engineer not providing enough information about the part required for a repair or its location for a pick-up, which delayed the process.

The miscommunication between clients, engineers and/or service administrators, which then can cause confusion, therefore resolute to spending more time to resolving the issues and again missed deadlines.

We cannot ignore mishandling parts in the warehouse by employees and financial losses caused by it.

Parts lost in the client location due to the late notice of the engineer.

For these issues, I have put in place, with the help and support of my manager, a follow-up process of all the open work orders and communicate with both parties (engineer and client) throughout the process to avoid any miscommunication, also have a plan to monitor deliveries; In order to do so, I communicate with the warehouse manager my idea and plan to work closely with them, so no part can be missed or mishandled and processed as soon as it arrives in the office.

Monitoring/EvaluationFor this project, I have set up an excel form that contains a various of data that helps me monitor every aspect and phase of it. The form is called PSF and stands for Problem Solving Form. This form helps not only identify where the problem lies ( by analysing data, charts and graphs ) but also can provide an overview of the current situation, historical issues, progress on the project so far, potential problems and resolutions.

My RMA project involves supervising all tasks and activities, tracking the progress of every activity is key to monitor the tasks and allows me to assign the workloads among the team; Also, I can monitor the time spent on each task and how efficient it is, all this data I input in various tables that I created for the team to refer to when they need to follow or check the progress of the project been done and the duration.

Another essential tool is effective communication; from the start of the project, I outlined the main tasks and procedures, what we will be working on, arranging a weekly meeting with the team to discuss and share all updates and information, we also our analysis outcome and discuss a potential resolution to the problem.

Measuring the success of this project would be evaluated by examining the average resolution timescale to close a work order, where the part recovery process should take under 2 weeks, reducing the losses of the unallocated parts, which can save time and money to the company.

The project outcomes can define in early success but not completion and performance measures have been results in terms of the contribution of the project goals, having the right stock level of the engineers, increasing level of communication between the service administration, engineers and customers, a remote learning workshop had been put in place in order to provide extra training to the engineers. The countermeasures agreed within my team, and my manager has been put in place, and it will be delivered by December 6th,2021; it is a value-oriented approach that captures outcomes and progress toward long-term and systemic change and uses data to improve results and demonstrate the value delivered.



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