Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Discerning Eye

More often than not, the opening line of introduction when you run into people would be what are you up to. Working, and the follow-up would evidently be where at?

Tell them Tyrepac - and you would inevitably get a puzzled look with a “huh”?

I usually open with a “I sell tyres online”. It is met with a discerning look at times, how do you actually sell tyres online?

In an age whereby you can buy cars, property and the mix at a click of your mouse, it should be relatively less surprising to see tyres being hawked online. It is not a novelty in the US or in Europe, where they have actually done so for a couple of years. There are a handful of Singaporeans who actually take the trouble to purchase tyres & rims through these websites and get them shipped to Singapore!

Tirerack in the US allows you to purchase tyres and ships it to you, fitting them up thereafter is up to you. Tyrepac actually takes the entire concept of buying tyres online a step further, in actuality it is a simple 3-step process.
  1. Search for the tyres you want – either by the car you are driving; or for those with more advanced knowledge – via the size of your tyres
  2. Select where you want your tyres changed – at a list of Tyrepac authorized fitment centers, or through the revolutionary Tyrepac Mobile Service whereby our mobile truck will go to the location of your choice to do fitment for you.
  3. Make payment online or offline. Online options include Credit Card or through PayPal. Offline payment methods would include cheque or bank transfer/remittance.
The entire concept brings about more convenience - eliminating the need to go around and source for places to change tyres, variety – by offering over 10 brands at a central location (most tyre shops carry 2-3 brands on average) and transparency with all prices displayed as it is (tyre shops traditionally never list their prices).

The Internet has revolutionized the World we live in, and it has certainly revolutionized the way we sell tyres.

This is an introduction by Linus Koh on the concept of how Tyrepac works. Linus is in charge of online sales & operations at Tyrepac Pte Ltd.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

If I Were an American Automaker Part 2

Strategic approach

  1. Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are attractive options, but not necessarily the best. I will probably not focus too much attention at M&A unless they have a unique operating model, which caters well to the local or surrounding economies.
  2. I am not sure how the American legal system works exactly, but the way a person is compensated for spilling coffee on herself does not make much sense. And seeing how my ex-American colleagues work before, shows way too many unnecessary bureaucracies in the decision making process. I would work like a local in countries I operate in.

Product concentration

  1. I will not forego the American market completely, but instead I will definitely be looking at one or two models of light truck/ SUV which crosses between economic and mid-end luxury- which is well built, well design, well trimmed. It has got to push the benchmark of value for money.
  2. I will look at pushing out a couple of right and left hand drives salon models for US, EU and Asia- and made in US, EU or Asia. The American makes still appeal, especially at a time when car owners want to be differentiated. The absence in Asia is actually a bonus factor. But it has got to present itself as a good value for money option again, perhaps a slight premium but nothing more. It also has to push limits, with a change in American built quality.
  3. I will create ONE good luxury model that caters well to the global luxury market. One car that pushes limits of all luxury limits in the 7 series and S class league. One make that says the American car maker will surpass the Mercedes Benz and BMW of this world. I would not go into the Bentley and Rolls Royce category, because it takes history and heritage to be there and US makers I doubt is there yet.
  4. The Americans are great marketers and if these couple of models can be built right for once, and position well in the minds of people during these tough times, will carry them a long way.

Technological edge

  1. I will for once convince myself and the staff members that we need to go out and be technologically on par in this game. I may not be the one with the knowledge, but I will not be snobbish. I will speak to the Germans and the Japanese, and hammer some cooperation in the green car, electric car, and clean fuel arena. If it means opening up my sales channel and network, so be it. I rather be in the game then out.
  2. I will look at the teenager- the high school going group, the college going group who past this economic gloom would have worked for a couple of years and ready to spent his money on his first car. It may be a car that is wired, with a printer and mobile devised in-built. It may be a car that transcend home and travel in a simplistic “uncaravan” way. Or it may simply be a car that is totally driver free, to enable him/ her luxury to read and work while on the move. Better still, it may be a car that is “green”, high speed wired, and hands free.

Parting words
What is said could be gibberish, but it may for once mean something to the top echelons spending 50% answering to shareholders, and making reports- which from history again, show that it does not help.

This is article 2 by Ler Hwee Tiong, Managing Director at Tyrepac Pte Ltd in his 2 part-series on what he would do if he was the US Automaker.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

If I Were an American Automaker Part 1

I had just last month, wrote about why the auto makers in US should not be bailed out. I might as well say what I feel can be done (assuming they will be restructuring for the future).


  1. I doubt the US’s affection for light trucks and SUVs will ever disappear. It may for now tapper down in demand, considering the difficult economic situations.
  2. I feel that the American’s cost base will never be on par with Asia or Asian manufacturers.
  3. The US, EU, and Asia are key geographies of growth for any auto manufacturers- further broken down, I would briefly say the following countries are vital:
    a. US- America and Latin America
    b. EU- Russia, UK, and targeted W Europe
    c. Asia Pacific- China, India, Australia, New Zealand, SEA
  4. Number of automakers should remain relatively unchanged. Some may fail, others taken over, some may merge, and other smaller makes may disappear- but global demand is there, just waiting for the good times to come.

Human resource

  1. Face it, not many Americans know Asia. Asia is no longer the “Far East”- which I was shocked to hear speaking to some American ex-colleagues before. I would probably be hiring and entrusting many more Asians to undertake the key positions of Asia Pacific instead of continuously assuming Americans can do the job in Asia. And please, hiring Asians does not mean hiring in US those Asians who have been there for a decade or more working in American firms.
  2. If you ask me, I do not fully agree with the “American” way of rewarding the senior executives of the company. I would like to be in their shoes but it does not make practical sense. Look, history has shown that few if not none of these senior executives performed miracles during economic down times. I would take a serious 30% out of these executive pay and allocate it to finding good resources in developing countries that we are operating in.

Geographical concentration

  1. Yes, no one can deny the US market is practically one quarter of global demand. But relying on it as heavily as the American manufacturers have shows how vulnerable it can be. I would start to relook at orienting at least 30%-40% of total sales towards Rest of World (ROW) outside of US. This concentration would probably be towards countries mentioned in my assumptions.
  2. I am just assuming American automakers are not doing exceptionally well in Latin America, since Latin America is probably like Indo China countries. A small population of “haves”, and a large population of household trying to put food on the table. I would start thinking about manufacturing relevant products in these countries on a smaller scale, and catering to the relevant surrounding countries.

This is article 1 by Ler Hwee Tiong, Managing Director at Tyrepac Pte Ltd in his 2 part-series on what he would do if he was the US Automaker.