GP Autobat Sdn Bhd (GPA), holds the most renowned brand – GP – and it is recognised as a major supplier of automotive batteries not only in Malaysia but internationally.
New GP Batteries Gain Market Acceptance
Established in 1968 as a manufacturer of automotive batteries in Malaysia for both Japanese and European automobiles, GPA Holdings Bhd has stood the test of time. Today, its subsidiary, GP Autobat Sdn Bhd (GPA), holds the most renowned brand – GP – and it is recognised as a major supplier of automotive batteries not only in Malaysia but internationally in more than 30 countries including Australia, Middle East, Nigeria, South Africa, Singapore, India, Yemen, PNG and United Kingdom.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. GPA Holdings Executive Chairman attributed the success to the company’s commitment to quality excellence and adhering to its ISO certification obtained since 1993, which was upgraded to ISO 9001:2000 in 2003.
After the successful elevation to a public listed status on the Second Board of Bursa Malaysia Securities in August 2000, GPA Holdings Berhad Group went into manufacturing and distribution of rechargeable maintenance-free sealed lead acid batteries. Marketed under the GP brand, these batteries were widely used as a back-up power source for standby and cyclical applications.
Due to the stiff competition, GPA Holdings decided to reorganise the management team and brought in James Poh as Executive Director in 2013 and later re-designated him to be the Executive Chairman in 2016.
“I joined the company in 2013 and did an assessment on the factory’s viability to continue manufacturing our conventional batteries. I found that the manufacturing cost is higher than importing from a neighbouring country and decided to source the batteries from Korea and Indonesia,” said Poh.
However, in 2017, when Poh and the company’s 203 distributors and dealers went for an annual incentive trip to Xian, China, he received comments from them regarding the need to upgrade on the quality of the batteries that were sourced from Indonesia.
“I understood their concerns and assured them that we would look into this matter. To keep up with the demand of the consumers, GP batteries need to be upgraded and improved from time to time.”
After the trip, without any delay, Poh and his management team consisting of Roy Tan, Quality Control Manager, Vicky Lim, Marketing Manager, and Lee Chin Wee, the company’s Group Financial Controller, started sourcing for manufacturers that could meet their strict requirements.
“This was how Thai Storage Batteries (TSB) came into the picture. TSB is a reputable and largest battery producer in Thailand. After some negotiation with TSB, we secured the rights for OEM batteries and supplied them to GPA Holdings. This was also the first time that TSB, which only focused on doing its own brand, agreed to manufacture for us, a third party company with our own brand name. This is indeed a win-win strategy with TSB manufacturing premium quality products and our GP brand being superbly strong in the local market.”
New GP batteries gain market acceptance
The new range of GP batteries, the GP Premier Battery and GP Max Power Battery, said Poh, came with pulp glass mat separator to improve the automotive batteries’ performance. “The advantages include eliminating short circuits, longer service life, low maintenance and better vibration resistance.”
He explained that the pulp glass mat separators were previously available only in premium and bigger batteries that catered to 2000cc and above cars. However, smaller batteries that catered to below 2000cc cars were now made available.
Besides that, he continued, the new GP battery structure was improved with special features, such as the Safety Vent Plugs that were specially designed to eliminate acid loss and enhance O2 and H2 recombination in the cell. The Corrosion Resistant Terminal Post was heavy duty, thus improving current flow and cranking. The Durable Polypropylene Cell Container was impact resistant to house negative and positive cells. The Inter-cell connectors were spot welded to increase current flow. The Negative and Positive plates formed the latest computer designed grid to provide a perfect balance with the positive plates giving maximum performance to reduce water loss and enhancing optimum utilisation of the active materials, thereby increasing performance.
These two new low maintenance batteries were launched recently in Bangkok, with the attendance of the company’s 36 loyal distributors and dealers. The visit to the TSB factory and the presentation on the new products by the Quality Control personnel boosted their confidence.
“GPA received fewer complaints for the new batteries. The satisfaction level is as high as 85 per cent, which is clearly reflected in the number of orders that we had received. We have also started exporting to the Middle East,” Poh revealed.
Currently, he said, although 60 per cent of consumers were moving towards maintenance-free battery, low maintenance battery still accounted for 40 per cent of market share.
“To cater to the demand for maintenance-free batteries, we import from Korea,” he added.
Path to diversification
Apart from batteries for cars and trucks, GPA also supplies batteries for Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS), telecommunication equipment, emergency lighting, medical equipment, alarm and security systems, power tools, toys and many others.
“We are also diversifying our business. Recently, we launched 6 automotive petrol engine oils; Three fully synthetic engine oils – SAE 0W20 API SN/CF, SAE 5W30 API SN/CF – and SAE 5W40 API SN/CF, SAE 10W40API SN/CF Semi Synthetic engine oils as well as SAE 15W40 API SN/CF and SAE 20W50 API SJ/CF mineral based engine oils.”
Lim revealed that GPA Holdings also planned to launch diesel engine oils in the near future.
Moving forward, Poh said that the company did not discount the possibility of increasing the number of products being offered such as motorcycle tyres and oil filters. He added that the company was moving towards a ‘One Stop Centre’ concept with which anything related to cars could be made available.
创立于1968年的GPA控股有限公司，从为日本和欧洲汽车款型制造电池起家，以50年的辉煌成就来证明自己是经得起时间考验的。 今天，该公司的子公司GP Autobat私人有限公司（GPA），是受大马和国际认可的主要汽车电池供应商，产品遍布30多个国家，包括澳大利亚、中东、尼日利亚、南非、新加坡、印度、也门、PNG及英国。
罗马不是一天建成的。GPA控股执行总裁傅荣泉将这一切归功于他们对卓越品质的坚持与承诺，以及严格遵循自1993年所取得的ISO认证标准。该ISO认证，后来在2003年升级为 ISO 9001 ：2000认证。
回国后，傅荣泉和他的管理团队，包括品质管理经理Roy Tan、行销经理Vicky Lim，以及集团财务总监李振卫开始寻找能够符合他们严格要求的制造商。
“我们就这样找到了Thai Storage Batteries （TSB）。TSB是泰国大规模又著名的电池制造商 ，在经过数次的商讨后，我们成功说服他们，签署了长期的原装配备（OEM）电池合约，为GPA 控股供应优质汽车电池。这也是TSB首开先河为第三方代工，生产我们的品牌。这的确是个双赢的策略，以TSB生产优质产品，而我们的GP品牌 在本地市场的知名度非常高。”
傅荣泉说，GP的新系列 轮胎，GP Premier 和GP MaxPowe 采用纸浆玻璃隔膜（pulp glass mat separotor），改善汽车电池的性能。“优点还包括消除短路、更长的使用寿命、更低的维修及较好的抗震动功能。”
此外，他继续，此新系列的GP电池拥有改善的结构，如特别设计的安全通气孔塞（Safety Vent Plugs），消除电池酸流失和强化的O2和H2重组。其重型耐腐蚀电池接线柱改善电流和起动。耐用和具抗冲击力功能的聚丙烯电池容器，装着电池的正极和负极，电池间的点焊接合的连接器则可提高电流供应。采用电脑设计的负极和正极板网格，提供完美平衡，正极板提供最大效能，减少水份的流失，同时提高活性材料的优化使用，增加性能。
目前，他说，虽然免维护电池已经占了60 % 的市占额，然而低维护电池却仍占有40%。
“我们也开始往业务多元化发展。我们推出了6种汽油机油。3种全合成机油—SAE Ow20 API SN/CF、SAE SW 30 API/CF及SAE 5W40 API SN/CF， SAE10W40 API SN/CF 半合成机油及SAE 15W40 API SN/CF和SAE 20W50 API SJ/CF 矿物基础油。”
Vicky Lim 透露说，GPA 控股也计划在不久的将来推介柴油机油。