Mary has over 20 years experience as the editor of our Malaysian sister magazine, The Tyreman. Based in Kuala Lumpur, she writes articles for us on the Malaysian and other South East Asian markets.
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The relationship between Bintulu based Mindulu Tyre Sdn Bhd and Goodyear Malaysia started in 1997 and grew stronger over the years.
“I worked at a tyre shop in Sibu for about 5 years before venturing into business with a few friends in 1982. The discovery of oil and gas reserves in Bintulu changed it from a small fishing village to the centre of energy intensive industries. Compared to the other cities in Sarawak, Bintulu seemed more promising. We wanted to leverage on the industrial growth of Bintulu and decided to set up our business here,” said Managing Director Goh Choon Hock.
It began as a pretty small shop according to Goh. Their main business was truck tyre retailing but they also worked closely with retreaders to provide customers with tyre retread service. In 1986, together with his business partners, they set up a retread plant, which was the second such factory in Bintulu at that time.
“The retreading business was tough, so was truck tyre retailing. My partners decided to pull out and I took over both businesses. I then closed the retreading factory and started to expand into passenger car tyre retailing. This marked the beginning of our relationship with Goodyear and we carried its signage until today.”
Initially, he said, the company concentrated on tyre sales, servicing and minor auto repairs. In 2012, his two sons, Ming King and Ming Hui, joined him. “With their help, we were able to widen our offering to include tyre wholesales business. Today, Ming King is in charge of tyre retail and Ming Hui looks after our wholesales business.”
During the interview, The Tyreman witnessed how booming business at the centre was, even on a Sunday. There was a steady stream of customers all the time. Goh attributed this to the trusted and reliable quality of the Goodyear brand of tyres, the company’s expertise and knowledge on the products that were offered as well as a professional tyre service with a personal touch.
“Ming King always interacts directly with the customers, listens to their requirements and is willing to go the extra mile for them. He handles the customers with care and patience; he would ensure that they choose the right product according to their applications. We won the customers’ trust and creditability this way and manage to attract new customers through word of mouth.”
He revealed that the customers in Bintulu were mostly price sensitive; only about 10 per cent would go for the brand. Thus, a tyre centre operator played an important role in convincing the customer on which brand to buy.
To support and offer customers more convenience, the centre opens from Mondays to Saturdays, from 7.30am to 6.00pm, and on Sundays from 7.30am to 12.00pm. “As we are in the servicing line, we observe fewer public holidays such as Labour Day, Christmas, and Chinese New Year.”
The effort that the company puts in is reflected in its sales turnover, which has increased from the initial RM10,000 to the current RM50,000.
At present, the centre is staffed by 9 qualified technicians and well-equipped with advanced tyre servicing equipment. “The right equipment and tools are essential to help us improve the quality of service and enhance our professional image. Today’s customers are more demanding and these will also help to enhance their confidence in us.”
As for the wholesales business, Goh pointed out that the company covered Bintulu, Sibu and Miri.
Its main business is from the logging segment, which Goh revealed was less competitive compared to the passenger car tyre market. “Goodyear is very successful in this segment due to the durability and unrivalled performance of its tyres.”
Goh’s plan is to open another branch in Bintulu. He said the perfect location was already found. The problem was the shortage of workers and the need to find the right timing.
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