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.
Phone: (60) 3 7781 1323
“Michael Hutt, Group Marketing Manager, Kit Loong Commercial Tyre Group, looks back at 90 years of service within the commercial tyre sector.”
When you say a company is 90 years old, you often don’t think about what that entails. 90 years ago was 1931.
Kit Loong was formed before World War II and before Malaysia was even an independent country, and when you look at the events of the last 90 years, you can say one thing without question about Kit Loong: It has survived. Not only has it survived but since we founded our first tyre shop in Batu Road (Jln. TAR), KL, by the late Teh Kim Hye all that time ago, Kit Loong has, at every point, shown itself to be ‘The Pioneer of Sustainable Movement’, as Kit Loong Commercial Tyre’s tagline outlines.
Over 90 years since the initial opening, Kit Loong has grown and grown, surviving the Great Depression, WW2, the independence of Malaya and Malaysia. In 1969, we showed our commitment to publicising the tyre sector by founding Malaysia’s only specialist tyre journal, The Tyreman, now sister magazine to Truck & Bus News and independently owned. In 1997 we weathered, survived, and grew stronger out of the Asian Financial Crisis. In 2004 we began to reorganise the business, and in 2009 Kit Loong made the bold decision to split the commercial tyre business from Kit Loong Holdings, which was when Kit Loong Commercial Tyre, or KLCT, was formed. In 2010 the focus on passenger car tyres became Kit Loong Tayaria. Today, Kit Loong Holdings also still owns Kayel Rubber Products.
Most recently, during the first wave of the Covid pandemic, we were the only Covid SOP compliant tyre service provider allowed to operate areas of our business. In other words, our services had become so essential to our customers’ operation, especially for city buses, port operations and food logistics and other key areas, that they needed us to keep operating. We deeply believe in serving our customers well, especially if they are essential services, and this took a lot of time, planning and organisation, but we kept going and kept those industries going. This period showed us that we were no longer just a tyre provider, but a partner to our customers. From the first day of operations through to the present day, we have endured, learned, improved, and kept building our business to serve our customers, even though the toughest of situations.
Re-engineering Our Service Offering
From the beginning, KLCT has been about reintervention. Starting in 2004, when we began building our focus on commercial vehicles and the services needed to focus specifically on fleet customers, we were no longer just supplying a traditional dealer network. This change meant creating new services and the structures to support them, including KL 24/7 national breakdown and our Total Tyre Management division, for full tyre outsourcing contracts.
Investment in Technology, Accreditation and Standards
In 2006, we began collaborating with an Australian tech company to start building our tech infrastructure, again reengineering our process to capture massive amounts of data, which we’ve now been collecting for over 15 years. When we began, this required significant manual input. Now, we’ve started developing AI and machine learning processes as we bring our tyre management technology up to date through a big investment in our tech services division. Since its inception, KLCT has been a pioneer as we were the first tyre services organisation in Malaysia to establish ISO standards for tyre management. This year we were the first retreader in Asia to achieve E-Mark status for our tyres; whatever we do, we do it properly and professionally. We keep updating our process and procedures to learn from the areas we’ve made mistakes.
Mistakes are the Portal of Discovery
Reflecting on the past, we can see it’s the mistakes we’ve made that have allowed us to develop and pioneer even further. We’ve essentially lost millions over the years, but the learning experience has been even more valuable. When we managed to establish ISO, it was for tyre management for an oil company customer. They grew from 10 to 400+ trucks under our management. Each prime mover (PM) has done over 20,000 km per month with the first 16-wheeler tankers in Malaysia. Everything was a learning experience, where we developed and then coded the learning into our organisation through building the infrastructure, so we didn’t make the same mistake again. Mix this with the times we’ve been through, and you get a picture of how resilient Kit Loong has been. It’s taken us 10 years to get to the point where we feel we’re ready to take the next leap forward.
A Dynamic Growth Strategy
When it came to the start of Covid, we realised that the world was going to change again – if it hadn’t changed already. The past five years or so have seen the tyre market in Malaysia flipped on its head by the influx of cheap, poor-quality new tyres. But things never stop changing, and sometimes things align with the old ways of operation. It used to be that the only way for an organisation to get the most from their tyres was through actual management, maintenance and retreading. The influx of cheap new tyres has meant this is often now not the case, as companies can almost ‘fit and forget’. But the world is still moving forward, and we’re preparing for it.
In 2021 alone, we’ve hired nearly 40 engineers, mostly top students from global, reputable universities, placing them into various teams, including tech, operations and even sales, people who think critically and look for problems to solve for our customers. We are expanding the sales team weekly, aiming to have 100 salespeople in the near future, thanks to our re-engineered approach to focus on specific industries. We currently have divided the commercial vehicle industry into five segments and 15 sub-segments. We’ve hired an Economist, who’s providing advanced insights into each sub-segment, so we truly understand not just the stress on tyres, but the stress on our client’s business and the wider market.
Our Ultimate Goal
Finally, we see two pillars being the next phase of our growth story, to take us to 100 years. The first is 3R: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, which is the full lifecycle tyre management, from ‘cradle to grave’, as they say. We know we need to help create a market that is both sustainable and reduces carbon emissions. Tyres directly affect both, from production, so we know we need to prolong the 1st life of a tyre as best we can, this means getting the right product and using the right services to maintain the casing. With strong casings we can retread more tyres, saving 80 per cent of the natural resources and energy needed to make a new tyre (no matter how cheap it is!). We also want to focus on the recycling element and develop a system where we can effectively dispose of end-of-life tyres and stop them from ending up in our natural surroundings or as waste. Recycled tyres can be used to make more tyres, or to reinforce roads – a true ‘circular economy’ story! Secondly, all this growth is reliant on the tech infrastructure we are now redeveloping to be fit-for-purpose for 2021 and beyond. This means dealing with massive data sets, introducing AI to drive decision making and creating digital tools that make our work more transparent, trustworthy and, crucially, more efficient.
Kit Loong calls our service division SC3OCT. The SC3 element is important as it stands for: Safety, Competitiveness, Cost-effectiveness and Control. Alongside Sustainability, these are the principles we have founded our business on delivering SC3 for our customers. To do this, we have always practised Sigma 5, five key elements of tyre management that we follow ourselves, like a formula for success. It’s seen us through some tough times over the years, and it’s allowed us to learn, grow and develop into the future-facing business we are today.
“吉隆商用轮胎集团集团行销经理迈克● 赫德( Michael Hutt)回顾为商用轮胎领域提供的服务。”
当您说一家公司已有 90 年历史时，您通常不会考虑这意味着什么。 90年前是1931年。
吉隆自成立以来已有90 多年，吉隆不断成长，在大萧条、二战、马来亚和马来西亚的独立中幸存下来。 1969 年，我们创办了马来西亚唯一的专业轮胎杂志《轮胎世界》（The Tyreman）。该杂志也是《卡客车新闻》（Truck & Bus News ）的姊妹杂志，并且是独立拥有的，以此表明我们致力于宣传轮胎行业； 1997 年，我们幸存于亚洲金融危机并成长起来。2004 年，我们开始重组业务，2009 年吉隆做出了大胆的决定，将商用轮胎业务从吉隆控股拆分出来，成立了吉隆商用轮胎或KLCT。接着在2010 年设立了专注于轿车轮胎的吉隆胎雅乐（Kit Loong Tayaria）。今天的吉隆控股仍拥有吉隆橡胶产品（ Kayel Rubber Products）。
KLCT从一开始就是关于“重新干预”(reintervention)。从 2004 年起，我们开始专注于商用车和车队客户所需的服务，而不仅仅是提供传统的代理商网络。这个改变意味着创建新的服务和支持它们的结构，这包括为完整轮胎外包合同而设立的 KL 24/7 全国故障和我们的全面轮胎管理部门。
2006 年，我们开始与一家澳大利亚科技公司合作，开始构建我们的技术基础设施，再次重新设计我们的流程以捕获大量数据，目前我们已经收集了超过 15 年的数据。最初我们需要大量的手动输入，如今我们正在开发人工智能和机器学习过程，通过巨额投资重新设计我们的技术服务部门来更新公司的轮胎管理技术。自成立以来，KLCT 一直是先锋，我们是马来西亚第一家建立 ISO 轮胎管理标准的轮胎服务公司。今年，我们是亚洲第一家获得 E-Mark 轮胎认证的翻新商；无论我们做什么，我们都会正确、专业地做，我们会不断地更新流程和程序，并从犯过的错误中吸取教训。
如今回想起来，正是我们犯下的这些错误让我们得以进一步发展和开拓。这些年下来我们已经损失了数百万美元，然而学习的经验是更宝贵的。为了管理石油公司客户的轮胎，我们成功建立起ISO 。在我们的管理下，他们从10 辆卡车增加到 400 多辆卡车，每辆16轮的牵引车每月行驶超过 20,000 公里，该公司也是首家在马来西亚采用16 轮油罐车的公司。一切为我们来说都是学习、发展，然后将学习内容编码到我们的组织中并构建基础设施，这样我们就不会再犯同样的错误。将这些与我们所经历的时代相结合，您就会了解吉隆的韧性有多大。我们花了 10 年的时间，才觉得我们已经准备好进行下一次的飞跃。
仅在 2021 年，我们就聘请了近 40 名工程师，其中大部分是来自全球知名大学的顶尖学生，将他们分配到各种团队，包括技术、运营甚至销售团队，让这些具有批判性思维的员工为客户寻找问题解决方案。由于我们重新设计了专注于特定行业的方法，我们每周都在扩大销售团队，目标是在不久的将来拥有 100 名销售人员。目前，我们已将商用车行业划分为 5 个细分市场和 15 个子细分（subsegments）市场。我们聘请了一位经济学家，他对每个子细分市场都有深入的了解。因此，我们不仅真正了解轮胎的压力，还了解客户业务和更广泛市场的压力。
最后，我们看到两个成为我们下一段阶段的增长故事，将把我们带到100年的两大支柱。第一个是3R：降低（Reduce）、重用（Reuse）、再循环（Recycle），正如他们所说，从“摇篮到坟墓”的全生命周期轮胎管理。我们知道我们需要协助创建一个可持续又减碳排放的市场。轮胎直接影响这两点，从生产开始，我们知道我们需要尽可能延长轮胎的第一次使用寿命，这意味着取得适当的产品并使用正确的服务来维护胎体。有了坚固的胎体，我们才可以翻新更多的轮胎，节省 80% 的自然资源和制造新轮胎所需的能源（无论它有多便宜！）。我们还希望专注于回收，开发一个可以有效处理报废轮胎的系统，并防止它们最终进入我们的自然环境或成为废物。再生轮胎可用于制造更多轮胎或加固道路，这是一个真正的“循环经济”的故事！其次，所有的这些增长都依赖着我们目前正在重新开发的技术基础设施，以便适合2021 年及以后的用途。这意味着处理海量数据集、引入人工智能来推动决策并创建数字工具，使我们的工作更透明、更值得信赖，更重要的是更高效。
吉隆称我们的服务部门为SC3OCT。 SC3 的元素很重要，因为它代表：安全、竞争力、成本效益和控制。与可持续发展一起，这些都是我们的原则，我们的业务建立在为客户提供SC3上。为此，我们一直在练习西格玛5（Sigma 5），我们遵循的轮胎管理五大关键要素，就如一个成功的公程式。它见证了我们这些年来的艰难时期，让我们能够去学习、成长和发展成为今天面向未来业务的我们。
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