Thursday, April 23, 2009

Running a successful business in recession hit Britain

On April 21, 2009, Telegraph of UK has chronicled the success story of Euro Car Parts. This is one English business that has not bitten the dust in the recent times of economic crisis. Operating 61 outlets and being able to muster an annual profit of UKP 6.6 million on a sales volume of UKP 145 million the company can be considered to be a success.

Sukhpal Singh the entrepreneur bought a bankrupt car parts shop in North London. His venture started with a little loan from his father, a fugitive from Idi Amin’s Uganda.

He does not ascribe his success to knowledge on the subject. Initially his customers had to look for the items in his shop as he could not find them himself. But strategic marketing decisions brought him to his present position.

Just as a sailor cannot change the direction of the wind but can set his sail accordingly, he could not change the course of the present recession in UK but could orient his strategies accordingly. He found that people did not want to take their cars to the dealers for the repairs because of the prohibitive prices that they charged. They would rather go to the small independent garages.

Initially his customers were mainly car owners. But soon the major chunk of his business started coming from the car garages. Today he serves about 17, 000 independent car garages in the country (which is about 70 % of the total number) with his fleet of 550 trucks. Many of these require hourly replenishment of their inventory of spare parts and he sees to it that it is done.

Competition he had to take on head on. He kept his shop open on all seven days of the week and kept it open for longer hours every day, thus providing more convenience to his clients. A strong customer orientation is reflected in his company motto, “Customer is always right even when he is wrong.” This is not just a cliché in his establishment; it is the guiding philosophy.

It was not a smooth journey all along. The dealers did not like the success of Sukhpal Singh. They would not even provide information on the various parts. He decided to buy from the manufacturers instead.

The reader is invited to read the excerpts from the Telegraph which is appended below. Attention is drawn to the portions made bold for they outline the strategic thoughts of the entrepreneur.

Click here to read the excerpts from The Telegraph

Contributed By:
Prof. P. Guha
(Globsyn Business School)

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