CKL Group expects to see clearer outlook for 2021 in Q4

Lim Tayar

KUALA LUMPUR: CKL Group, which operates Lim Tayar service centre chain, expects to see clearer business direction for 2021 frrom the fourth-quarter (Q4) of this year.

CKL Group joint managing director Clement Lim said this was possible if there was no second or third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Generally, we believe business owners should not have any expectations on revenue. For us (Lim Tayar), it’s about achieving a breakeven to sustain our business at least by end-2020,” he told the New Straits Times (NST) recently.

Lim said retrenchment would be the last resort, despite losses incurred during the Movement Control Order (MCO).

The company seeks to retain over 300 staff across its 20 outlets in the Klang Valley and Seremban, as well as other businesses.

“We have been stretching our cash flow in anticipation of slower growth or sales over the next six months. We have decided to open our outlets in phases since May 4.

“We adhere to Health Ministry’s standard operating procedures (SOPs) for business operators. We hope customers will have more confidence to choose Lim Tayar for their maintenance services,” he added.

Lim Tayar had served about 150,000 customers annually before the pandemic emerged.

Lim expects new car sales would not be exciting in the short term due to the rise in unemployments and other priorities.

“Car is a depreciating asset. There are other priorities that people want to focus more than purchasing new vehicles,” he said.

Lim said Lim Tayar had shifted its business to online marketplace platform during the MCO by offering massive discounts for end users.

“The intention is to do our part by giving the rakyat some savings during this unprecedented time, while ensuring the company is still able to achieve a breakeven to meet its obligation to pay salaries and rentals,” he said, adding that the initiatives were ongoing.

The company is hopeful of reducing its inventories by monetising its “idled stock”, supported by encouraging orders from online customers.

“Going online is the right move now. We work together with companies such as Maxis, Astro, Grab and CIMB to kickstart our online marketplace,” he said.

The company has also begun scaling down its inventories and relooking at more efficient ways to manage future orders.

“In the past, we had to stock up about one to two months worth of stocks. But now we might have to relook at on-demand purchases for customers to find a good balance between customers’ purchasing power and our suppliers,” he said.

LIm appeals for additional support to small and medium enterprises from the government to ease their cash flow, in particular for rentals, import duty on products and benefits for employees in B40 and M40 categories.

“The reopening of business takes a lot of efforts under this new norm. Getting used to this new norm is not easy. We are still in the conditional MCO period and we should remember there is no Covid-19 vaccine currently available,” he said.

Lim said some suppliers had previously been unable to travel interstate and did not know how to operate during the conditional MCO or to apply the SOPs for their operations.

“We have 40 to 50 suppliers locally and we also import some products including tyres, engine oil, parts and batteries.

“Our business is just about to jumpstart. We are hopeful the business will be able to sustain itself. We believe our brand is reliable and can be trusted. We strive to give confidence to consumers when they visit our stores,” he said.