Stamford Tyres Malaysia New GM to Further Develop Commercial Vehicle Segment

Ivan Reijan is the new General Manager for Stamford Tyres Malaysia Sdn Bhd, effective from 1st August, 2023. 

In an exclusive interview with Tyreman, he shared with us his experience, immediate focus and the exciting areas of opportunity and growth in the commercial tyre sector. 

While not exactly new to the Malaysian tyre industry, Ivan R is no stranger to the Singapore fleet market and Stamford Tyres International Ptd Ltd (STIPL) as he served that company and tyre market since he was 25 years old.

“Holding a Higher National Diploma in Electrical and Electronics Engineering, I went to Singapore to work as I was passionate with rims and tyres. I joined STIPL as Retail Executive in April 1999. The company sent me to work in a Caltex petrol station along Jurong Port Road. During that time, when a company ran a workshop that was attached to a petrol station, it had to operate the petrol station as well. Luckily, I was not alone; with the help of a manager, I could stay on. Then in September, I was posted to a retail centre in Payar Lebar as technician, where I worked myself up to be Service Advisor and was later put in charge of corporate sales.”

In 2000, he continued, he became a Branch Supervisor and was transferred to Malaysia where he was responsible for the company’s retail centre along Jalan Ampang. In the following year, Ivan R was reassigned to the fleet division as a Sales Executive in Malaysia.

Adaptivity and never stop learning

“It was a total change for me as the sales approach to passenger car tyres and commercial tyres was very different. Compared to passenger car tyres, the commercial tyre segment requires more technical knowledge and skill. I was subsequently transferred back to Singapore in 2005. Since then, I have held various positions in the fleet division, from Fleet Manager, Fleet Senior Manager of a truck centre, Fleet Vice President Assistance and Fleet Vice President to oversee fleet and retail business.”

STIPL fleet division, he pointed out, was active in the waste management segment, port and cargo, transportation that included general cargo and container haulage, as well as public buses. “STIPL waste management customers are SembWaste, Colex, ALBA, which accounted for about 40 per cent of the waste management sector. For port and cargo, the company worked closely with PSA Singapore and provided tyres for truck and rubber tyred gantry (RTG) cranes.”  

In the public bus segment, he revealed that STIPL achieved an important milestone in 2008. “STIPL secured contracts from SMRT and in 2016, contracts from Tower Transit and Go-Ahead Singapore, to supply tyres and related services, occupying 55 per cent of the bus tyre market. All these made STIPL the biggest commercial tyre provider with three truck centres in Singapore. On the passenger car side, the company had 15 retail outlets, which made it the largest PCR tyres provider in Singapore.”

The high degree of adaptability and never stop learning attitude that Ivan R demonstrated in the work place earned him vast and invaluable experience in the tyre industry. He not only brought with him 18 years of running a truck centre and expertise in handling fleet customers within the Group but also his involvement in the passenger car tyre retail business.

Commenting on his new role, he said: “I am excited to be part of the dynamic and energetic team in Malaysia. I look forward to further develop Stamford Tyres Malaysia’s presence and influence in the commercial vehicle market. This would be my immediate focus.”   

Building rapport and strategy

Ivan R added that he would like to start from what he was more familiar with and where his strength laid. Currently, he said, Stamford Malaysia only had one fleet centre in West Port and one recovery truck in Malaysia.

“Although the fleet division in Singapore has been performing very well and achieved many milestones, we couldn’t replicate the success here. We have to take the cultural, business environment and infrastructural differences into consideration. Therefore, I have spent time visiting fleet customers and understanding their business, concerns and requirements.”

He also revealed plans to set up another fleet centre in the Klang Valley. “The next two things on my agenda are retail outlets and wholesales business, which represent a very large portion of the company’s total sales; Open more retail outlets to expand the company’s footprint and create unique personalised customer experience. It is important to help dealers and wholesalers make a decent profit from selling the company’s products.”

Ivan R believes in building rapport with internal and external customers. He addressed his colleagues as the company’s ‘internal customers’ and stressed that good rapport in the workplace fostered collaboration, resulting in collective job satisfaction and sustainable performance. Establishing rapport with customers was equally important as it helped to earn trust and loyalty, and generate sales.

Despite the Malaysian market being flooded with cheaper Chinese tyres, he still expressed the confidence in the local market potential. “Cheap tyres would cost less in the upfront but consumers are in fact spending more in the long run as they are not that durable compared to premium tyres. In its efforts to provide quality products, Stamford Tyres Malaysia continues to bring in made-in-Japan Falken tyres.”

In an increasing digital world, Ivan R said he was looking at ways to incorporate technology into the company’s business operation to increase efficiency and productivity.