Auto expert gives spare parts biz a digital makeover


There will be many stories about digitisation of the automotive industry and how every problem creates an opportunity.

Enter SpareXHub, a Malaysian-based portal with an international ambition in e-commerce, a digitalisation innovator in the automotive industry with a portal for aged, genuine spare parts.

The co-founder and director, Devindran Ramanathan, found his unique niche 10 years after he had left his comfort zone as a senior executive in one of Malaysia’s leading automotive groups with operations in China and Oceania.

With some 30 years in the automotive industry looking after brands such as BMW, Ford and JLR, he knows that car dealers have a universal problem: ageing stocks of spare parts.

He came up with SpareXHub, a digital portal for aged, genuine automotive spare parts with an interesting trademarked slogan “Every Part Has a Car”.

For brand owners, he would crusade about how to run a spare-parts department profitably, specifically to push out ageing and depreciating stocks, which were an insult to professional inventory management especially if left sitting on the shelves for years, incurring continuous handling and storage costs.

He’s a thoroughbred spare parts professional. Ask him anything about spare parts for your car and eventually, he will ask you: “What’s your chassis number?”

His venture caters to three groups of customers for post-warranty and older cars – stockists who buy in bulk; independent and specialist non-franchise workshops which buy parts because they are on offer and they know their customers will want them; and the retail customers.

“Every car company has obsolete parts. If you don’t promote the sales of these, then the industry lowers its entry barrier and will encourage parallel imports and the sale of lower quality and unsafe parts,” he says.

He is backed by a team of eight young technopreneurs on social media who engage with car clubs and forums locally and abroad, and five skilled subject matter experts who are directors.

“We didn’t take a platform off the shelf. We built this portal with our own know-how and (through) a software house from India. It’s the whole process from searching for parts, paying online and having it delivered to you,” he said.

“If some of the customers can’t find the parts (they need) on our platform, we have good partnerships with some of the local and international stockists where we can locate and buy the parts from them.

“We teamed-up with Aramex Malaysia, a Dubai-based logistics company to fulfil international sales and Lalamove for domestic stockists and sales.

“Our main international business is from Singapore and there are a handful of stockists there who buy slower moving BMW parts from us. Likewise, a lot of aged, genuine spare parts from Auto Bavaria, Ingress and Quill are sold there using our platform.

“Singapore is a regional market and they have a good outreach to markets in Australia, Africa and Indonesia,” he said.

“The pandemic and MCO is pushing online sales as never before,” said Devindran.

For this week until June 10, there are discounts for spare parts for Ford and Hyundai owners only, in partnership with Sime Darby Motors.

The portal carries parts for eight brands – BMW, BMW Motorrad, Ford, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Porsche, VW.

 

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

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