Generating energy and empowering people from all walks of life with Bateriku.com
Most automotive batteries now do not require regular maintenance, but we can extend its lifespan by checking and cleaning the car battery, as well as charging it when needed.
A modern car battery has a life expectancy of around one to two years, but we never know when it will leave us stranded. Bateriku.com was created to assist us wherever we are. Azarol Faizi, the Chief Executive Officer of Bateriku.com shares his views.
Can you explain in essence what Bateriku.com is about?
Bateriku.com is a battery delivery and installation system which is based on a sharing economy model, contributing to environmental sustainability. To date, Bateriku.com has helped train almost a thousand B-Heroes who are mobile battery installers and we have also successfully recycled almost 15 tonnes of used batteries in the span of 8 years.
What was the inspiration behind the innovation?
The inspiration came to me around 2006 when I was a first-level vendor for the national car manufacturer, Proton OEM, PERODUA OES and then later Mitsubishi OEM. I was also involved with installing, restoring, and supplying UPS batteries to telecommunications companies. While I was doing this, I found that the economy was slowly transitioning to more on-demand services like Uber, MyTaxi (Grab), Food Panda and others in 2012. I observed that more and more people were using their smart phones to do a search on products and request for online services which were easier and faster.
At that time, I realised that there were advantages to the on-demand battery business model. This is because prior to this, batteries were mostly sold in workshops or specific battery shops. This transitional model has helped consumers save money and time, as well as overcome other inconveniences of getting batteries themselves.
How has the journey been like in creating this innovation?
The journey has been a challenging one. This is because Bateriku.com is more than a business, as we are also trying to set up a formidable ecosystem. In order to provide exceptional customer service 24/7, we must be able to deliver our services and respond to our customers in the shortest time. Besides that, we need to build up the customers' trust in us. Hence, our efforts to keep improving will forever continue as long as Bateriku.com exists.
What were some of the challenges faced and how were they overcome?
The main challenge was learning how to stay successful in this business. We are determined to create an ecosystem where we provide front liners to deliver and install batteries all over Malaysia. To achieve this, we created two programmes – B-Hero and B-Preneur. The B-Hero programme was created to train mobile battery installers based on a sharing economy model. This programme has successfully reduced our overhead costs and enabled us to stay relevant in the business. On the other hand, B-Preneur offers Bateriku.com licensing to new and up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Thankfully, this has led to the opening of almost 100 new business premises which consequently increases our brand exposure nationwide.
With every business, there is bound to be similar products and services offered by competitors. Even though it may be easy to penetrate into this business, the yearly market value for car batteries which is at RM2 billion is still dominated by workshop owners. To capitalise on this, Bateriku.com imports its own premium batteries and sells it directly to workshop owners. Moreover, we have introduced the Nationwide Battery Assist (NBA) programme to assist workshop customers to access a range of Bateriku.com services like jumpstart, troubleshooting, floating batteries and even tow-truck services.
Another challenge we need to overcome is the issue of lead-acid batteries. Their irresponsible disposal may negatively affect our health and also the environment. On the bright side, almost all lead-acid batteries can be recycled, which is why Bateriku.com has kickstarted a programme called 'Go Recond, Save the World' to recycle these batteries. In this programme, batteries will undergo a thorough selection process for reinstallation and restoration purposes, and a discount will be given to used-car dealers, workshop owners and others who may find them useful for their businesses. This is how we contribute to the preservation of the environment as well.
What are the impacts of Bateriku.com to the general public?
Bateriku.com offers free training and has created job opportunities especially for the B40 community via the B-Hero programme. Participants from this programme managed to earn at least 5 times more than their peers in similar service delivery companies.
In addition, with B-Preneur, we have cultivated an entrepreneurial spirit among those interested in becoming business owners. This has helped Bateriku.com expand to 100 new locations all over Malaysia.
Furthermore, we are proud of our 'Go Recond, Save the World' programme because now we are able to recycle almost 200 tonnes of battery scrap per month. We employ the right disposal process in collaboration with a dissolution factory that is licensed by the Department of Environment.
How does Bateriku.com fare compared to other comparable innovations in the market?
Bateriku.com is the number one Connected Roadside Assistance Services (CRAS) provider in Malaysia and we are a one-stop solution provider, offering battery changes, damage repairs, workshop services, and bazaars, through our programmes like B-Hero, B-Preneur and B-Buddy.
On top of that, we have our very own call centre which operates 24/7. Besides Bateriku. com customers, we also provide our services to two insurance companies in Malaysia which control 40% of the motor policy insurance market.
To ensure we offer the best and most reliable services, our internal software developmental team always makes sure that the software used in Bateriku.com is constantly updated to cater to the current and future needs of our customers.
Who is the target audience for Bateriku.com?
We offer automotive products and services directly to vehicle owners. Because of that, our target groups can be categorised into internal and external customers. The latter consists of private vehicle owners, commercial vehicle owners and API platform owners whereas the former would include entrepreneurs who wish to join the B-Preneur programme, trainersunder the B-Hero programme and automotive parts suppliers and service providers under the B-Buddy programme.
Any words of wisdom to those starting out in the same field?
You should venture into a field where you are motivated to work hard continuously day and night to achieve the success you desire. This is more important than only aiming to become rich. Instead, focus on creating a remarkable innovation or service until it becomes the talk of the town, particularly among family members, friends and customers. Do believe in the power of services or products where customers help to spread the news by word-of-mouth as it is not only effective but costsaving too, where marketing is concerned.
What are the next steps forward for Bateriku.com?
Bateriku.com wishes to expand from just depending on batteries to venturing into become a Vehicle Ownership Experience (VOE) platform. We would also like to make sure that the platform is ready to be part of the roadside assistance function for electric vehicles (EV). Besides that, we are in the process of setting up a training academy that provides valid certification to EV mechanics and one which does EV modification to ensure acclimatisation to the market as soon as possible.
As written in Malaysia innovates 2022 & UNDP
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