May 30, 2022Podcast
In this episode, we talk with Peter Tan, he is the director and owner of BKK Australia, one of Sydney’s largest Asian food product distributors.
Peter’s journey from medical student, to cardiovascular researcher, to business owner is one of change.
We talk about the implementation of new systems and why customer service is the thing that helped his business sail through a turbulent time.
Hi guys this morning, we’ve got Peter tan. So Peter tan is from BKK distribution. Yeah. The paint is a really interesting one. Um, I’ve been doing some research this morning and yesterday on Peter and, um, there’s some really, really interesting topics that I want to cover off, but I’ll let him introduce himself and tell you a little bit about his business and we can go from there, Peter, take it away.
Welcome. Uh, thank you very much. Very nice to be here. Um, so my name is Peter tan. Um, my, uh, position at, um, the company BKK Australia is a director. Although I have to say it’s more to do with operations processes and systems than, than anything else. Um, PKK Australia is an important distribution company, uh, specializing in the Asian foods.
Uh, we were the first Australian company to bring in Thai Jasmine rice and our flagship, uh, rice brand is a lion brand Jasmine rice, which you can find in your Asian groceries. Um, since, since that time that BKK has been established with expanded the product line to include, uh, sources, uh, coconut milk Curry.
Basically everything you find in your, um, traditional Asian grocery. So yeah, that’s a, that’s a little bit about the company. Yeah. Oh, fantastic. So look how, how I was, how I’m keen to kick off today. Um, I’m keen to just learn about your journey to here. Now we had a, I had a little look on your LinkedIn and, um, I understand that.
You’re actually a doctor. Uh, yes. So we’ll cover off the, this shift from, from, you know, from, from doctor to wholesaler. Um, but, but I’m really interested to know, um, you know, you’re obviously a smart, smart cookie growing up and you’ve got you. You’ve kind of done a bachelor of medicine. Can you, can you tell me about that?
So I’ll, I’ll just, uh, so I am a doctor, but not, not specifically, uh, a medical doctor, I, I studied a bachelor of medical science, which qualified me to become a scientist. And I did a postgraduate degree, um, uh, Uh, specializing in cardiovascular physiology. Um, and, um, that’s what grants me, the doctor title.
Yeah, doctorate. Yeah. But people will ask me medical questions all the time. They’re like, they show me something and they’re like, oh, well what’s this. And now I’ll be like, I’m not a medical doctor. You know, it’s a doctorate of sight. And then they, they kind of nod and then they. But yeah, but what is it that he can’t eat it?
Uh, how do you fix it? Uh, yeah, you, you gotta go see somebody else, you know, you can just tell him to Google it. Yeah.
Cool. So, um, so, and then you went and did research before. Yes. Yeah. Um, yeah. So after my, after my, um, PhD, which was, um, I had a blast during my PhD. Um, I did a post-doctorate in Singapore at the Institute of bioengineering and nanotechnology, uh, for a year. Then I came. Came back to Sydney. And, uh, I did, uh, uh, post-doctorate with the Victor Chang cardiac research Institute.
Um, so I was working on a heart research, um, potassium channels and. Uh, how it affects a condition called sudden sudden cardiac death, uh, which is a genetic condition where, um, I don’t know if you’ve Googled some YouTube videos, but sometimes you see like a soccer player just on the field, just suddenly.
Fall over and that’s like a, like a heart attack, you know? Um, and that was the condition that I was, I was looking at. Um, interesting. Yeah. Yeah. It was, it was pretty neat at the time. Yeah, absolutely. And then, um, and then you go and, and, and, and decide you’re going to hop into, into BKK. And can you, can you explain that transition?
So, um, explain kind of how you, you know, obviously you’re, you’re connected perhaps by a family or something like. But can you explain how that transition actually was? Uh, sure. Uh, so, uh, BKK is owned by my family. Um, so basically, uh, in my science science career, I was very good at. Experiments and data, data analysis and, and things like that.
Uh, however, the further I progressed in my career, the more I realized that, um, to succeed as a scientist, especially towards the higher level, you needed to be more, um, someone who could speculate a lot more and also, um, someone who can sell the ideas on a grander scale. Whereas I’ve always been. Kind of dislike one, one foot in front of the other.
Uh, it only means this much, so I never sold my ideas on a, um, uh, like you, you know, they would, they would say, so what does this mean? Will this solve all the world’s problems will its problems. And some people will say, yeah, we’ll, it will solve that. And I will be no, it’s just kind of interesting, you know, say.
Heavily on the, what the data told you as opposed to what you wanted the data to say. Yeah, exactly. But, but if you want to get grant funding, if you want to get, um, uh, further on and sort of, uh, uh, lead a research team and things like that, you ha you have to be a bit more visionary than, than I was. What I enjoyed about being a scientist was looking at myself in a dark room and experimenting.
Yeah. That’s what I, I loved it, you know, I love that side of it. And, uh, uh, I was still, you know, like when I, when I can just focus on things on myself, but, uh, but yeah, I realized that, uh, further off. If you want to Excel to, to the highest levels, then, uh, you had to do something which I was not naturally gifted at.
Okay. Yeah. And so the transition to the wholesale business was, um, I, I felt I wanted to do something a bit more tangible and especially because my family owned the business, I thought, uh, See what I can help out, see what I can do. And, and, um, and then, uh, yeah, I just started from that a bit daunting because I had no idea what I was doing when I had you worked in the business previously.
I, um, in most family businesses, um, people do that, but I’ve just having a look at your background. There’s probably not a great deal of time for it to work in the family business, as well as doing a bachelor of medical science at a postgraduate doctorate and all the rest of it. Yeah. Yeah. I wasn’t, uh, I, I did not, uh, work in the company in any sort of real capacity.
We, we went to Thailand a few times to meet with suppliers. Uh, but that was more. Fun family holiday than anything else. Uh, so yeah, there wasn’t, uh, I’ve never, I never had anything to do with the business, uh, during my studies or things like that. And what was the, what was the first thing that you noticed when you walked into the business for the first, you know, for the first time properly?
Um, when you, when, when you’re being paid to, to kind of have a good look at the business and, and, um, you know, and make it better. I noticed that things were run in a very sort of, uh, pen and paper fashion, uh, uh, especially, uh, with a warehouse, everything was picked, um, without barcoding or, um, RF guns or anything like that.
Everything was just, ah, you print a pack, slip, print, a pink slip, and then, uh, Our warehouse guys would go and, uh, pick according to what’s printed on a piece of paper, which, and so everything was done off memory. Uh, no, no location picking or, or anything like that. So it’s what I noticed. Like it, it was when I first came to the business, the inventory was quite new.
Yeah, it’s pretty hard to scale a business like that when, when there’s no. Um, when there’s no real processes and hire new staff, and if you hire new staff that they obviously don’t know how everyone else works straightaway and, and all that type of thing. Yeah. Um, especially if we wanted new especially warehouse guys, because not the warehouse got.
Needed, uh, a new, a new person, the training required to get them up to speed was it was a matter of months instead of weeks, you know, because they, they had to, they had to know each product because when it’s printed, they, they need us to know exactly which, which one it is. And you can imagine they, they made mistakes all the time.
So, and not to mention the fact that our products cover like, uh, Thai goods, Vietnamese goods, Indonesian goods, uh, and China, Chinese, Chinese packaging, and things like that. Uh, not everybody is fluent in all those languages. It’s, it’s hard to, it’s hard to pick, you know, when, when, when you’ve got all those, all those options in front of you.
Yeah. Well, okay. Yeah. So also a lot of it was being done by memory, obviously just left by almost. Yeah, memory label and, um, experience a almost most experienced guys knew this customer always likes this brand or, or, or so that like the really experienced guys was super fast, uh, that they could work off memory.
They knew all the packaging and, and things like that. But as you said, if you got a new guy in there, it would take them a long time to, to be able to be. To achieve any competency yet. And, um, I’d imagine that, um, the type of business that you were going into, your ability to analyze data and therefore be able to calculate margins on everything and do all that kind of thing.
I would imagine that would have come in, in real handy when you’re analyzing what products, how much and all the rest of it, I think. Um, so what transitioned over from my, my science career was, uh, uh, as, as I mentioned to, I was really obsessed with data. And so, especially with our computer systems, I underwent a huge cleanup of, of everything.
When I first, when I first came, there was no dimension data. There was no, um, barcode data. Uh, there was basically just the name of the product and the. And that was it. So over, over the last couple of years, I finally got it into, uh, finally got all the data into a position where, um, it, it was suitable so that, uh, uh, um, we’re not overpacking where, where our trucks, uh, get the correct, uh, pallet weights.
And. And things like that, so that all that sort of obsessive need for detail to be consistent, uh, actually, uh, pays off tangibly in the, in the business and the top of business that you’re running. It really does need to be a high volume scale business. Doesn’t it I’d imagine the margins and the margins are not epic.
No, no. Uh, especially, especially our main businesses, rice. So you got a very heavy product with a, which is not, it’s not that expensive, you know? So that’s definitely something that we have to, uh, get, get right in, you know? Yup. Yup. For sure. So, um, now that we’re on that topic, They saw the businesses there as much.
I often find that, um, the hot volume distribution businesses are as much a matter of, um, you being good with logistics and warehousing and, you know, and, um, and, and kind of speed of delivery and all that type of thing. It’s as much of a logistical operation as it is. I, um, a product driven operation. Would you, would you agree with.
Uh, I’d absolutely agree with that. I think, um, especially with the logistics, if we can streamline the process, make it more efficient, uh, get it to the customers, uh, on time and when they expect it, uh, those things are crucially important in the, in the high volume, high volume business. I think, um, uh, I think.
We’re we’re lucky because a company, um, because it’s been running for such a long time, um, Uh, what has really helped even with the inefficiencies that we experienced earlier, um, our customers are very loyal to the company. Um, and it’s something that the company prides itself on is the customer service level and also the expertise that they have in terms of, um, the food products and the brands, uh, the it’s, our staff, which who know their stuff.
And the customer relationship, which is very important in this, in this regard. And what do you guys do over and above say the next distributor that, um, that might separate you from the pack, as far as the extra level of service, obviously you guys have been going for 40 years, I believe since Don and 80, 40.
And that’s, that’s incredible for any business and the fact that it’s still in your family and all the rest of it is awesome. Um, obviously you’re doing something right. What is the, what do you guys do in terms of servicing the customers that makes them so sticky? Yeah, I think so. So the company was established, uh, a very long time ago.
Um, I think 1980 and, um, at the time. Um, uh, because it’s, it was established in Western Sydney. It serviced the communities out there, like, um, around Cabramatta Fairfield area. So, so definitely there’s a huge connection with the Vietnamese. Uh, community and well we’ll actually the core of the company is that it’s a tie company and especially with the, with the Thai community.
So, um, what really separates us from a distributor. No too much about the products. They might get the same products, but they don’t have the same connection to the community and culture that our staff have because our staff have been there. They live live in the row in the same areas. So they’re, they’re very connected to, to the people that they sell to.
Um, is that the same area I took the same area where you guys have got a new, new member, a new member of parliament, I believe. Is that the, is that, is that, that area? Um, the. Oh, I’ll have to grab a nine V um, uh, she’s a new lady. She used to be the mayor of that, of that, of that area. And I believe she’s, um, she’s becoming a new member of Palm.
I’m not sure if it’s in that area, but, uh, I think it might be a different area, but I’m not entirely sure about the whole, the whole politics at the moment has been quite a whirlwind, I think. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. It’s um, yeah, I think, I think the media can hopefully stop all this, all their crap now.
So, um, so that’s, that’s great. So the, um, in terms of scaling your business, um, when you went into the business, um, what level were you guys at? I mean, in terms of, um, I guess, you know, maybe number of customers or what’s a metric, you feel comfortable sharing because I’d love to understand, um, kind of when you entered the business, where was it?
And then where is it today kind of. Uh, well, I I’d say that, um, at the time, um, we were the, at the time that I came in the business had, uh, it was doing pretty well, but I think we’d reached sort of like the capacity of, um, what we were. Capable of because, um, you know, with a warehouse was overflowing, we were, was always rushing around to service customers and, and things like that.
Um, so, uh, uh, can’t really think of a metric of off the top of my head too. That was that you to, um, was that you to geographical, um, growth or like, did you focus on a certain area or was it just resource of, of spice and being able to see. Yeah, just, just space because, um, main, uh, so we have, um, our main warehouse in Sydney and then we have a small warehouse in Melbourne, but, um, in terms of our, um, and in terms of our capacity, uh, to, uh, yeah, we’re always struggling for space in a.
In, in the old warehouse, uh, we, uh, we moved during the pandemic actually to a new, new location. Uh, Which has been great, but our new location only has a little bit more capacity and they’ve already used it. So we’re, we’re, we’re thinking of, uh, uh, getting, uh, getting more space, but we, we just got to work out the logistics of that.
Um, so I would say that, um, it was probably more held back by our operations. Uh, and I would also say that. Um, because the business had been run the same way. Um, for many, many years, uh, I think, uh, everything was optimized to its highest point at that time, but there was no change or innovation in our processes.
Uh, even our. Uh, communications with our customers wasn’t wasn’t being, uh, revamped or, or anything like that. It was basically, uh, this is the way that they had done it for many years. It was working well. Uh, why mess with it? You know, so, but I think so it was working as best as it could. And, and so we had sort of reached, re reach a plateau at that point.
Seven years into your working there. Um, the pandemic hits and everything, everything gets thrown into turmoil. Can you run me through your initial reaction when it all happened and when it all went down and then, um, then if you can run me through what became your core focus at that point? Yeah. Oh, I sure.
Um, so, so the pandemic was. A crazy time. Um, prior to the pandemic I was working on, uh, getting, uh, a sort of modernized warehouse management system into, into place. And I had, I had been working on it for, for ages, at least at least three years, in terms of like the, uh, working out and testing, testing, how it would work.
Um, probably even longer than that. If you take into account research and, um, hunting for. Supplier and, and things like that. But, um, so I had plans for the implementation of the new way, a new system and, and I planted four and timed it exactly at the beginning of the pandemic. So, so when the pandemic hit, we, we experienced, um, uh, I think, I think you remember Tim that, uh, Uh, there was, um, the buying frenzy and the everybody, everybody bought out pasta and tomato, canned tomatoes and cleared out the supermarket shelves and what was in Kohl’s couldn’t keep up with the demand, but out and out our area, um, it was, it was rice.
And so, uh, uh, awareness. Quit out of rice and I’d never, I’d never seen it so empty before, you know, and it was, it was, it was, it was nuts. And, and because it was a scary time, um, my planned implementation of the management system, uh, the WMS, uh, W, uh, everybody was saying, oh, don’t go, don’t go ahead with it.
Don’t don’t do it because we don’t know what’s going to happen. And, um, but I, I decided. We should just push on, push on. Uh, I talked to the warehouse manager as well, and we decided, no, we, we really should push on with this. It’s kind of the perfect time for it. Right. You’ve got to, you’ve got a depleted stock levels cause everyone’s buy everything.
So doing some, doing a stock, take it take half the time. You’d hope. And uh, and you might’ve gotten, you know, after the initial buying craziness, you might’ve gotten, um, uh, slightly less busy potentially, or maybe. Well, we got after the, after the craziness, that’s exactly what happened because, um, the, um, customers would, would decide, oh, they’re not buying rice so they wouldn’t buy other stuff.
So, so yeah, like, um, things, uh, things got a little quiet on the sales after the initial spike and then. And then as you said, the warehouse was completely cleared out. We didn’t have to do a massive stock take. Like we would have, we would have had to, um, uh, if, if it didn’t happen. So yeah, when we talked about it, it made more sense, but, uh, you know, people are very scared of change and.
And uh, to put this warehouse management system, I think it was the biggest change in the company for, for very many years. And so people who have worked there were very reluctant to adopt, or they would have been reluctant to adopt it anyway, but they were very reluctant to adopt it. Um, during the pandemic, you know, what would be the average age of the person working there?
I would say I was. Uh, I’m polite. I don’t ask them directly, but, uh, uh, I was, I would say, uh, in your fifties. Okay. Go outside. Yeah. So you’ve got that extra, extra bit of extra bit of, um, bit of a challenge just due to the, you know, to the ability to pick up new systems and all the rest of it. We know that we know that, you know, sometimes it takes a little bit longer, but often, often, often people that, um, are a little bit.
I actually want that giant cause that there’d be under the pump, so they actually want when I shift, but it’s all, it’s all about how it’s deployed by, right. Uh it’s it’s right. Uh, so I, I, I definitely think I was a bit too, uh, black and white about some things I think I could have been a bit more flexible in my implementation and make it a bit less scary, uh, for them.
But, um, definitely. Uh, so like the. The older people are the more they want to stay with this, um, same, same method. Uh, so, uh, and how did you go about how did you go about actually deploying and implementing with people? Um, was there, uh, you know, I think, I think that you went with, um, with, uh, two systems. Uh, no, I, I went with a different, uh, WMS.
Uh, I won’t mention the name because there’s some, um, some stickiness around that. Uh, but, uh, but, uh, yeah, I went with a fairly established WMS. Yeah. And then when you went and deployed that WMS, what was the. You know, how did you get people to buy in? Because I mean, this, this, um, this, this podcast is as much a business podcast as anything else.
And, um, the, the listeners are, you know, uh, I guess people like yourself as well, who, who own and run these businesses and some of them will need be needed to be making updates in their businesses along the way. What were the things that worked for you and what would the things that didn’t work for you?
I tried to, so, so my mat Mo uh, because I, I enjoy working on things, um, in a solitary way, I prepared. And like documentation explaining everything and had it like a thick manual for people to refer to and nobody read it.
So now I’ve learned over time. Um, uh, so in the, in the initial period, especially when people were scared that that approach didn’t did not work. So, uh, definitely, um, as the. As, as we went along with, um, coping with the implementation and the processes afterwards, uh, I think it definitely helps when I would just approach people, explain, explain to people how things would work.
So definitely the face-to-face interaction, uh, worked a lot better than just, just slapping a big manual on that. So. Did you, so, I mean, obviously being in the business for seven years prior to that, you probably knew a lot of the workflows and all that type of thing. Is that, is that pretty right? Yeah, I was, uh, I was so, um, uh, in the, in the, in the, um, company, um, our enterprise resource program ERP, um, A lot of, a lot of the people knew how it worked.
Day-to-day putting in orders, invoices, et cetera. Uh, but nobody understood, understood the sort of background workings of it. Uh, very, very well. So definitely when I, when I first came in, I thought, ah, That’s where we’re kind of lacking in. So, um, I’m now the ERP guy as well. So if there’s a, there’s an issue with the ERP, they, they always come to me and actually, um, one of the difficulties we had with the.
Um, warehouse system was that we couldn’t find, find anybody to, um, integrate the, uh, to actually do the implementation, to do the integration between the, the, because the soft, oh, the web. System guys. They knew how their system works. The ERP guys, you how their system works, but there wasn’t a good, um, integration specialist between the two that’s that’s.
Uh, yeah. That’s um, that’s a, that’s a shame it’s usually, it’s usually the most important part. Yeah. So, so what, what ended up happening? I mean, we, we tried with, with a group, what that was suggested by the ERP, um, people, but we were getting nowhere. And it was dragging on so much. And then eventually I, I, I said to, to my, um, it guys, look, it’s just files going up and down this, especially our ERP is not one of those.
High-end like very complicated ones. So it’s. It’s just CSV files going back and forth. Surely we can do this ourselves. And then they said, well, we can do it, but someone has to work out all the queries and stuff like that. I said, ah, I think I can do that. You know? So, so, so. We developed the integration in-house actually, which was the, which was another, um, it was another thing to another obstacle to get over, but, um, that’s, that’s, that’s what we ended up doing.
And you learned, you learned how to, how to do all the carding and all the rest of it yourself? No, not the coding. I’m, I’m more, uh, uh, SQL query guy, but even then like, um, Uh, like, I don’t know the coding very well. I just know how to get things done. It was so, so you, so you guys got like a, like a centralized FTP server or something like that, where all that data goes through.
Is that kind of how it works? Uh, that, that has to be talked to my items? No. Okay. So, so, so you finally connected everything up and then, um, when you went out to, to try and deploy it with the warehouse, cause. Involve them in the decision-making or because you knew the processes you kind of said, are I will, based on what I know, this is how we implement, or did you take feedback from the.
Uh, I at the time of the implementation, because there was so much, um, uh, going on, we, we did meet with like the leading hands and supervisors to show them how, how things would work. Uh, of course, um, as I mentioned to you, uh, a lot of them. A lot of their feedback was, um, uh, uh, being scared and, and not having very much confidence in the system.
So, uh, definitely, uh, uh, WMS guys, um, uh, they, they came in, they showed and had meetings and, and things like that. But I would say that overall. Uh, because they’re so used to the old way, um, their feedback where we, we kind of had to listen to it a little bit, but not really take it too seriously because a lot of, uh, a lot of the feedback was, uh, where, where this type of company.
It’s never going to work. Um, yeah. Do you know what I mean? I know. Yeah. I know exactly what you mean. You can, you can take feedback to a, to a certain point, but if the feedback is just this won’t work, this won’t work, this won’t work. You won’t get any way. So you have to that’s when you have to, um, shift the way that you go about it and become a, uh, slightly more authoritarian about it.
I think, I think it was, um, uh, because I’ve never done anything like this before. So for me it was, um, it was very daunting and kind of scary. Um, so, so I had a little bit of a bulldozer approach to it, which, um, which, uh, it ended up, we had. Pushing through the obstacles and, and things like that. Now, now I’ve done it.
I’ve done it. Like, I, I think I, I know how to go about it in a, in a different way, but, um, I think, I think overall it was very successful. The business, how it looks today is obviously vastly different than when you found it, which is great. It’s improved. And you’ve got a level of automation that you didn’t have before, but then you get hit with supply chain problems coming out of it.
So we know that the last, you know, last two and a half. And especially now, if on the it’s, it’s, it’s probably the hottest time right now for any businesses, especially the wholesale, um, in the wholesale area, because the wholesale inflation is much greater than the, than what the consumer inflation is at the moment.
Um, how have you guys dealt with the supply chain issues and the. Uh, the supply chain issues are, are a problem, uh, because, um, especially, especially for demand, demand for products is spiking and also, um, the supply from the suppliers. Also, I’m getting hell held up in terms of freight and, and transportation and, and things like that.
Uh, so all of that has been, it’s been very hard to predict. And so we, we end up. Oversupply or under display? Um, a bit for the last, for the last year or so, like, um, even, even so the pandemic affected things which, um, affected the supply supply side and of course customers demanding product flex in a unpredictable way.
Um, but even, even things like when there was heavy rain, uh, with the flooding flooding. Um, Queensland at the T at the time Sydney had a, like a huge dump of rain. And I was there. I was there that weekend when I was, and, uh, and I think one of the, I think the bridge from manly to Manley to, um, to, to Sydney flooded or something like that.
And it was just, it was, it was, it was. Oh, it was, it was, it was craziness. And, and so, so even, even something like that, which re like, it went for two weeks, but we didn’t sell anything for two weeks because nobody wanted to buy, like nobody was going out. No one was buying. So the supermarkets wouldn’t buy anything either.
So, so we ended up. Like a massive oversupply in, uh, in our, in our warehouse. And then, um, yeah, just, just those unpredictable things, uh, has, has been a challenge for, for, for the last, the last two years, you know, uh, in terms, in terms of it all, we’re still so big. We’re, we’re still coping with it. It’s it’s not, it hasn’t been easy because it hasn’t been, um, predict.
Yeah, for sure. And what you talk about is, you know, too many dollars, so too much demand chasing too few goods, which is what creates inflation. That’s the whole, the whole, the whole lot, the exact definition is, um, is obviously, you know, too many, too many dollars chasing too few goods. So, um, You know, they saying, it’s they saying it’s been between five and 6%.
And I believe that I think the wholesale inflation is probably more like 10 or 11%. Um, what have you noticed around pricing crisis from your suppliers? Has there been, uh, a significant shift upwards or. Uh, there’s definitely been a significant again, a shift of was, especially when we’re imploding afraid, afraid has increased, uh, a huge amount.
Um, uh, I don’t know the exact figures and I don’t track it because the purchasing department takes, takes care of that. But definitely I have looked at some of the costings and it’s, it’s definitely, it’s definitely gone up. You know, two or 300%, um, up to what I think I philosophy the conversation I had around fright was about 15,000.
Uh, I I’m a container, which is, you know, basically triple what it was prior. Is that, is that consistent with what you’re saying? I think that’s, yeah, that’s pretty consistently, well, that’s, this is pretty crazy. Like, um, yeah. Uh, when you look at the pricing, Yeah, you can see why everything’s going up in the supermarket and things like that, you know?
Yeah. But it’s, I mean, it’s hard. A lot of the people that the end buyer, the end user of the products often doesn’t understand the supply chain. So for them, um, for them, it kind of, um, it’s a, it’s a big, it’s a big surprise and a big shift in the way. They’ve got to think about it because. There are extra costs the whole way through, and this fuel has gone up.
So the, the, the last mile costs have gone up as well. Yeah. The, the customer just says, why is this jumping up in price so much? Like they just, they just think the, like either the supermarket or restaurant or whatever is just, just trying to try to make, make more money off them. But if you, if you trace it back because yeah, your end customer is not going to think about.
If this product was important, then it was, uh, went to a wholesaler that distributed then went and then gone on to a truck, to a restaurant or a supermarket. They’re just, they just want one thing goods. Right. And then they see a price increase and they, they, they think that. Someone’s ripping me off somewhere, you know?
Yeah. And have, and have, have your customers been been there, you know, the supermarkets and the supermarkets and, and, and the, the smallest stores, have they been relatively understanding with, with price Hawks and that type of thing? Yeah, there’ve been pretty good. I’d say, uh, I’d say it goes to show our customer relationships are, are very good in the, in the business.
Um, uh, I see, I see the customer relationship as, um, The core strength of the business. Um, and, um, as we said, our, our interactions with them, this is what’s. Yeah, for sure. For sure. Um, the last thing I wanted to cover off was, um, can you tell me a little, just to have you guys go into the plan for the next, you know, for the next little bit, is there anything that you guys are going to be doing differently around expansions and that type of thing, or is, or is, or is, or is, or is the current idea to kind of see this little, little, little, uh, inflation and, and supply chain period?
Uh, at the moment, uh, because it’s been so turbulent, uh, we’ve spent the last, um, uh, it’s funny because we’ve improved the business. I’ve, uh, over the last two years, uh, two, three years. Uh, but it, it always felt like we were just keeping our heads above water. So, uh, Because of the pandemic, it pushed us to improve things and make, make things better.
Uh, so at the moment, it’s, um, it’s still, we’re still dealing with some turbulence in terms of that. It’s about, um, in terms of our plans for the future. Um, I want to make our customer experience a lot better. Um, uh, I feel like, um, Improvements that we can make, um, with the business. Uh, we’re kind of a bit behind in terms of digital marketing and communications and, and things like that.
Uh, so that’s something that I, I really want to, um, improve, improve on, uh, um, Uh, those, those sort of things I think are really important. And, uh, to foster the relationship with the customers, uh, yeah. You know, some things like, uh, uh, and this is, this is the long future as well. I want to bring the expertise of the company to, to, to.
To reach out to much more people, because at the moment the company we sell to the Asian groceries. Um, but when I, when I go to Asian groceries, there’s only, there’s only Asian people in there. Like, um, you don’t see. Uh, more Westerners or, you know, in the Asian groceries. And I can understand it too, because like I didn’t shop in there until like I was in my, in my twenties.
And when you first go into Asian grocery, it is intimidating. There’s so much stuff. And you’re like, wow. Why are there 200 sources? Uh, what, uh, what, what do you use it for? What, what, why, why would you choose this one over that one? You know, or so, so I feel like, um, a lot could be done to show people, um, how to use products, how to, how to do, how to go about these things.
And, um, I’d really like to improve that sort of, um, Uh, education, uh, of people and expose them to what, what they can, what they can purchase, you know? Yeah. Yeah. That’s, that’s all. I was about to say that around the actual product education. That would, that’s the daunting thing for people that don’t think the daunting thing is walking into an Asian grocer.
I mean, I’ve, you know, I shop at an, I shop at a, at a localizing grocery if I want to get certain items. I don’t think that’s a, I don’t think that’s a, that’s a concern for people. It’s the, the lack of product knowledge is probably the concerns. The, um, the beaches thing around the, you know, creating a Stata pack for people and that type of thing.
These are the staples that you should have to be able to produce X amount of Asian dishes. You know, I think a lot of it is probably about, yeah, that’s a lack of education around what goes with. Yeah. So, so I think that’s, that’s really important. And I mean, down the line, I’d like to do more things like, uh, I mean, your podcast is a great, great example of this.
Like you’re interviewing people, you’re sharing the knowledge that that stuff is great. Uh, I’d like to do, I’d like to do something similar in the, in the same vein or using, um, either either podcasts or YouTube or, or website actually. Um, Uh, so, um, what I use for, um, product education is, um, the line brand, um, rice website.
So if you, if you jump onto there, there’s a lot of articles about certain things and what’s the URL. Uh, they go to nice, easy one. It like with the, with the type of thing that you, to be interesting to do a weekly cooking gel or something where you actually cooking dishes using the products, you know, that type of stuff is, um, you know, I think people learn by seeing, seeing things done as opposed to going and reading stuff.
I think people are inherently lazy when it comes to reading articles. So, um, so seeing it that on video would tend to tend to be the way to go these days, but, um, But my really appreciate your time today. That was a really good chat. Um, it’s fantastic to learn about someone’s someone’s POS as well as what they’re doing today, so really appreciate your time.
Yeah. Awesome. Thanks so much. Awesome. Cheers. You can check them out online. What’s the URL for, for BKK? BKK australia.com.
Yep. And then you’ve got lion brand.com. Thanks guys. Appreciate your time.