Since I was a university student, probably around 1985, I helped in my family business, which is this brand of stores.
Please tell our readers about Thurain Store Group.
I opened the first store which managed by myself in Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone in 2002. Later, we expanded that hardware store. We supply things such as electrical goods, construction goods and machinery goods to factories and industrial customers. In 2007, a new store was opened in Alone township. In 2012, I opened another one at Shwe Lin Ban Industrial Zone. A new store at Shwe Than Lwin Industrial Zone going to be opened in 2017.
How did you end up as current position?
As mentioned previously, I work at my family business which is this chain of stores.
Currently, how many stores are you operating?
Currently, there are four branches ( Nyaung Tone in Ayeyarwaddy division, Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone, Alone, Shwe lin Ban Industrial Zone) operating.
Who are your target customers?
There are two kinds. My target customers for Industrial Zones are factories. Moreover, there are lots of companies warehouses within these zones. Those are our target customers. For other stores, my target customers are our end users
How many employees you have and how do you keep them happy?
There are around 170 employees. I try my best to give them reasonable salaries. In addition, I use a bonus system such as yearly bonus and summer bonus. As part of the staff benefits, we try to cover not only employee medical fees but also the medical expenses of their families.
As part of our CSR activities, we also built clinics and schools at their villages. Through this, we have a regular supply of job applicants.
What are your explansion plans?
I am going to open new hardware store at Shwe Than Lwin Industrial Zone. My plan is to open a hardware store in every Industry Zone. I also have a plan to open new store around Shwe Pyi Thar township which is not far from Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone.
Who are your competitors and what are your competitive strategies?
There are two segments; stores within township neighbourhoods
and hardware stores at Industrial Zones. For retail township stores, there are lots of competitors and
it can really get competitive. We are selling with quality products with reasonable prices. Our system is based on low margins and large volumes.
For Industrial Zone stores, there are not lots of competitors like retail stores. For example, customers can go to Saw Bwar Gyi Gone Junction to buy. But they have to go to many stores to get the all things which they need. Thurain hardware store is like one-stop service where nearly every products or goods which customer need are available. We provide best service to customers with right price at one place.
What are your best selling products?
It is really hard to tell because our stores are selling general things, not specialize ones.
How do you import most of your products?
Currently, we are not import the products. I have a good long-term relationship importers. So we can sell cheaper than others. But I am trying to import the products myself in the future.
From a business standpoint, what do you feel are the biggest challenges facing you and your team in next 1-3 years?
I think legal issues are getting more complex in the future. In Industrial Zone, there are lots of issues like illegal trespass and insufficient electricity supply. Another issues is human resources. Business is booming and many foreign companies are making their entries into Myanmar. So, there are many job opportunities compared with past years. Skillful employees are looking to go to a better place. Yet we still need to provide training to unskillful workers.
What effect do you think that the sudden influx of foreign companies/nationals will have?
There are two parts concerning this question. For our company, it really made good impact on us. The more foreign investments enter and build the factories, the more customers we have.
For the whole nation, there will be human resources issues. Business owners have to train unskilled employees. But, after training and gaining some relevant experiences, they resigned from the job and go and work for another seemingly
What can the government do for an SME like yourself?
I expect the all laws and regulations related with SMEs to be operating smoothly. No one should be above the law.[/paypal]