SEATING: Remori

By: David Goeldner


The hardest part in building a new business is coming up with a name for the enterprise

SEATING: Remori
The classy Nepean seat, sourced from APM and appearing in the Greyhound fleet, will spearhead the Remori range

You know what the business is going to be, the product is in place, the supply lines opening, business model looks robust, but wait – what to call your new fledgling enterprise takes further thought.

That was the problem facing Remori Managing Director, Doug Seccombe when he racked his brain, and those of his closest confidantes, to come up with a winning title for a business set to boom.

The name Seccombe derived was based around the need for a 1800 phone number with a six letter name tagged at the end.

"Originally I Googled six-letter names to come up with a name where I could have a unique web address, a unique 1800 number that no one had used, and importantly a name that no one had incorporated," Seccombe explains.

"So I had to tick three boxes."

Seccombe gave up on Google saying it was almost impossible to tick all three boxes, which led to the complete fabrication of a name.

Remori is not a town in Italy, or a wistful homage to a European holiday.

"I just made it up," says Seccombe.

So with the name in place, the business planning continued.

"We have been working on a business plan for a couple of years," Seccombe says.

"It’s been about getting relevant product, which we’ve got, and trying to make sure that product is well received."

The business is based around Remori’s emerging relationship with two well-regarded Asian seating suppliers, APM in Malaysia and Zhongtong in China.

Zhongtong might not be a name familiar to Australian operators, but is the supplier of Higer seats.

"They have already supplied through Higer so they have a lot of product here already," Seccombe says.

He says the Remori business model is to offer a solution to the market for inexpensive seating, with product operators already know.

"We are new to the industry, and we see there is an opportunity particularly with seat-belted seats," Seccombe says.

For a moment or two Seccombe considered the prospect of manufacturing Remori’s own seat.

But given neither he nor Remori Sales Manager, John Ferrett come from a bus background, the question of why enter unfamiliar territory is answered matter-of-factly.

"I think APM have struggled a bit in the Australian market, and I think they have a really good product," Seccombe says.

How the relatively entrants came into contact with bus seating was through a noted Australian bus industry supplier.

"APM approached a person I know well in the bus industry who has a successful supply model in Australia," says Seccombe.

His bus industry associate chose not to go down the APM road, but passed it on to Remori who are perfectly positioned to take that journey.

"On this recommendation I could immediately see the opportunity with APM," Seccombe says.

"I am always looking at business opportunities."

Seccombe travelled to Malaysia to meet APM executives, and could see it was a good product.

However, APM product on its own was not quite enough to run a viably sustainable seating supply business in a relatively small Australian market, so a second source of supply was added.

"Looking at China was the next part of working through the business model," Seccombe says.

"Eventually we made contact with Zhongtong who already had an ADR 68 seat, and for me that’s important because you are not starting from scratch, you have something that’s proven."

While Zhongtong seats have proliferated in Australia through Higer, they have pretty much been contained to just Higer buses.

Seccombe estimates there would be about 20,000 Zhongtong seats already in circulation in Australia through Higer, and APM has an even longer association with Aussie operators stretching back 10 years.

"We had a chat to Zhongtong about whether they are interested in Remori distributing their seats in Australia, and they are," Seccombe says.

The Zhongtong seat will be available to all operators, relabelled as Remori. APM seats will also carry the Remori tag.

"We are saying to any bus builder in Australia that you can now get that quality that’s already there, known and understood – and as a cheaper alternative.

"It’s important for us to build a business recognised as Remori," says Seccombe, although he is aware that APM will continue to deal directly with their existing Australian customers.

AUSSIE FLAVOUR

Seccombe and Ferret have given the Malaysian and Chinese seats an Australian flavour by naming the Remori range after Australia highways and prominent byways.

The four APMs are now the Nepean, Barkley, Flinders, and Lincoln while the Zhongtongs are the Pacific, Warrego, Eyre, and Oxford.

The last on the list – Oxford – is a school bus seat and named not after a highway but the famous United Kingdom University and also after the trendy Brisbane restaurant precinct, Oxford Street Bulimba, where Seccombe and Ferrett often take clients to discuss their business offerings – usually over lunch or a cafe latte-infused breakfast.

"We were already familiar with the Nepean and the Flinders, and these two we will focus on, as they are important ADR 68-certified seats," Seccombe says.

As with many businesses, there was the standard lead time of setting up a business until the first sale is made, with the first seat set sold about six months ago.

"We were able to start with APM in October 2012 and over the last six months we have been finalising our arrangements with Zhongtong," Seccombe says.

During this phase, Seccombe and Ferrett have had nought but praise for Zhongtong’s personnel.

"They have been accommodating to John and I," Seccombe says.

"But they are tough negotiators and are very proud of their product.

"With their ongoing relationship with Higer, they are very familiar with the Australian market with high expectations.

"We have seen their product facility on their ADR 68 line, which is a line all of its own, and they are going through an expansion phase."

Seccombe is a former accountant, having worked in the mining industry and transport industry logistics.

"I am always interested in working in business that is dynamic and challenging," he says.

Given his logistics expertise, the supply model will be based on a ‘just in time’ approach, carrying limited stock to keep inventory down, but maintaining fast and efficient supply lines, shipping directly from Malaysia or China to an Australian manufacturer or seat fitting workshop.

"My approach to Remori is that it’s a bit out of left field in some ways, but at the end of the day it’s about running a business and having good product to satisfy customers’ needs."

Of course, a bit of ‘romance’ attached to the name can only help finesse the cause as Remori heads down a new seating highway.

"So let’s see where this journey takes us," says Seccombe, as we settle the Oxford Street breakfast bill, and head out into a bright new day.

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