In the past few months, there have been lots of emphasis by the government and news about honouring our Pioneer Generation – the great effort they have put in to set the foundation for what Singapore is today. This forces us a nation to look back to 1965 when the independent Singapore was formed. Indeed, history has the ability to make us learn from the past, apply in our journey of the present and look towards our future. In Smooth Ways Auto Center, perhaps it’s timely that we dwelve into our past and gain memorable insights from it.
Smooth Ways Auto Center was founded by Mr Peter Tay Khin Lian on 2nd January, 1992 at Blk 4 (now torn down) Sin Ming Industrial Park. According to our pioneer staff Mr Ong Chun Huat and Mr Goh Keng Chee Simon, business was brisk. Mechanics from the nearby area flocked to the newly formed company regularly to buy Toyota Vehicle Parts. Our Delivery Personnel also got to make deliveries to customers using bicycles, motorcycles and even an old Isuzu lorry.
In my conversation with Mr Goh Kim Chee, working life was seemingly ‘tougher’, as compared to present days. He even had to retrieve vehicle parts such as bumpers, doors etc from a dimly-lit old attap house at Yio Chu Kang (near Woodbridge). Big spiders, small snakes and patients from nearby Woodbridge hospital were regular sightings.
In 1997, the Company shifted to Blk 22 Sin Ming Road, beneath a block of flats. Business was significantly hit as the shift coincided with the Asian Financial Crisis. We went through a tough time! Payment of salaries of staff even got to be delayed. However, due to the persistence of the management and the understanding of our staff, we manage to pull through those dark hours.
In 2000, Smooth Ways shifted again to 21, Roberts Lane due to cost-cutting measures. 21 Roberts Lane served as the Head Office while the warehouse remained at 40 Jalan Peminpin #01-05. Gradually, with the assistance of Alex Tay (Peter’s youngest son) and staff, the fortunes of the Company started to turn around for the better.
Today, we are a growing SME employing 19 staff and with many regular customers all over the island. However, we do not intend to rest on our laurels. We are committed to positive change as it is really the only constant in this competitive and ever-changing business landscape. May the Company grow from strength to strength and bring about greater satisfaction to our staff and customers who thoroughly deserve it.
In conclusion, we borrow what Sundramorthy, the current Coach of Tampines Rovers said, “ Soccer has its ups and downs. We always try to stay positive and move on!” I guess the journey of Smooth Ways, like soccer is not smooth-proof. In the face of challenge, we continue to stay adaptable and resilient. Then we move on to greater heights!