Saturday, March 24, 2018
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“Smart bus” delivered

Posted by pakin On November - 14 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

A “smart bus” was recently unveiled at the “Bus & Truck 17” exhibition at Bitec.

Chalermchoke Lamsam, third from left, managing director of Loxley, and Ralf Christian Erler, second from left, general manager of commercial vehicles of Mercedes-Benz (Thailand), jointly delivered the Mercedes-Benz “Phuket Smart Bus” to Karn Prachumpan, fourth from left, president of the PKCD board. The smart bus will be used to transport tourists under the “Phuket Smart City” project.

KFC opens 50th Drive-Thru restaurant

Posted by pakin On November - 9 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

KFC Thailand opened its 50th KFC Drive Thru branch on Kaset-Navamin Road. The newest Drive Thru is operated by Central Restaurants Group, its first franchisee. The company also announced their collaboration to continue branch expansion with a target of 800 branches by 2020.

Waewkanee Assoratgoon, general manager, Yum Restaurants International (Thailand) Co Ltd, KFC brand management and franchiser, said: “The success was partly due to the good cooperation of the franchisee partner. This year, CRG has continued to open 25 new branches – 19 KFC stores and six Drive Thru branches.”

Nath Vongphanich, president of KFC brand, Central Restaurants Group (CRG) Co Ltd, said during the launch of the new Drive Thru that, “CRG is the first franchise partner of the KFC brand in Thailand. We have been cooperating with Yum to create growth and strengthen KFC throughout the past 33 years, since the first KFC store was established in Thailand. In 2017 alone, CRG has joined forces with KFC to open new stores accounting for 44 per cent of all new stores.”

“As a KFC brand and franchise manager, we fully support our franchisee to create business growth with innovation and strengthening brand development. That Includes maintaining the standards of food quality and taste, store operation and branding to be in line with KFC’s global standards,” Waewkanee said.

In 2017, KFC has opened 55 new branches operated by Yum and its franchisee partners. This has nearly met the target set for the year of 56 branches; 41 KFC stores and 15 Drive Thrus. The average expansion rate is one branch per week as planned.


Thais wary of using robots

Posted by pakin On October - 30 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

While experts estimate that close to 50% of jobs in Thailand could be automated with current technology, the public may not be ready to welcome robots into key jobs, according to the latest survey by UK market research firm YouGov.

Only 35% of Thai men and 28% of Thai women would want a robot on the wheel of their cars, even if robots were safe and affordable. Even fewer would trust them with caring for their children (18% of men and 16% of women), and fewer still would want them to help manage their finances (17% of men and 12% of women).

Driving and routine functions at financial institutions are some of the activities likely to be automated in the near future. The Thai public’s hesitant acceptance of machines in these tasks indicates replacement may not take place as quickly as expected.

Only 7% of Thais say driving will be the most popular use of robots in the next five years, and only 2% think helping to manage their finances will be.

The views of Thais may contrast with those of citizens in developed economies. Some 56% of Americans say they would not be hesitant to ride in a driverless vehicle, according to US think tank Pew Research.

While less than half of Thais think robots are safe, only 1 in 25 says they would not want to own a robot which would, for example, clean the house (77%), help with security (67%), or assist them at work (49%).

Activities Thais would feel comfortable automating, like security, or gardening (46%), are some of the hardest tasks to automate because they require highly variable responses.

McKinsey, the consulting firm, says machines can already do some characteristically human activities, like identifying faces or sounds, better than people. Even so, Thais feel confident in their abilities to outperform these new competitors on the job.

Only 10% of Thais think a robot could do a better job than them, a result that is roughly stable across gender and age groups.

While Thais may be confident their employment will be safe in the future, they are less sure about their neighbours’ job security. Only 10% of Thais disagree that “robots will take jobs away from many of us”.

This result is similar in other countries. Most US adults, for example, say their jobs are safer from replacement by automation than most other professions, according to Pew Research.


PTT HAS predicted that clean energy will adversely affect the oil industry over the next decade. The country’s largest energy firm is moving fast to remodel the oil retail business, including helping the small business owners who run gas stations to survive the coming threat from electric vehicles.

“While the government has estimated that a new wave of clean energy demand worldwide will have significant impact on the fossil fuel business in the next 1520 years, we think it would come sooner, maybe in the next 10 years,” said Suchat Ramarch, PTT Public Co Ltd’s executive vice president for retail marketing of oil.

“So we have to move early in order to cope with the coming change,” said Suchat.

Some countries have already announced a phasing out of diesel and petrol cars. France and the United Kingdom, for example, are planning to ban them from 2040 in order to reduce greenhousegas emissions and decrease air pollution.

Gas station owners, the business partners of PTT, “are worried about a decline in their future income” as customer demand for oil declines, said Suchat. “We have to help them seek new sources of income,” he said.

PTT now has gas stations – 1,577 of them in Thailand and 186 abroad, mostly in Laos and Cambodia. PTT’s dealers own 80 per cent of the gas stations in Thailand.

An average PTT gas station’s revenue comes mainly from selling oil products, but nonoil business contributes about 5060 per cent of total profit, Suchat said.

In the near future, even more income will come from nonoil products and services around the gas station, including convenience stores, food courts, budget hotels and Amazon coffee shops, he said.

PTT also plans to install electricity charge points for electric vehicles at gas stations but the service would not generate a lot of income as drivers could also charge their cars at home, said Suchat. Moreover, the margin for providing an electrical charge service would be thin.

PTT have sought business partฌners as gas stations reinvent themselves as resting points for motorists. Some station operators already provide budget hotel rooms for motorists. PTT is now selecting a hotel partner to operate budget hotels at PTT stations.

PTT also recently partnered with Hua Seng Hong, a wellknown Chinese restaurant that retails its dim sum products at gasstation convenience stores.

The Cafe Amazon coffee brand, owned by PTT, recently gained popularity due to its perceived value for money relationship in comparison to other brands. The Amazon coffee brand has also proved popular in Cambodia, which hosts the top three Amazon branches, said Suchat. Each sells more than 1,000 cups a day.

Amazon has grown from a coffee brand selling in PTT gas stations. Now Cafe Amazon coffee has spread to department stores, community malls and other prime locations nationwide. People have even queued to obtain franchise rights from PTT.

Coffee is blue ocean business

“A coffee franchise in Thailand is a blue ocean business, there is much room to grow,” said Tharatip Nutteesri, senior analyst at Cafe Amazon’s business planning and development division.

An investment of about Bt2.5 million is required of a Cafe Amazon franchisee. PTT would help a potential owner to evaluate business viability before investing.

A cafe is likely to survive if it can sell about 250 cups a day, said Tharatip.

PTT is negotiating with a Chinese businessman who wants rights to the Cafe Amazon coffee brand in Shanghai, said PTT executives.

Amazon has just increased its coffee and tea production capacity in order to meet demand for its products and plans to expand Cafe Amazon branches from today’s 1,862 to 2,000 by the end of this year.

The Amazon factory, also known as the Amazon Inspiring Campus, offers training for those who want to run a coffee shop under the Amazon brand. It is located in Wang Noi disฌtrict, Ayutthaya province near PTT’s Oil Business Academy, which provides training services for prospective gasstation owners.