How Smart Logistics Helped this Malaysian Business Emerge Stronger From The Pandemic

A Contribution From UPS

Malaysia’s top automotive leather seat upholsterer, DK Leather Seats (DKLS) has been producing high-quality leather seat upholstery for the world’s largest car manufacturers for decades. However, as it became evident that the pandemic’s impact on global supply chains would be extended and far-reaching, the business needed to think quickly to make sure it could survive.

For the DKLS team, the slowdown of orders from global clients during the lockdown stages of the pandemic saw orders drop by as much as 80% as the company grappled with a grim economic outlook, decreasing demand, and supply chain and logistical disruptions.

Overcoming a unique set of challenges

“Before the pandemic, we’d ship via air and ocean to customers all over the world,” said Danny Koek Tiang Kung, managing director and founder of DK Group of Companies.

“But as the situation worsened, shipping via ocean got more complicated, more expensive and there were regular stories of delays and congestion at ports. We were still receiving orders though, so we knew we had to change our approach or risk losing customers we’d worked so hard for so many years to retain.”

The DKLS team carefully analysed its distribution model, well aware that if they were to continue meeting the needs of their customers, they needed to find a logistics partner who could provide a reliable solution.

“That’s when we spoke to UPS about increasing the number of orders we’d send through their air network, and instantly they provided a ready-made and reliable alternative that helped us bypass port blockages and get shipments to customers anywhere in the world on schedule,” said Koek.

DKLS’s venture into B2C

While the evolution of the pandemic posed a series of unprecedented challenges for business owners worldwide, the resulting growth of e-commerce also presented opportunities. Malaysia is no exception, with its e-commerce revenue increasing 23.3% year-on-year to RM267.6 billion in the second quarter of 2021, owing primarily to the manufacturing and services industries[1].

Having realised that a strong e-commerce strategy is an integral part of any business plan, DKLS decided to expand beyond their traditional business-to-business (B2B) sales channels and look as well at selling directly to end consumers, offering ready-made seat coverings and personalised pieces through its B2C brand, DK-SCHWEIZER.

“UPS has not only proved to be a reliable and agile logistics partner in B2B distribution models, but they also have a lot of e-commerce expertise that can help businesses of all sizes expand in a fast-growing and dynamic market,” Koek added.

About the UPS Global Air Network

UPS is one of the largest integrated logistics providers in the world, providing the complete end-to-end logistics experience. One of the things that threads it all together is its airline, which began operating in 1988 and now features a network of over 570 aircraft delivering to 220 countries and territories worldwide.

What this means for UPS customers can be summarised in one word – reliability; continuing to be a reliable and trustworthy business partner with consistent, reliable access to the cargo space customers need when and where they need it.

Total planes:Over 590

Aircraft types:Boeing 767-300, Boeing 757-200, Boeing 747-8, Boeing 747-400, Airbus A300-600, MD-11  
Countries and territories served:Over 220

Airports served:Over 750

Malaysia airports served:Kuala Lumpur International Airport – KUL; Penang International Airport – PEN)  
Number of daily flight segments:Over 2,000

Number of Malaysia flight segments:20 per week

In order to maximise the flexibility of the UPS air network, DK-SCHWEIZER used a configured set of solutions including UPS’s Worldwide Express Saver, a service that combines speed and affordability; UPS’s WorldShip® shipping software, which allows businesses to streamline high-volume shipments and quickly process them from a desktop, saving time and reducing errors; and UPS Quantum View Manage® which provides the option of giving customers proactive notification when their shipments are on the way. It also allows for the creation of custom tracking reports, improving customer service and increasing visibility of the entire shipping process.

Perfect Partners

“The team at DKLS are an excellent example of how quick thinking and smart business sense can make all the difference when dealing with the unexpected,” said Chika Imakita, managing director UPS Malaysia.

“UPS is a customer first company, and I’m proud that the strength and reliability of our air network and the knowledge and hard work of our people has helped businesses like DKLS adapt and succeed even amid the challenging conditions.”

“It’s really reassuring to have such a trustworthy logistics partner at what has been a challenging time for our company,” said Koek. “In addition to a reliable service, UPS also gives us the flexibility we need to make modifications to our schedule, which makes the general process of fulfilling our orders on time much easier.”

[1] The Malaysian Reserve. Income from e-commerce transactions up 23.3% in Q221. 11 August 2021. Retrieved from link

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