Tube Investments to focus on retail

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Mr Arun Alagappan
Mr Arun Alagappan

T Murrali D Murali

Chennai, March 4 Tube Investments of India Ltd, part of the Murugappa Group, plans to introduce a few concepts to enhance its retail presence, such as renting out bicycles and offering to repair bicycles at homes.

According to Mr Arun Alagappan, Senior Vice-President, Tube Investments, this will help the company “to redefine itself from a mere bicycle manufacturing company to one focussing on fun, fitness and freedom.”

Mr Alagappan told Business Line that the company had introduced cycle rental service – as a pilot project – at tourist spots in Tamil Nadu such as Mahabalipuram, the Vandalur Zoo, Kodaikanal and Kanyakumari mainly in partnership with Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation.

While the cycles are given and maintained by the company the day-to-day operations are handled by the partners. The project is successful and Tube Investments hopes to extend this to other parts of the country, Mr Alagappan said. Initially, it will be a promotional event and later it will work out a revenue model for this project.

With servicing of cycles becoming a difficult proposition due to high realty prices, Tube Investments is planning to introduce ‘Doorstep Service’ soon. A couple of months ago it introduced 15 pilot projects in Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi. The results have been encouraging and it will be officially launched in April. On weekends, a service team will visit residential colonies and large apartments and offer bicycle service for a fee based on the repair.

The company also plans to train women in servicing bicycles in a big way to cover several parts of Tamil Nadu. Towards this, it recently tied up with a public charitable trust – Hand in Hand – and trained about 30 women. This will be a win-win for the rural women and the company, due to the presence of company trained bicycle service shops in rural areas.

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(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 5, 2009)
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