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KUALA LUMPUR, 26 June 2016:
With modern technology being what it is today, you’d imagine that we’d be cooking solely with microwaves and induction cookers.
But such a futuristic vision – which many aspired for back in the 1960s and and 1970s – had yet to fully come to pass despite the relatively affordable cost of installing such cooking methods in our homes.
The reality is such advanced technology still isn’t a full substitute for cooking over a stove flame – and for that, the only real solution available widely still would be LPG gas (kerosene stoves have largely disappeared in urban Malaysia).
And how would you have gas into your kitchen? If you’re lucky, there may be piped gas available for your neighbourhood. Otherwise, you’re stuck with the heavy gas tank or two if you’d like to always have the stove handy for cooking.
It is at this point that many urban household woes start – getting hold of fresh gas tanks once the one at home runs dry.
The lack of a reliable gas tank delivery service led to three weeks of being forced to eat out, said Grabgas Technology Sdn Bhd founder and chief executive officer Sean Hoo.
While many could dismiss such an experience as pure bad luck, Hoo’s experience a year ago proved to be symptomatic of an increasing problem in the Klang Valley then.
Due to falling crude oil prices, it was rumoured that commissions paid to gas retailers and delivery agencies would be cut – despite the LPG gas tank price being government-controlled.
While this unsubstantiated rumour had largely died away by September, the damage was done – the number of delivery outfits had dropped significantly and those who still provided the service raised delivery charges.
Enter Grabgas – which aims to bridge the gap and help restore some semblance of reason to the Klang Valley gas delivery industry by matching up customers to vendors.
It does this via its website, which lets customers save valuable time – thanks to a proprietary algorithm always choose the closest interested driver available.
“GrabGas provides customers transparency by making information of the gas delivery order available in the app so as to prevent customers from getting cheated,” said Hoo in an interview.
“Information such as driver’s name, vehicle plate number, phone number and exact fare without any hidden cost are provided.”
As an added option, Grabgas also provides customers with “accurate information such as the number of gas delivery drivers nearby the area, as well as the instant confirmation of order and status of the delivery”.
If this process sounds simple, it is – Hoo said simplicity is key to ensure repeat customers while all the technical aspects are kept in the background.
Even so, he admits the challenges are tremendous due to Grabgas still being in its early days – and current service areas limited by available delivery outfits which have signed up with the Malaysian start-up.
With the rapid growth in demand from customers as awareness spreads, and more delivery outfits signing up, Hoo is confident Grabgas will go a long way towards resolving a key problem faced in households.
“After all, nothing beats home-cooked food. And we’d like to say Grabgas helped play a small pay into making it possible for everyone to cook at home.”