By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
There is money in sales and that is enough motivation for ALEXANDER “Alex” U. DUMAYAG JR. to plunge into an unknown territory he once frowned upon. He later learned that sales is all about developing relationships and being responsible.
The street-smart kid from a poor family in Baguio, who could not talk much unless he was drunk, made it big in the world of sales as senior vice-president of Technolux Equipment and Supply Corp., the largest supplier of kitchen, laundry and foodservice equipment in the country.
What started as a small firm supplying laundry and kitchen equipment to hotels in 1975 has become the largest importer and distributor of complete line of foodservice, small wares, laundry equipment and consumables in the country. It has now entered into the medical aesthetic division, offering end to end solution for the beauty industry.
Technolux is the supplier of choice among the country’s top hotels, resorts, restaurants and food businesses for over 43 years.
The company marked many ‘firsts’ in the hospitality and F & B industry including being the pioneer in live demo kitchen, nationwide service offerings and a facility called Mall of Kitchen that carries an extensive line of kitchen and food-service equipment and small wares for commercial and household use.
For those in the food, restaurant and hospitality business, Technolux’s Mall of Kitchen is a one-stop-shop for everything from small wares like table saucepan to all kinds of plates. In this “Mall of Kitchen”, Technolux’s people conduct actual cooking demo with their in-house French and Filipino chefs.
Today, Technolux has over 70 brands of kitchen, laundry and small wares under its portfolio. Among them are some of the world’s most popular and respected products. Recently, it introduced a new line of guest room supplies and housekeeping solutions for hotels and resorts with global brands.
Of the total pie, the corporate accounts corner the majority or 55 percent of the business followed by hotel and quick service restaurants. In terms of sales, the kitchen equipment come first followed by laundry and the small wares.
According to Dumayag, the company’s sales graph points to a higher growth trajectory with average revenue increasing by 30 percent annually since 2015. Dumayag also expressed confidence the country’s economic growth will to continue at least up to 2022.
In 2015, Dumayag handled the installation of the biggest and most modern laundry facility in Southeast Asia for the Okada Hotel. The fully automated facility located on a 1,200 square meter lot in Batangas has 20-ton capacity with a tunnel washer capacity of 3,000 kilos per hour to handle the linens of the 500-room hotel. The whole set up costs P450 million that Technolux won as the EPC contractor during a bidding. Technolux also won the EPC contract for Admiral Hotel. Earlier, they won the EPC contract for hotels at Resorts World Manila, aside from the residential condominium projects.
“We have a thousand different brands, but 300 are exclusive to us,” says Dumayag.
Technolux is also looking at expansion overseas. “The future our chairman is looking at is the ASEAN market. We’re thinking of Vietnam and Singapore,” says Dumayag. They have already opened an office in Vietnam in anticipation of the country’s robust economic growth in two to three years from now.
Marketing is tough. Dumayag’s team conducts mapping operation in a particular target area to assess sales potential. Once they have done the ocular inspection, the team will start offering their products.
Technolux sales force also goes to small establishments and to some extent knock on the doors of potential household clients when necessary.
“It’s almost like going from one house to another because we have a wide range of products to offer to convenience store or to a mom and pop store which might be interested in buying an ice machine maker or a soft serve machine,” he adds.
For projects, they normally wait for bidding opportunities. To promote customer awareness, they conduct the Technolux Business Series where they invite potential customers.
“We cook and wash during these events using our products and sell at the same time,” says Dumayag.
“We have competitors,” says Dumayag, but what separates them from the more than five competitors is the first-class Technolux’s after sales service.
Technolux has invested heavily training its people so they can give the best customer service. The company has a 24/7 call-center facility to respond and attend to clients’ inquiries and requests. For faster customer-service response, it has a fleet of technicians on motorcycles who are deployed within four hours from the time calls are made within Metro Manila.
Technolux now has roughly 500 employees across all its offices in Metro Manila, Cebu, Boracay, Davao and Zamboanga.
“We are not cheap, we are expensive, but we have the best after sales service. We have 340 technicians riding on motorcycles all over manila and we have our own service provider to cater to our provincial customers,” Dumayag proudly says of their capabilities.
“We even put up our own Technolux Training Academy to ensure we have a ready pool of technicians to service our customers,” says Dumayag. The school is TESDA accredited.
On top of that, they established the same training school in Dubai where Filipino technicians are also assigned over there where they earn higher than their rates in the Philippines. In a way, Technolux has prevented a brain drain because employees have the opportunity to be assigned overseas at higher pay. Technolux is also expanding its reach in the Middle East to include Qatar and Kuwait.
This is the secret of Technolux service, they don’t rely on subcontractors.
“We are able to provide the best after sales service because we have established good rapport with manufacturers and clients and we have good people to provide the best service to clients,” says Dumayag.
Technolux also stocks up on parts and components for use in the maintenance of these products.
Aside from the big establishments, Technolux has opened opportunities for the small and medium enterprises by introducing small packages for its coin-operated laundry machines.
Dumayag said this is a good break for startups and even for retirees because the investment is no so big. The most affordable package is P1.35 million, including 5 coin-operated washing machines and all installations. With a monthly rental fee of P15,000-P17,000 for a 36 square meter space, Dumayag said the return on investment can be attained in one and a half years.
Individuals can also buy washing machines, if they don’t want to avail of the package. A unit costs P210,000, but they offer service and one-year comprehensive warranty.
“We have turnkey design construction, but you have to choose the location,” says Dumayag saying the best locations for laundry services are in the C and D areas.
Technolux’s laundry business started only with 6 units, but which were sold immediately because the entrepreneurs who learned about their service have encouraged others to also place their orders.
The laundry business is still far from a saturation point. In fact, Dumayag said, Technolux receives 50 calls a day inquiring about the coin-operated washing machines.
There are also lots of hotels and residential condominium buildings being put up that require shared laundry facility for unit owners and residents.
“Now is the best time to invest in a coin-operated laundry business because aside from the increasing demand, Technolux’s Self-Service Coin-Operated Laundry Business gives you the options tailored to your needs, premium machines, technical service support, and a chance to grow your business exponentially. We invite entrepreneurs to partner with us,” says Dumayag.
Their laundry machines are imported from Czech which has the most reliable factory with international support.
Dumayag, who has been with Technolux for more than 20 years, started out as a sales engineer. He was assigned to provincial areas where people think his products as very expensive, but he was able to correct that perception.
His claim to fame was when he sold his first US-brand ice machine to a bank retiree in San Fabian, Pangasinan. The entrepreneur supplies ice cubes to all the resorts in the area. Now, he has three ice machines. The ROI happened in just 6 months for a P230,000 ice machine that can produce six kilos every 15-minute harvest.
As to himself, Dumayag said that his passion is one reason he has gone this far. But one thing more that propelled him is the happy work environment within the Stelton Group of Companies.
“If you are happy with your job and the company that you belong to, you will perform better,” says Dumayag, stressing that had Technolux failed to treat their employees well they could not have grown to become the No. 1 in their field of expertise.
“This is our company,” says Dumayag proudly as he relates various opportunities for personal and professional growth in Technolux.
From the looks of it, Dumayag is the strict kind of boss. He demands that his people observe proper work ethic. “I am strict with consideration. If it is work time, we have to work. Once we step outside of work, we can mingle and play,” he says.
According to Dumayag, there are only three factors to become successful – passion, dedication and being responsible. “With these, there is no other way, but to climb the ladder in an organization,” says Dumayag noting that he does not hire managers, but once an employee has proven his worth, “You go up.”
For employees to be well-motivated, he also stressed that management must also ensure they are well compensated and with good benefits. “That is why the employees of Technolux stay for more than 20 years and continue to perform well,” says Dumayag stressing that sales is commission based.
Dumayag, a fresh graduate when the strong earthquake hit the country and devastated Baguio, left his hometown for a greener pasture in Manila.
He worked in a factory until his brother-in-law encouraged him to try sales, a field he frowned upon thinking it would be degrading for a licensed engineer to go into selling.
“As a technical guy, I will not talk unless I am drunk,” says Dumayag. But what motivated him to go into selling was his unfinished house he constructed for his family because his salary at the factory was not enough to make both ends meet.
“When I got my first check as salesman of Technolux, I said ‘wow’,” recalls Dumayag. He was able to finish his house in no time. The first product he sold was ice machine and soft serve machine in the province. It was so successful that he later developed that as a business unit.
He taught himself and read books about marketing and sales and tried to understand pressure selling.
“There is no such thing as a born salesman, they are developed,” says Dumayag as he shared stories of his successful agents, who earned fat commissions and went up the organization ladder.
All it needs is hardwork. Complacency and laziness are not the traits of a salesman. What makes a good salesman is being true to his responsibility. It also takes a lot of persistence to make people understand the product and establish relationships, he said.
“Before I dispatch people, I train them for three months. We do revalida where they are going to convince me three times to buy the product they are selling,” says Dumayag.
Concerned that his people should do better, Dumayag walks the extra mile. Once he had a salesman who had difficulty making a sale. The salesman and his father were not in good terms for seven years until Dumayag stepped in and reconciled the two. He asked his employee to say sorry to his father. After that, he topped all sales for seven years and became the favorite sales agent.
“I entered into the personal lives of my people and I don’t care if they get angry at me,” says Dumayag. All his efforts have made his people performers and grateful.
The former parking attendant in Baguio has always emphasized that family should come first. “I grew up in a poor family with holes in my slippers going to school. We don’t have television set so I watched TV in our neighbor’s house and I played in the streets with my friends, but all of us 10 siblings were able to finish college,” says Dumayag, who finished electrical engineering at St. Louis University in Baguio.
Dumayag was grateful for the opportunity to become the street-smart guy that he has become.
Now, he looks up to Technolux Chairman and Founder Mr. William Stelton for giving him the opportunity to develop as a good salesman and to become one of his trusted men.
“He gives us thoughts to ponder every day on a lot of things from health and family. Something to look forward to on a daily basis. I look up to him as my mentor,” concludes Dumayag.
To relieve the stress of a salesman, Dumayag would belt out his favorite songs on weekends over a bottle of whisky. He also collects wild animals including an albino anaconda. He has 17 cats and 12 dogs of different breeds.
Indeed, there is money in sales but, Dumayag learned that it is also about relationships and responsibilities.