Proton has experienced strong growth over the past few years; that’s a fact. Proton is experiencing some growing pains at the after-sales side, where lack of parts for accident repairs and scheduled servicing have caused unhappiness among customers. That’s also a fact, and a fact that the carmaker has acknowledged.

Acknowledging and taking stock of the issues at hand is the most crucial first step in solving a problem, and Proton is well aware of its after-sales woes, which if not checked might chip away at sales (not happening yet, bookings are still strong) and cause permanent damage to its reputation.

This seriousness was highlighted by Proton deputy CEO Roslan Abdullah when paultan.org met him last week for a chat about the carmaker’s after-sales problems. It’s no secret that sales growth has been the main focus of Proton and its CEO Li Chunrong, but the chief, which the company refers to as Dr. Li, is now personally leading the after-sales battle with a ‘war room’.

“We take it seriously on finding what’s the root cause, what makes these customers unhappy, and what makes the customers not get the parts on time,” said Roslan, who is also the Proton Edar chief.

“We take it seriously, not just at the level of operations, but including myself as well as Dr. Li. Currently Dr. Li actually chairs a meeting on a weekly basis, what we call a war room. We spend in a week minimum five hours just for after-sales. Last week, I think we spent almost 10 hours just on after-sales,” he revealed.

These ‘war room’ meetings have been happening since January 17. “Not just involving after-sales alone, but involving all areas, even procurement, quality and manufacturing, not just (those areas) under Proton Edar. Just to ensure the vendors deliver the parts, and the parts from Geely come on time,” Roslan said.

That’s a lot of time spent on one issue for individuals tasked to run a carmaker. What goes on in the war room? Roslan said that firefighting takes up a fair bit of time. That means managing the complaints that they receive and what they read on social media. Beyond that, Proton is putting in place long-term plans to ensure that the parts shortage problem is resolved.

He said the company is targeting to have adequate stock of fast moving parts by the end of June. “What we define by adequate stock is three months of stock at the dealership, three months stock at our warehouse and certain amount of months stock at our vendors,” he said.

Earlier this month, Proton officially announced that it has implemented a mandatory requirement where all dealers are required to have at least three months holding stock of 22 fast moving parts. This first step also extends to the carmaker’s central parts centre. With this requirement in place, it is hoped that waiting times for customers will be reduced.

These are excerpts from a long chat we had with Roslan to get to the bottom of Proton’s parts shortage issue. A more detailed story will be coming soon.