Tyre franchise revs up with NBN hook up
How a family tyre business gets to grips with fast broadband
Paul McKernan was 23 when he quit his spray-painting job and started work at his father Frank’s new tyre business in Melbourne’s “Little Italy” more than 30 years ago.
Paul, now 55 with two teenage daughters and a wife born in Carlton, had hoped the day would come when they could reverse roles and his father would be able to retire and fill in occasionally as his assistant manager. But Frank McKernan died 20 years ago before that dream could be realised.
Though neither father or son was technically minded, it was Frank’s idea to computerise the tyre business in Carlton, a bustling multicultural community near Melbourne’s CBD founded at the start of the Victorian gold rush in 1851.
The area, with a booming population forecast to double to 28,000 over the next 20 years, is undergoing rapid change, with increasing demand for residential developments.* “A lot of tyre places are being squeezed,” says Mr McKernan.
But the NBN rollout is helping Mr McKernan to streamline his business to move with the times. Home to “the Blues” - Carlton Football Club - and close to the majority of his customers in the universities and the CBD, Carlton has a fast-growing digital appetite, with the City of Melbourne’s demographic profile showing 46 per cent of the population are aged between 12 and 25.
“An ‘average’ resident in Carlton today is no longer an elderly Italian small business owner, as the area was perhaps once well known for, but more commonly a younger Chinese-born student,” states the report.
As the communication demands on everyone have increased, so too have they on the business Mr McKernan took over from his father. As a Bridgestone franchisee, Mr McKernan is sent regular marketing activities and catalogues over the internet. It used to be a slow, laborious process waiting for these important files to download but since we brought the National Broadband Network direct to his business last August, he has been struck by how much time he is saving.
That includes his daily online checks of tyre stocks around the country.
“The word I use is streamline,” he says. “The old system was slow and under this one I don’t need as many lines, which in effect will save some money. It sort of streamlines everything and makes life a lot easier sending and receiving things over the net. If I can save a couple of bucks along the way then I’m happy.”*
And he’s finding he has a good deal of very willing computer expertise in his daughters to help him make the most of the faster technology.
“My girls are so computer-savvy at such a young age. They come in and help me out to make the most of the computer and the faster speeds. They help me download documents, do posts and write letters.”**
After more than 30 years in the area, Mr McKernan’s family business has no plans to lose its grip yet.
*City of Melbourne Demographic profile, 2013
**NBN Co is very happy with Mr McKernan’s experience with the NBN. Of course, end user experiences may vary. Your experience including the speeds actually achieved over the NBN depends on the technology over which services are delivered to your premises and some factors outside our control like your equipment quality, software, broadband plans and how your service provider designs its network.