"Although we've not yet finalised the benefit-sharing, everyone is pleased just to kick-start the project," Sahapathanapibul executive director Vathit Chokwattana said yesterday.
All want to reduce the number of empty lorries on return trips, or "backhauls", to save on logistics costs, he said.
Such cooperation has been rare, but now it is easy to call for such collaboration, he told a seminar entitled "The Energy Crisis: Thailand's Economic Scenario" hosted by Krungthep Turakij business daily.
The move came after the Saha Group, a producer and distributor of a range of consumer products, tried to manage backhaul among group companies, but the result was not 100-per-cent effective, given the different volumes of goods.
"Oil prices are high, but this affects us all. We should not worry too much about this, but rather turn crisis into opportunity. At the Saha Group, we've introduced new strategies and innovations to cut costs and found we can do more. Importantly, we must overcome obstacles, mostly in accounting, but also a lack of trust from our own people," he said.
The group has saved about Bt60 million a year alone by changing the way it handles waste and defective products. Prior to the oil crisis, all such items nationwide were shipped to Bangkok for checking before being turned into fishmeal and reshipped to buyers upcountry, because the central office feared accounting fraud.
Information technology was introduced, and provincial depots now handle waste in their areas.
IT has also been adopted to cut costs in the production and distribution of its flagship product: Mama instant noodles. Output from plants in Rayong, Lamphun and Sri Racha came to Bangkok before being distributed nationwide.
Now, they produce and deliver to shops within their own areas.
Also participating in the seminar, Phongsak Assakul, owner of the Bangkok Weaving Mills Group, suggested all companies focus more on reducing oil consumption rather than try to procure their oil at a cheaper price.
Thai Condominium Association president Athip Peechanont remains optimistic that despite the higher cost of living, the property market will not be as gloomy as in 1997, when everyone suffered from liquidity problems.
"There's no chance that the number of unfinished condominium buildings will be as high as in that year. Now, buyers still have jobs, even though inflation is eating into their income," he said.