One Zone Automotive LLP – Mr Eric Leong, The Fearless Journeyman
In Yishun’s North Spring BizHub in the northern corner of Singapore resides One Zone Automotive LLP, the second branch of a group of auto workshops run by 33 year old Mr Eric Leong.
Founded in 2011 with another director, it now employs 4 mechanics that serves a diverse group of clientele. Specializing in Engine and Gearbox repairs and Euro Car Diagnostics on top of the usual auto repair and maintenance works, it stands out by offering its own in-house Diagnostic system for European automobile models and 24 hour on-site services.
Mr Eric Leong is a legend in himself. Coming from a complicated background, he did not have a smooth journey to the success he enjoy today. He fell into bad company at a young age and was incarcerated for a period of time. But, that did not cause him to give up on himself and fall deeper into the pits. Instead, the experience spurred him on and strengthened his resolve to be a better person for himself and the people around him.
After his incarceration, Mr Eric Leong took on a vast variety of jobs to better himself and be a positive influence in society. Each job he took on is a new learning experience for him, from flipping burgers at Fast Food Restaurants, renovation worker, dispatch rider, limousine driver and even cleaning contractor. Each and every job has helped him to grow and be better as a person.
He worked briefly in an auto workshop before going into the real estate industry where he is currently still a Marketing Director for a Real Estate company. The walls in his office in One Zone Automotive LLP is lined with the many awards he has received for recognition of his contribution to the Real estate industry in Singapore.
After 8 years in the Real Estate business, he returned to the automotive industry in 2014 full time to lead and run the operations of One Zone Automotive LLP in Yishun.
One of the biggest challenges of being in the automotive industry, according to Mr Leong, is mainly in knowledge and experience. With technology moving at the speed of light today, one has to constantly update himself on the latest innovations in auto engineering. For example, different cars have different types of sensors, and every car has a variety of them. It takes time to learn about them and be able to read them properly. This is important as it directly affects how effective you are at diagnosing the problems that needs to be solved for a particular vehicle.
Another part of the business that he feels is particularly challenging is in Human Resource management. An auto workshop depends on its team of mechanics to run smoothly. Manpower is always an issue, especially during peak periods. Operations can be easily disrupted when mechanics are unable to work due to illness or have to take time off to attend to personal matters. Mr Leong understands the importance of his team and makes sure he takes good care
of them and will always look out for their interests and benefits first. To him, they are more comrades-in-arms or family rather than staff on his payroll.
Being ever resourceful and innovative, Mr Leong and One Zone Automotive LLP introduced a brand new diagnostic system for use on European made automobiles that is fully developed inhouse. It is more efficient and effective in diagnosing problems than most of the generic solutions available on the market and has helped solved many rare automotive problems for their clients.
Apart from that, they are one of the few establishments that offer 24 hour on-site services like battery changes, and minor repairs for clients who meet with vehicular problems on the road. Just one phone call and Mr Leong will be on-site to help you out no matter the time of the night.
Having just set up the second workshop, Mr Leong is already eyeing expansion for the business. He is currently planning to open up more branches in different regions of Singapore and replicate the model of One Zone Automotive LLP across the island.
Not satisfied with just having a presence in the northern part of Singapore, he is planning to expand into the East and West regions like Bedok or Tampines in the East and Clementi in the West. Another 2 to 4 workshops would be ideal in Mr Leong’s thinking as he don’t think he can handle managing more than that.
Sacrifice and Motivation
Almost all entrepreneurs will list personal and family time as one of the greatest sacrifices one has to make. As the old saying goes, going from being employee to entrepreneur is going from 9 to 5 to 24/7. Mr Leong is no different, especially now that he is wearing two hats. One as the Director of One Zone Automotive LLP and another as Marketing Director of a Real Estate company. He spends 11 hours a day, 7 days a week at the workshop and still meets clients and goes for property viewings after he leaves.
He is doing all this so that he can provide a better life for his wife and 3 children. His wife of seven years has been a constant pillar of support and motivational force for him. Mr Leong’s eyes lit up with joy as he speaks about her. He is extremely grateful for her unconditional love and support over the years, staying home to take care of the children and sort out the family’s affairs so that he can concentrate on his career and business. Through good times and bad, she has been thoroughly supportive and has never put any demands on him in any way. It is for this reason that Mr Leong is willing to give his all to make sure that she can enjoy the fruits of his success.
Having gone through a life of many twists and turns, Mr Leong has come to rely on a set of principles he sticks by in his dealings with people. He is a firm believer of being open and transparent. He will not try to cover up any mistakes and will do his best to correct any wrongs that has been committed. For example, if a wrong diagnosis is given for a vehicular problem and works have been done to detrimental effect, he will not try to cover it up or push the blame to others. He will take responsibility for it and correct the mistake at his own cost.
He is also fiercely loyal to his team and will always look out for their benefits and interests above all else. He knows that he is only able to come this far due to the efforts put in by the entire team, he cannot take credit for everything alone. While he is a specialist in diagnostic systems, he freely admits that when it comes to hands-on mechanical work, his team of mechanics are definitely his masters and mentors. Everyone has his own strength, and it is only through the contribution of everyone involved that One Zone Automotive LLP can achieve the level of success as it has today.
When it comes to fears and worries in business, it is no surprise that Eric Leong, the man who has traveled a long and winding road has none. His take is that, every venture is a gamble, you plan as best as you can, execute as precisely as possible and pivot as and when needed. As long as you put in your best effort, you have nothing to worry about or regret. If it fails, you just pick yourself up and start over again. You can never win if you have a fear of failure, every failure is a lesson to be learnt and improved upon. Just keep trying and you will succeed.
Having experienced more in 33 years than most have in an entire lifetime. Mr Leong defines success as having the ability to give his family a good standard of living free from stress and worries. He believes that one does not need a huge stash of cash or be drowning in riches of material possessions to be considered successful. The most successful man is the one that can go home to a well-run household with a loving wife and beautiful children and know that he is the one responsible for making it all possible.
Finally, when asked for advice for any young aspiring entrepreneurs out there. Mr Leong has this to offer:
‘Know your market and know what you’re doing. Be focused on what you want and keep learning and improving yourself. Don’t rush things, take things one step at a time but never give up. As long as you keep moving in the direction towards your goal, you will reach it some day.’
One Zone Automotive
5 Yishun Industrial Street 1
Postal code: 768161
Contact No: 67104372