MALAYSIAN companies were in the limelight at the One Asia Awards 2015 ceremony with GSIB Sdn Bhd winning in the Distinguished category and Corporate Excelsior (M) Sdn Bhd emerging as the top winner in the Prominent category.
GSIB Sdn Bhd is in the construction business with green technology and safety as its focal points. It undertakes construction projects with a 12-month duration for mainly multinationals and local corporates.
The company's construction portfolio includes green and developed buildings for corporate facilities, corporate workplaces, corporate retail, commercial retail and the new area of pursuit is hospitality.
"Our pivotal area of specialisation is in the field of architecture, civil and structure, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and interior fit-out. GSIB is in line with the industry trends that require builders to construct new buildings with recycled materials, energy saving measures and waste management controls. This is part of its responsible construction pledge to its stakeholders," says Alexandar Ronald Kumar, managing director.
GSIB has achieved rapid international growth in the competitive New Age environment as a result of its successful strategy. The company chose to work with multinational clients with presence in major global cities.
Says Mr Kumar: "GSIB keeps abreast of the latest technology and invests in infrastructure and operating systems that enable its personnel to carry out their strategic roles efficiently. The management of GSIB believes that investment in infrastructure, while initially large, produces long-term benefits to the overall productivity and development of the company."
GSIB believes in meeting global client requirements and consistently adheres to the established and updated processes and procedures to meet the international standard of project management.
It practises a flat management structure which enables it to outperform large bureaucratic structures while retaining its staff. GSIB's staff are experienced and performance-oriented and they subscribe to the company's high standards of professionalism, quality and integrity, Mr Kumar adds.
He says that for an entrepreneur to be successful hard work is mandatory. Sound knowledge of the product and services, sincerity in project delivery and responsible leadership are some of the many other essential qualities.
"One must be principle-oriented and ensure business meets ethical standards and national and international norms. Beyond abiding by the law and regulations, it is of the utmost importance to embrace responsible actions that create a positive impact on the environment and stakeholders," says Mr Kumar.
As for difficulties faced by him in his journey as an entrepreneur, he says that the first five years were tough. Building a track record with no foundation in the construction industry and without sufficient funds was a challenge and more so convincing financial institutions to support the company.
"We started with small scale house renovations for individuals who appreciated our quality of work and timeliness and gave us the opportunity to prove our ability in office renovation. That was our turning point: shifting our specialisation from small scale house renovation to commercial fit-out," says Mr Kumar.
"The small profits reaped from the various projects were retained in the company to develop the business. Eventually with a proven track record, we had the opportunity to see growth in numbers of repeated well-known clients who are leaders in their industry."
Winning the One Asia award boosts the overall image of GSIB locally and internationally, says Mr Kumar. "It allows us to state our accolades in our corporate profile, website and e-mails and this makes us known in countries beyond Malaysia and Singapore, where we are already well known. It also increases the confidence of our colleagues and inspires them to work with enthusiasm to achieve more for themselves and for the organisation."
He also sees benefits of participating in entrepreneurship-promoting awards such as the One Asia Awards. "Firstly, we are able to benchmark our achievement with other achievers and improve in areas where other entrepreneurs have excelled especially in corporate social responsibility. It is a platform to promote GSIB, create network with experts in other fields and businesses with regional presence rather than national, and further creates awareness of other potential cross-border business opportunities."
Being a self-made successful entrepreneur, Mr Kumar has some advice for budding entrepreneurs working towards global growth, especially in view of the slowing global and Singapore economy.
"As long as world population increases, economic growth is most certain. A sluggish economy is a common phenomenon and will automatically turn bullish upon corrective measures by the market place. Therefore, as long as one believes in one's potential and is well versed in one's product and services on top of being efficient and prudent in managing the company and constantly managing change according to the market place, success is certain."
Top winner in the Prominent category, Corporate Excelsior (M) Sdn Bhd, having the brand name Polymix, is in the business of manufacturing dry mix cement based mortar (or skim coat as it is popularly known in the construction industry) supplying mainly to the Malaysian construction market.
The company was started by Chong Chee Hing, group managing director with more than 22 years in the industry, and a few strategic partners who also had vast experience in the dry mix mortar industry.
Mr Chong says strong growth has been achieved over the past years with environmentally friendly products with lower carbon emissions as well as using a certain percentage of recycled raw materials. The company's products are certified by the Singapore Green Label. Furthermore, the company also practises efficient energy management by using bio-fuel raw materials such as wood, dry sand and recycled pallets.
Among the essential qualities for an entrepreneur to be successful, Mr Chong says that he should be "passionate in what he does and be willing to go beyond his comfort zone to do something different or even create a new market".
He has faced some difficulties in his journey as an entrepreneur but successfully overcame them. "One of the difficulties is the volatile construction industry and this is overcome by product differentiation and creation of new high quality products. Other challenges are the price sensitive market which we respond to by offering higher quality and more effective products and excellent services."
Mr Chong says winning the One Asia award "has helped us gain recognition as an outstanding company in Asia. We are now recognised as a highly reputable company in the eyes of our customers, suppliers, employees and other stakeholders. This will definitely catapult our growth further in the construction materials industry in Malaysia and in Asia as a whole".
His advice for budding entrepreneurs working towards global growth, especially in view of the slowing global and Singapore economy is to "always practise the 'Blue Ocean Strategy' by creating new markets or differentiating yourselves from others especially in a slowing economy".