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Hitting the sweet spot

ACES winners excel in their respective niches from sweet escapades and healthcare to various disciplines

The ACES Awards recognise successful firms in leadership and corporate social responsibility such as KDN Company Limited (above); Combiphar and KingTriton.

The ACES Awards recognise successful firms in leadership and corporate social responsibility such as KDN Company Limited; Combiphar (above) and KingTriton.

The ACES Awards recognise successful firms in leadership and corporate social responsibility such as KDN Company Limited; Combiphar and KingTriton (above).

THE Asia Corporate Excellence & Sustainability Awards (ACES) recognises successful companies and individuals in Asia across two main domains; leadership and corporate social responsibility. In the category of Asia's Leading SMEs, nominees are chosen for their focus on growth and resilience. The winning SMEs have sustainable business models, strong customer bases, innovative products, show growing revenue and profits, and also demonstrate the flexibility to respond to rapid changes in the industry and to customer demand.

Winning in this category was a sweet victory for KDN Company Limited, one of Krispy Kreme's most successful flagship franchises. Led by chief executive officer Ausanee Mahagitsiri Leonio, the company opened its first Krispy Kreme store with record-breaking sales at Siam Paragon, Bangkok's popular lifestyle and shopping centre, in September 2010. The second store soon opened at Central Plaza shopping complex at Ladprao in August 2011.

To meet the growth in popularity of Krispy Kreme doughnuts, the company opened five more branches in less than three years. By 2014 KDN achieved its goal of 1 billion baht (about S$41 million) cumulative revenue since opening. In 2016, it expanded its distribution outside of Bangkok and opened its first outlet in Nakorn Ratchasima. Within six years of starting, KDN has opened 31 stores across Thailand.

To ensure sustainable growth and profitability, KDN anchors its values on product quality, consistency and efficiency. In order to achieve this, the company believes in creating environments that are pro-innovation and teamwork, where its employees see their place of business as a happy workplace with a multi-cultural mix of leadership that focuses on performance and which balances work and life.

The company also places strong emphasis on training and development programmes where employees are sent abroad for international training sessions and attend seminars on product innovation, research and development, digital marketing and Internet technology.

"I have developed 'Value People' as a strong character trait that leads to success in business," says Mr Ausanee. "This value is translated into the company's people development programme, and has contributed directly to our success in retaining staff despite the high turnover ratio of manpower faced by the F&B sector. This is despite Thailand having the lowest unemployment rates globally."

The winning combination

More than just a manufacturer of pharmaceutical products, Combiphar takes its identity as a consumer healthcare company seriously by championing a healthy tomorrow for its community.

The Indonesian pharma powerhouse has been in business for 47 years and has established itself as a market leader, despite heavyweight competition from over 200 national and multinational players.

Combiphar acquired Insto, one of the biggest eye drop brands in Indonesia, in 2014. To strengthen its presence in the Asia-Pacific, Combiphar bought over the world's leading eye drop brand, Eye Mo, in 2016. The relaunch of Eye Mo in the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia by Combiphar claimed chunks of market share within a short time.

Combiphar's success is a result of thoughtful planning and implementation of strategies that propel the business forward in a highly competitive market.

The company has undergone substantial transformation in its business model, from being merely a manufacturer of generic drugs and medicines, to a company that actively advocates consumer health and well-being. Despite having secured its place in the pharmaceutical market with two leading products - Insto eye drops and OBH Combi cough syrup - Combiphar saw a need to shift the focus from providing curative products to preventative healthcare.

This is done by initiating campaigns that promote a healthy lifestyle in order to create a healthier generation.

One such initiative is the COMBI HOPE programme, which consists of two pillars - Healthy Living Education and Women Empowerment. The first pillar is carried out by enhancing healthcare literacy among high school students in Indonesia through a simple but practical educational module that covers preventative lifestyle, healthy living and awareness of lifestyle diseases.

The Women Empowerment pillar provides a platform for women to develop soft and hard skills that allow them to better support themselves and their families.

From over 1,300 employees at Combiphar, almost 50 per cent of the staff have been employed for more than five years. Combiphar provides its employees with continuous learning and development opportunities.

The C-Campus curriculum provides a series of development modules to advance its employees' potential in four key areas - leadership, professionalism, manufacturing and commerce. Earning Asia's Leading SMEs award is no small feat, but it is one that Combiphar has proved more than capable of achieving.

King Triton

Triton Holding Public Company Limited is a diversified investment holding company, with its core business in media, construction and investment dealings in Thailand. Founded in 1987 and headquartered in Bangkok, Thailand, it owns Splash Media, which offers production and rental services for billboard space and digital media, broadcasting, event organisation and media services, and rental of indoor and outdoor advertising spots.

Triton also holds an 84 per cent stake in Strega Public Company, a multi-disciplined engineering, procurement and construction management company which undertakes horizontal directional drilling contracts for oil and gas pipelines, fibre optic cables, and water and sewer pipeline works; it also supplies engineers and constructs infrastructure and commercial projects. Triton's third business diversification is its investment arm, which focuses on creating long-term superior returns for shareholders through investments in money and capital markets.

"Our model, which is based on a long-term vision, values sustainable growth and performance with the aim to invest in opportunities to benefit generations of Triton shareholders. It is the driving force for the Group's success and the guarantee of its future. The guiding vision of Triton is to 'invest for generations to come' - placing priority for the long-term prosperity of their stakeholders," says Louise Taechaubol, chief executive officer.

Since its inception, the company has hit major milestones under its respective divisions. In January 2015, Strega was awarded a subcontract drilling with TESCO Engineering Company Limited of PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP), which was valued at 65.29 million baht. In September 2015, Triton increased its shareholding of Strega Public Company Limited from 52.63 per cent to 84.2 per cent. Two years later, in November 2017, the company joined Thailand's Private Sector Collective Action Coalition Against Corruption (CAC). In December 2016, Strega was awarded a contract worth 3.3 billion baht for the NFPT project.

The unique structure of the holding company has helped position Triton at the forefront of Thai companies. Due to its flexibility and adaptability to change, it is able to focus on generating profitable sustainable returns, and has been able to list and spinoff its own investments.

Economic challenges have been overcome by keeping the company running on a lean cost structure, debt-based and liability free. Their adaptability to market needs stems from a resourceful business development team with strong interpersonal connections.

The company is set to scale up their business over the next 10 years by offering multidiscipline engineering and project management, facility upgrades, modernisation, capacity expansions to fabrication of facilities, and the installation of electrical, instrumental and equipment installations.

To keep up with the demands of this development, they will be forging new partnerships and strong alliances with foreign and domestic subcontractors; improving their processes and productivity, and promoting interpersonal communication skills through staff development and training.

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