In the previous article, we have published the list of Malaysian-based IR 4.0 so-called “Silent Heroes”. In the midst of the continuing hype and buzz, these Founders have built their own Startups that can help the country’s vision. This will be the first of many articles featuring in more detailed their lives and vision.
Tell us about your background (family and education)
Born from a small family of 3 siblings, passionate about technological and electronic since at a very young age, entered the vocational study after completing the lower secondary study. After completing SPMV, I started to work at an electronic/Electrical item sales and repair shop, where I was exposed to various home appliances, and within less than 1 year, I decided to open an electronic repairing shop of my own and continue my education on a part-time basis. Once completed my Diploma in Electronic Engineering, at the request of my classmate, I joined his father’s company, Demco Industries, and was entrusted to redevelop various fire fighting accessories for Demco. During my 3 years at Demco I still continued to have my repairing business and study on part-time basis. In Jan 1998, I sold my repairing business and exited Demco to fully focus on my new venture in Industrial Automation & System Integration. During this period I still continued to support Demco design/development needs on vendor capacity. Sold that business in 2003 and started Promosys Technology in April 2004, focusing on design, develop and manufacture Process Monitoring systems. In 2018, I started my new venture called Cre8IOT focusing on the development of the end-to-end IOT ecosystem.
Can you share the background of how you start your Company?
In 2004, after I sold my business, I was blank and not sure of what to do, I had good team with me at the time but still, I was blank. Took a break to Germany in March 2004, during that time, Hannover Mess was on the show, this is the largest Industrial Automation show, visited Hannover Messe show and saw a lot of monitoring related solution/offering. That hinted me to venture into setting up Promosys, an acronym for Process Monitoring Solution, our first solution was the Production Monitoring System, which consists of our own developed hardware and software to produce OEE matrix. We then developed a temperature monitoring solution, traceability solution, and downtime monitoring solution.
Can you share with us the uniqueness of your Company?
I would say the team, most of my staff are like a family to me, they were with me since 2004, during the hard times where I made a lot of mistakes and the company was doing very badly to the time that we need to burn candles to complete projects and commitment to clients. Thus, the team has been my greatest strength.
What are your views regarding the Industrial Revolution 4.0 in Malaysia?
A lot of things happened in the cluster, but a lot of applications are not visible, there is a huge gap between what the Government wanted, what the SME needs and what industries are able to deliver. Locally there is a lot of companies that can offer IR4.0 solutions, but the challenges are the initial investment and unfortunately, our SME mindset has this near-zero IR4.0 implementation. SME needs to drop this mindset of looking for near-zero cost implementation because they need to look into the real values and the Government needs to ensure local IR4.0 move beyond just education, training, conferences, workshops, new frameworks, and blueprints.
What is the potential that you see in this industry?
As an active ecosystem developer IR4.0 and IOT, I see a huge potential if we can convince the Government to use taxpayer’s money to modernize the SME in all sectors with various IR4.0 implementations, again NOT only on training, education, conference, and framework, but actual implementations. I am hoping for some positive move after the Industry4WRD Readiness Assessment completed.
How did you manage to get the first 10 or 100 customers?
My investment in marketing is very minimum, some years it’s less than 1% of our revenue. The majority of my customer acquisition is through a referral from existing customers or friends. I do make a lot of friends when I attend an exhibition, conference and tender site visits. Some of the friends I gained become my customers, channel partners, and business partners.
What are the biggest challenges in doing this business?
As we grow, getting committed staff/team player is the biggest challenge and growth-limiting factor. Money is no longer a major problem for me, our Gross Profit normally at 60-70% getting funded was not an issue either, we have good cash flow management and backed with strong shareholders.
Who inspires you to become what you are today?
The situation I was born too, in palm oil plantation (its called Estate, in Malaysia), we are totally cut off from civilization, when my parent took me to the city and I see wealthy people who able to help others, I was motivated to do the same.
What’re your future plans in expanding the business especially in the year 2020?
We will be focusing more on Cre8IOT where we will be developing IOT & IR4.0 for Facility Management and Factory 4.0 Ecosystems. We planned to expand our offering beyond Malaysia, especially to Singapore, Thailand, and India market.
If you had one piece of advice to youngsters just starting out or just step into working life, what would it be?
If you decide to work, please be honest on what you do, be loyal, stay a minimum of 36 months before considering to move on, spend your early days in learning, keep growing your knowledge base and your boss will love to keep you.