Tell us how you started?
Kenneth started the business with another partner in 2014 however due to some differences in opinion and direction, the partnership was dissolved and Kenneth took over the company in 2016. The decision was made in consideration of his previous experience as a sales person and in accounting. It was quite challenging during the first few years and there were times that we were thinking of giving up the business, however eventually we managed to overcome all the challenges and sustained the business until today.
As the business grew, I decided to quit my job as a Human Resource executive in early 2021 to assist and expand the business. We chose this business because of the opportunities and sustainability of this industry. Our main customers are from the food and beverage industry, as it is an essential item for everyone. Our main businesses are in the distribution of kitchen accessories, disposable food packaging and chemical hygiene products for the restaurant owners.
How do you approach and retain your customers?
We always believe that building and maintaining good relationships as well as face to face engagement with all of our customers are the keys to success. We are not just selling products, but we also need to understand their requirements and provide solutions based on their needs. We help them to create a branding experience through nice packaging to attract the buyers, as packaging is the first impression for a buyer to decide on the purchase. Through the initiatives that have been made, we are grateful that the customers have been loyal with us and some even refer us to other customers.
With the expansion of the e-commerce market, we have also adopted digitalisation tools where we leverage the use of social media such as Facebook for posting of our products, as well as daily events to create publicity and interaction with the public. Currently, our website is in the midst of enhancement, and we will include the e-commerce feature to suit the current trend of online purchasing.
|Mr. Kenneth presented his staff with a gift of appreciation.|
"We strongly believe that employees are the main asset of the business"
What has been your experience during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I was still with my previous company when the pandemic started last year, but i have been assisting this business occasionally. The main challenge that we were facing at that time was insufficient stocks from our suppliers due to the sudden demand for takeaway foods that has become the norm during that period. Luckily, Kenneth has a good relationship with our suppliers, therefore he managed to secured the stocks from them. However, due to the increasing demand, we couldn`t meet the request of all the customers and we had no choice but to wisely allocate our stocks to multiple customers so that they can continue to operate and sustain during that time.
Besides that, we also encountered some cash flow problems as some of our customers were unable to make the full payment to us after the goods have been delivered, and at the same time our suppliers were requesting the full payment from us. We have been thinking of implementing unpaid leave or salary reduction on staff to overcome this issue.
However, after some consideration, we agreed to maintain their salary as we don`t want them to become demotivated which will eventually affect their emotion, morale and productivity. We strongly believe that our employees are the main asset and key success of our business. Instead of cutting salaries, we actually secured additional financing in order to maintain our cash flow for business sustainability.
Prior to the pandemic, we were supplying a lot of food utensils to restaurants. However, the demand has been reduced tremendously after the MCO is implemented. In order to stay afloat during the pandemic, we started to diversify our business by supplying products that are in demand such as sanitizers, masks and cutleries to maintain our revenue.
Besides that, Kenneth has also collaborated with a manufacturer of hand sanitizers as new source of revenue for our business.
"We plan to build our own manufacturing factory in the future as we hope to create our own OEM products"
What are your future plans for the business?
The business has been growing and we are planning to recruit more employees in line with the expansion of our company. We are also planning to open a retail store to sell products imported from overseas, and we hope can explore a business opportunity with suppliers from China to meet local demands.
Currently, there are 2 manufacturers that are collaborating with us where Kenneth is one of the shareholders as well. From there, he managed to gain some knowledge and experience that can guide us to build our own manufacturing factory in the future as we hope to create our own OEM products. This is so that we can control the costs, quality and at the same time maintain the availability of stocks.
"Success is always defined by yourself and not by others"
|Mr. Kenneth with Ms. Janice, owners of Ultra Green Supplies|
What would be your advice to new entrepreneurs out there?
Always tell yourself to do your best and not just try as trying means using only 50% of your efforts. Have passion and motivation in your life, committed to whatever you do. Don`t force yourself to do the things that you dislike as ultimately it would not bring you any further opportunities. Success is always defined by yourself and not by others.