The Nation



Established firms see focus on people, flexibility as key

From second left to right: GE Thailand president and CEO Kovit Kantapasara, IBM Thailand managing director Parnsiree Amatayakul, L

From second left to right: GE Thailand president and CEO Kovit Kantapasara, IBM Thailand managing director Parnsiree Amatayakul, L

Having a "people focus", both on employees and customers, is seen as one of the key success factors by companies with more than 100 years in business.

Businesses also need to be flexible and adaptable to any possible change, a seminar heard yesterday.

Speaking at the "100-year old company into a sustainable organisation" forum held by Krungthep Turakij newspaper, Aswin Techajaroenkul, president and CEO of Berli Jucker, said people are the most important part of the company.

"We need to create the feeling of ownership among our people, so that they will dedicate themselves to the organisation," he said.

Aswin said that another key factor is having a sustainable system within the business organisation itself.

Berli Jucker has a firmly established system in all parts of the organisation - from warehousing through to business management and financing - and up-to-date technology has been used to make the system even better, he added.

"To sustain our business, we also need to be flexible and adaptable in order to respond very quickly to the needs of our clients," said the company chief.

One of the most challenging factors confronted by the company is how to get workers of different generations as well as different nationalities and cultures to stay with the firm and work together, he told the seminar.

"At Berli Jucker, we have already set up a settlement network linking manufacturing, distribution, trading and retailing. We want to build such a network in other markets, including Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. We also want to connect all markets with our trading network to cash in on their huge combined population," said Aswin.

Preeyanart Soontornwata, president and executive chairman of Amata B Grimm Power, told the seminar that the company has a clear vision, entitled "Doing business with compassion", under which it wants to conduct business as a "good person" and focus on building a good relationship with all stakeholders.

"At B Grimm, our working system is not a 'top-down' line of communication. We want to make our workplace as warm for all employees as they are at home. Many employees stay with the company for more than 30 years. We also work as a team and any employee has the right to raise ideas," she said.


More than 50 per cent of the company's employees are "Gen-Y" people, and the company attaches significance to the continued learning of this younger generation by creating proper training plans for them on a continuous basis, she added.

Boonyong Tansakul, chief executive officer of Singer Thailand, described Singer as a family-oriented company that wants to maintain its strength - people.

"We have recruited local people in particular areas to be our sales staff, and we spend time on developing them in sales techniques and skills. We have pushed ourselves as an academy for training on in-depth issues about retail and instalment businesses. This encourages our people to have strong loyalty and stay with the organisation for a long time," he said.

Kovit Kantapasara, GE president and chief executive for Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, said that to be sustainable, a company has to have a purposeful character and a long-term perspective.

Companies must also be customer-oriented and have an employee focus, as well as cutting costs and always being adaptable.

Moreover, they should pass on value to customers and the general public, he added.

Parnsiree Amatayakul, managing director of IBM Thailand, said that in her view the key to success is that a company must be relevant to the market at all times, and be willing to dare to take a big bet.

Companies have to develop a corporate culture for employees, who will work for the higher purpose of their clients, she said.

Umesh Phadke, country managing director of L'Oreal Thailand, said the company's key success factors are its conviction that beauty is the business they want to stay focused on, plus a temptation for diversity.

The company is focused on science and beauty, as well as being a people-oriented business, he said.

Wayne England, chairman and CEO of Nestle Indochina, said the company's key success factors are its focus on building customer trust and becoming local to any market in which it operates.

The arrival of the digital age has presented great opportunities, creating much more customer interaction in real time, he said.

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