Vanchai Panvichean, owner and managing director of Chai Phad Phand Co Ltd. In front of the company's solar farm in Klong 4 district of Pathum Thani province.
Vanchai Panvichean, owner and managing director of Chai Phad Phand Co Ltd. In front of the company's solar farm in Klong 4 district of Pathum Thani province.

How entrepreneur followed the signs to success in business

Corporate February 17, 2018 01:00


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CHAI Phad Phand Co Ltd, which produces signage and operates a solar farm, plans to invest up to Bt20 million in a hydroponics plant near its solar farm in Pathum Thani province and tap strong demand in the market, the company’s founder and managing director Vanchai Panvichean said.

“We have been studying how to grow hydroponics plants at our closed-end plant since last year,” said Vanchai in an interview with The Nation recently. “We will start our investment in the hydroponics plant this year with the Bt20 million budget as we target health-conscious consumers.”

The plant will be established on a site of about 10 rai near the company’s solar farm in Pathum Thani’s Klong 4 district

Vanchai, 61, established his own business 20 years ago with registered capital of Bt1 million when he saw an opportunity in the garment industry.

“I drew on my experience as a worker in the textile industry and had learnt enough to realise that I could open my own business,” he said. “So I made the switch from being an employee to an entrepreneur by using the equity in my house to get a loan to start the business.”

After getting the textile business under way, Vanchai branched out into making signs for companies. That started when a friend told him about a foreign company that needed a supplier to produce signs for its business in Thailand and asked him whether he could take that on.

“I learned how to do signage and then accepted the proposal,” Vanchai said. “This was a big change for my business and I started out at a time of strong demand for corporate signs 20 years ago.

“My sale revenue increased from an average of Bt150 million a year to Bt300 million. My customers include auto firms, petrol stations, transport companies and the like.”

The key to success in business is to do what customers want, he said, and then keep learning how to develop and improve products that match with customers’ demand and keep up with environmental changes.

With his success in the signage business, Vanchai expanded his investment to Bt100 million to start the solar farm after his company gained a licence from the Energy Ministry in 2016. The company built the solar farm with a capacity of 1.75 megawatts on a 20-rai plot in Klong 4 district of Pathumthani. The total site covers 30 rai.

The solar farm began operating in 2017 and generated sales of Bt25 million that year.

“We estimate a return on our Bt100 million investment in the solar farm will come in about seven years,”

Vanchai also landscaped the area around the solar farm and it is now has a solar track for people to enjoy cycling.

As for the hydroponics plant, Vanchai is looking forward to making a start on the investment this year and also plans to open a restaurant that serves nutritious food in |catering to health-conscious consumers.

“We believe that people are increasingly concerned about their health and the environment and we see a good opportunity to go with this trend in the market,” he said.