FOR Nuttaphong Kunakornwong, taking the long view in business means looking ahead to 2050 when the chief executive of SC Asset Corporation expects the company will have welcomed customer No 1 million.
And, along the way, Nuttaphong believes the property company will continue its evolution into what he calls a living solutions provider dedicated to supplying quality homes to customers with a focus on more functions in the buildings and comprehensive after-sales service.
So far, the developer has transferred 14,000 residential units to customers, covering as many as 56,000 family members in all.
“In the six years since I became chief executive officer of SC Asset Corporation Plc, my goal has been to drive the company towards sustainable growth for the long term,” Nuttaphong says.
“At that time, when we spoke about sustainability it was with a focus on the growth of the business’ sales, revenue and net profit. Now, we still have our business goal of being a sustainable firm but this view is not restricted to sales, revenue and net profit. Instead, we view sustainability also in terms of the brand and our after-sales service, along with improvements in our business strategy to become a living solutions provider that provides all manner of services that relate to our customers’ demands.”
Nuttaphong started out in his working life after graduating with a master’s degree in business and management from DePaul University in Chicago, in the United States. With a postgraduate degree under his belt, he began work in 2008 at property consultancy Nexus Property Consultant Co Ltd.
The experienced he gained prompted him to establish his own consultancy, PITCHMAN Co Ltd, backed by his savings of Bt100,000. The consultancy would be the vehicle for him to become a developer on his own. He did not have to wait long for vindication of this decision. Nuttaphong used some of his family’s land for a residential project, and he looks back with pride that all the units were sold out.
“When I graduated in architecture, I thought I had learnt what I wanted to do,” Nuttaphong says. “Then I learnt about the property development business and had an opportunity to work with property developer Areeya Property Plc.
“At that time, I realised that I wanted to be a property developer more than I wanted to be an architect. So I decided to study for a master’s degree in business administration and then come back to be a business founder in establishing a property firm by myself.”
His career path took another turn after he married Pinthongta Shinawatra, one of the two daughters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and a major shareholder in SC Asset Corporation Plc. Nuttaphong was appointed deputy chief executive officer of SC Asset Corporation, followed a year later by his promotion to chief executive in 2013.
“At the time, I saw that being a chief executive officer – as I became in my new role - at the top of the management of a leading property firm offered me a challenge. The company operated on a larger scale than my own business,” he says.
“This represented a move from my comfort zone. But my grandfather always used to tell me that we can learn from such opportunities as well as preparing ourselves to face problems as they arise.
“My grandfather would tell me that we have to learn new insights and a find a way out of a problem.
“First, we have to find out what the problem actually is – and whether it is from outside or inside. This means, in the case of a problem originating from the outside, we can solve it by finding the main cause of the problem. And, sometimes, I find it helps to calm myself down and try to understand myself better.”
Nuttaphong recalls how, six years ago, he began learn
ing how to work with SC Asset’s core team, gaining valuable insights from the senior staff on how to do business.
“This came as a challenge for me on how to make the most from learning from the genius staff that we have,” he says. “I was able to learn about the different ways to do business when we work together. I love to work with our genius executives because I can learn from what they think and thus learn how to drive business growth for the long term.”
He acknowledges that, upon becoming the company’s chief executive aged just 32, he had to take time to get familiar with the business culture while learning how to do business and learning more about the employees. Nuttaphong says it helps that he keeps an open mind on issues, welcoming advice from employees on ways to improve how the business is carried out as part of a willingness to try out different ideas.
“We have to accept that the firm has different generations working together. They also have different ways of working,” he says. “I have to learn to work with them by focusing on our business goal to drive sustainable growth for our business. I am open minded for all staff to put forward ideas and enjoy collaborating with them to drive forward our business goal.”
After those six years of learning the ways of business at SC Assset, Nuttaphong says the company has a clear direction as it embraces change in the industry. The employees across the company have adopted the mindset required for the company to shift from being a conventional property developer – focused just on construction and delivery to customers – to an all-embracing living solutions provider. The new model has the company providing all manner of services to satisfy its customers’ demands, with an emphasis on quality and sought-after functions in the residential complexes.
“We now have 900 staff, with all of us working together as a team to drive our business growth under the goal of becoming a living solutions provider for the one million people who will have become our customers by 2050 – jumping from the 56,000 people now living in 14,000 residential units that we have provided,” he says.
Under Nuttaphong’s watch, the quest for sustainable growth in the business has seen the company’s total revenue rise from Bt10.08 billion in 2013 to Bt12.47 billion in 2017. He expects this figure will rise to Bt17 billion by the end of this year.
In spite of the demands of the business, he has placed importance on work-life balance to ensure he has sufficient family time with Pinthongta and their three children.
“I have sought balance between work and family duties and I think I have achieved this in ensuring time for both,” he says.
“For example, when I am busy at work and with meetings sometimes extending the day, I have to get home late,” he says. But the next day I make time to pick up my kids to take them to school and sometimes I will try to get home earlier the following day.
“We also have vacation time together for all of our family members. And sometimes, my wife and I can have our own vacations together too. They are my life and provide my driving energy for everything that I do.”
When ask about politics, he says: “My way is work and family. I do not think about political issues. My passion at this time is to drive business growth and take care of my family – my wife and my kids. Politics is not an issue for me.
Anchoring the point, Nuttaphong adds: “Our goal is to drive SC towards sustainable growth and also to take care of my family as part of a balanced life.”