Distribution process to a business is as important as limbs are to a human being. Distribution performs one of the important functions of a business: To carve out a path of access, delivery and ensure sell for products. Hence, it is important for companies to be able to trust and build long-term relationships with their distributors. One company who has received unequivocal backing from major companies around the world is, Serial System. The company proudly distributes finished consumer products and electric component to some big names including Texas Instruments, Broadcom Limited, Fairchild Semiconductor, etc. The company currently is thriving on strong partnerships with more than 7,000 suppliers and customers.
Serial System primarily distributes electronic components such as semiconductors and finished consumer products in a wide variety of sectors. It serves sectors as varied as household appliances, medical, automotive, telecommunications, etc. Apart from being one of the biggest distributors in Asia based on the size of their network, it is also the biggest company by revenue and geographic reach. Currently, Serial System has over 1,000 employees all over Asia and grosses over US$1 billion in revenues annually.
From Flowers to Distributing Electronic Chips
Serial System has become synonymous with trust for their suppliers but this journey was long and extremely challenging on many levels. The Founder and CEO of the company, Dr. Derek Goh was running a small operation at the back of his wife’s flower shop in 1988. He used to trade electronic components and was in need of large capital to make an impact in the market. He eventually put together $100,000 in capital and started expanding the business to turn into a juggernaut as it has become today. Initially, Derek imported electronics from Taiwan, formed joint ventures and built relationships to build a billion-dollar company surpassing all expectations.
The company is an ode to the manual of successful management strategies in more ways than one. Thanks to the lightning-quick expansion, the company was eventually listed on SESDAQ in 1997 and was later welcomed to the Mainboard in July 2000. The company today enjoys the reputation of being the largest Singapore-listed electronic distributor by sales. Despite the enormous success of the company in the initial phase, it keeps investing in diversifying their portfolio, welcoming new opportunities with open arms.
Learning Pragmatism the Good Old Way
Entrepreneurs are often encouraged to learn through practical experience and many entrepreneurs distinguish experience as the single most important factor for their success. Dr. Derek Goh learned entrepreneurship through the good old tough experience and hard work. He was brought up in a household with 12 children and worked on his family’s hawker stall every day. He learnt some of the key traits like pragmatism and diligence while running the family business. An observer can only watch in awe as he went onto to turn simple qualities into a one-man operation and expanded it into a business with 53 offices and 13 warehousing facilities. Currently, the business has expanded into Singapore, Australia, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, The Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
Born with a natural drive to succeed and enriched by the valuable experience during childhood, Derek has never let the success drift him away from the society. He is the founder of Taoist Charity Group, Zhi Zhen Tan Dao Xue Hui among many. Serial System has donated millions of dollars to various charity organizations under his leadership and he continues to remain committed to his ideals. Some other charity organizations which Dr. Goh takes a personal interest in are five Community Development Councils, the Singapore Children’s Society, Ren Ci Hospital, World Learner Exchange Programme, Broadrick Secondary School for Hearty Breakfast Programme, Seng Kang Secondary School and Halogen Foundation Singapore, etc.
The Business Model worth Cherishing
Serial System works in an industry where customer trust can be the most important asset for a company. The company certainly sees it that way. The company over the years has put special emphasis on meeting the expectations of their clients with various solutions. One such solution is timely and reliable delivery which has helped the company secure clients like Hewlett Packard, Intel on a continuous basis. The company also aims to provide comprehensive solutions which means the clients find all much-needed solutions under one umbrella. Additionally, the saved time also makes it easier for major manufacturers to get their products to consumers as quickly as possible. Moreover, Serial System is investing in streamlining processes in recent years to achieve synergies across the entire international distribution network.
However, according to Dr. Goh it is not just the strategy that has made the company successful. According to Derek, several factors such as values of Perseverance, hard work, integrity and teamwork have built the company into a billion-dollar enterprise as it is today. During the initial days of the company, Dr. Goh handpicked employees because he believed that investing them and rewarding them with an open mind was the way to lead the company into the future.
A Future that Does Not Sleep
Serial System has experienced challenging times due to the competitive industry, economic downturns, etc. However, if their past is anything to go by – their future is going to a heavenly achievement for their team. The semiconductor industry is set to grow by a 19.7% year-on-year jump for 2017 according to a research by Gartner. This is likely to be the biggest growth in the industry since the 2010, global financial crisis. This future growth is most likely to come from China and Hong Kong, through Merger and Acquisitions. The company has a competitive edge in these countries as they already run operations in the respective countries. Hence, despite the currency volatility, stiff competition, cash and credit risks; Serial System aims to grab the upcoming opportunity with both the hands. The company aims to achieve US$10 billion in revenues, a tenfold increase in the next decade.
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