PREVIOUS POSITION: Marketing Director, Mega Fortris (M) Sdn Bhd.
YEARS IN INDUSTRY: 26 EDUCATION: Master of Business Administration (MBA) Management, Paris Graduate School of Management.
FAVOURITE QUOTATION: ‘Live Simply Live Well’.
FAVOURITE PASTIME: Travelling and Fishing.
Looking back, what would you consider the defining moments in your first 100 days in this position?
My first 100 days as CEO of Mega Fortris are not ones that I have numbered. I believe this is because, having being here since the company’s inception, those moments are not just remembered, but have also made me who I am today. My elder brother, Dato’ Dr Nick Ng, and I founded Mega Fortris about 20 years ago. We anticipated the level of perseverance it would take to build the company from scratch, and the sacrifice, hard work, stress, uncertainty, integrity, honesty and humility over the years have enhanced our entrepreneurial skill sets.
With limited staff, my brother and I divided all the tasks between us – from administration and logistics, to stocktaking and order fulfilment. Starting out solely as a marketing outfit, very quickly we realised that product quality is the competitive edge in this industry, and we ensured such value was delivered to customers at all times. That value became our promise! And learning to live up to that promise and aligning our vision of building Mega Fortris as a world leader in security seals, opened our eyes to the necessity of obtaining controls of the process end-to-end, including manufacturing. So, I look back not at 100 days, but 7,300 days because the defining moments began for me when I said yes to my brother to take on this challenge of building Mega Fortris.
What do you regard as crucial factors for you to stay on top of your game?
Mega Fortris operates a global business with a presence in more than 20 countries with partners, employees, customers and business associates of varying nationalities, time zones, languages and cultures. Spreading our presence across the globe means our business operation has been running round the clock each day throughout the year for the past 20 years.
To stay on top of my game, it is imperative that I manage all risks well, starting by minimising internal and external communication gaps. Having extensive experience in operations helps me decipher and respond to situations swiftly and in a timely manner. While it can be easy to be blindsided by the monetary impact of small blunders and the little inefficiencies within the system, a foolish mistake would be to put all the effort into simply correcting one blunder after another. What is more important is actually effectively communicating with customers and partners to maintain their trust despite the hiccups that might happen. To have good acumen in these critical moments, in order to balance communication and effective problem-solving, has been something that continues to keep me on top of my game.
What do you foresee are the game-changing challenges facing your industry?
One word: technology. We recognise that there is not a singular product lifespan that can be sustainable over decades, simply because the way needs are met in the market will change. Thus, we embrace such changes by infusing technology into our products. It is certain that the answer to such a challenge is innovation. We believe that everyone within our organisation has the capability to be innovative, and we have created an environment that encourages creative thinking amongst all our staff.
We combine innovation with our problem-solving skills so that our resulting ideas are not simply product-centric but practical solutions to real-life issues. Through this, we develop an ecosystem and array of products that encourage cross-selling and provide more value propositions to our customers to meet their changing needs. I constantly encourage members of our global Mega Fortris family, irrespective of which part of the world they are in, to think innovatively and express their creative ideas to the rest of the group, regardless of the role they are currently functioning in.
Single out a leader in the corporate world you wish to emulate.
Tan Sri Robert Kuok’s journey is a true inspiration, personally, to persevere through the hardship and rollercoaster ride of business life. Being a Malaysian entrepreneur, it is inevitable that one will be faced by the tumultuous economic and sociopolitical landscape. Yet, Tan Sri Robert, who never says no to such challenges, has proved a great success in the area of sugar plantation and being a prestige hotelier, to name a few.
Never had I encountered such a humble-living leader who worked as hard as Tan Sri Robert. His words, “My horse runs faster than theirs”, emulates the way he leads his life into shaping who he is today. Being a man of few words in the media, his life work speaks greater volumes and I inspire to live with such perseverance and tireless tenacity for life and business.
What excites and worries you most?
The most exciting part of my job is also one of the most rewarding. It is being able to see ideas and concepts materialise into real life products. In the process, there is a great sense of satisfaction in being able to lead people to work as a team to solve problems, create the best products and deliver the best solutions to our customers.
The only thing that worries me most is complacency. The growth of the company rewards me at different stages. Similar to a metamorphosis process, things became comfortable with each leap in growth stage. Unfortunately for myself, my will is stronger than my comfort level, and it constantly pushes me forward and not let me slow down. I’m proud that my fellow Mega Fortris compatriots share the similar attitude.
What are your strategies to make your company the dominant player in your industry globally?
Mega Fortris pays close attention to our customer’s businesses and ecosystems to understand how different industries are evolving. Technology development has successfully disrupted and replaced old business models; this will continue to change the face of the global economy. With market insights, we continuously re-examine and adapt to offer enhanced sustainable solutions rather than just products, lifting its value proposition to our customers’ new environments and processes.
Share some impactful advice given to you that inspires you up to this day.
I will quote Warren Buffet to summarise my thoughts: “Predicting rain doesn’t count. Building arks does”. Over the years, time and time again, it was not about how much insight I had but, at the end of the day, it was what I did with it that mattered. Taking action and making difficult decisions are pivotal to my career. To the next generation, I would share the same advice. When you have an idea, do not be afraid to step out into the unknown. Be diligent, do your homework, get the research done – make an action plan and follow through. It brought me to this juncture in my career and it keeps me excited about the future.
Adrian Ng was also awarded with the EY Master Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 Malaysia award.
TEXT MICHAEL OH
PHOTOGRAPHY ROBIN LIEW