PLAYING WITH FIRE
TAN LIAN KHAR, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF EVERSAFE EXTINGUISHER SDN BHD, TELLS MICHAEL OH HOW HE PLANS TO MAKE HIS COMPANY THE LEADING SUPPLIER OF QUALITY FIRE PROTECTION EQUIPMENT AND SYSTEMS.
Tan Lian Khar, Managing Director of Eversafe Extinguisher Sdn Bhd, tells The Peak how he plans to make his company the leading supplier of quality fire protection equipment and systems.
Looking back, what do you consider the most defining moments in your first 100 days in this business? When Eversafe Extinguisher Sdn Bhd started operations in 1981, there were two major ‘giants’ in the fire extinguisher market. Breaking through this monopoly gave us an encouraging push in our journey through the fire extinguisher market, and we followed this up with a steady development of dealers and clients who believe in our vision of providing affordable and quality fire protection equipment to all. What are the crucial factors for you as the Managing Director to stay on top of your game? I believe the primary factor to becoming the key player in the fire protection industry is to create an effective corporate culture and a talented team to expand our position as the major supplier of quality fire protection equipment and systems. We also need to strive for excellence by ensuring our products are tested and certified by various accredited bodies, both local and international, like SIRIM, British Standards Institution, Lloyds UK, SAI Global Australia and Underwriter Laboratories. What do you foresee are the gamechanging challenges facing your industry? There have been rapid changes within the region, including more stringent fire regulations as well as requirements by governments to adopt greener alternatives to fire protection. This encourages companies to invest in R&D to develop newer environmentally friendly alternatives. In today’s digitalised market also, accessing consumer markets is more convenient. This presents the industry with the opportunity of reaching out to households more effectively. Single out a leader in the corporate world you wish to emulate. I admire Bill Gate’s vision in ensuring computers in every home. Similarly, I have emulated this vision to equip all homes with fire protection safety products. This is because I strongly believe that everyone should have a first line of defence at home against fires. Why do you think CEOs need a dose of James Bond in their lives? I believe that CEOs can learn a few things from James Bond as he is goal-oriented and adaptive. He faces uncertainty without fear by adapting to situations to overcome the challenges ahead. Adding to the fact that he is sharp in identifying opportunities in all aspects of his mission, he is consistently accomplishing his missions in style. As Managing Director, what excites and worries you most? It’s nice to read in the morning papers that fire protection products are savings more lives and properties compared to before. This is thanks
to the growing awareness of the importance of fire protection equipment due to efforts from the Fire Department in collaboration with the fire protection industry. Quite often, we receive thank you messages from customers who managed to save their property and, most importantly, their lives with our products. This gives me a sense of fulfilment to continue pursuing the dream of having fire protection equipment in every single house. As the fire protection industry is not a glamorous industry compared to many others, I am especially excited when attracting young and passionate people who have the drive to provide life-saving products. What are your strategies to make Eversafe Extinguisher the most successful company in your industry? The key strategy is building an enthusiastic and driven team that will advance the company’s interest in providing excellence to its customers. In addition, expanding our product range and fire protection systems positions Eversafe Extinguisher as the one-stop solution for our local and international clients’ fire protection needs. Share with us any impactful advice you received that still inspires you today. The Eversafe team has built a close rapport with our local and international clientele. They have acted as mentors to the team as their feedback has paved the way for us to develop the right strategies and products to serve the market better. This feedback inspires me as having internal support from clients means the passion from the Eversafe team has successfully influenced them in changing their mindset towards the importance of fire protection.
Michael Oh is chair and CEO Coach of Vistage International Malaysia, a global CEO resource and network of chief executives.