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.

The Peak (Malaysia) - - Contents -

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.

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