Kerry Express (Thailand) PCL (SET: KEX) Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Alex Ng discusses the company’s strategy behind its achievement as the leading express parcel delivery in the country in The Executive Talk (TET) by ShareInvestor.
1. Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic massively affected the economy. How has it challenged your business, and how did you cope with it?
Many people understand that Kerry must benefit from COVID-19 because more and more people shop online during the lockdown. Therefore, we have to deliver these parcels to their homes. So yes, in terms of business growth, we have experienced recorded high business growth in the past couple of years. But generally speaking, we do not like Covid-19. It disturbed our daily operations in a very big way. The supply of manpower, truck movement, and resource management planning got very difficult. Therefore, we all hope that the Covid-19 crisis will end soon.
However, I must admit that we managed the crisis very well while many transportation, logistics, and express companies did not effectively plan or overprepare for the situation. You may have read on the news that some companies got disrupted. Some had to suspend their sorting processes, while others even had to close their warehouses. But Kerry maintained very good continuity during COVID-19. It is payback for our dedication and well-plan. We now work 24-7, 365 days, and have no holidays.
2. What do you think has proved your market-leading position in Thailand?
First of all, we are the listed company with strong capital. As many logistics companies struggle with financial difficulties, Kerry Express focuses on improving our operations, such as business strategy and human development. So, we are more focused. At the same time, we are not very bureaucratic. While many listed companies or large corporations can be very bureaucratic, Kerry is an entrepreneurial organization with high mobility and flexibility, which is one of our strengths. However, the most important thing for me is that Kerry Express is very customer addicted. If you sit in any of our meetings, we always talk about how to make our customers happier and happier, how to make our great operations even better. We always want to be a better person, better company than yesterday.
3. What do you see as the major threats these days?
As you know, we are in wartime. Indeed, the oil price does not affect us very much. On the contrary, we spend less on fuel costs because of our reengineering, making our delivery and transportation more efficient. But if oil prices continue to increase, it will probably bring high pressure on our finances and operation sooner or later. Therefore, we are working very hard to be more efficient and rely less on fuel.
In addition, another issue for Thailand and this region is human capital. Today it is getting harder to find the right talent to work for a corporation. It’s not because they’re not smart or young people are not hard-working or progressive. But today, it’s very dynamic, and the working culture is different from ten years or two decades ago. So, I think a corporation like Kerry needs to change to a new paradigm. It seems employees embrace much more individuality than they were twenty years ago. The relationship between employer and employee becomes more parallelly. Consequently, we have tried to adjust ourselves, such as a friendly workplace. We try to make our office and working environment much happier for the employees so that we get the best talents in the country and the region. People are our only asset, I would say.
4. How would you enlarge your business ecosystem? Will any new services be coming this year or in 2023?
We will never stop developing new products and services. Express and parcel delivery remains our core business. But the expansion of new services will bring more users and sticky users. You would have heard that we’re launching a new service that delivers frozen and chilled products called “Kerry Cool.” No one is doing it seriously in the country. And most recently, we have just announced a new service with Central Group, “Kerry XL.” We are moving larger items like furniture and gym devices. So, we are creating a new delivery platform that does not overlap with our existing service.
Furthermore, we are also developing a non-delivery platform rapidly. We have built a new payment platform called “Kerry Wallet” that combines various payment methods, including credit cards, top-up wallets, and PromptPay’s QR Code system. Because during the Covid-19, a number of users have turned to cashless payment. We are happy to contain these users within Kerry Wallet, so they enjoy better and more convenience.
5. How have you prepared to enter digital technology dynamics?
From my perspective, preparing for the digital economy is not one of the exercises. Indeed, Kerry has never stopped digitalizing since day one. Can you imagine we were the first to invent cash-on-delivery in Thailand? And it’s us again who started the QR Code payment on delivery. We doubt many people know, but our frequent customers have gradually turned to this payment method. We are a very innovative company. We will not announce it as a showcase because this kind of thing is not a showcase but a real necessity for the company’s development.
6. Can you tell us about “HI-STEP”, Kerry Express’s core value?
“HI-STEP” is our motto, not created by the management but by most employees about eight years ago in the workshop. H stands for honesty, I for innovation, S for service mind, T for teamwork, E for execution, and last but not least, P stands for positivity because we want our people to be positive-minded, not negative-minded. These are elements or core competence that we believe Kerry people shall possess. They even composed a song about it. You can listen on YouTube. ( https://youtu.be/pi32iVaCdvs )
About The Executive Q&A Series
The Executive Q&A Series is presented by ShareInvestor, Asia’s leading financial internet media and technology company and the largest investor relations network in the region. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.ShareInvestorThailand.com