AT 27, Ahmad Fadzidin Arshad, or Din as he wants to be known, has achieved what most people can only dream of doing. He is managing director of a company, Aeradio Instrumentation Sdn Bhd (AI).
Admittedly, Din has inherited this company from his late father, but the new ideas and fresh outlook that keep it competitive are all his own.
The youngest of four children, Din declares that he was the only one who was interested in the business from a young age.
I was always keen on learning about my fathers business and being involved.
It was this eagerness that led Din to pursue a degree in marketing, and he obtained a degree from the Chartered Institute of Marketing in Britain.
After completing his studies, Din worked for a private software house before he was appointed managing director for AI.
My experience in the previous company exposed me to the benefits of being involved in IT (Information Technology).
Soon after beginning his first job, Din realised that IT-based companies would be the norm rather than the exception and decided that it was time to get on the bandwagon.
I found out that IT professionals were in high demand and companies which used this technology would have an added advantage, especially in the future, he says.
AI is a subsidiary of Aeradio Group of Companies and was set up in August 1999 to provide IT solutions for established and emerging markets in South-East Asia.
Its sister companies such as Astrix Engineering and Astrix Plus deal in varied fields such as infrastructure consultancy and property investment.
Aeradio Group of Companies has been around for a long time. In 1957, when Din's father was at the helm, it was just a small-appointed agent for a UK-based company and was dealing only in telecommunications and radar solutions.
We basically provided high frequency radar monitoring to be used, for example, at the airport control tower, says Din.
In 1994, AI became an entirely local entity with 70% of the equity being held by bumiputras. This equity structure enabled the company to be registered with the Finance Ministry and to participate in local tenders issued by Government agencies.
When my father passed away, I was appointed to the board of directors and decided that it was time to venture into ICT, he says.
Currently, AI is mainly focusing on software development and consultancy.
We specialise in Human Resource Management Information System (HRIMS), which provides online information for everything from security to employee disciplinary records for Human Resources personnel.
The people at AI, says Din, have succeeded in designing and developing their own brand of software called SMART-HR.
Aimed at providing comprehensive employee information at the click of a button, SMART-HR comprises 11 modules that can be customised according to the specific needs of the client company.
Priced at less than RM10,000, the modules include employee management, payroll management, medical records and disciplinary information on one comprehensive system.
Although the idea behind SMART-HR is not completely new, Din says he has personally conducted market research and analysis to incorporate value-added features.
For example, SMART-HR is bi-lingual, that is, it is in English and Bahasa Malaysia in order to cater to local and international companies and in line with this it can also process multi currency payrolls.
The company already has a stable of 60 clients using SMART-HR, he adds.
Din emphasises that all the innovation and ideas used to create these systems are purely Malaysian. Everyone we hire, such as the programmers, are local talent and we have not engaged any foreign expertise.
Currently, AI employs 50 people who are mostly graduates from local universities.
Din hopes that AI will eventually be listed on the KLSE.
That should be in two or three years time but our short-term goal is to be accredited MSC status.
To this end, Din has contacted the Multimedia Development Corporation and submitted a proposal.
Din recognises that the competition is fierce in the field of IT, especially with the current emphasis placed on it by the government.
I believe in friendly competition and not aggressive rivalry. Competition is good and will help enhance the industry as a whole.
Din also believes that there is no such thing as the perfect software.
Sometimes people ask me why I try to enhance and develop software that is already available in the market. For me, the answer is because there is no software that can meet the requirements of the end-user 100%.
The board of directors at AI are a varied group comprising older and younger members. Din says that this is an advantage to the company.
The older generation has a lot more experience in dealing with government contracts, for example, and the younger generation are there to provide ideas, innovation and diversification.
Din says that AI is now looking to offer Vein Pattern Identification System or VPIS.
This system, which he describes as the latest state-of-the-art technology, is a high-tech version of the clock-in system.
The employees will have to place their palms on a 'reader' that will then recognise the vein pattern on the hand, for identification.
This can be used for capturing the time management skills of an employee. Accurate data on when the employee arrives and leaves their place of work can be monitored, he explains.
We are working with a partner on this project and our plan is to integrate the system with the HR department of a company. This will then be the new 'clock-in' system.
The Ministry of Defence is already using VPIS, Din says. Some of the other government departments are now interested in incorporating this system as well.
As for future plans, Din says that the company is looking into receiving funding from venture capital firms.
We have a lot of future plans for enhancement in Research and Development. At the moment we are offering software that is related to human resource management but we would like to develop and design something more soon.