Future-proofing businesses for SMEs


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  • Saturday, 19 Sep 2020

Soon: Identifying areas where digitalisation will have immediate impact.

JOHOR BARU: The upcoming SOBA LAB, which will be held on Sept 23 at Thistle Johor Baru, will see industry leaders and entrepreneurs share their take on strategies and solutions to future-proof businesses, especially small and medium entreprises (SMEs).

Titled Road to Recovery in Restoring Business Sustainability, the session will see past SOBA winners - including SJ Varied Sdn Bhd project director Ashwindran Kumaran, UMLand Seri Austin chief executive officer and townships group director Wong Kuen Kong and KLC Education Group CEO Sean Chia - sharing not only their success stories, but also insights into the way they have navigated their businesses amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Those interested can register at bit.ly/SOBALab20204. Limited seats are available. The workshop will adhere to the strict standard operating procedures for physical distancing and hygiene practices, as advised by the Malaysian National Security Council.

KLC Education Group’s Chia, for one, will be shedding light on the importance of having a business strategy anchored on merging both online and offline touch points, drawing lessons from its experience.

Chia: Have business strategy anchored on merging both online and offline touch points.Chia: Have business strategy anchored on merging both online and offline touch points.

“Among the aspects I’ll be speaking on include how we advocate leveraging technology to merge online and offline experiences, ” he said.

On the other hand, SJ Varied’s Ashwindran will give a fresh perspective on the role of corporate social responsibility in sustaining businesses.

“Social responsibility has to be incorporated into the very fabric of the organisation. It has to be part of the corporate culture, instilled into every employee throughout the organisation.

“You take care of your people, they take care of you. That’s a key principle for us, ” he stressed.

Participants can also look forward to a panel discussion featuring Digi SME business division head Steven Soon, PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd group chief operating officer Jason Cheah, RHB Bank Bhd commercial banking head Azlina Safian and Credit Guarantee Corporation Malaysia Bhd Johor Baru branch manager Muhamad Fazuli Safar.

Ashwindran: Social responsibility has to be incorporated into the very fabric of the organisation.Ashwindran: Social responsibility has to be incorporated into the very fabric of the organisation.

According to Digi’s Soon, SMEs need to look into business sustainability in the “now” normal to survive.

He explained, “[This is] anchored largely on two key aspects. Firstly, digital transformation of your business operations. Identifying areas where digitalisation will have immediate impact, be it to extend your market reach or to increase productivity and utilising the right digital solutions and tools to facilitate the transformation.

“Secondly, what’s equally important is the people aspect. Having the right growth mindset of finding opportunities amidst a crisis is critical in driving an effective digital transformation of your business and ensuring business sustainability.”

Meanwhile, PKT Logistics Group’s Cheah will provide the logistics group’s take on business sustainability.

He shared, “One aspect of business sustainability that SMEs can focus on is continuous improvement of their team through the kaizen concept.

Cheah: SMEs can focus on continuous improvement of their team through the kaizen concept.Cheah: SMEs can focus on continuous improvement of their team through the kaizen concept.

“These improvements need not require a complete overhaul of your existing human resources and operations, but a focus on pressing areas that can be improved upon to create a more positive outcome.”

The panel discussion will be moderated by Persatuan Usahawan Maju Malaysia national vice president and Johor state liaison chairman Keane Lee.

Themed recovery, reinvention and restoration, this year’s SOBA LAB consists of five sessions. The upcoming SOBA LABs will take place on Sept 23 and Sept 30. Email soba@thestar.com.my to sign up for subsequent SOBA LAB sessions.

Organised in conjunction with SOBA 2020 as part of the education element of the awards programme, SOBA LAB was designed to arm business leaders and entrepreneurs with the necessary knowhow to take their businesses to the next level.

SOBA 2020 is organised by SMG with Digi, PKT Logistics Group and RHB Bank as main sponsors, Credit Guarantee Corporation as co-sponsor and the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation as official trade promotion partner. It is endorsed by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, supported by Bursa Malaysia and audited by BDO with dimsum, 988 and Suria as official media partners.

Submissions for SOBA are now open. Locally incorporated enterprises not part of a multinational or listed group with foreign equity not exceeding 50%can participate by completing the application form online via www.soba.com.my or submitting the hard copy to the organiser at Menara Star, Petaling Jaya. The deadline for entries is Dec 4,2020.

For more information on SOBA 2020, call The Star Events Business Unit at +603 7967 1388 ext 1871 (Lily)/ 1104 (Shamenei) or visit www.soba.com.my.

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