Machinery manufacturer looks to grow on overseas projects
RBM Building Machinery Sdn Bhd chairman Datuk Goh Chau Woo tries to innovate his company’s products by meeting the needs of the market.
A business that focuses on society’s needs will flourish, he says.
For Goh, food and shelter are basic necessities. Naturally, his business model would revolve around these two areas.
The machinery manufacturer says his machines and solutions can help other manufacturers in these areas produce faster and better products. RBM initially looked more into food-related machinery before focusing on construction technologies in the later stage of the business.
Goh started learning about machines at a young age from his father who is a fisherman.
“I learned how the engine system of the boat works. That was an early start that got me interested in machines and I subsequently studied in a technical school,” he shares.
After his secondary school education, he worked with a boiler manufacturer in 1978. The following year, he worked with a food processing machinery manufacturer. There, he saw how machines were used to increase the productivity of food manufacturers and he was amazed.
In 1981, he decided to start manufacturing his own food processing machinery.
Goh set up operations in a 1,700sq ft light industrial factory in Rahang, Negeri Sembilan, and started off by manufacturing machines to process noodles and fish balls.
“With our machine, our clients can manufacture up to 5,000 fish balls in an hour. If they were to rely on manual labour, it could take them up to five hours. By then, the fish balls will no longer be fresh,” he quips.
Goh carried out most of the operations on his own in the early years, from designing the machines right up to delivering them.
As the business grew, Goh started observing market trends to look at other areas that he could venture into with his machines.
In the early 1990s, construction was booming and so was demand for construction materials and manpower. There was also higher expectations for quicker completion and handover of projects.
“Population continued to grow and as the younger generation grows up, they, too, would want their own roof over their heads,” Goh says.
This gave RBM the opportunity to provide solutions for the construction sector.
One major area of construction that Goh saw potential in was the plastering process. It is a laborious process beginning with mixing the right construction materials to manually plastering walls and ceilings.
In 1995, he came out with a spray plastering machine where workers can use the machine to mix all the needed materials and spray it directly on the brick wall, reducing much of the labour intensive processes.
Goh then decided to separate the food machinery manufacturing business from the construction solutions segment, which is housed under RBM, so that there would be better focus on both businesses.
RBM operated out of a factory in Senawang, Negeri Sembilan with 15 workers.
In 2006, RBM further improved on their range of products by introducing the 3-in-1 integrated concrete machine. Goh says the product would help do away with heavy investment and logistics when starting a construction project.
“The product alone costs about RM400,000. But it does the work of a mobile crane, batching plant and ready mix truck, which would have cost a developer millions of ringgit. Our product alone is able to do the jobs of all three,” he says.
This product also reduces the laborious steps of plastering as the walls will be finished off with a skim coat and painting. The machine also enables concrete work to be prepared at the site, which can be poured into the formwork prepared earlier. This takes out the need for brick laying.
Goh’s venture into this segment has taken him far. To date, over 1,000 of these machines have been sold.
In 2008, the company also worked on their online presence, which helped them reach into other markets. To date, RBM has exported their machines to more than 30 countries, including Singapore, the UK, China and Indonesia.
For its efforts to innovate, RBM took home the Platinum award in the Best Innovation category for companies with revenue of up to RM25mil at The Star Outstanding Business Awards 2016.
After over two decades of growing the company, Goh is ready to hand over the reins. He says his succession planning is already in place whereby his three sons – who hold degrees in mechanical, electrical and civil engineering – have taken up significant roles in the company.
“In our line, we need a multidisciplinary approach, from the hydraulics to the electrical components that make up parts of the machine. My sons are well equipped to take the business forward,” he says.
And there is a lot of work to look forward to.
Goh says they are planning to list the company in the near future to raise funds for overseas projects.
“The population continues to grow and we are looking forward to using our machines to construct houses in developing nations, where the projects are large scale and speed is essential,” he concludes.