WHILE Malaysia is not short of strong companies that export their products and services to the rest of the world, not many homegrown companies can claim to be market leaders in the global arena.
One of them is security seals manufacturer Mega Fortris (M) Sdn Bhd.
For group executive chairman Datuk Nick Ng and group chief executive officer Adrian Ng who founded the company in 1996, their ambition since day one has always been to go global.
Today, with operations in over 20 countries and a team of about 700 people worldwide, the siblings can indeed say that they are leading a global family.
It took awhile, however, for Mega Fortris to build its brand in the export market.
The company started exporting its products to Indonesia towards the end of 1997, and later expanded to other markets such as Europe and the United States.
In the initial stages, their distributors had requested that they removed the “Made-in-Malaysia” label from their packaging. After all, Malaysia wasn’t known to produce security seals.
“We said no. You want to buy from me, that is what you are buying. It is made in Malaysia and we produce good products. We are proud to brand it as a Malaysian-made product. Over the years, they have accepted it.
“Our cartons are very clearly stamped with “Made-in Malaysia” and our brand grew from there,” Adrian shared.
One of Mega Fortris’ competitive advantages that enabled the company to compete overseas, said Adrian, was being able to deliver quality products and services.
“We don’t compromise on the quality of our products and solutions, or the service we deliver to customers. We are passionate in building relationships with our customers and understand their needs. That is only possible when you invest to build a presence where they are,” he said.
He noted that its products exceeded the expectations of their foreign distributors and partners, particularly in advanced markets like Europe where there were already very established players.
Their seals are used across many industries such as airline, logistics, gaming, healthcare and transportation.
The group currently has two manufacturing bases, one in Malaysia and the other in China, and these have a combined production capacity of 500 million seals a year.
According to Adrian, Mega Fortris is, today, among the top five security seal players in the world. The company aims to be at the top in three years.
Mega Fortris has been enjoying double-digit growth over the years and exports currently make up 94% of its annual revenue which tops RM100mil.
No doubt, running a group with a global market does have its challenges.
“Like other global companies, we have multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-lingual teams working across different time zones. Coordination is important.
“Running a global company requires immense teamwork. We need to understand each other and we need to bridge the different cultures and mindsets we each have. And, of course, the cross-border business means we operate 365 days a year, 24/7. There is always activity.
“Good communication along with building a strong commonality in corporate culture throughout the organisation are things we pay attention to,” he said.
Identifying the right partner is also key to ensuring the group’s success across the board, added Adrian. He noted that many of its partners in the various markets have been with them since the beginning, demonstrating a strong relationship among the parties.
“Our partners need to have very good integrity because they manage their own bottom lines. They are very hardworking and loyal. And they are very proud to be associated with us.
“We are a family unit with the same family values although we are of different nationalities. Over the years, we didn’t have much problems because we have set up a very stable platform for everyone to work on,” he said.
All things said, Adrian finds it a joy and privilege to have a global family. The diversity is invaluable, he explained.
To other local companies eyeing a significant position in the global market, Adrian’s advice is to have an in-depth understanding of the target market and business environment in those markets.
“Seeking out the right local partners and team members to help you build your presence is important too,” he added.
Mega Fortris was one of the big winners at The Star Outstanding Business Awards 2016. The company won the coveted Malaysian Business of the Year title in the above RM25mil category as well as the Gold award in the Best Innovation and Best Global Market categories and Silver in Best Brand.
Adrian also took home the Male Entrepreneur of the Year in the above RM25mil category.