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THE ALEN KEY

Allen keys, also called hex keys, are known to be light and handy tools whose L-shape provide users with the advantage of greater reach and torque.

For Mr Alen Ng, GM of Keppel Logistics Foshan (KLF) in Guangdong Province of China, a subsidiary of Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation (Keppel T&T), a cohesive and well-trained team is akin to having such an important tool in the management toolkit of a company.

This is why people focus has been key to Mr Ng, right from the start since he was based there in early 2012. He sets aside time to meet and draw feedback from local managers as well as non-managerial staff including supervisors and engineers individually. He also makes it a point to meet each department regularly.

His approach has yielded positive results, as he shared, "Taking in their perspectives and insights have helped me better understand the local mindset and how to effectively motivate my staff and support them in achieving satisfaction in their jobs. In turn, I found that close engagement with my staff has slowly and surely helped them to become more receptive to new ideas and ways of working.

"This is particularly important because, as a logistics company, other than excellent infrastructure, the quality of our service standards is key to differentiating us from our competitors. We have to constantly seek ways to improve and do things better and faster. A service-oriented mindset must permeate through the ranks."

For example, one of the new programmes Alen has introduced is the job rotation programme to allow staff to gain a more holistic understanding of how different functions and departments work together. Some were initially resistant to change but once they learnt to see the benefits of the programme for the company and for their own development, many have now demonstrated openness to try.

Alen's personal brand of passion in people and commitment to achieving excellence has no doubt helped him to overcome the myriad challenges of working abroad, faced both on the professional and personal fronts.

Managing a business operation in a foreign environment naturally has its own set of challenges; he has had to learn from scratch the government's corporate taxation policies, manpower regulations and such. With the help of colleagues, he has also picked up some Cantonese, the lingua franca for social as well as business conversations in Guangdong.

"On the personal front, a big challenge is being apart from my wife and two young children. We overcome this by planning our schedules carefully such that I can be with the family for at least a few days each month, either in Foshan or back in Singapore," he shared.

In return, his hard-earned rewards provide a sense of satisfaction, as he shared further, "I am learning a lot from the overseas experience and from taking on new and diverse responsibilities, which has required me to be more resourceful and adopt different viewpoints to solve problems. The experience also stretches my professional boundaries and broadens my skill-sets, which prepares me for further growth both as a Keppel employee and as an individual.

"China's economic growth in the past decades has brought about opportunities in the logistics industry. As such, it is a great opportunity and exciting time to be based in China and I'm delighted to be part of the Keppel T&T team to have a hand in driving the momentum of growth and making a long-term difference to the company."

 

Mr Alen Ng (far left), GM of Keppel Logistics (Foshan) and also Director of Jilin Sino-Singapore Food Zone International Logistics Co. Ltd., briefs Mr Sun Zhengcai (second from left), Party Secretary of Chongqing City and former Party Secretary of Jilin Province on the Sino-Singapore Jilin Food Zone International Logistics Park Project

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