Linking All The Way
The next time you go grocery-shopping at a supermarket, stop and take a closer look at the mass-market products you purchase. Have you ever wondered how they get from their place of production to the display shelves? The answer: Logistics.
By Winifred Tan
Chan Hsien Hung believes that logistics is a branch of engineering that creates “people systems” rather than “machine systems”.
The amiable 34-year-old is General Manager of Yang Kee Logistics P/L, a Singapore-based logistics company that is “slowly but surely emerging from its SME status to become a player on the international stage”.
Stepping into the logistics industry, Hsien Hung reminisces, was due to a lucky break.
After graduating in 2002 with a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, he did a short research stint in Photonics under an Economic Development Board (EDB) training programme.
But the photonics industry failed to pick up, and he was left “high and dry” – until his classmate Ken, currently Deputy Managing Director of Yang Kee Logistics, invited him to join the company.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
“I can officially say that Yang Kee Logistics is my first and only job thus far. Ken saw the need for our company to have a continuous succession plan, so I was among the first batch of management trainees recruited,” Hsien Hung smiles.
Chain of progress
As General Manger, Hsien Hung’s role is to handle administration and policy-making, while ensuring that each specialist division “operates according to the values and directions set forth by the management”.
It may sound like a cushy managerial job, but the reality is anything but. In fact, Hsien Hung clearly remembers the early years of blood, toil, tears and sweat he went through as a management trainee.
“In the early days, Yang Kee was running as a transportation company with only three trucks. I’ve been a driver, controller, customer services officer, sales executive – you name it, I’ve done it. The challenges I faced then were particularly memorable. For instance, there was a period of time when we were short of drivers or deliverymen, and I was tasked to deliver baby diapers to retail outlets without any assistance whatsoever!” Hsien Hung says, laughing heartily.
Now, Yang Kee offers a full suite of services such as transportation, warehousing, and international freight forwarding. Hsien Hung is thankful to the early days for inculcating in him the qualities he needs to succeed in his current role.
“It was a long painful process of learning and adapting, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to work in operations, because that’s the bread-and-butter of our company. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to manage all the staff policies today.”
Hard work, together with humility, self-discipline and a positive learning attitude are all qualities Hsien Hung feels are necessary for a logistician to succeed in this rigorous industry.
“There is a career path for every employee in Yang Kee. What we offer is a warm, family-oriented learning environment, while providing an MNC-worthy vision – to be a leading Asia-Pacific Integrated Total Services partner – for employees to work towards,” he says.
“It’s been an unforgettable journey for me, being able to engage, lead and motivate people towards a common goal. At the end of the day, logistics is an industry which requires people. You can have a big warehouse, but it’s just an empty warehouse without people.”