CEO Message 2015
Ladies & Gentlemen,
Each time, each year when this meeting arrived I face with one personal challenge. What should I speak about?
I always felt somewhat out of place in the company of so many outstanding business associate as well as specialist in our field as cargo consolidator.
As CEO of the C P World Group it is easy to address my people as I have the advantage of being at the top and therefore what I say becomes the direction of the group.
However, while addressing everybody it becomes much more difficult. I know my opinion of the industry may be different from your opinion.
And I also know that the world does not revolved around me. I have to somehow follow the momentum and revolve around the world instead. So, please have an open mind and an open heart to accept my humble opinion even if it differs from yours.
C P World Group “global meeting “is an important event in so many ways for so many different partners. For me, the simple reason is at least it create the environment that brought together 6 continents together. Asia, Europe, Americas, Africa and Oceania.
It also bring together 35 offices and 30 international agencies. If you add them up together and the different business strategy that each have, it is indeed sounds complicated. It certainly looks complicated.
So my first part of my keynote speech will deal with complication!
It is now clear to us all that unresolved issues and changes in market behaviour will impact how each of our organisation react and how we respond.
Be it the threat of shrinking volumes or the threat of reduce margin all caused by market behaviour. The illusion of a safe network, a private comfort zone is now long gone.
I address this issue with my offices yesterday and they have reacted positively. They have no choice because not engaging the market changes would mean certain death!
Not trying to work with the agents present here would means additional effort to seek and make new agreement with agents outside the present network.
I understand and have come to accept the fact that between agents and group offices, there might be certain ports of locations that we are unable to come to business agreement.
Reason being either conflict in handling agreements, the lack of sales or even business ties that cannot be disrupted.
But for C P World Group, I assure you we are not that complicated.
So what do we do about it? Let me simplify, what we do as C P World Group.
Second part of my speech
Shortly after starting C P World with Pradhan in 2008, I observed that while most people started to become aware of the C P W brand, when you ask them what we do, most don’t know. Many still think we are just a loosely banded offices in Asia without a core product values.
The Group abide to the vision, objectives and the business process as laid out by the management. By Group management, I refer to Pradhan and myself.
By simply following the directions as presented by the leadership, we have indeed simplify C P World Group.
Wherever there are no Group offices, they are free to work with an agent giving first option to a network agent (that is partners like yourself present here).
If they are unable to conclude a deal, than they are free to work with an alternative agent of their choice.
I trust I have bring up the questions that some may have on their mind why there are multiple agencies from a same country during our “global meeting”.
I hope I have put a meaningful focus on this area.
Despite the earlier network complication and the C P World Group simplification, there are still clearly a lot of work to be done to improve our business networking.
There is a lot we can do about it and certainly we have to do it. We have important choices to make in the next few days.
A tagline or a slogan of this year event. It is not just a series of words but you can be assured we have put heart and soul into coming up with these tagline every year.
I am not shy or do I find it shameful that C P World management and our regional team have made changes and corrected what is no longer working in our Group.
Just like any house that we live in, once a while we need to clean up and throw out the rubbish and some other time we need to give it a new coat of paint and bring in new furniture.
While it might not have been obvious of changes in the C P World group, as changes may not have any impact on you directly, I would like to give some example.
Over the years, we gave up our South Africa office and went into partnership investment with CSA Group to start SAC ( South African Consolidations ).
Our New Zealand office was inactive for years and we decided to start cultivating opportunity from our contact in New Zealand.
Very tough, but we break through ….. thank you guys from Oceanbridge Shipping Ltd.
Our Port Klang office for years live in the shadow of Singapore office due to the close proximity. We could have keep it that way ensuring Singapore dominant position as the SEA hub.
However, to do that would be playing a defensive position and deny the network the opportunity to grow into the Malaysian market.
Once again, we lobby and we now have Mr Teh a very established local player in Port Klang running the C P World brand.
We learned that in such market, the rule is to “think local, but act global”.
Mr Teh and his team ( and this time a big team ) have the Malaysia local knowledge, C P World corporate simply provided him the global network.
Another change that recently occurred is in Cebu. We decided to withdraw our brand and dormant it at the moment and instead allow a very persistent lady Mrs Melina Cayanong to represent the group in Cebu, Philippines. Another change for a local expertise.
On the international front over the years, C P W Brand was courted by various home grown established freight operators.
First, Gezairi approached us for the rights to C P World branding in Turkey, Iraq, Cryprus, Lebanon & Syria.
This year, we see Unifreight secured the rights to the C P World brand in Egypt.
Just like many of you who as successful businessman, Pradhan and myself also do have many other investment in other business.
It is a well-known fact that we also operates CFS warehousing business.
We too have joint investment with some of you in some related venture. For example, GGL in Korea. This is a joint investment between Mr Helio, Fancheng and C P World.
So as you can see, I have always encourage joint investment and if there are any one with new venture in mind you can always contact Pradhan or myself.
However, as far as investment is concerned we need to allow fair competition in order for the business to succeed.
So, redefining tomorrow is not just a fancy tagline but rather it set a series of mind set change within the C P World management and our senior executives.
Whatever project that was once thought workable and now not working will be reviewed and a decision will be made.
With this in mind, old sentimental value must change. This led me to my final part of my speech …. Which is the longest part ( just joking )
Dare to Change
While I am happy and proud of our overall performance achieved as C P World Group within 8 years, I hope to be able to drive the Group and in the process offers a wider network allowing all of us to continue to thrive and expand our business.
On a commercial performance level I am very sure we all have done well especially in the current tough global economics conditions.
If we look closely at all our business portfolios, among them we must have some terrific business that are performing exceptionally well.
Otherwise, we would have found it hard to see each other so often this year. The cost of air travel would have caused us concern.
Do we still have that will, that ability to compete? I ask my Group yesterday.
Or have we become so comfortable that we no longer care if the market changes.
Do we still have that will, that ability to be flexible and creative enough to find a solution?
Or do we want to just sit on the chair and watch others do what we could have done?
Life and business are always about trying to do two seemingly competing things at the same time. Do you want good short-term results or good long term results?
Do you want people empowered or do you want good controls so nothing bad happens? In every case, you want both.
The same principle holds for these areas and we need our network and the Group to accomplish both.
That will happens when we all work together!
Everything is doable.
This bring me to the closure of my speech.
Recently, I was asked or rather advised by a close associate who is sitting in this room. ( you know who you are )
He asked me a tough question. And I thank him for alerting me to a wrong perception of me.
“Ken, you seem to have taken a back seat and lack the aggression and leadership style that has brought you so much success in the past.”
I was shocked by the question.
Have I wrongly communicated just because I don’t talk and shout as much as I used too? Let me assured you ….. there is still FIRE in my belly !
My Singapore team will testify to this. They often see me very committed with my ACTIONS !
As I earlier said, there is work to be done. For me, I will have to make changes whenever I see what happened in the past is no longer working now.
I will now add another personal motto …..Dare to Change!
( Never Give UP has served me well so far )
After all it would be meaningless if I do nothing without the will to change when we have decided to REDEFINE a new TOMORROW.
This has been my longest speech in 8 years and I trust my C P World Group key personnel in attendance will see my commitment.
And to all my international partners and friends I hope I have send you this message.
You have not got rid of me yet !
I am still very much in this business.
It’s been great to have the chance to share some ideas with you today. And I hope to continue to build our relationships based on C P World Group values of an open and friendly organisation.