Name of Recipient:
Mr. Andy Neo
When something becomes dirty and old, it does not mean that it has no value anymore. Its value is simply buried under the surface, either waiting for someone to come by and rediscover it, or to lay by the sidelines to waste away. The process of rediscovering value is a long and arduous one, but it is also one that promises satisfaction. One company that believes in rediscovering value is NEKO Automation (S) Pte Ltd, a company that specializes in refurbishing and trading old machinery.
Established in 1993 by Mr. Andy Neo and two other partners, NEKO is the leading developer of pre-own refurbished PCBA equipment, dealing with PCB assembly equipment such as SMT machine, Auto Insertion machine, lead free reflow & wave solder ovens, board handling units, SMT machine feeders, and spare machinery parts. They purchase used machines, which then goes through a series of thorough inspections, cleanings, repairs, and calibrations, turning under-utilized equipment into quality refurbished merchandize. These refurbished machines are then sold to interested buyers, with NEKO providing comprehensive after-sales services such as technical advice and assistance.
All this would not have been possible, if Mr. Neo had accepted his superior’s rejection of his ambitious ideas. He felt his boss’s approach to managing was far too conservative and would not help their company achieve higher goals. “I had ambitions, and a vision that is different to his, and I felt I could do so much more with myself than working under other people.” With this, Mr. Neo decided to establish a business of his own.
Starting out on his own wasn’t without its problems. The machinery industry has always been a very dynamic one, and making the first breakthrough was very difficult. The fact that there was not much capital at hand did not make things easier for Mr. Neo. When NEKO first started, there was only one small office that its personnel worked out of.
But this all soon changed when business started coming in; Mr. Neo and his partners had identified the niche market of refurbished machines that no one has gone into yet. It proved to be the differentiating element from the other companies in the market, and soon NEKO Automation was achieving sales figures numbering into the millions.
However, like any other corporations, business has not been smooth sailing. Things went downhill during the 2008 global recession that affected almost everyone, including NEKO. On top of that, Mr. Neo’s partners started to withdraw from the partnership, which tripled the weight of responsibility on his shoulders. As a result, Mr. Neo decided to downsize to a smaller factory for restructuring and consolidation. Not only that, he has had to readjust his business strategy to better fit in the rapid changing economy of today. With much perseverance and the support of his fully dedicated staffs and his family, this proved to be a right decision as business started picking up during recovery of the post-economic crisis, and NEKO on was stronger ever than before.
Mr. Neo believes the success of NEKO all comes down to being a trendsetter, and how they interact with the various people in their industry. “We have to look at it from the customer’s perspective, and be honest and sincere in our dealings with them.” For example, while other companies may purchase old machines and in turn sell it to others, there may be other hidden costs that have to be spent to get these machines to begin working efficiently again. For NEKO, as they refurbish these old machines and make sure they are in excellent condition before selling it, the customer does not need to spend extra to tune it to top condition again. NEKO also prides themselves in having efficiency and foresight for various situations; they buy plenty of on hand stock so that they can meet high market demands as and when they arise.
A young man when he first established NEKO, Mr. Neo knows what it is like to be a young entrepreneur in a difficult industry. He has the following advice for those looking to start out on their own: “The business industry is getting tougher, young people’s mind set need to be different, be unique. You must have perseverance, creativity, and innovation. Have the foresight to predict situations before they happen so that you can prepare for it.” Mr. Neo also thinks cost-control is integral to business management. “It is not about what you can sell, how much you can sell, but rather how much you can save.” Coming from a man who built up a business from a small office, to one that is now generating multi-million revenues; these are advice that should prove useful to those that are looking to start out on their own.
There are big things ahead for NEKO; they have just recently moved into their new factory, which is eight to ten times bigger than other competitors. They are also looking at bigger business opportunities, constantly upgrading their technical staff, everything to ensure that NEKO will be brought up to the next level of excellence. Mr. Neo said, “Electronics will not die.” At least, now that we know that there are reliable companies such as NEKO taking care of such needs, the industry, and by extension, the people who uses items produced by these machines, they will definitely be satisfied and well-taken care of.
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