Name of Recipient:
Ms. Zoena Ong
Mr. Desmond Heng
With little to no natural resources, Singapore relies much on its trading port and developed freight industry to allow the trading of goods for a continuous improved lifestyle for its citizens. However, as the economy grows and Singapore becomes more globalised, these companies have to further enhance and widen their services in order to catch the rising market, for a competitive advantage. After all, change is the only constant, isn’t it?
One company that has managed to successfully modify its services to cater to the changing market is Regent Express Pte Ltd, which specializes in customized freight forwarding business. Along with foresight, the right people, and a huge amount of hard work, Regent Express has achieved overseas recognition due to their exemplary business practices.
Back when it first started in 1997 by Mr. Desmond Heng, Regent Express was merely a freight forwarder handling import and export of auto vehicles. Then, with the addition of Ms. Zoena Ong, the present Executive Director of Regent Express, Regent Express exposed itself to handle other general cargo, such as metal parts, machinery, and other general items, essentially broadening the range of their services and customer base. Today, with about fifty overseas partners from all over world, Regent Express is able to provide an array of services; from door to door freight movements, to international freight forwarding, to warehousing and packaging services, you name it, they have it.
Now, looking back at the past sixteen years, Mr. Heng mused that Regent Express has truly came a long way to where it is today. In his previous job as an insurance agent, Mr. Heng did not like how unstable his job was. He had just started a family, and wanted to spend more time to nurture his young family. Hence, after accumulating a mere capital of $3000, Mr. Heng decided to leave that life behind and start out as an entrepreneur, securing a self-made job with fixed working hours, and with hopes of a more stable income.
But setting up a business from scratch has its problems too. With such a small capital, Mr. Heng could only manage the business out of a small office of about only a table space. In addition, he had neither experience nor practical knowledge of how the freight industry works. Fortunately, with a clear plan of action, and the addition of more people to the company, Regent Express gradually began to find its feet. Mr. Heng stated, “There are a lot of people in this trade, one of them must know the solution. You just have to know who to ask.” However, Mr. Heng soon found out that information sharing has its downsides too. “Once, many of the veterans left within a six-month timeframe; they had gained all the knowledge while they were working and wanted to see whether they could make it on their own outside.” As a result, Mr. Heng had to impart his knowledge to the younger, less experienced people in the company, so that the company would be able to function at the same level as it had before.
By 2002, Regent Express soon left their hitch behind, and started gaining recognition within the industry. Today, they are the most well known auto-vehicle forwarding company in Singapore. Ms. Ong elaborated, “Auto-vehicle freight forwarding is very hard to do in Singapore. But we can handle the whole process from start to finish. Hence, many companies overseas know of us, and it is definitely something that distinguishes us from other companies in the industry.”
Indeed, if there is one thing that Mr. Heng has taken away from his whole entrepreneur journey, it is that he has emerged from problems a survivor, stronger and tougher than before. He labels himself an easily contented person, preferring to build things steadily with a stable and reliable foundation, “Don’t be overambitious; you don’t have to win everyday. You can always come back to fight another day.” However, he is also quick to stress that a prospective entrepreneur should be willing to take certain risks. “No venture, no gain. It just has to be a calculated risk; it is not like throwing a gambling hand.” Ms. Ong stressed the importance of the team and added, “Our people are our assets. They bring with them the knowledge that is critical in the growth of the company.”
As a man who is easily satisfied with what he has, it perhaps is of no surprise that he wishes for a moderate but steady growth of the company, with realistic and achieveable goals for the company. “Right now, I’m only looking at a bigger space for my employees, and perhaps renovation of our current space too. One should take aim at the big picture, and work up step by step.”
Yes, Regent Express may not be a huge company, or listed on the Singapore Exchange. But each member of the company plays a very important role. The quantity of the team is not what matters most; the team must be made up with the right dynamics of people that can contribute to the growth of the company – just like how Mr. Heng is the one that assumes calculated risks while Ms. Ong ensures that operations are done well, and that the welfare of their team is well taken care of. Seeing the success they have achieved so far, and with the foresight and expertise of the two leaders, we are optimistic that Regent Express will continue to scale greater and higher heights in the future. The Singapore’s Outstanding Enterprise award they now receive in 2013 will only be one of its many milestones.
10 Ubi Crescent Ubi Techpark Lobby C
T| 6844 0200