Names of Recipients:
Mr Sim Lye Huat and Miss Debbie Sim
Established in 1978, Guan Lee Heng Contractor Pte Ltd aims to create cherished and enriching places for people while sustaining this balance with the environment. Starting out as a modest farming land at Choa Chu Kang, its pioneer nursery was later developed to venture into Singapore’s competitive landscape industry.
With over 30 years of expertise in developing landscape environments through the supply, delivery and maintenance of plants, Guan Lee Heng provides a variety of landscaping, agricultural, horticultural, housekeeping, and conservancy services, including landscape design, implementation and maintenance, as well as tree resistograph services and horticultural care.
From an early age, Managing Director and founder Mr. Sim Lye Huat has had a keen interest in plants, and eventually decided to enter the landscaping industry by starting his own business. Like most initial start-ups, he had to overcome many obstacles, the main challenges being the initial lack of capital and a small clientele.
As the challenges evolve with time, the company has also been affected by the dynamic workforce changes in Singapore. Like most SMEs, Mr. Sim has to face the recurring problem of the lack of Singaporeans taking up manual labour and having to rely on foreign workers instead. However, he has managed to retain his local employees with annual increments of their salaries. In addition to local staff retention, Mr. Sim also has to balance the issue of ever increasing levies against reduced quotas for the foreign workers in his company.
When asked how Guan Lee Heng differs from their competitors, Mr. Sim says with pride that they were one of the few companies in the industry that specialised in both landscaping design and maintenance. Together with the company’s over three decades of experience in their line of business, Guan Lee Heng is without doubt one of the most knowledgeable companies in the landscaping field.
Other notable achievements from Guan Lee Heng include having loyal employees who have stayed with the company for as long as 20 to 30 years, and longstanding clients such as the National University of Singapore (NUS). Mr. Sim also points out that seeing his plants grow beautifully and healthy and having his clients give positive feedback about them gives him a great sense of satisfaction.
Concerning the future of Guan Lee Heng, Mr. Sim reveals that he intends to retire in the near future and hand over the business to his younger daughter Debbie, who studied landscaping architecture in Melbourne and Sydney, and is currently the company’s landscape architect.
For Mr. Sim, it was Debbie who inspired him to keep the company going as she shares his interest in nature, and has always dreamed of continuing his business legacy and if possible, take it to greater heights.
Entrepreneurship, according to Mr. Sim, is about working together as a united team. He feels that the term ‘managing director’ is nothing more than just a mere label — ultimately everyone needs to work together to bring in success for the company.