Gethi Engineering Sdn Bhd has evolved from a humble cement mixer repair company to an award-winning concrete transit mixer manufacturer with a global reach because of its founder and CEO Pang King Soon’s philosophy in life – “Act on the important, don’t react to the urgent.” In this issue of Top 10 of Malaysia, the forward-thinking and entrepreneurial Pang sheds light on his treasured and important values which drive him to continually push into new frontiers by harnessing the power of innovation.
Behind every success story is a dream fuelled by determination, hard work and sheer perseverance. And Pang King Soon is no stranger to the hardships of life. When Pang started Gethi Engineering in 1996 with his wife and younger brother, little did they realise that the Asian financial crisis was just around the corner. “The first few years were very lean and tough,” he recalls. “We went without any salary for most months but made sure that all the employees were paid.” However, they persevered and clung tenaciously to their vision to be a market leader in the concrete pre-mix industry. “Setbacks are a part of life. By having a strong vision, focusing on what’s important, and hard work, these challenges can be overcome,” says the pragmatic and resilient CEO.
Pang’s passion for the industry evolved naturally from his strategic career path that had equipped him with all the experience and network he needed to build Gethi Engineering to what it is today. Upon graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering in the United States, Pang started his career in a palm oil mill and then moved on to Tractors Malaysia (Sime Darby Industrial) before working for Hume Industries. “My tenure in these companies taught me a lot about the concrete pre-mix industry, management skills and gave me the opportunity to network with some of the biggest industry players. My desire to do greater things and the inspiration for me to branch out on my own developed from there,” says Pang.
Innovation and forward-thinking leadership have been the hallmark of Gethi Engineering since Day One. “We started by specialising in repair, maintenance and support services for concrete mixer drums and trucks. In 2005, we began importing trucks from a Japan supplier and three years later, we began designing and manufacturing our own brand of industry-leading concrete mixer drums,” reveals Pang. In 2010, the company registered its unique concrete truck mixer industrial design with the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia. Pang continually experimented with new technologies and invested in state-of-the-art equipment that would elevate the quality of their products to global standards. For instance, the use of the CNC Plasma Cutting Machine reduces cutting cycles by 3-4 times while giving a superior finishing cutting edge with minimal wastage. The KUKA Robotics Automated Welding System provides high quality welding while increasing productivity.
Early this year, Gethi Engineering launched the first-of-its-kind lightweight concrete mixer using the technological-advanced HARDOX 400 plates that would double the life span of the mixer drums. Each of these innovations resulted in Gethi Engineering garnering 50% of the market share of the industry in the country. Last year, the firm achieved a tremendous milestone by penetrating the Australian and Singapore markets. Based on positive feedback from these markets, Pang projects a sale of some thirty to forty units in Singapore and some fifty units in Australia next year. To date, the firm produces about three hundred units a year and the HARDOX concrete mixer is fast becoming a favourite among its customers. “The trend is moving towards quality and durability rather than a lower cost for mixers,” Pang says. “Then again, a lightweight truck will save more money in the long run in terms of fuel costs and being able to carry more load without risking stiff penalties for overloading the trucks.”
Superior quality service is of utmost importance to Pang – something which he continually drums into the 80-odd employees at the company’s manufacturing site in Balakong in Selangor. This has resulted in impeccable customer service and product quality on a consistent basis which ensured repeat orders for the company. Pang practises an open door policy as well as management by walking around (MBWA), where he stops to talk with his employees every morning to get a sense of how they are doing and to listen to their ideas.
Pang is a very approachable employer and the way he is able to empathise with his employees, together with the attractive remuneration packages offered by the company, has earned him the staff’s loyalty and commitment to quality.
In 2014, Gethi Engineering garnered three prestigious awards – The Star Business Awards for Most Promising Company and Finalist in Best Innovation as well as the Golden Eagle 100 Best Enterprises Award. This is a testament to its outstanding achievement, delivering quality products and impeccable service to its customers without fail.
“Winning these awards is a result of the hard work by everyone in the company who embraced innovation wholeheartedly and are committed to delivering the best to our customers,” says Pang. “The future is vibrant. Our investment in innovation has gotten us this far and I believe it will take us to even greater heights.”