Building Upon Excellence

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Since Adren Chong conceived and executed the idea for a solar-powered caravan and mini truck last year, it has propelled Trucknet Group into the limelight, both nationally and internationally. In this issue of Top 10 of Malaysia, the multi-award winning entrepreneur and Group CEO explains how he has changed people’s perception of the used trucks industry since taking the helm 9 years ago, and why he believes inertia is the death of creativity and must be avoided at all costs.

From its humble beginnings as a small truck and bus repair workshop in Batu Caves, Selangor, Trucknet Group (formerly known as Hong Lee Motor Works) has evolved into an importer, exporter and wholesaler of rebuilt trucks, machinery and trucks spare parts, as well as being engaged in properties leasing and development, green construction, agricultural and investment management. “My father, A.F. Chong, founded the company in 1979 as a sole proprietorship. In 2003, he incorporated the company as Trucknet Machinery Trading Sdn Bhd and started the export business that same year. He currently functions as the Group Chairman,” says Chong, CEO of Trucknet Group.

The way Chong sees it, running a business is akin to connecting the dots. “As the business grows and you acquire more experience, more dots appear on the paper. When you draw a line to connect these dots, it then becomes a picture,” he says, adding that the business started selling used truck parts in 1997, began rebuilding trucks in 2009 and became a complete 4S (sales, service, spare parts and systems) truck service centre in 2011. According to Chong, the provision of a genuine 4S centre sets them apart from most competitors. “Our customers know that they are getting quality refurbished trucks and are assured that we have the parts and service centre to support them in the long-term.” The company later diversified into the property, construction and agricultural industries in line with his vision to bring Trucknet to the next level. “I’m always thinking ahead, be it five to ten years down the road. If we remain stagnant, it will hurt the business in the long run. We have to keep innovating and collaborating with key partners to grow our business in both the national and international arena,” states Chong.

He admits that the used trucks business was not appealing to him initially as it was antiquated and had a low barrier of entry. “Trucknet was not my mission when I first joined the company upon graduation in 2007, but that changed. I harnessed my passion in the business by studying the industry and finally discovered the vast potential for growth and innovation in the industry in Malaysia,” says Chong. Trucknet’s office building at Rawang, Selangor sits on a land size of some 81,000 sq ft. and houses over 30 employees and numerous trucks and spare parts. “It was only when I helped design the building layout after we acquired the land in 2011 that I realised I had developed a deep passion for the business.”

Spacious, well-planned and extremely organised, the building’s layout is a testament of Chong’s systematic approach to business and management. “Rather than having just one person manage everything and create a bottleneck in the process, I divided the tasks of running the company into various functional departments, such as sales, HR, account, operations, administration and logistics. It’s more efficient this way,” he says. Unlike his competitors, he has invested a substantial amount into strengthening these departments, including employing in-house auditors and providing a hostel and training facilities for his workers. “My management style is freedom with discipline. I don’t micromanage and I give my employees the freedom to do their tasks the best way they see fit in order to achieve job satisfaction, as long as they are punctual and responsible.”

Chong’s relentless efforts have resulted in the company receiving a multitude of awards among which are the Asia Pacific TOP Excellence Brand 2014, Asia Pacific TOP Emerging Entrepreneurs 2014, the 13th Asia Pacific International Entrepreneur Excellence Award 2014 for Excellence Brand and Excellence Leadership. Trucknet I also one of the few Malaysian companies invited to participate in the renowned 11th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) 2014. Recently, Trucknet was awarded the Malaysia Book of Records for producing Malaysia’s and the world’s first nano photovoltaic (NPV) Solar System used on the caravan/mini truck. The invention was featured extensively by the local media and touted as a viable tool to help young agricultural entrepreneurs sell produce in the farmers market. “The NPV-powered mini truck is a joint venture endeavour with a foreign-listed company and is part of our efforts to innovate the company. Compared to the noisy fossil-fuel powered generators, the NPV is eco-friendly and saves cost in the long-run,” Chong explains. “Currently we are pursuing a partnership with state government and federal government agencies such as FAMA, TEKUN, Pertubuhan Peladang as well as Ministry of Agricultural Malaysia and have signed an MoU and NDA last year.”

It goes to show that when it comes to Trucknet’s best interests, Chong has no qualms about going all out to ensure that the company is at the cutting-edge level. “A few years ago, I had Trucknet’s trademark registered, something that is unheard of in this industry. It is a mark of our commitment. We’ve been around for nearly four decades and we plan to take to the skies for the next four and beyond.”

Issue 24/2016

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