A tool for transformation

Maha Chemicals (Asia) adopted the Business Excellence framework to help ramp up its innovation journey amid a fast-evolving competitive environment

Faced with intensifying competition, Singapore-based SME Maha Chemicals (Asia) sought to innovate across all aspects of its operations; whether it was developing new chemistry solutions for customers or using mobile apps to boost the productivity of its sales teams.

The company distributes specialty chemicals to a range of clients in the construction, engineering and living sciences industries, among others. It employs almost 100 staff in the region, and has a presence in Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Myanmar, China and Cambodia.

To help with its transformation, Maha’s management turned to Enterprise Singapore’s Business Excellence (BE) framework to guide its processes and systems. The framework is designed to help Singapore-based organisations assess their current level of performance and give them the tools to achieve superior growth over the long run. Companies who pass an assessment will be awarded one of various BE certifications.

Maha attained the Singapore Quality Class (SQC) certification in 2015, and achieved the enhanced SQC with Innovation certification in 2018. “Our first experience with BE three years ago actually gave us learning opportunities to run our organisation better and encouraged us to go for the niche of Innovation Class this time around. It had also given us a platform to articulate our brand promise of market innovation, to both our external and internal stakeholders,” said Mr Chew Chin Seong, deputy managing director at Maha Chemicals.

“If we do not reinvent, staying still will only guarantee an eroding margin. By applying the knowledge of the BE framework, we took careful steps in looking at each and every moving part of our organisation to make the business work better,” he added.

Being BE-certified has also given Maha a badge of quality which it has leveraged to open doors to new business opportunities in the region. “SQC has certainly raised our reputation as a reliable company to work with when dealing with new potential suppliers and customers. This trust is endorsed by the Singapore government’s great reputation,” said Mr Chew.

Maha is forging ahead on its journey of innovation as it seeks to develop new solutions for its customers. Said Mr Chew: “We are already brainstorming new concepts that will leverage Cloud, data analytics or perhaps AI (artificial intelligence) solutions.”

A framework for sustainable growth

Companies that adopt Enterprise Singapore’s BE framework must first conduct a comprehensive review and assessment of their operations to identify their key strengths as well as areas for improvements. They then proceed to develop a strategic roadmap with the help of BE assessors to enhance their management systems and processes as a means to achieving better performance.

Specifically, the framework provides companies with a comprehensive set of management standards for excellence in seven categories: leadership, customers, strategy, people, processes, results and knowledge (see diagram below). Organisations on the BE journey are required to first pursue the Singapore Quality Class (SQC) certification as a foundation before deepening their niche capabilities in Innovation, People and Service.

Companies who wish to participate in the BE initiative can receive assistance from Enterprise Singapore to defray the costs involved in conducting an organisational review and other BE activities.

You can contact [email protected] for more information and assistance.