Mr Bryan Tan, the Managing Director and shareholder of Superb Aluminium Industries, started off just like everyone else, treading the nine-to-five mill and regular after-working-hour endeavours, before eventually founding one of the fastest growing manufacturing company in Malaysia.
His insatiable appetite for excellence could be traced back to when he first set foot into the manufacturing industry when he joined LB Aluminium Berhad as an engineer. He quickly rose to Factory Manager in a short space of time, in which he oversaw a workforce of 700 people and managed its day-to-day operations. “I have always strived for excellence in everything that I put my heart in. I held the belief that I can be bigger that the person I already am. My eyes were constantly fixed on the next milestone.”
Graduated with a Master Degree in Manufacturing Systems Engineering from Warwick University of UK, Bryan had always knew that he wanted to be an entrepreneur. “Although I had a very good and stable job, I’ve always wanted to venture into business. I was never satisfied with just going through the motions. I was always looking to challenge myself and what better way to do it than to start something on my own.
In 2007, Bryan took over Superb Aluminium Industries, a manufacturer that specialises in producing aluminium extruded profiles. The then loss making company had very little to look forward to, registering losses since its inception in 2004. “Engineering its turnaround was no easy feat. We started in a rented premise with about 15 employees.” Bryan said. Today, we have our own factory with a new plant in the works. We have also been consistently churning out double digits year-to-year profits for six years running, topping it off with a record 40 percent increase in revenue in 2015.”
Starting a manufacturing business of his own was a dream come true for Bryan, but with it came many obstacles and challenges, many of which were totally foreign to him. He had entered into new territory where he was required to perform a variety of functions in order to connect the dots. “I needed to brave myself to take on roles that were totally new to me in the beginning. As the leader of the company, people look up to you for strength and direction, and you needed to be absolutely sure of what you were doing. Fortunately, my 15 years’ past experience in this industry had prepared me well for this venture, as I had already acquired the knowledge and expertise to ensure that the company will run at its optimum.”
Bryan credits much of his entrepreneurial success to his core values as a business person which are integrity, reliability and relationships. “Starting up a business has very much to do with your character as a person. In business, especially, when the stakes are high, people want to know if you are someone that they can put their trust in. Clients and investors alike, are not investing in ideas; they are investing in the person behind the idea.”
Reliability has also been a key factor that Bryan has constantly emphasized in growing the company and keeping customers loyal to the business. Towards this end, they have consistently made improvements in the quality of their processes and product line as a whole. Bryan highlighted, “We are very pleased to have acquired our ISO 9001 certification this year. It is part of our quality pledge to clients that we’re well known for. We believe that the confidence of clients can mean the difference between the success and failure of a business.
Bryan is also very vocal of his stand on the importance of good and lasting relationships with customers as epitomized by his company’s tagline ‘Our Relationships Are Built With Metal’. “I think having integrity and reliability can only help build strong relationships with our customers. Both on a personal and business level, I’m only interested in long-term relationships. In business, your reputation goes before you and people want to work with someone that they can trust”.
Just like many SMEs out there, Bryan had to strategize to compete with the bigger players in the industry. “For what we lack in quantity, we make up with quality and capability. As an SME, we have to play to our strengths, and for that to happen, we have to be quick to respond to the market. We have incorporated QRM (Quick Response Manufacturing) as part of our overall strategy to reduce lead time and serve our customers faster and better.
As a company that is rapidly growing, Bryan also knows from experience, that having a team that sticks together will be important for success. “I am really grateful to have a committed team that has stood by me throughout all these years. It’s also one of my greatest satisfaction as an entrepreneur and leader, to have witnessed their tremendous growth and development.”
Moving forward, he now has his sights on expanding his business to SEA markets with huge untapped potential such as Myanmar and Indonesia. “My vision is to establish Superb Aluminium Industries into a global player. I want people to recognize my brand to be synonymous with quality and excellence.”
Bryan believes that it’s not enough to have a dream unless one is willing to pursue it and make it happen. “Dreams are good, but it should not stop at words. Always remember to turn your words into action.” He also attributes much of his success to years and years of hard work and dedication. “Make no mistake about it, to be an entrepreneur you need to have that steel in you. Without resilience and dedication, the challenges that you face will easily derail you off course. I have been working on this dream my entire life.”
When he’s not at work, Bryan plays golf in order to rewind and relax. “I love playing golf as it’s a fun and challenging sport. In fact golf is just like business; you need to keep working on your skills and strategize well in order to be better at it.”