The Ship Campus Penang
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Resilient leadership to weather through challenges

The Ship Campus will welcome visitors in September 2020.

“DON’T be a do-nothing entrepreneur!” reminded PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd (PKT Logistics) group chief executive and managing director Datuk Michael Tio, when quizzed by fellow entrepreneurs on how to weather the Covid-19 pandemic.

While it can be disheartening as many of us are forced to maintain social distancing by staying at home, Tio believed there is much to do while observing the movement control order (MCO).

“Everybody is affected by Covid-19. We are handling the Covid-19 pandemic better as we are more prepared, ” said Tio.

Like many businesses, PKT Logistics had only days to execute their business continuity plans following the March 16 announcement by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on the implementation of the MCO beginning March 18.

The majority of businesses, namely those deemed to be in non-essential industries as per the Ministry of International Trade and Industry’s classification, were forced to roll down shutters and work remotely from home.

Tio: Entrepreneurs can achieve much more during slow economic times.

As the market came to a screeching halt, businesses that fell under MITI’s classification of essential services enjoyed a certain respite as they were allowed to continue with operations.Tio: Entrepreneurs can achieve much more during slow economic times.Tio: Entrepreneurs can achieve much more during slow economic times.

Throughout the various stages of MCO, PKT Logistics continued to proactively maintain the morale and safety of its staff members.

Tio put the minds of PKTians – an endearing name given to the logistics group’s staff members – to ease as he constantly engaged with the team via his Facebook Live sharing sessions on PKT Logistics’ private Facebook group.

The first of such sessions took place on March 17, where Tio outlined measures taken by the company to comply with MCO requirements.

During this session, Tio shared that essential staff members operating in the warehouse and transportation departments were given new standard operating procedures plus its in-house initiative, the PKT 3-Corona-Must (must scan for fever, must wear face mask and must sanitise hands before entering PKT Logistics’ premises), to comply with while equipped with the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to ensure their safety.The management also announced a hardship allowance to be given to PKTians who worked during the period.

Those who returned to work received RM50 per day on top of their pay, while those who work for half a day received RM25.

Embracing the new normal

It is safe to say that there was never a dull moment for PKTians during the MCO.

While Malaysians showcased their creative side by baking and cooking, Tio – known affectionately as Captain DMT to his Facebook entrepreneur fans – spent his time mentoring young entrepreneurs online. Most PKTians also spent their time exploring new ways of expanding the business.

For starters, Tio prescribed the 4D Vaccine for Covid-19 to PKTians as a means to kickstart the conversation on business resilience.

The 4D Vaccine stands for the diversification of four aspects, including product, risk, digital and geography.

While the 4Ds did not make sense to many at first, it planted the seeds for ideas on exploring new ways of doing business among PKTians.

Those ideas were made concrete when Tio led his team to PKT Logistics’ Covid-19 Transformation Programme (CTP) on May 30. The full-day programme was a goal-setting and business diversification brainstorming session conducted entirely online.

The lively session was attended by over 100 of PKT Logistics’ management and key staff members as they not only had a reality check on Covid-19’s impact on the business, but also bounced off ideas on the way forward.

The result of the CTP session was the introduction of four new visions to move PKT Logistics forward by 2025.

The company’s future growth will be helmed by Wawasan ThreeBees, a grand vision for PKT to achieve a revenue target of RM3bil by 2025, with three supporting visions to serve as a roadmap to help the company achieve its grand vision.

Firstly, Wawasan V50 or Vaccine50 aims to diversify PKT Logistics’ revenue contribution ratio of 50:50 between recession-prone and recession-proof segments by 2025.

This is followed by Wawasan Asean20, which aligns the group towards globalisation with a revenue contribution of 20% from regional Asean countries by 2025.

Finally, Wawasan Digital 20 is in tandem with PKT Logistics’ push to increase revenue contribution from digital and online sources to 20% by 2025.

“I have been through three economic crises and each one pushes us to diversify and innovate our business, ” adds Tio, when commenting on future-proofing the business with the new visions in place.

Finding opportunities in crises

Historically, it has to be said that when Tio puts his mind to a set goal, he often achieves it. This has been proven time and again as PKT Logistics managed to weather through the 1998 Asian Currency Crisis, 2008 World Financial Crisis and also the current Covid-19 pandemic.

He recalled, “We always believe that we can still make money during the worst of times. We have actually done it before in 2009 as we opened the tender for the construction of The Waves warehouse in Shah Alam, when the prices of raw materials were low and many renowned construction companies were actively seeking for new jobs.”

By capitalising on a soft market coupled with competitive pricing, Tio helped PKT Logistics grow its capacity from 150,000 sq ft worth of warehouse space in 2009 to over 527,000 sq ft by 2010.

Tio’s foresight in 2008 to diversify the group’s business portfolio away from its heavy reliance on recession-prone business such as automotive logistics to recession-proof business, namely fast moving consumer goods and food and beverage, will also help the company to soften the blow in the months ahead.

Executing circuit breakers

As industries and businesses are slowly allowed to resume operations during the recovery MCO, PKT Logistics is shifting gears to welcome new members to its family.

PKT Logistics’ up and coming education and lifestyle campus, The Ship Campus, is on track to open its doors to students and visitors in the coming months.

Upon completion, The Ship Campus will be the headquarters of Peninsula College, PKT Logistics’ education arm that features a state-of-the-art campus with the campus-in-industry model where colleges are located within an industrial park.

Peninsula College, in partnership with the University of Plymouth, UK will also be introducing quality UK degrees to Malaysian students in the field of maritime and logistics management, business, computer science and engineering. The upcoming intake will be in September 2020.

Embracing the new normal of doing business, Tio believes other entrepreneurs too can emulate PKT Logistics’ growth trajectory in being resilient through trying times.“Prepare your company for diversification. Innovate products that are sustainable during recession or crisis so that in the next crisis, you would be like me, where you are ready to execute your circuit breakers, ” concluded Tio.

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