Bought over in 2015 for S$20,000, director Joseph Ng raised Skyfy Technology’s turnover to S$3.5 million by 2017.
EVER wonder what it would take to buy over a company for S$20,000 and increase its turnover to approximately S$3.5million in less than two years? Just ask Joseph Ng, director of Skyfy Technology, a company that specialises in a multi-point integrated fleet management system.
When Mr Ng bought Skyfy Technology from its original owner at end-2015, it was then losing money and only earning around S$10,000-S$20,000 a year.
He helped change the company’s fortunes. To date, the company has about 1,600 customers, including big names such as ZTP, NTUC Unity and Ren Ci Hospital.
“Of course, it did not happen overnight,” said Mr Ng, when asked about his formula for success. “When I came in, I started to build systems such as proper customer relationship management (CRM), and we also created our own training system.”
Another key point in his strategy was to invest heavily in technology. “I really believe in technology and innovation,” he remarked. “We invested a lot in trade shows, travelling overseas to understand their technology and markets and made a lot of friends in the industry.”
Not bad for a young man who had his foot in business for quite awhile. Before buying over Skyfy, Mr Ng also ran a chain of childcare and tuition centres called “Genesis Childcare”, which he still owns today. While working on this, he was also on the look-out for more opportunities and chanced upon the then floundering Skyfy. So why bother taking over a business that was losing money? It was a trip to Madison Avenue in New York, US, that inspired Mr Ng to take a plunge in the vehicle management scene.
“On Madison Avenue, there are a lot of people and branded shops and the next thing I saw were trucks and vans,” he recalled. That apparently was a eureka moment for him. “To me, I realised that no matter how the world evolves or changes, vehicles will never disappear… E-commerce was booming and everyone was buying but the delivery still must take place.”
That experience firmly consolidated his resolve and belief that “vehicle management will definitely stay for a long time”.
And he has not looked back since.
Besides the usual vehicle tracking, its system also has other functions such as monitoring of fuel expenditure; installation of cameras to monitor driver’s behaviour and Geofence, a “virtual barrier” where the system is able to detect drivers’ movements, such as if they were to enter undesired venues such as casinos.
The latest innovation by Skyfy is its “Last Mile Logistics Management”, a software created through collaboration with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) that aims to help with job management for drivers. Their main solution – route optimisation for drivers on the go.
“Before the jobs get sent out to the driver, it needs to be route optimised,” explained Mr Ng. “Every day the company will get the jobs, input them into our system to optimise and despatch to all drivers… Route optimisation is based on many constraints such as vehicle size, cargo size and priority of the customer. So all these have to be taken care of, calculated and optimised by A*Star and now we license it.”
What makes it unique is that not only will drivers get the jobs and fulfil them, but the planner will also be able to get an update on what is happening throughout the jobs, helping the company to improve efficiency and reduce human errors.
However, all this progress and breakthroughs only happen after surmounting many challenges.
One of the main challenges faced was that of when “people did not believe what they were talking about”. “Most did not believe that our system will help them,” admitted Mr Ng. “They would say: ‘Eh, I ran my business for 35 years, are you sure that you can help my business?’… The biggest issues were lack of experience, lack of knowledge and our young age.”
Yet, this did not deter them. Crediting his team who helped to bring the company to what it is today, Mr Ng recalled their shared struggles and experiences in the early days. “We worked really hard, our salespeople would go and knock on doors, canvassing under the rain and sun persistently.”
“There is no correct way. Just got to keep trying, keep learning, keep improving and don’t give up until we started to acquire some big customers before people started to give us a chance.”
The lack of IT background also proved to be a problem for them, particularly since they were delving into technology to scale up their business. “But we just overcame it by working with people who are experts in the domain and hiring people who have this area of expertise.”
Skyfy does not appear to be slowing down in its ambitious plans. Bold plans are in place to expand into other parts of the South-east Asia region. “It is very concrete that we are going to Indonesia and Malaysia next and hopefully Thailand and the Philippines in the next six months,” added Mr Ng.
“One of the main reasons we are doing this is because we understand that we really want to be a serious global player, partnering with global companies. If you don’t have a regional presence, these companies are not going to give you the contract… so we need to step-by-step establish contacts. Once we get a global view, I think we will be ready to go global.”