Outdated internal management systems, operational efficiencies, rising costs — several factors could serve as barriers to growth for small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs), impeding their development and expansion process. Thus, it helps to have the right partner to take your business to the next level — especially if you are an SME.
Through The FinLab’s extensive network, business programmes, and grant assistance procedures, small businesses in the region are on their way to driving greater business impact and unlocking operational efficiencies. Here’s how:
Driving efficiencies for Kingdom Organic Network
Once an organic restaurant in Thailand, Kingdom Organic Network (KON) has since grown its business with a purpose — to enhance human well-being via food security. Focused on sustainability, the Thai organic food manufacturer and distributor decided to return to basics and start from the root of it all — the nation’s farmers.
KON was on a mission to establish itself as a healthy food pioneer in Thailand via urban farming, so it collaborated with rural farmers and empowered them with the tools required to transform their communities via sustainably-farmed organic seeds and produce.
However, the organic food manufacturer was faced with a series of challenges. The business found it difficult to connect to farmers in remote areas, to scale operations and to meet the burgeoning consumer demand. Additionally, its existing manual project management system made it difficult to allocate resources efficiently and to maintain reliable data records.
KON realised it needed a paradigm shift — but could only do so with the help of a reliable partner that could help it upgrade its business accordingly. Through The FinLab’s Smart Business Transformation Programme (SBTP) KON successfully digitally transformed its customer and project management systems, and have since enjoyed greater operational efficiency in terms of reporting.
With additional funding from the Innovation Technology Assistance Programme (ITAP) — which provides grants to accelerate digital transformation — KON has recruited 30 farmers as part of a pilot programme aimed at sustainability-based training and upskilling. Now, rural farmers are equipped with adequate tools and knowledge to grow organic produce and support their communities with high-quality healthy food.
K. Kanitthatree of KON said, “Since working with The FinLab’s SBTP, Kingdom Organic Network has transformed into a sustainable urban farming enterprise that uses research and development to develop the very best organic produce. We have been able to set up a highly efficient internal management system to manage the needs of our farmers, communities and corporate stakeholders.
Farmers in both rural and urban Thailand can leverage smart farming tools, as well as access our artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities to produce crops efficiently. We are now ready to welcome at least 300 more farmers to our sustainability programme to address food security in times of crisis.
From tiresome to terrific: Sunlun x BoostOrder
In Malaysia, Sarawak-based tire distributor Sunlun was struggling to organise the way it processed customer orders. Most of its sales transactions were captured manually, leading to inefficient order capturing and processing due to complex product specifications and variations.
Struggling with escalating operational costs and disparate credit management systems, the company realised it needed a consolidated organisational system while keeping operating costs low.
The FinLab’s Jom Transform Programme has helped Malaysian SMEs reinvent themselves through digital education and access to technology solution providers. For example, Sunlun was introduced to BoostOrder, which is a B2B2C commerce platform serving both consumers and businesses. By adopting BoostOrder’s solution, Sunlun was able to increase its efficiency by tracking its assets, payments and product returns, and also have full visibility of its operations to enable the team to make data-driven decisions.
They were also able to offer a 24/7 self-service ordering platform for rewards redemption. With additional help from Mango Credit, BoostOrder’s FinTech partner and sister company, Sunlun had more leeway with its credit management system. As a result, the tire retailer was able to offer digital invoice financing to its customers. Since its partnership with BoostOrder and Mango Credit, Sunlun saw a whopping 500 per cent reduction in order capture time as well as a 54 per cent boost in revenue over eleven months.
“With support from The FinLab and BoostOrder, we managed to serve our customers swiftly and efficiently. Rather than relying on human labour to execute complex transactions involving complex products, we have adopted automated tools and solutions to minimise the scope of human error, thus creating additional value for all partners and stakeholders involved,” said Fabian Lau, Head of Distribution, Sunlun.
Commenting on the partnership, TK Chua, CEO of BoostOrder said, “We are grateful to The FinLab for helping us connect with businesses in need of our solutions. We plan to serve more clients in Malaysia and expand our portfolio to include other companies in Southeast Asia. With our continuous investment in research and development, we hope to bring greater value to our partners and clients.”
Whether you’re an SME looking to digitally transform or a tech solution provider aiming to connect with SMEs, check out our programmes here.