Interview with Andrew Lo

Andrew Lo
Andrew Lo
Crystal Group
Crystal Group

You also seem to have high expectations from Bangladesh and Cambodia. Why do you think is Bangladesh an attractive investment destination?

Bangladesh is somewhat attractive in terms of labour cost and favoured trade terms. We were comparatively conservative in early investment there, for we were new to the culture and environment. But after some years of operating experience, we plan for a steady growth for the coming five years forward to match up with our multi-country-of-origin strategy in coping with different customer needs.

Political stability and free trade agreement favourability is the most important thing when choosing a sourcing destination. Do you agree?

This is certain for any business, especially when we are in a globalised world, working with international customers. Free trade agreement favourability can improve the price competitiveness whereas allowing us to leverage on country specific strengths and currencies. Political stability is of crucial importance to our investment as we always look for longer term development in the region.

How important is strategic relationship in this business?

Strategic relationship in business ensures seamless operations along the supply chain that eventually brings in multi-wins for every partner: 1. Transparent communication on planning to foster growth in the supply chain members; 2. Efficient cooperation along the supply chain to reduce costs and hence improved efficiency; 3. Quick response to the market for consumers and hence brand loyalty to ensure stable orders; 4. Customers favour strong suppliers who could offer totality of services from within the supply chain.

What can be done by production houses to improve the factor of speed in the entire manufacturing process?

At Crystal Group, we deploy information technology to speed up information dissemination from sales order placement to payment arrangement. The application of IT allows the supply chain to be virtually integrated seamlessly and reduce redundancy. Lean production management is adopted in our production to 'straighten' the process flow. The use of single-piece flow model by automated rover system is well-illustrating the improvement of productivity ranged by 20-35 per cent. On the shop floors, in addition to lean system and IT, innovative technologies and ideas are as important to enhance our productivity and speed. In short, we have set innovation centres and R&D teams to seek for further shortening of production time. Through development of automated machines and other process re-engineering, we are striving for further improvement even down to a second's reduction, as this still accounts for huge savings for us.

I would like to quote one your earlier statements - "We cannot be green if we cannot sustain our margins". How does income contribute to sustainability in a business?

As a private company, we opt to maintain independence for longer-term strategic development instead of sacrificing for short-term benefits. Hence, the income or profit is vital not only for our shareholders, but is also an essential resource for ploughing back our business sustainability.
Published on: 01/04/2015

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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