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[ 21-09-2019 ]
Digitalisation is now a necessity, SMEs told

One for the album: (From left) Teh, Soon, Azlina and P’ng posing for photograph after their panel discussion session at the SOBA LAB programme at Trove Hotel in Johor Baru.

JOHOR BARU: Digitalisation is the way forward for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and they have to start planning now, says Digi business marketing and operations head Steven Soon.

SMEs should not fear change but instead, take the bold step of embracing technology and applying it in their operations or businesses, he added.

“Don’t take technology as a roadblock for you to go forward, but as an enabler and go for it, ” he said at the Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) LAB at Trove Hotel here.

Soon said smaller companies need to have knowledge on where, when and how to start, including getting advice from the relevant service providers.

In today’s borderless world, he stressed that digitalisation is no longer an option but a necessity.

Soon was one of the three panellists for the topic Engine of Growth.

The others were PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd chief operating officer P’ng Tean Hau and RHB Bank Bhd commercial banking head Azlina Safian.

The session was moderated by Johor South SME Association adviser Teh Kee Sin.

P’ng emphasised that SMEs should make use of social media platforms as the marketing tool for their products or services.

“Business owners should not undermine the power of social networking as it opens a window of opportunities and growth prospects for them, ” he advised.

In addition, P’ng said that technology should be part of a company’s set-up.

PKT, for instance, requires all of its employees to have a Facebook account to ease communication.

“We communicate better with our employees via Facebook and they can give comments, suggestions, opinions and views.

It makes our organisation very open and our employees happy. Happy employees contribute to good productivity, ” he said.

That said, he noted that the company closely monitors its account to ensure there are no postings that touch on hate speech or racial and sensitive issues.

Azlina, on the other hand, advised SMEs to do cash flow projection on a yearly basis, as it is essential for every business, regardless of size.

“This will help you to plan your business if you want to expand or don’t have enough money to sustain your operations, ” she explained.

Apart from cashflow, Azlina said that SMEs should also keep track of the trends in the business world and what other competitors were doing.

She also advised SMEs to immediately approach banks when facing cash flow problems, instead of at the “very last minute”.

The full-day SOBA LAB also featured Credit Guarantee Corporation Bhd bumiputera development and products senior vice-president Mohamed Azman Mohamed Taufik, Salutary Avenue Group director Azman Abu Naim, Oxwhite founder CK Chang, Muzart International Sdn Bhd director Daphne Teh and DF Automation & Robotics Sdn Bhd director Dr Yeong Che Fai.

The final SOBA LAB session will take place on Aug 8 from 9am to 4.30pm at Lexis Suites, Penang.

Those interested to sign up for the subsequent SOBA LAB sessions can do so at bit.ly/SOBALABPG19.

The workshop is free of charge and seats are based on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Registration is encouraged to secure a seat.

SOBA 2019 is organised by The Star with Digi, PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd and RHB Bank Bhd as main sponsors, Credit Guarantee Corporation as co-sponsors and Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation as official trade promotion partner.

It is endorsed by International Trade and Industry Ministry, supported by Bursa Malaysia and audited by BDO with dimsum as official media partner.

For more information on SOBA 2019, call The Star Events Business Unit at 03-7968 1388 ext 1857 (Pei Wen) or visit www.soba.com.my.

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