SOME of the world’s biggest entrepreneurs share a common history of having started off their ventures from humble beginnings. Tan Eng Kee who established Greatech Technology Berhad (Greatech) in 1993 today looks back with pride at the success achieved by his fledgling “start-up” based in Penang.
His company which provides industrial automation services and systems is now making footprints in the global arena. Primarily the company manufactures semi-automated and automated equipment for the consumer electronics sector. Locally, Greatech is perceived as an industrial automation provider with a growing clientele in the semi-conductor and solar sectors.
Tan who has 22 years of experience in the industrial automation business says the biggest obstacles he faced in the early days of his start-up was his poor management skills and communicating in English – the international language for business.
However, he overcame these difficult challenges with grit and determination. Greatech made its debut on the ACE Market of Bursa Malaysia recently. According to media reports, the company plans to expand its operations to the US and China soon.
“We are looking at the east coast of the US such as Arizona, and in the region of the Silicon Valley, as well as Shanghai in China. We hope to commence operations in the second half of this year,” he told the local media after launching the company’s prospectus.
He said his company is eying the US market because the US is ahead in innovation technology and the employment ecosystem is favourable than other regions.
“We discovered a niche in the process automation segment and focussed on it and this has proven to be fruitful for our group. We are also well positioned to benefit from increasing adoption of automation worldwide to achieve higher productivity and greater efficiency,” he said.
Speaking to The Petri Dish recently, Tan said automation is changing the business landscape. According to him, automation technology is expected to replace a significant segment of the human workforce in the near future.
“By investing in automated systems, companies will be able to boost productivity and efficiency and manage labour costs efficiently,” he said.
“The key to support the development of Industry 4.0 in our workforce is to provide access to information and to build a culture of continuous learning amongst the workforce,” Tan added.
He also said new graduates need to acquire additional skills such as digital fluency, technological savviness and data analytics know-how in order to embrace Industry 4.0.
Greatech has received support from the Malaysian Technology Development Corporation for Commercialisation of Research and Development Fund, Technology Acquisition Fund and Business Growth Fund.