Signature’s stamp in premium kitchen market

Signature’s stamp in premium kitchen market

33KUALA LUMPUR: BusinessmanTan Kee Choong, a co-founder of Sig¬nature International Bhd, is behind the impressive growth of the 21-year-old premium modular kitchen system distributor and retailer specialist with a market capitalisation of RM226.7 mil as of Dec 29.

Together with Datuk Michael Chooi Yoey Sun, they set up Signature Cabinet Sdn Bhd, a company specialising in the design, marketing and distribution of kitchen systems, wardrobe systems and built-in kitchen appliances. This has been the stepping stone for the duo to expand the company’s product range.

With 24 years of experience in the industry, Tan, who is Signature’s group managing director, has contributed sig¬nificantly to the company’s production process improvements, product quality, brand recognition, research and devel¬opment and more importantly, market penetration in Malaysia and the group’s overseas business expansion.
Signature was listed on the Main Board of Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd in 2008. It traded at RM1.89 on Dec 29.

“Basically, I had worked in the same industry as a sales person for five years prior to Signature Kitchen and I met Datuk Michael [who is now the company’s executive director]. He’s the marketing expert and I’m more in the area of product development and technical area. So I think that’s how we are able to work until this day,” Tan tells FocusM.

With its vision and mission focus¬ing on customer experience of Sig¬nature’s product, Tan attributed the company’s success to its corporate value, namely customer passion, teamwork and excellence.

31“I would say each of the employees and departments should support each other in order to deliver a good job to the customers. So I think excellence, teamwork and customer passion are all inter-related,” Tan explains.

As an advocate of the three values, financial controller Teng Chooi Wan tells FocusM: “I have to agree with Tan. We have our own corporate vision, and also corporate mission for the short term.”

“And to back up what we want to achieve in the long run and the short term, we have our three core values that Tan mentioned,” says Teng

With the ever-increasing job orders, Tan says his focus is to further improve Signature’s operational efficiency. “When our sales have grown to such a size I think the back-end support is very important to deliver the orders,” he adds.
In addition, Tan notes one of the ways Signature differentiates itself from competitors is its workforce. With knowledge and expertise being a forerunner within the industry, he says: “I think in this industry, we rely a lot on knowledge. However I think most of the time such knowledge is actually dependent on one or two persons in the company.”

With talents required for each of its main departments, namely product development, production and technical installation, Tan says each department has a specific job to handle.

“My way to overcome this is that I break this into different specialised areas so I train my people to be specialists in that specific area so our department will have many talents handling each department.

“This is how I manage this on a big scale because when business has expanded to such a size you no longer can depend on one or two persons’ knowledge. Therefore I think through the years, our company has been able to nurture and train a lot of specialists to handle the increase in job orders,” Tan adds.
As the market leader in modular kitchen system distribution and a retailer spe¬cialist, Tan notes that the start-up of Signature in the early days was easier as customer awareness was low and choices were limited.

With limited resources in the beginning, Tan says he adopted a different business model from his peers and the same proven model is used till today.

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