By Think Business Staff
From small beginnings as a local, family-oriented transport company in 1955, YCH Group has evolved into a sophisticated pan-Asian logistics and supply chain management business. Today the firm has more than 4,000 staff, operating in hubs across the Asia-Pacific, moving more than $50bn worth of products annually, and has ambitious plans to go global over the coming decade.
The driving force behind that change has been Dr Robert Yap, the dynamic chairman and CEO, and a graduate of NUS Business School (BBA 1976). He joined YCH more than three decades ago.
At the time the Singapore-based firm had 103 drivers and no retrenchment policy, he recalls. "We ran the company like one big family business. We would rather go bankrupt than retrench them. With that kind of pressure, you have no choice but to work hard to succeed." It's from those origins that YCH retains its entrepreneurial spirit, he says.
Handed control of the company by his father two years after joining, Yap hasn't looked back. The journey has been tough and challenging, he says, but the focus has never been about just increasing profits. "Slowly over time, we migrated from simple transportation, to an integrated logistics company to a supply chain management (SCM) company and now we are actually at the very high-end - what we call a Supply Chain Solutions Company."
Today, YCH provides end-to-end supply chain solutions to a diverse range of customers, including big names such as Dell computers, Exxon Mobil and LVMH, supporting them throughout Asia. Yap's vision is to build the company into a fully integrated "logistics superhighway" built around cutting edge technology, but at the same time retain a sense of family and sense of fun among his workforce. That's important to build an emotional connection between the employee and their job, he says.