Category Archives: EZ 39

The Home Whisperer

Vincent Chew

Managing Director of Pensonic Group

“There’s no room for complacency. Keeping my head in the game is the realisation that a certain mindset needs to be proven through example. Therefore, everyone is afforded the opportunity to display greatness and be rewarded for it.”

Be it telling the time, balancing revenue sheets, flipping channels on the TV remote, or punching in an old flame’s digits to reconnect, people rely on figures as a navigational compass to determine directionality, more than they realise. Keeping tabs is second nature and perhaps, rightfully so. In the rat race, the formula isn’t any different. Mathematical equations, scientific algorithms, and basic score-setting each have their place in profit’s grand design. But sometimes, the ‘numbers game’ travels further when coupled with poetic justice.

LESS IS MORE

What might that mean? Many, by stroke of habit, tend to beat around the bush when spilling their best kept secret to triumph, as if it were the roadmap leading right to the Holy Grail. Amidst the corporate-cloaked clutter, one man has risen to the occasion-doing so almost 20 years ago-to rewrite the pages of success in his mental journal. Setting himself clearly apart, he operates on the premise that simplicity is the most profound of complexities to conquer.

Pensonic Holdings Berhad group managing director, Vincent Chew, is the sales savant referenced in these chronicles. Over a recent Essenze exclusive in his office, he took it upon himself to address his personal style of leadership and ideas on growth. Sealing the measure of his worth, the dialogue which ensued, went on to uncover an amalgamation of the seventh integer on the numerical chart with passionate words, a code which best sums up the managerial mogul and intrepid traveller.

HONEST ACE

Truthfully, it did not take long in the conversation for his underlying philosophy to come through. Twenty-five minutes in and seven key words later, Chew’s personal recipe to his special brew gushed out from inside the barrel. “In business, you have to be trustworthy,” the 43-year-old shares, eager to educate. Without context, the message reads as generic but when put into perspective based on the findings he has leveraged thus far to pave his path, the writing is literally on the wall-and spells ‘PENSONIC’ in bold red against white paint.

The golf and cigar enthusiast’s unrivalled sense of integrity and ingenuity has everything to do with the fact that the public-listed venture is now a full-blown empire, the very one his chairman father, Dato’ Sri Chew Weng Khak, founded in 1982 out of Balik Pulau, a dainty town in Penang known for its durian plantations. Starting out in the early 1960s as a specialist electronics repairer and then moving on to the frontlines as a home appliance retailer, senior proved to be good with his hands and junior has followed in his footsteps.

“I believe in comradeship and trust. Most of my sales general managers are with me in KL. Decision-making and brand building are a collective process and my team understands and applauds that.”

HOT HONCHO

However, in his aspirations to drive his dad’s vision, Chew flew to Michigan in the United States during 1992, spent four years pursuing a formal education in human resources, and returned to Malaysia, only to be inducted into the company’s fabric as a core member of its manufacturing arm. He was only 24 at the time, but already, he had colossal shoes to fill-which is why his university training and degree came in handy. Two years later, while his peers were out job-hunting most likely, he had bigger fish to fry.

Rather than goofing around with confetti on his twenty-sixth birthday, the young chap clocked his first promotion, celebrated his fresh appointment as executive director, and immediately dived into the marque’s books as head marketer. In the role, he was commissioned to further cultivate sales across both the northern and central regions, establish balance between the two, fine-tune in-house policies, and set up the business’s regional sales office in Kuala Lumpur, which he has managed to nurture from just 10 employees to 120-strong.

AHEAD OF THE GAME

Since his entrance into the consumer electronics arena, the company has seen numerous gargantuan upgrades. From a miniscule shop lot in Balik Pulau to a second outlet in Georgetown not long after to the close to RM400 million annual turn-over and 30% mark in international export it currently enjoys, Pensonic is just getting started. “I believe in comradeship and trust. Most of my sales general managers are with me in KL. Decision-making and brand building are a collective process and my team understands and applauds that.”

Part of the cohesion seen today is structured upon Chew’s ingenious multi-brand platform concept. Instead of diversification or fussing over price, Pensonic has conquered the home appliances sector by buying into partner brands and acquiring trademarks which cater to all segments of the local market. To date, it has 10 service centres and eight premium-range Kollektion Haus outlets nationwide with more on the way. It’s the move that has allowed the label to stay competitive without having to compete.

The strategic tackle also awarded Chew his step-up to group managing director in 2014. In fact, Kollektion Haus is the redefined retail business format incepted in 2012 by the man himself, to enable Pensonic to sell premium brands exclusively. Today, the brands under Pensonic’s multi-brand distribution network include Cornell, Princess, Gaggia (Milano), Indesit, and Lebensstil Kollektion. “All initial efforts are attributable to the hard work of the founder. My father was the chief architect with the blueprints,” Chew offers modestly.