#SMETowkay: Eyeing growth through technology

For SFS Global Logistics, ensuring good driving habits among its fleet of drivers is more than a safety issue but a business-critical one.

Bad driving not only endangers its drivers and other road users but it could compromise sensitive cargo that is being transported. These goods include drugs for clinical trials and biological substances that must be transported in a climate controlled environment, or reach the recipient within a very specific time frame.

To nurture good driving behavior and keep an eye on its drivers, SFS Global Logistics turned to Mobile Eye, a tracking system from road safety solutions provider Chuan-Fa Auto.

The system helps avoid accidents by alerting drivers to impending collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians. It also warns drivers of lane departures and documents driving behavior.

If a particular driver is prone to speeding and braking hard, the data is recorded to allow the company to take corrective action such as issuing warnings to errant employee, according to Group CEO Roger Chew.

Mobile Eye is just one piece of a digital jigsaw that Roger has assembled to help grow SFS Global Logistics into one of Singapore’s leading freight forwarder for temperature-controlled pharmaceutical products.

From its humble beginnings in 2009, the company expanded with over 20 offices in Asia, Europe, USA and Africa. Much of this success is thanks to the adoption of technology. Roger shares that not only has technology helped improve and streamline operations, it has also helped SFS win over the trust of many global pharmaceutical companies around the world as they are impressed with the company’s commitment in ensuring a smooth delivery of their assets.

Besides Mobile Eye, SFS also invested in a freight management system to better coordinate its shipments. Freight details such as the time of collection, aircraft departure and arrival, as well as custom clearance are uploaded into the system and shared with the company’s offices across the world. This ensures a smooth transfer of information and follow-ups between employees taking charge of the first and second legs of a shipment. In the past, employees had to call or email one another to get status updates, often having to work late into the night because of the difference in time zones.

Customers also benefit from this system as they can track their own shipments and not rely on daily email updates that were laboriously extracted from an Excel spreadsheet.

With digitalisation and automation, SFS’ employees can now focus on higher-value tasks which consequently leads to better remuneration . He adds that going high-tech also makes his company more attractive to prospective employees by defying the industry’s reputation for long working hours and its steep learning curve.

“ It became very clear to me that I needed to find a (digital) solution to make my life easier,” he says. After clinching a big client in 2009, he invested in a business software to streamline his operations. Since then he continues to leverage technology to scale up his business while keeping his outfit lean

Just like the army vocation he was in for 13 years, Roger stresses, “I believe that a small company like mine can achieve big things just like a commando unit.”

If you liked this article, read more here or continue to watch this space as we feature more SMEs in the weeks to come! You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; or visit us at www.mci.gov.sg for more information.