Developments - 06.18.2019

Succeeding When You Aren’t Present

Can you still be the best in Singapore if you’re based in London? The modern world requires businesses to be successful no matter where you are

Ian John

As we have announced a number of times recently, Datum Alloys closed our location in Singapore in favor of a new location in Poland to better adjust to the impending hurdles posed by Brexit. Moving a significant portion of your business is never easy, but it also poses a serious question: how is Datum planning to manage the supply chain in Asia, especially in Singapore, now that we no longer have a location there? What changes are we making to maintain our market share in the region without actually being there?

These are the questions we have thought about for a very long time, but we feel we have the right answers, and we feel good about the future. Before I reveal the answers to these questions, and how we will continue to lead the industry, I’d like to explain when a physical location is important, and when it is not.

It all depends on where you plan on doing business. A new location for us in Poland makes sense if the Brexit situation resolves in a worst-case scenario. We will need to operate within the borders of the EU to avoid expensive and time-consuming delays and tariffs. Many similar requirements, like taxes and logistics, will influence a company’s decision to open or close branches of their business.

On the other hand, the quality of our products and the value we add to our clients’ business is not constrained by borders or distance. Whether or not we have a local address in Singapore is irrelevant when our reputation and history of success is worldwide. If we can get our products to the same location, in the same amount of time, with the same quality, our clients don’t care if our location is on the moon.

That being said, here is what Datum is doing to still be as successful as we are, and exceed expectations, after leaving Singapore.

We won’t disappear entirely. Datum will continue to maintain an office in Singapore, and Datum Alloys Pte Ltd is still a trading company in the area. We have closed our manufacturing operations and no longer have a factory, warehousing, stock or machinery in Singapore but we still have an entity. Datum Singapore is now based in an office in Raffles Place. We have a Supply Chain Manager (James Rosewarne) in Singapore who will also be looking for sales opportunities in the region that we can service from either our UK or US sites.

In fact, we are regularly fulfilling orders. Plus he will be actively looking for bulk coil sales opportunities.

Our US Business Development Manager (Zina Lewis) is also looking for more opportunities and to broaden her role at Datum. She’s travelled in Asia previously and has met a number of our customers mainly in Singapore, Malaysia, and Korea.

Although not at a Datum owned site, we do have access to a stock of coils in Singapore (they’re stored by our supplier in Malaysia). So we will be looking for opportunities with traders who will buy complete coils without us needing to undertake any processing.

We know traders in the region and have already identified a number of opportunities.

If customers need cut sheets and other processed orders, they can still be supplied from our UK and US sites. Aside from the traders, however, we will focus on higher-end customers where quality and service level are paramount. We want to make the most of our talent, after all. These are mainly outside singapore in China, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and India.. We already know most of the stencil manufacturers in the region so we know who we want to deal with. Business going forward for Datum is not so much a case of market dominance but rather dealing with more reputable companies that value service and quality.

Obviously, shipping times may be a little longer from Europe or the US but they don’t actually take that much longer than shipments from Singapore to Korea. So what might look like a major obstacle, is actually a minor inconvenience. We can handle those!

Most importantly, however, our current and future customers will get exactly the same product and service from our other sites that they would have from Singapore and can expect the same standard.

One of Datum’s biggest and hard-to-understand challenges is Brexit. Nobody in Europe knows what will happen or when. That is, if indeed, anything happens at all. We don’t know how movement across Europe’s borders will, or will not, be affected. By putting machinery and stock into Poland, Datum has a plan to stay close to its customers no matter the outcome.

By keeping an entity and manager in Singapore, Datum can also stay physically close to its key suppliers and can continue our tight working relationship that ensures we maintain the highest quality standards of our incoming materials. We’ll also be able to pursue opportunities with key customers in the region so we will get to enjoy the best of both worlds.