HERBusiness, HERTips, Uncategorized

Technology Innovation Bearing Fruit for SunMoon Food

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The SunMoon Food Company was on the brink of bankruptcy in 2007 when Gary Loh, a veteran of the financial services industry, took charge of the Singapore-based company.

Over the next decade, Loh directed a sweeping restructuring and applied technological innovations that have transformed SunMoon into a fast-growing provider of fresh produce-from apples, pears, tangerines and cherries to ready-to-eat sweet corn.

With an “asset-light, customer-centric” approach, Loh shifted the business strategy from company-owned plantations to sourcing produce from more than 200 carefully selected growers that meet SunMoon’s standards for freshness, quality, safety and traceability. By selling off the plantations, Loh cut the workforce from about 500 to 50.

At the same time, SunMoon aggressively expanded its distribution model, which today encompasses 11,000 points of sale to 169 customers in 20 countries, from the nations of Southeast Asia to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea and the U.S.

SunMoon’s dramatic turnaround triggered a recent investment by Shanghai Yiguo E-Commerce Ltd., a food service commerce company backed by Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba. Additional investments by Goldman Sachs and KKR have SunMoon poised for further growth, in part by tapping Yiguo’s logistics and food service network.

“When I came in 2007, I needed to streamline the entire operation,” said Loh, the SunMoon CEO and Deputy Chairman. “We needed to be able to move a lot of items from farm to fork, which means a lot of logistics on the back end and coordination with suppliers.”

Sowing Seeds for Success

A central element of that strategy is SunMoon’s use of NetSuite OneWorld for financials, inventory and order management, financial consolidation across subsidiaries in China, Indonesia, and the U.S., and multi-currency transactions in 11 different currencies.

Before rolling out OneWorld in April 2017, SunMoon relied mostly on manual emails to communicate with suppliers and customers for order management, invoicing and billing. The move to OneWorld has greatly improved efficiency, enabling SunMoon to save 150 hours and an estimated SGD $20,000 in just five months.

Today, SunMoon suppliers enter expiry dates, packaging sizes and other details into NetSuite’s cloud-based system. That makes it easy for SunMoon to create quotes and invoices for customers, and to automate purchase orders and payments with suppliers.

“With NetSuite OneWorld, we’ve been able to move our products seamlessly from farm to fork on a global scale much faster and more efficiently,” Loh said. “Using NetSuite OneWorld’s integrated capabilities helps us transform SunMoon into an asset-light and customer-centric enterprise.”

With multi-currency and multi-lingual support, the global solution also gives SunMoon agility for continued global growth. And NetSuite’s inherent flexibility aligns well with SunMoon’s plans to utilize technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Bitcoin and fintech in the future.

“NetSuite addresses a lot of the issues we faced in a single bundle, with scalability to expand our geographic reach,” Loh said. “We can smoothly manage exponential growth in sales with real-time data all in one place.”

Learn more about how NetSuite helps innovative, Singapore-based companies.

Posted by Zakir Ahmed, VP and General Manager for Asia

Learn more about Oracle NetSuite at the H.E.R Asia Summit on the 26th September. Find out more here

HERBusiness, Uncategorized

Image Mission Streamlines Processes to Dress Women for Success

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Li Kin Pang will never forget the first woman her nonprofit organization, Image Mission Ltd, helped. A mother of three, the woman, whom we’ll call Mae, had been the victim of domestic violence, and as a result had been forced to move with her children into her mother’s one-room apartment.

With so many pressures facing her, Mae kept her goals small, telling Pang that her dream was simply to get a job so she could afford her own apartment. The problem was, Mae had an education equivalent to that of a 14-year-old, which severely limited her potential job choices. Not one to quit, Mae said she wanted to apply for a distance learning program so she could finish her education while working, and eventually get a better job.

“This is the kind of people we’re helping,” said Pang, who 14 months ago founded Image Mission and launched Dress for Success® Singapore to help women like Mae by providing them with image consulting, professional attire and career coaching. “We’re trying to help them achieve their dreams.”

Held Back by Limited Resources 

But helping people achieve their dreams takes time, and like so many young nonprofits, Image Mission lacked IT resources and was running its business on a combination of spreadsheets and Word documents. That meant data was not integrated and hard to access. Business processes were also managed differently by different volunteers.

It wasn’t a model that would allow Image Mission to reach as many people as Pang envisioned — a number that figured to grow quickly after the organization was appointed the operator of Dress for Success Singapore, an affiliate of international nonprofit Dress for Success. As that process was unfolding, Pang began to look for an answer to the organization’s technology challenges.

It was about this time, in early 2015, that Pang brought on Image Mission’s first volunteer from the U.S., a woman who happened to be married to a NetSuite employee. When she first mentioned NetSuite, Pang had never heard of it, nor the company’s grant program for nonprofits. She thought it sounded like a miracle, so she applied and was awarded a software donation from NetSuite.org, coupling it with implementation assistance from SuiteVolunteers, a signature NetSuite.org program that offers pro bono volunteer services from NetSuite employees to nonprofits receiving business software donations.

Primed for the Mission

By October, Image Mission’s NetSuite environment was up and running, and while it would take a bit of time to get the hang of it, the organization was primed to expand its reach. Whereas Image Mission was only able to help 12 women in 2015, it has already helped 50 so far in 2016, and Pang hopes that number will reach 400 by March 2017. In all, she’s estimated that nearly 9,000 women in Singapore could potentially benefit from the Dress for Success Singapore programme.

Pang says it’s too soon to have measured any improvement resulting from NetSuite, but that she’s seen the evidence of its impact. The organization has been able to use its database more efficiently to manage client referrals, match clients to volunteers, track volunteer hours and perform a multitude of other operational tasks. It’s using NetSuite to generate reports on its nonprofit status for local entities, as well as on its overall performance for Dress for Success.

Business metrics that would otherwise be a monthly challenge to compile are now easily accessible with the click of a button, thanks to NetSuite’s customizable reporting. The integration between NetSuite’s ERP and CRM platforms has also proven to be invaluable in tracking financial transactions down to the specific client, volunteer or donor.

Perhaps slightly more measurable, Image Mission also has been able to create automated online volunteer and client referral forms, replacing a clunky manual process and significantly reducing errors.

“Now the forms automatically populate the database,” says Pang. “It saves a lot of manual entry.”

More Work to Do

And Pang is far from done; in fact, she says she has a long NetSuite wish list. First up: training more staff on the NetSuite system. In fact, Image Mission already has received another grant to have a SuiteVolunteer team run a training programme for beginner users of back office functionality.

After that, it’s on to an online fundraising engine. “The dream is to have a portal that would help us to run our fundraising campaigns,” she said.

But all of these dreams, just like those of Image Mission’s clients, take time.

Mae, the first woman Pang helped, did get an administrative job, but she eventually moved back in with her husband and again found herself the victim of domestic violence. She was forced to move out on her own one more time, which interrupted her work and her plans to further her education.

But as she seeks to rebuild her life, Image Mission will be there with her, until she gets fully on her feet, just as NetSuite will be there, supporting Image Mission’s objectives long after it establishes itself as a nonprofit with staying power.

Learn more about NetSuite software donations and the SuiteVolunteers programs at www.netsuite.org.

Posted by Teryll Hopper, Communications Manager, Corporate Citizenship, NetSuite

Learn more about Oracle NetSuite at the H.E.R Asia Summit on the 26th September. Find out more here!

HERBusiness, Uncategorized

Asia Pacific CEOs: Cloud Serves as the Foundation for Driving Business Transformation

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Photo by PhotoMIX Ltd. on Pexels.com

When Singapore-based airlines, Scoot launched in 2011 to serve a market for low-cost medium and long haul flights, the startup looked at several on-premise ERP vendors to manage its operations. Impressed by the cost-efficiency, fast deployment, real-time visibility and flexibility afforded by the cloud, it decided on NetSuite.

Scoot now runs vendor payments, revenue management and fixed asset management for its 2 billion Singaporean dollar fleet on NetSuite. In just five years since its launch, Scoot has expanded to 15 destinations, and plans to deepen its market presence by tripling its fleet size.

As companies like Scoot continue to disrupt the markets in which they operate, cloud software is playing a central role in their IT strategies. The promise the cloud holds for disruptive innovation was a central theme at a roundtable discussion with Scoot and 14 other leading businesses in the Asia Pacific region at the Asia Pacific CEO Congress in Singapore. Early concerns about the cloud have evaporated, the leaders agreed, and top businesses in the region see the cloud as the highway to harness technologies like predictive and big data analytics and real-time, mobile data access.

“The most important and most definite disruptive technology is cloud computing,” said Ng Long Jian, Scoot’s Head of Finance. “It is something that we have been aware of since our inception because of the potential cost savings, particularly the avoidance of any huge investment in IT infrastructure.”

Cloud security, TCO concerns evaporate

Time was, the decision to leverage the cloud hinged on a total cost of ownership discussion. On-premise vendors, eager to preserve relationships with key customers, offered up hosted products as cloud solutions and passed off their long-term value. Yet customers are now hipper to the perils presented by this so-called solution, the business leaders agreed. Hosted on-premise products can’t compete with the total value proposition of the cloud – the ease of integration, upgrades and agility that are enabled by true cloud solutions architected in a multi-tenant environment.

Indeed, senior executives are increasingly placing greater emphasis the idea of value. Although cloud is often looked at from a cost perspective, the power of having real-time business insights, not having to manage an IT organisation, freeing up IT resources to focus on driving technology for the businesses, versus keeping your servers running and backing up your data can’t be reflected in a total cost of ownership.

Business leaders also agreed that security is no longer a roadblock to cloud adoption.

“The amount of resources that cloud companies can put into tackling security issues are far more than what any individual company, irrespective of size, will be able to put to the problem,” said Amit Roy Choudhury of Singapore’s The Business Times. “There might have been an inflection point where that realisation came through, and that is when the security issue went away.”

Analytics, mobile projects top agendas

With confidence in cloud deployments, the business leaders have big plans for the technology to empower deep analytical capabilities and enable real-time data access on mobile devices. Data analysis capabilities will drive business transformation, the business leaders agreed. They expect they’ll deploy extensive data analysis and insight capabilities in the cloud over the next five years, to either streamline or fundamentally amend their route to their customers.

For businesses like iProperty, advanced data analytics will continue to help it improve its customer experiences. For instance, instead of simply serving up real estate data to searching customers, the property website will look to push personalized data to them proactively.

“An online business needs to have great business ideas that are able to disrupt, but it also needs to stay on top of trends,” iProperty’s Georg Chmiel said.

Leaders will also look to the cloud for increased operational and process efficiencies, and to cost effectively enter new markets and new channels to extend their product and service portfolios and deepen engagement with customers.

As it continues to prove its worth as a business enabler, adoption of the cloud will continue to accelerate across Asia Pacific. Leading businesses will use it to move fast, pivot when needed, and create the future they know is possible for their organisation and customers.

Posted by Zakir Ahmed, VP and General Manager for Asia, Oracle Netsuite

Meet our Platinum Sponsor, Oracle NetSuite, on the 26th September 2018 at the H.E.R Asia Summit as they share more on how their software solutions can deepen your market presence and simplify your business.

For more information, visit: http://bit.ly/hersummit18.

HERBusiness, HERTips

3 Tips to Public Speaking

Public speaking is an important, albeit challenging, skill to master. Regardless of your position and title, it is crucial that you are able to communicate your ideas and opinions across to different people. Here are 3 tips that will help better your ability to speak in public.

Tip 1: Familiarise yourself with your environment
Research your audience – who are they? What are their viewpoints and concerns on the matter? Not only will doing this lay the groundwork for your speech, it will also you help you to anticipate and prepare for potential questions that members of the audience will raise during the Q&A session.
If possible, take a tour and practice at the location where you will be delivering your actual speech. Make a mental note of your physical surroundings – the lighting, seating arrangement and acoustics of the place. Take these into consideration when preparing the delivery of your speech.
Tip 2: Practice!
As with many other things in life, practice does make perfect when it comes to speaking in public. Once familiarized with your script, make it a point to rehearse through it. You can consider standing in front of a mirror or recording yourself. While you might cringe at the thought of having to watch yourself speak, doing this will help you pick up on your weaknesses immediately and address them. Alternatively, consider enlisting the help of a family member or trusted friend to watch you speak and provide constructive feedback on your performance.
We recommend familiarizing yourself with general flow and main points of your script rather than memorizing it word-for-word. Thus, if you lose your train of thought midway through, you will not have to scramble to think of the exact word as per your script but rather, recall the main point and talk from there.
Tip 3: Keep your cool
You may have spent hours preparing for your speech but you can still trip up during the actual event. Keep this possibility in mind during the delivery. If you forgot a line, think you spoke a little too fast or feel your voice quivering, take a deep breath and carry on. Chances are, if you act like it did not happen, your audience is less likely to pick up on the mistakes.

H.E.R Entrepreneur is a platform for women entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs to be inspired, educated and empowered through our online resources, meet-ups, workshops and conferences.

Meet like-minded individuals who will be convening at our annual H.E.R Asia Summit on 26th September 2018 by purchasing tickets here.


HERBusiness, Uncategorized

3 Productivity Hacks for Entrepreneurs

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You’re faced with what seems like a million tasks that need to be completed ASAP. How best can you maximise your time without burning out?
Here are 3 hacks for entrepreneurs to help boost your productivity.

Hack 1: Block out time to tackle your emails
Emails are an unavoidable part of being an entrepreneur. At any point in time, your inbox is likely to be inundated with requests for meetings with clients and potential partnership/sponsorship enquiries, among others. If you find yourself spending a significant amount of your time simply reading through and replying to emails throughout the day, take a page out of Elon Musk’s book and consider carving out blocks of time just to tackle your emails.
As the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, this billionaire receives a large number of emails each day, but devotes half an hour starting 7am each day solely to addressing his most “critical emails”. Adopting his practice allows you to filter through what is important to your decision-making while ensuring that you still have time to dedicate towards your other tasks.
Hack 2:  Make use of your commute
If you are not based from home, chances are you spend a significant amount of time commuting to and fro work. Given that many work-based applications can be accessed through your mobile device, why not use this time in a productive manner?
You can consider replying messages and those non-critical emails from hack 1 during your travels. Alternatively, utilize these periods of time for personal development; you could listen to podcasts on self-improvement or read e-books on personal growth.
Hack 3: Get comfortable with delegation
As an entrepreneur, it may be tempting to get involved in every aspect of your business. You want to ensure that a certain standard of quality is maintained across the company, and how better to ensure this than by doing everything yourself?
However, as an entrepreneur, your role within the company is one of leadership. Hence, rather than performing functional work, focus your time on making key decisions and charting the direction of growth for the company. If resources permit, consider delegation through outsourcing or hiring of employees so that you have the time to tackle the more important issues.

H.E.R Entrepreneur is a platform for women entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs to be inspired, educated and empowered through our online resources, meet-ups, workshops and conferences.

Meet like-minded individuals who will be convening at our annual H.E.R Asia Summit on 26th September 2018 by purchasing tickets here.