How long have you been in the real estate industry, and how did you come to join Colliers?
I started my career in the real estate industry immediately after graduating from the National University of Singapore, School of Building & Estate Management. My 28 years in the industry have been focused mainly on mall management. My most recent project was Paradigm Mall, Johor Bahru, which is a 2 million square-foot mega mall. My work experience covers a wide array of properties that include residential, commercial and industrial properties, under the strata management and facilities management businesses.
I always believe that whatever happens, happens for a reason. I was searching for an opportunity to work in Singapore after my stint in Malaysia, and was connected through my network of friends to a senior executive – who happened to be my schoolmate in varsity – in Colliers. My profile and work experience are well-suited to Colliers and its Real Estate Management Services (REMS) department’s expansion plan. I joined the firm in August and I look forward to working on a range of strategies to further drive the business.
Tell us about the key business areas you are focusing on at Colliers, and why they excite you?
My team’s present business focus is on commercial and residential leasing and tenancy management
. We represent landlords in the leasing and management of their properties.
We are also expanding into retail tenancy management and operations as we see a good potential in growing that business, given the present team’s core competencies in retail leasing and operations.
In fact, we have just been appointed as the retail leasing and tenancy manager for *SCAPE, a lifestyle and entertainment venue in Orchard Road.
In every business, there are always challenges to manage. Whether they are exciting or not depends very much on one’s mindset. I always question and challenge the norms, not that I choose to be radical, but always aspiring to do things innovatively and effectively. This is what truly excites me.
In your opinion, what are the top three trends that will transform the real estate industry in Singapore?
Data analytics, robotics and smart systems. These are the three trends in technology that will transform how Singapore’s real estate management will operate currently and in the near future.
Real estate management has traditionally been manpower and skills reliant. With technological advancements, real estate firms have begun to look for technological solutions to improve its services in an efficient and optimal manner.
Whilst these trends are not new, adoption and implementation have been slow. An example of this transformation would be the use of sensors and data analytics in a smart system.
A smart system is described as a system that incorporates functions of sensing, actuation, and control to analyse a situation and make decisions based on the available data in a predictive or adaptive manner. Surveillance camera systems are now integrated with video analytics to sense and alert security personnel to unattended items, identify persons through facial recognition algorithms, spot suspicious gatherings and so forth. This reduces the need to have security personnel in the control room and they can be better deployed where manpower is optimally needed. Sensors that detect the amount of rubbish and the amount of ammonia in the air would help cleaning companies optimise their cleaners to carry out work where needed, rather than the need to check and monitor constantly.
It is about leveraging on technology to optimise limited manpower resources, increasing productivity, minimising costs, and delivering higher value services.
How would you describe your management style and way of working?
I would say the word ‘simple’ sums it up well:
- S – Simplify: Take large problems and make them bite size.
- I – Innovate: Find creative ways to solve complex problems in an efficient and pragmatic way.
- M – Mentor: Coach staff to perform well. When they do well, you do well too.
- P – Patience: Be patient with people and problems. Good solutions need time.
- L – Listen and Learn: Be attentive. Learn from others and from past mistakes.
- E – Empower: Don’t micro manage. Guide and advise staff, then give them the authority and freedom to do what is necessary.
What inspires you?
I cannot attribute my inspiration to just one factor. There are several that motivate me in a holistic way, which can be summed up with four “F” words. Nothing vulgar:
- Family – Their love and support towards my career.
- Firm – The company that believes in, supports and appreciates me.
- Future – The technological advancements that we can embrace to make work efficient.
- Flip – Opportunities to turn negative situations to positive ones.
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