Mr. Daniel Chen: Transporting Goods, Transforming Lives
D’trans Pte Ltd
Amazon’s Jeff Besos and Rakuten’s Hiroshi Mikitani may soon welcome Mr. Daniel Chen in their ranks. The brain behind courier and distribution company D’trans Pte Ltd is gearing up for the next big step — his own e-commerce store in the next five years. Judging from the success of his business for the past 17 years, one can anticipate that this new foray is the next big success story waiting to unfold. “E-commerce is the trend now and we need to adapt to the change,” Daniel said. Innovating is what makes him excited to come to work every day. “We need to keep creating new things. Think about new marketing plans, new products. Create new and exciting energy in the workplace. Otherwise, it will all be the same: delivery, delivery, delivery.”
True enough, D’trans Pte Ltd is a business that thrives on predictability. But whoever says predictability can be boring is mistaken. Daniel and his staff strength of 20 — from managers to drivers — consider having fun while on a “routine” job as the secret sauce behind their success. In this article, he shares how he steadily built his business and his advice for rising entrepreneurs.
A Business Blooms: On Being Hands – On In The First Years
Established in 1997, D’trans Pte Ltd used to be a sole proprietorship under the name DA-JA Floral Delivery Services. The main activity was to deliver specialty flowers for all occasions island-wide. As Daniel got to know more people, he saw that there was more he could do apart from delivering flowers. In 2001, DA-JO Delivery Services was born. It served as a distribution hub for everything that needed to be sent out – parcels, mailing, items, among others. As DA-JO Delivery Services grew, Daniel decided it was time to get incorporated. Since 2005, the
business became known as it is today – D’trans Pte Ltd.
As the sole proprietor, Daniel used to put his hands on every aspect of the business. “At the start I needed to work 16-18 hours a day. You need to know everything. You can’t expect your employees to do the job right unless you show them how.” Daniel’s formula of “Hard work + long hours” resulted in a business that now thrives on its own. “I still spend time in the business, but not as much as before,” he says. In fact, one of his most satisfying moments in being an entrepreneur is how he sees his business bloom. “Having a business is like having a baby. You get a great feeling watching the baby grow,” he says.
Finding Success Amidst Challenges & Failures
Daniel shares that one of the biggest challenges in a distribution service company is manpower. There were times when deliveries were late or missed as a result of poor manpower staffing. To overcome this, Daniel invested in attracting the right people to his team and training them. Daniel also invested in implementing a standard work process. In 2007, D’trans achieved its ISO 9001:2000 certification. This was the gold seal for quality assurance that requires the company to meet work standards, regulatory standards and customer standards as well. Daniel did not stop there.
In 2008, all his despatch staff members have received Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) to perform delivery operations. Daniel did not let his initial manpower set back derail his business. Instead, he found solutions that proved to be long-lasting. The manpower issues now resolved; Daniel faced yet another challenge: Collections. “We had clients who defaulted on payments.” Instead of getting entangled in messy legal suits, Daniel just picked up from where he left off and moved forward to finding better customers. “We simply terminated their accounts and found new clients,” he shares. This reflects how Daniel puts great value in creating positive energy in his business. He is an arrow that always shoots forward and never wallows in failures. “We still have the business. So why bother with those that did not work out?” he says. In fact, building a wide network of contact is one thing he advises young entrepreneurs to do. “Grow your business step by step and expand your circle. In business, you need more contacts,” he says.
Investing Time: The Surest Path To Success
To the young entrepreneurs, Mr. Daniel Chen advises three things: Do your best, invest time, and be mindful of your customers. “You have to put in the time to make your business grow. I used to work 16-18 hours a day, no holidays. Having a business is like taking care of a baby. It will take years but your satisfaction as you see your baby grow will be immense,” he shares. One cannot meet failures and not have the capability to rise above it if he does his best. Daniel believes anything is possible to the person who always gives his best. This is especially true when it comes to serving your customers. In fact, customer mindfulness is the mantle of protection that one can wear against competition. Even if there are many new distribution, logistics, storage or warehousing companies that were set up in recent years, customers continued to stay loyal to D’trans because they know the company consistently gives its best to serve them.
With this as a life-long principle, Mr. Daniel Chen has seen his business of transporting goods transform many lives. “Success is not all about the money. If you have money but you don’t have friends or family, then that is not a mark of success,” he concludes.
D’TRANS PTE LTD