Steel Elite Pte Limited – Mr Vincent Ng – The True Man of Steel
Turning up in Tee-Shirt and Jeans, exuding a sense of quiet confidence, no one would suspect that the 32 year old Mr Vincent Ng is one of the two directors of Steel Elite Pte Ltd.
Founded in 2007, Steel Elite Pte Ltd is a local company specializing in the import and processing of Raw Iron and Stainless Steel materials and manufacturers of doors, gates and grilles. Steel Elite Pte Ltd is not just a product manufacturer and seller, they are also heavily involved in collaborations with renovation contractors and Interior design firms, providing Access Solutions for their projects.
Starting off with just 5 employees, Steel Elite Pte Ltd has since grown to a 15-strong office in the North Bridge Road Area. Much of its success can be largely attributed to Founding Director Mr Vincent Ng. Coming from a self-professed low-middle income family, Mr Ng shares something in common with his company’s name, there is steel in this man’s spine. That steely resolve and raw iron persistence has helped Mr Ng overcome many failures and obstacles along his route to success.
Mr Ng started off in the Metal Gates and Grilles Industry as many others had, he worked his way up from the bottom as a sales representative in the industry. Having built up his network and experience in the industry, it is a natural progression for him to set up his own company in what he considers an evergreen trade. In Mr Ng’s own words, no matter what happens, there will always be a demand for renovations and people will always need doors and gates. Therefore, as long as one can provide good service and high quality products, there will always be business to be done.
Being familiar with the industry does not mean that there are no challenges and obstacles along the way, it just means that Mr Ng is better equipped to deal with them. Among the many challenges, Quality assurance is one area Mr Ng is very concerned about, from the manufacturing of their products by their manufacturing partners to installation works on-site by sub-contractors. Mr Ng keeps a close eye on the quality of the works throughout the entire process by sending his staff to supervise the processes and making sure that they are all done to exact parameters. Along the way, Mr Ng takes the chance to source better materials and partners to work with to continuously improve on the product and quality. One can only imagine the amount of trail and errors in the process and the amount of failures he will encounter. But, Mr Ng views all these as positive challenges as he feels that it is the only way to grow and improve.
In the early days, Steel Elite Pte Ltd were both manufacturers and installers, but as the business started to scale up, it became impossible for them to continue the installation works on their own and they had to get sub-contractors to fill in the service gap. Not willing to sacrifice the quality of installation works, Mr Ng makes sure he has his staff doing on-site supervision on these jobs to ensure that no short-cuts are taken during the job, the quality of work is maintained and the client can be satisfied with the results.
Finding reliable suppliers is also an issue Mr Ng has to deal with on a regular basis. He relates an incident where a supplier supplied the company with locks that worked well initially but could not stand up to the test of repeated stress, the result was that 80% of the installed locks malfunctioned after a few months. But, when it happened, the supplier has already gone out of business and Steel Elite Pte Ltd had to absorb the full costs of replacing every defective product on their own. To Mr Ng, this is a problem that they needed to tackle head on and take responsibility for their mistake to replace the defective products as it was sold by them. He could not leave the clients to their own devices in good conscience. This incident prompted Steel Elite Pte Ltd to change strategies and start importing products directly from source themselves
instead of going through an agent or middleman supplier.
In this highly competitive market, High Quality at reasonable prices is a mantra Mr Ng lives by. To him, this is a unique positioning that’s enjoyed by Singapore companies in general, but it is one he is turning into Steel Elite Pte Ltd’s central positioning ideology. He explains that due to Singapore’s unique location as a bridge between the East and West and our multi-racial and multi-lingual culture, we have the advantage when it comes to having the best of both worlds. While European products are known for their quality, it comes at a premium; China products are lower-cost but the quality is still not of a premium standard. Mr Ng takes advantage of our positioning and strikes a fine balance between high quality and low cost, sourcing the best materials and products for projects from all over the world.
While the price-point of Steel Elite Pte Ltd’s products and services might not be the lowest in the market, clients can rest assured that they provide the best value for the price they are charging. Many clients have used cheaper alternatives, but they find that over time, the hassle of repeated maintenance is costing them more time and money that it’s worth. With Steel Elite Pte Ltd, reasons for the materials and products chosen are explained clearly to the clients and clients have a peace of mind with their quality assurance and service guarantees and understand the extra value that comes with the slightly higher costs involved.
Over the years, Mr Ng has sacrificed much of his personal and family time to build up his company and businesses. He went through tough periods of trials and setbacks, but he feels that it’s worth the effort once you overcome the obstacles in the way and gain valuable experience along the way. A serial entrepreneur, he also went through periods of repeated failures and losses starting from his late teens into his mid-twenties, raking up debts to the tune of high six figure amounts. It came to the point where his mother had to sell the family home to raise
capital and pay off debts for him.
When asked why he didn’t just quit and give up, he replied simply, ‘I CAN’T give up!! I have to keep going, there’s too much money and people involved!! I can’t run away from the problems, I can’t hide, I have to find a solution to the mess and repay what I owed. I have to be responsible
for them.’ Today, Mr Ng is proud to say that every single one of his debtors are close friends now.
Touching on the future plans of the company, Mr Ng is moving in the direction of higher quality products and New-tech products such as digital locks and such. There are also plans to expand regionally into the S.E.Asian region. There are talks currently with potential partners in a few countries on how best to work together and the plans should be executed by second quarter 2015. Better product integration and product education is also part of the plans moving forward, with new technology offering new solutions to the market, Mr Ng feels that it is integral that the consumers are better educated about their choices when sourcing for solutions and products. In that vein, Steel Elite Pte Ltd would be working closer together with their partners to better integrate their products and solutions to solving existing problems. They will also be taking the lead in providing more information and education for their sub-contractors regarding the new solutions they are offering in an effort to clear up much of the installation issues and misconceptions in the market.
Mr Ng was deeply inspired and motivated by his friends from China many years ago. He was particularly inspired by the Chinese entrepreneurs’ hunger for success and positive mindset, their willingness to give everything they have to just survive and achieve their goals. He relates that in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, When China was still on the verge to becoming an economic powerhouse, it was a vastly different place, and competition was rife in a vicious dog eat- dog market. It was an environment so tough and competitive that it was practically a daily
battle just to survive. He believes that Singaporean entrepreneurs have it easy by comparison and none of us would be able to even remotely imagine how tough it was over in China. One has to have an extreme sense of hunger and self believe to succeed under such circumstances. While Jack Ma is definitely the most successful of the lot to come from that era, there are many other success stories and inspirations to be found from the millions of entrepreneurs there.
Mr Ng relates the story of one of his friends from China who started out as a sales representative back in the day. He once had to endure a self-funded 12 hour standing journey by train just to get to a client’s office to pitch a sale with no guarantees that the sale would be closed. That friend
ended up owing the company near 500 RMB as he had to borrow his travelling expenses from the company and no sales were closed. But through sheer grit and determination and a ‘Never- Say-Die’ attitude, that same friend is today the owner of a listed company in China. But, his friend is not the only one who is that hardworking and determined, almost every entrepreneur there is just as hardworking and determined. In order to succeed in that environment, you have to force yourself to constantly grow out of your comfort zone, to be able to continuously work at such a high rate to become the best at what you’re doing. While many other nations are more innovative than the Chinese, Mr Ng believes that no one else on the planet are as hungry for success as the Chinese entrepreneurs, and that is something he aspires to emulate.
Mr Ng hopes to one day be the platform upon which his partners, sub-contractors and staff can build their success upon. He believes that success is not achieved alone, success can only be achieved through the efforts of everyone working together in the same direction, his job as a leader and business owner is to be the platform holding everyone up and leading them in the right direction.
He believes that the level of one’s success is tied in with how much one is willing to sacrifice. Mr Ng readily admits that he will never be as successful as Jack Ma as he does not see himself being able to sacrifice as much of himself due to family commitments and other priorities. But, he is content with what he can achieve.
Success to Mr Ng is simple, he believes that as long as you do not regret your decisions and have achieved your own goals through your own efforts and methods, you can be considered successful. If you can look back one day and say ‘I’ve tried and gave my best, I have no regrets.’ Then you are definitely successful. The rest, he says, is just the difference in the level of that success.
A deeply principled man, Mr Ng lives by the mantra of never running away from problems and being responsible for his own mistakes and problems. Even during his lowest periods when he was indebted to the tune of high six figure amounts, he did not once thought of hiding. His mobile number has been the same since the day he got his line. He makes sure he is contactable no matter the situation. Instead of hiding and shirking his responsibilities, he sought out his debtors and tried to find a solution beneficial to all involved. He took responsibility for his own actions and repaid his debt over time. Now, he is proud to count all his debtors among his close friends. It is because of this trait, that Mr Ng has earned a sterling reputation of credibility among his peers and enjoys the trust of all his partners and fellow entrepreneurs.
Finally, Mr Ng, the ‘Man-of-Steel’ has a few gems of wisdom to share with young aspiring entrepreneurs.
First, have realistic targets to aim for and work slowly but steadily towards them in a step-by step manner. Do not think you can achieve success overnight, those are very rare occurrences.
More importantly, be prepared to fail and do not be afraid of failure. You will definitely fail at some point, it’s not a matter of if, it is a matter of when. Your reaction to failure will be what defines your success. Learn from your failures and accumulate the experience to do better the next time. Always be pushing yourself and always be prepared, opportunity only goes to the ones who are prepared to receive them. Don’t be too hung up on profits, profits is just a number, instead focus on the lessons you learn along the way and continuously think how you can do better.‘No matter how good an idea you have, business is never about your ideas. The world is always moving and changing, your brilliant idea today might become irrelevant in a few months’ time. Being in business is about how you compete to be the best, and competition never ends. And when you compete, there will be bound to be times when you lose, even the best teams in any sports lose some times, no one is unbeatable. Be prepared for that day, have plans in place to deal with unforeseen circumstances.’ – Vincent Ng,
Steel Elite Pte Ltd
Contact DetailsSteel Elite Pte Ltd 1 North Bridge Road High Street Centre #02-13 Singapore 179094 Office: 63367422 Website: www.steelelite.com