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Breaking out

Nov 12, 2012
An interview with Felix Relocations of Malaysia

It was back in 2007 that a competitor in Malaysia told Albert Perianayagam of Felix Relocations that he would never build his local business up to become internationally recognised and a member of FIDI.  The company achieved FIDI/FAIM in 2011, that’s a measure of the drive and ambition of its young heir.

Felix Relocations was started in the 1980s by David Perianayagam, Albert’s father.  The company was successful as a local contractor but was hampered by affirmative action policies in expanding the business in the lucrative government sector.

When Albert joined the company, however, he was determined not to let these disadvantages inhibit the growth of the company.  After receiving what he calls an open challenge from his competitor, he became even more determined to break out of the Malaysian market.

The first step was to join IAM which allowed Albert to travel and meet other international companies.  “I went to IAM in 2008 when it was held in Hawaii,” he said.  “I didn’t know anyone.  It was very intimidating.”  It was while there that he met Steven Raj.  Although the two did not know it then, they would soon become firm friends and in time, colleagues.

Albert worked hard at building up his international contacts and soon the work started coming in.  “We also started making corporate contacts from inbound work which helped us develop the business too,” said Albert.  The company soon developed a network of contacts and built up customers and agents in the UK, Europe, USA and the Middle East.

In 2007 the company had 12 staff on the road.  Today it has 70.  In 2010 it applied to become members of Euromovers and was accepted a year later.  That same year the company’s FIDI/FAIM membership was conferred.  For Albert, mission accomplished … well no, not really.

Although Albert had proved his doubting competitor wrong, and proved that he could grow his business despite restrictions, there was more to do.  “There’s not that much relocation business to and from Malaysia so we needed to look further afield,” he said.

In 2011 Albert coincidently bumped into Steven Raj again.  Steven had spent 11 years in the moving industry in Singapore and was looking for a new challenge. This fitted well with Albert’s strategy to grow his business beyond his home shores. They made a firm decision to work together and before long the Felix Relocations office was opened in Singapore in June of that year.

“Albert and I got on really well straight away,” said Steven.  “I know the industry in Singapore very well. I have a lot of personal contacts and in the first year I have been able to build our company up to the required high turnover category which allows us to pitch for major contracts.”

Albert is understandably delighted with progress so far in Singapore. “I think that, within the next three years, we will be doing more business through Singapore than Malaysia.”  And the intention is not to stop there.  Plans are already afoot to expand further internationally.

Albert has also diversified the business he took over from his father. They were the preferred movers in the safe industry. He saw the potential for another income stream. Initially he began to buy used safes, refurbish and resell them under their original brands. Subsequently he sourced quality OEM manufacturers and began to market his own brand of safes called Global Safe. He is coy about his next step, but his long-term vision is to set up his own manufacturing process.

Albert Perianayagam and Steven Raj

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