Another milestone for K.C. Dat

Aug 07 | 2023

Steve Jordan talks to John Lim about the phenomenon that is K.C. Dat in Singapore, as it passes its 60th birthday. ​

K.C. Dat Management TeamI wrote a story about K.C. Dat in Singapore 10 years ago to commemorate the company’s 50th birthday.  Now, passing the 60 milestone, the company has remained every bit as extraordinary as it has been throughout its entire history.

The company is named after its founder Kok Chong Dat, who started the business in July 1963.  Since then the company has been through many incarnations but one person, Eric Lim, who joined the company in 1975 as a salesman, has been its guiding light. He took control of the business in 1990 and became the majority shareholder 12 years later.  Many talented people helped him along the way including some who are still there today: Robbie Heng, Senior General Manager for Special Projects/Accounts, having been with the company for 45 years and never lost any of his enthusiasm; Patrick Goh, Senior General Manager and Kelvin Yap, General Manager, both heading the Moving Services. Last but not least, Gordon Bell, Chairman of Asian Tigers Group of which the company is a founding member. John Lim, Eric’s younger brother, is now the company’s managing director and he took the time to explain a little about the company’s longevity and success.

“The sense of belonging is very strong,” he said, “the strength of the company lies in the people that we have here.” John explained that the company has an ethos which he explains using the acronym HRO. 

Asian Tigers Singapore in their glorious yellow He said that the company is recognised as being number one in Singapore. “We achieve that by taking a pride in what we do, but also remaining Humble. That's very important for the management and all the staff in the company. We are Hungry to learn and Hungry to win.  We also aim to have Humility and be mindful of everything around us including our people, partners, customers and supporters.”

The R in the acronym related to Resilience, which was especially important during COVID and Responsiveness, in a changing environment.  “We are also Responsible for what we do.”

The final element is the Optimisation of all the resources.  “We believe that this will enable K.C. Dat to continue to forge ahead,” said John.  “Our competition here are all global organisations, we are probably the only one that’s an SME.  What happens in the future nobody knows, but Eric always said that it’s not easy to be a market leader because everyone is behind shooting at you. We don’t ever look back, we just continue to run as fast as we can.”

“In Singapore when we say we are number one it doesn't really mean anything; the question is, how good is number one?  So we've always tried to set the benchmark, set the direction to be the ‘something different’ in whatever we do. We cannot stop our competition from doing what they want, and perhaps copying us, we can only continue to innovate and be confident enough to bring in new people with a different mindset.”

John is very proud that 27% of his staff have been with the company for 25 years or more. I wondered how that’s done.  What’s the secret to retaining staff over decades? ...

Top - The Management Team: standing, left to right: Kelvin Yap, Jonathan Lim,
Patrick Goh; sofa, left to right: Robbie Heng, John Lim, Eric Lim; on stool: Erika Lim.
Bottom - Asian Tigers Singapore in their glorious yellow.

Click here to read the full story in The Mover magazine.

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