Seah Kian Hoe

Founder & Managing Director

Heng Hiap Industries Sdn Bhd

2014

Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Seah Kian Hoe

Young Entrepreneur of the Year

2014

Founder & Managing Director

Heng Hiap Industries Sdn Bhd

ABOUT seah

“I had a humble start as one of four children of a truck driver. When I was 10, my parents started collecting recyclables and traded the materials collected. Apart from my school work, I was a willing helper in the business. In most karung guni [gunny sack] trucks collecting scrap from household to household, there is always a boy in the truck. I was that boy 31 years ago. I was 10 years old. My first encounter with business was then. This early exposure to the business and my higher learning have enabled meta integrate innovation and recycling into a business model”

“My parents have been my role models since young. I learned how to find and define value from scrap collected. They taught me the social and economic relevance of scrap that shaped the possibilities of our endeavours until now. Besides working smart, they emphasised working hard as well. By repeatingly working hard on one thing, one will be come resourceful and inventive. By working hard, the rightful mentor will present himself or herself to bring us to the next level,” he added.
Heng Hiap Industries Sdn. Bhd. (“HHI”), has innovated eight breakthrough technologies which were developed locally. With more than 30 patents filed, the company specialises in mechanical, thermal and chemical recycling. Through mechanical recycling, the company is able to transform plastic scrap into Smart Plastics for highly specialised niche applications for the export market. Through thermal and chemical recycling, the company converts plastic scrap into fuel and renewable energy thus producing electricity.

“Traditionally plastics recycling was fragmented and composed of six different individual companies. We are integrating all six businesses under one roof,” Seah explained.

Despite his humble beginnings, Seah completed his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from University of Oklahoma in 1997. He also successfully received the Fulbright Research and Development Scholarship from the Malaysian American Commission of Education Exchange (MAGEE) in 2000 and went to Thunderbird, the American Graduate School of International Management.

“All my course work and projects were focused on innovation in plastic recycling. During my post-graduate studies, I focused all my school works in a thesis entitled ‘Closing The Loop through Plastics Reengineering’.”
The company’s innovations are what make it stand out against the competition. “We supply proven materials. We make plastics smarter. We innovate and recycle plastics differently and therefore give the highest yield, which has not been achieved before. We also motivate our customers to switch from generic grade material to our customised Smart Plastic material. We customise a three-in-one solution (the right base, the right colour and right special functionality) based on customer requirements.

“Some of the important differentiations and innovations are: Fast cycle polypropylene which reduces cycle time by 65 percent from 10 seconds to 3.5 seconds for the packaging industry. Anti-bacterial polypropylene reduces surface bacteria count by more than 90 percent for the material handling industry. Fire retardant polypropylene prevents top Korean home appliance and electronics parts from catching fire and fulfills European UL VO standard. Green building polypropylene uses more than 95 percent of plastics scrap and achieves Green Building Index requirements. Colour customisation polypropylene enables our earlier mentioned three-in-one solution.”

The company’s clients are mostly leaders in the their respective field. For example, they supply the fast cycle PP which reduces industrial standard of cycle time from 10 seconds to 3.5 seconds to a company based in Japan. This company has greatly enhanced its cost leadership position. “We position ourselves as the secret weapon of its leadership,” Seah reveals.
This is what has led to the company sustaining more than 35 percent growth for the last five years by itself.

Now, with 97 employees, Seah is quick to say that success isn’t just about money. He feels that it is also important for a leader “to be able to maximise impact and enhance his leadership legacy. One is as successful as his team or his followers.”

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