“Pre-eminence in Interconnection“
In the interconnect distribution business, William Sim believes that it is people who are a company’s most important resource because it is the resource that drives all other resources.
William Sim’s profession may be appertaining to electronics and distributorship but the core of his business value lies in investment into people.
Some 30 years ago, when he entered into the electronics industry, a CEO he met said to him: “People are the single most important resource in any organisation. It is the resource that drives all other resources.” This piece of advice became the bedrock upon which he evolved Heilind Asia Pacific ─ a young distributor some 10 years ago ─ into the formidable market player it is today.
The Right Connection
William Sim is the President of Heilind Asia Pacific ─ a professional global distributor of interconnect and electromechanical products such as switches, relays, sensors, circuit protectors and others in the Asia Pacific region.
Heilind Asia Pacific is a subsidiary of US-based Heilind Electronics, a global distributor for electronic components with a history dating back to 1974. In 2012, Heilind decided to explore Asian markets and Heilind Asia Pacific was born.
When William took up the post to head Heilind Asia Pacific, he knew he was entering a market that was already matured and entrenched with many distributors that had long-established relationships with suppliers.
“Distribution is a relationship business,” William says. “We do not manufacture products, so we are dependent on suppliers, and on customers to buy from us. Every distributor offers the same thing, so it boils down to how well we manage relationships with all of our stakeholders.”
To build relationships with their suppliers, they worked in tandem with them and showed their commitment, both to improve their own supply chain and also to satisfy their customers.
It was tough-going in the early years and initially there was a low level of acceptance from both suppliers and customers. But persevering with their business model of operating on the ideals of deep inventory, flexible policies, responsive systems, knowledgeable technical support, and unsurpassed customer service, customers started appreciating the way they did business.
In the 10 years since William began leading his team, Heilind Asia Pacific gained significant market share and established a comprehensive geographic footprint in the Asia Pacific region. Operating 25 offices across Asia including Hong Kong, Singapore, Mainland China, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippine, Vietnam and India, their clients today include 5G infrastructure, networking, and back-end computing servers; clean energy, including electric vehicles (EV) and efficient energy storage; healthcare and medical equipment; and consumer electronics, smart Home, and IoT devices; Cloud Computing/Data Centers and Mil-Aero (Military/Aerospace).
As a result, the company successfully achieved annual revenue growth more than 10 times in 10 years.
Not only is William a driver of his company’s growth, he is also a celebrated executive in the industry having won numerous awards from suppliers and customers in recognition of the company’s services and contributions.
Believing that Every Individual is Important
As a leader, William is a strong believer in the optimal use of human resources in an organisation. He says: “We believe every individual in the organisation is important. We try, as far as possible, to have all workers involved in decision making, which allows them to take ownership of what they want to do for the company. Our employees feel they belong to and have the opportunity to learn and grow with the organisation. They understand and support our business goals, and we make sure we keep them abreast of our progress and milestones.”
Employee Learning and Development Programmes
It is this belief in every person’s importance that William encourages employee empowerment.
“We arrange L&D programmes with external parties to further develop the potential of our employees. The priority areas include personal soft skills (for example ─ leadership, goal setting and time management) and work-related knowledge and skills. The overall aim is to nurture the personal and career growth of the employee.
William also says he is a firm believer that an organisation striving for sustainable business excellence and success must also be mindful of its corporate social responsibility.
“Being socially responsible brings mutual benefits to both the organisation and the society and environment it operates in. This is a philosophy we have inculcated in Heilind Asia Pacific since our inception in 2012, and this philosophy is well accepted by our people in Asia and has become part of our company culture.”
To this end, they have participated in building bicycles and presenting gifts to an orphanage as part of their team building activities in Bangkok, Thailand in 2013.
In 2016, Heilind Asia participated in the “Happy Children Barefoot Trip of New Year” charity event coordinated by Hong Kong Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club to help children in need in Africa.
In 2017, Heilind Asia integrated its annual meeting with the charitable activity, “The more we share, the more we win” in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, aimed at helping Vietnamese orphans. Also In 2017, together with Touch Community of Singapore, Heilind Asia organized a charity event of visiting the widowed and elderly, to provide them with essential supplies.
“Recently we are also encouraging our employees to take up “plogging” (a new trend of walking and picking up garbage, especially recyclable products) to keep the environment clean and green for ourselves and for future generations,” he says.
William’s company philosophy and culture of people-valuing and relationship-building ─ be it carrying out CSR, advocating human rights, promoting sustainable development or investing in each and every stakeholder in the company ─ has ensured that Heilind Asia Pacific will remain at the forefront of the interconnect industry for the long term.
“As the President of Heilind Asia Pacific, William Sim has always upheld a few key points in his business philosophy. In driving his company forward, he has always made sure he has a distinct vision of where his company is going, he gives clear KPIs, has the ability to pre-empt challenges, the courage to make changes, an understanding that all problems end with him, and trust that each person is important in the company.”
Shanggari Balakrishnan, Chief Executive Officer, MORS Group