PSC Corporation (PSC) is about to reach a significant milestone in 2024, as the distributor of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) celebrates its 50th year. But rather than simply honoring its past, the occasion will mark a launch into a digital future, led by Executive Vice President Candice Heng.
When Heng joined the company, it was at a critical point in the company’s trajectory as it emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The recent pandemic has underscored the vital potential of ecommerce and PSC will further invest in our digital transformation,” she tells The CEO Magazine.
“My work with international brands has also given me greater understanding of the dynamics of global markets and culture diversity.”
It represents a major shift for the already well-established company, which distributes household brands such as Royal Umbrella rice and Fortune tofu and noodles across Singapore and Malaysia.
In Singapore, the company works with popular brands such as Lion, Greenfields, Pauls, 3M, Shinmei and JA. Meanwhile in Malaysia, where it has more than 27,000 distribution points, it handles distribution for iconic brands such as Mentos, Chupa Chups, TaoKaeNoi, Tai Sun, Meiji, Mazola, Harmuni, Café21 and Gold Roast.
“As an established distributor, having the distribution points and channels for our clients is absolutely critical,” Heng says. “Our network in Singapore and Malaysia covers major hypermarkets, supermarkets, mini-marts, convenience stores, traditional stores, ecommerce, Horeca and food services.”
Heng joined the company in April 2023 as Executive Vice President and says she is delighted to celebrate PSC’s 50th anniversary,
“When I was first approached for the role by PSC’s Executive Chairman, Sam Goi, I was very excited because of PSC’s strong reputation as a manufacturer and distributor of well-known brands of essential products,” she says. “PSC has yet to fully optimize its full potential and I see many opportunities to help grow its business locally and internationally.”
Heng, who has a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of London, has notched up more than 17 years in the FMCG industry, having worked for a number of multinational companies including Nestlé, Red Bull and LEGO.
“Over the years, I have gained exposure to diverse industries, markets and best practices and I hope that I will be able to use my experience to develop effective strategies and identify growth opportunities for PSC,” she says.
“My work with international brands has also given me greater understanding of the dynamics of global markets and culture diversity, which would be very useful in promoting PSC’s house brands on the world stage. I also look forward to building a high-performance team capable of spearheading innovation in the Group.”
Although making one’s mark in such a well-established company can be a daunting task, Heng sees nothing but possibilities. With her eye firmly on innovation, she has already led the launch of a number of new digital initiatives and says she has more up her sleeve.
“Other than having products across online marketplaces, we’ll also be launching our own ecommerce platform to provide greater convenience and value to end consumers,” she says.
In a few months’ time, PSC will also launch a B2B app, which will allow its business customers to easily place their orders simply by clicking a button.
It’s not just about the latest and greatest technology, however. The company’s focus, after all, is food, and this is where much of the big thinking is taking place.
“Singapore is renowned the world over for its stringent food safety standards and a vibrant food culture that is continually evolving.”
“Singapore is renowned the world over for its stringent food safety standards and a vibrant food culture that is continually evolving,” Heng says. “I am excited about facilitating PSC’s investments into food technology and innovation, while focusing on developing healthier, sustainable and ethically sourced food products.”
Indeed, consumer preferences are shifting toward healthier food options and safer personal care products all around the region, which is why its focus on product innovation could be the key to unlocking its region-wide expansion.
“PSC is committed to new product innovation aligned with market trends and evolving consumer preferences,” she says. “We aim to expand our footprint into regional and global markets, with Singapore as a distribution hub and gateway for our house and agency brands.”
With growing scrutiny on brands and organizations around sustainability, PSC is also working closely with its management team to integrate sustainable practice into every aspect of the business.
“By now all of us should be aware of how climate change is affecting our planet, communities and daily lives,” Heng says. “As a business, we are also committed to doing everything we can toward sustainability.”
In the 2022 financial year, PSC started tracking its carbon footprint in order to help it identify and develop plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across its operations. More recently, in the 2023 financial year, it completed the installation of additional solar panels at its factories in Singapore and Malaysia.
But their efforts don’t end there. “We continue to work closely with stakeholders to ensure supply chain traceability and set long-term targets toward reducing the Group’s carbon footprint,” she says.
Innovation plays a substantial role in these efforts, with the company finding creative ways to minimize its environmental impact.
“For instance, we are currently reusing our soybean waste through a waste management company to be processed into animal feed,” Heng explains. “We are also exploring other collaborations that can repurpose soybean waste into consumable products.”
As PSC moves into this new era, it faces challenges in the form of highly volatile commodity prices, with Heng highlighting rice, soybeans and oil as particular concerns, affecting the company’s operating costs.
However, steps are in place to counter these including hedging mechanisms, entering into futures contracts and using options to lock in favorable prices or protect against downside risks, according to Heng.
“We have also diversified our supplier base to reduce dependence on a single supplier or geographic location. This helps mitigate risks associated with disruptions in supply or sudden price spikes in a specific location,” she says. “Apart from these, we also ensure better inventory management, to avoid sudden supply disruptions and differentiate our products by adding value through quality, branding, packaging or unique attributes.”
“As a business, we are also committed to doing everything we can toward sustainability.”
Investing in its team is another way to safeguard the company’s future, with Heng committed to building a culture of agility and resilience.
“We should be ready to pivot when necessary. However, we as leaders cannot do it alone – we need our team to be on board as well,” she stresses. “To do this, we always encourage our staff to have a growth mindset, to see challenges as opportunities for learning and improvement.”
And when it comes to her own role as a leader, Heng is a firm believer in leading by example.
“People believe and align with our values when they see us living it day to day,” she says.