Given he’s been at the helm of thermal solutions company Asia Vital Components (AVC) for more than two decades now, Ching-Hang Shen, known as Spencer, has learnt a thing or two about what it takes to lead a successful business.
“The culture and the employees are the most important things,” he tells The CEO Magazine. “Our philosophy is that we have to be people-oriented, then technology-oriented, and that we have to provide a fair environment for everyone to work in.
“I’m not the type of guy who is only about efficiency and making profits – I want the employees to be happy working here. We are a family. And you have to take care of employees and take care of society in order to become a truly great company.”
This focus on prioritising staff satisfaction manifests in many ways, from “building trust” and allowing employees to voice their opinions and suggestions, to encouraging them to make business decisions based on their own professional judgement.
“We empower our employees to develop innovative ideas with patience and accountability.”
“We have what we call the P3 commitment – that’s Priority, Performance feedback and Pay,” Spencer explains. “So every year, we meet with employees to review their job, set their priorities based on company goals, discuss their work, such as where they may need help, and then we give feedback about ways to improve.
“Essentially, pay is directly linked to employee performance and the goals that have been set. It runs very successfully and everyone is working happily and independently, maximising their potential.”
When Spencer first came on board in 1999 as a co-buyer of AVC, which was founded in 1991, he had aspirations to “build the number one thermal solutions company in the world”.
In that time, he has grown AVC’s revenue from US$33 million to US$1.6 billion, and just last year, Forbes magazine ranked the company number 731 in their ‘World’s Best Employers’ list, and number three in Taiwan.
“I think the key for a company to succeed is the people and the culture,” Spencer reiterates. “We built all the core values of customer satisfaction, innovation, teamwork, passion and accountability into our business operations. We empower our employees to develop innovative ideas with patience and accountability, and to work together to achieve customer satisfaction. We’re very proud of that.”
In the same way, AVC has carefully cultivated relationships with their partners in order to ensure all parties get the best possible results. “When we talk about important relationships, one is our customer, and one is our supplier,” Spencer says. “For the customer, you have to identify what they really need, and then the key to being able to achieve that is to maintain a very good relationship with your vendor.”
This was made particularly clear during the past two years, while dealing with the ongoing repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused shortages everywhere across the supply chain, he explains. “I really appreciate the strong support from our suppliers to work closely with us and our clients.
“Not only just focusing on getting things on time, but also in increasing efficiency across the supply chain in the area of new product development, forecast arrangement and effective logistics.”
Looking to the future, Spencer believes automation will be integral to setting AVC apart from its competitors. “At AVC, we’ve been less impacted during the pandemic because most of the key components and manufacturing processes are in-house with automotive equipment,” he explains.
“The only external thing we need is IC, electronic components and raw materials. In this case, AVC has met most of our supplier delivery requirements because of this in-house manufacturing advantage.”
“At AVC, we’ve been less impacted during the pandemic because most of the key components and manufacturing processes are in-house with automotive equipment.”
Automation is very important for smart manufacturing, he explains. “Not only does it reduce labour costs but it also increases product quality, yield rate, efficiency and product traceability.”
Spencer says that AVC will continue to invest in innovation, prioritise automation and look for ways to get products to customers the quickest and safest way possible going forward.