Poly dropout worked in many roles before taking over dad's business
Right after completing national service, Mr Cerwyn Tay kick-started his career in logistics by joining his father's company, Ming Movers.
Back then, Mr Tay had no knowledge of logistics or business management, he told The New Paper.
Fast forward 13 years and the 33-year-old is now the managing director of a company that has more than 40 employees.
Entering the industry blank had its advantages, said Mr Tay, as he could learn by working in all areas, from driving a moving truck to meeting clients.
He said: "All these experiences are valuable to me. In every phase and every role, I learnt different things, and they are all important and memorable to me."
The polytechnic dropout had also taken a part-time private course in logistics management during his second year of NS, which he thinks helped him "a little bit here and there".
But as managing a company takes more than knowing the business, his father, Mr Tay Bok Eng, 62, gradually eased him into the role.
"My father started by asking my opinions on many issues, then allowing me to make more decisions. He handed the reins over to me six years ago, when he believed I was ready."
Specialising in relocating fragile hardware like data centres, Ming Movers has a large client base from the information technology industry.
They also offer third-party logistics services, and with the help of operations director Jimmy Koh and finance director Low Cheng Hwee, Mr Tay was able to expand the company.
It now has two operation hubs and a storage warehouse. But the Covid-19 pandemic threw a spanner in the works last year.
"Everyone was worried and lost when the circuit breaker happened. We couldn't plan ahead, as all projects came to a halt," Mr Tay said. "After two months, we had to implement a temporary pay cut and were prepared for the worst."
Fortunately, he said the company managed to clinch a project with a client in the medical industry, importing test kits and related products.
It helped Ming Movers pull through. The business started recovering slowly in August, and with the momentum back, Mr Tay said it is doing well now, though it is "pretty short-handed".
The years of work also helped Mr Tay to develop a passion for logistics and business management.
He said: "It is fun and interesting for me to be able to manage a company through challenges and take it further."
Secrets of the trade
- Be prepared to work on the ground as it is crucial to know your clients and their needs.
- Be flexible and quick to react. Schedule changes happen all the time - the client may have a last-minute request, or a driver may not be able to make the planned delivery.
- Keep your passion going. Working in logistics is challenging, with irregular hours and lots of fieldwork.