Million Factory Club: SME Excellence Business Award And Singapore Consumer Choice Award 2022/2023
Million Factory Club started during the lockdown. Mr Neo shared that the idea came about when he joined a food delivery company during the Circuit Breaker period and that’s when he realised the main issue that delivery riders/drivers were facing was the thermal bags. And that’s when he decided to make his own to make his delivery journey smoother. Mr Neo did his research and spoke to a couple of riders to ask about problems faced when using the delivery platform’s thermal bags, everyone replied that the main problem faced was that the flap of the thermal bags often come off after a while posing as a hindrance especially when riding during wet weather. Mr Neo also shared that the velcro strap was the main cause of it as its durability wasn’t good. That’s when Mr Neo took it upon himself to create a thermal bag with a magnetic strap– this ensured a stronghold and riders did not need to worry about the flap opening by itself mid-journey.
January 2021 was when Mr Neo began his sales journey. He also mentioned that his brand is number one on the Google search page and shared a vast number of people are using his products, and the majority of his clientele are in fact, delivery riders. He shared that food delivery companies only issued thermal bags of a standard size whereas his company has a wide range of thermal bags to suit the different kinds of transportation a rider uses to ensure a perfect fit. Mr Neo shared that his company has seven sizes for riders to choose from because one size cannot fit all. At his company, customers are also allowed to touch and feel the thermal bags before purchase.
Mr Neo explained that every year, his company is working towards improving its thermal bags and ensuring they’re constantly improving to fit the need of every rider. He shared that each new prototype is created upon the feedback of users. His latest prototype, called version three, includes two lock rings underneath the thermal bags to ensure theft doesn’t occur. Mr Neo went on to explain that version three was created due to multiple feedback from various riders who shared that thermal bag theft was a common occurrence. Thus, the birth of version three.
Although multiple companies dabble in the same field, Mr Neo mentioned what makes him different from the rest is the main fact that his product uses a magnetic strap as opposed to a velcro strap. However, it didn’t always start that way as his prototype used a velcro strap. It was only after he received countless feedback on the wear and tear of the products that use velcro straps, did he decide to change his product’s straps to a more durable one. Hence, making his product unique to the thermal bag industry. Mr Neo also shared that imitation is inevitable and he came across a company that ‘stole’ his version one prototype to a tee. But what he learned from that was to patent his latest prototype to ensure such occurrence doesn’t happen again.
Mr Neo shared that if you have passion for what you do, you wouldn’t be defeated as easily as most competitors are only in it for the money. To which he added that the amount of effort, time, and research hours he’s spent on his product pays off when his customers enjoy the product.
Like every business, COVID-19 happened. Mr Neo shared that as he started this business after the lockdown period, he threw caution to the wind. He also added that he was working two jobs during the tumultuous period and creating his prototype during his downtime.
Despite the industry being small, Mr Neo also brought in various innovative products, and has plans to expand across Southeast Asia, Europe and the United States. He also shared that there’s a high demand from delivery riders in those countries and he aims to penetrate the market as soon as he’s able to.
“When I walk around and I see people using my thermal bags makes me feel very happy,” shared Mr Neo.
As he doesn’t come from a well-to-do background, Mr Neo feels like this company is his greatest achievement, and he’s incredibly proud of what he’s done and how he’s able to do what he can to make every delivery rider’s journey a smooth and comfortable one.
Currently running a company of three (including himself), he is gradually looking to hire more staff following his company’s expansion. To end it off, Mr Neo shared to ensure to know your products and brand before being an entrepreneur. Know who you want to serve, and have the passion and determination to strive towards success.