Rich Innovation Engineering: Top 20 Singapore Prestige Class Award & Top 20 Top Leading Entrepreneurs Award 2022/2023
The founder of Rich Innovation Engineering Pte Ltd, Mr. Chinniah Ilango, started the business in 2018. The business is the supplier and installer of mechanical and electrical work, fire protection and systems, light fighting, air-conditioning, and ducting and piping work for residential and commercial clients.
Having been in the industry for more than twenty-five years, Mr. Ilango studied electrical and mechanical engineering. He has worked in a few companies, where he started as a general worker. He worked his way up to being a supervisor, then an engineer, then a manager, and finally became a project director. Mr. Ilango is capable of handling both technical and mechanical undertakings, and has superb confidence in his ability to do so. He is familiar with the industry, having such extensive history in it. Mr. Ilango used to dream of being an entrepreneur.
Currently, Mr. Ilango is looking at diversifying the business by going into supplying the materials and parts to complement the main business. Rich Innovation Engineering Pte Ltd is different from its competitors, as most competitors only focus on one field, such as electrical or mechanical engineering, but Mr. Ilango’s company focuses on all sections, and is the one-stop solution for all of its clients’ renovation needs. Sometimes, Rich Innovation Engineering Pte Ltd works closely with interior designing companies, as well.
The business did not always run smoothly, as Covid-19 hit shortly after the business had just started. Because of this, Mr. Ilango had to deal with a shortage of manpower from India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. Mr. Ilango stepped in and handled a lot of the work himself, such as doing paperwork. There were also logistics and materials issues due to supply chain disruption. Once the economy began to recover from Covid-19, so, too, did the company.
However, another challenge that the company faces currently is the rising material cost. As of this year, Rich Innovation Engineering Pte Ltd has a manpower strength of fifty people. Since Mr. Ilango has worked on the ground before, he understands the workers’ struggles. Mr. Ilango often brings his workers out for staff retreat; for example, he is bringing them out for an outing on this coming National Day. He also buys his staff lunch and dinner often.
Ground workers get an incentive for consistent attendance, and they receive essential goods, such as rice, cooking oil, and sugar every month as rewards. Mr.
Ilango thinks that staff retention is important. He also gives regular training to maintain the standard of quality. When a staff is not performing, Mr. Ilango gets the on-site engineer to have a conversation with them to understand the issues that they may be facing, such as personal issues, or financial needs, and he tries to accommodate their needs while seeking to find a solution.
Mr. Ilango is looking into smart technology, such as smart home functions, including sensor-activated technology and power- saving technology. As Mr. Ilango believes in constant innovation, he sees a need to keep up with the latest technology in the market. Since technology is changing at a faster rate than ever before, he provides training for the employees to familiarize themselves with it, not allowing his workforce to remain stagnant.
Mr. Ilango is a man of many talents. He has juggled studies, while working as an employee, and while being a husband and father in the past. Now that his studies are completed and his children are grown up, he is able to focus on growing his business.
Whether he is dealing with his family, or with the business, he believes that flexibility, time management, and planning ahead is important.
As for his personal habits, Mr. Ilango is a firm believer of waking up early for productivity reasons. He likes to go jogging, mostly in the morning, sometimes at midnight if he finds the time for it. He likes to listen to motivational talks on YouTube, and also sometimes goes for meditation trips, as it helps to clear his mind and allows him to return energized.
With regards to his company’s survival in the industry, Mr. Ilango thinks that the construction industry is always going to be in demand, although he sees upcoming issues with manpower shortage due to stricter regulations in terms of safety. This regulation is a point based system, whereby a company will have points deducted with the number of accidents it has in a year.
“Logic thinking will get you from A to B. But Imagination will take you everywhere.”
Mr. Ilango has known local companies with a history of high incidents that have suffered the consequences of not being able to take on larger projects, so he thinks that being able to adhere to regulations is imperative to the business.
Mr. Ilango’s biggest and proudest achievement is that he has been able to grow from being an employee to owning and running a business of fifty employees. He believes in hard work, and encourages his employees to do the same thing. Now that the company is at BCA-Level Two, Mr. Ilango is aming for Level Three next year based on the value of the projects completed in the last three years. His goal is to get to Level Six.
His advice for up-and-coming entrepreneurs? “Once you commit to start your own business, you have to be willing to put personal things aside. Sometimes your family and friends have to come second. You have to be willing to put in the extra hours, be consistent with your effort, and be willing to resolve the issue as it comes,” says Mr. Ilango. He explains that it is important for the business owner to know every aspect of the business, gain knowledge about the industry, and not to rely too much on the employees, as this is how the business owner earns the respect of the employees. Mr. Ilango continues, “Believe in yourself and your highest possibility. Be willing to listen to the voices around you, even when it seems discouraging at times, because there are always things to learn. When you see someone else’s business fail, ask yourself the question why, and what there is for you to learn. Be humble and willing to take risks, and understand that employees do make mistakes. It is how you can understand their mindset, and how you can rectify their mistakes. Build relationships with your key staff to enhance cooperation and have smooth communication, especially when issues arise.”