Sierra Facade: SME Excellence Business Award & Top Business Service And Quality Award 2022/2023

Sierra Facade Pte Ltd is a company that designs, fabricates, and builds facades for commercial buildings, condominiums, and hotels. Its list of accomplished works include the Furama City Centre at Chinatown, The Aetas at Bideford Road, Orchard, as well as the Hilton Singapore Orchard (formerly known as the Mandarin Orchard Hotel). It does curtain walling, aluminium cladding, and aluminium glazing works for buildings.

Since the company engages in a lot of specialised trades, working with materials other than simply glass, its services vary a lot. The work that it does includes windows, doors, skylight, and canopies. It also utilises new products such as solar panels and green mud.

Mr. James, the founder of Sierra Facade Pte Ltd, started the business because he had a passion for being an entrepreneur. The company has operated since 2007, and it currently has more than ten staff.

Mr. James’ business concept came from his experience working in the industry more than fifteen years ago. While he worked for another company, he felt that he was being underpaid. As such, he started his own business to get better returns for the work that he had done. He followed his passion, and the reward that he received was a strong sense of satisfaction knowing that these buildings’ facades are completed by him. Speaking with pride, he talked about how he stood right at the tip of the building of Hilton Singapore Orchard due to having to do some replacement work.

Like many other businesses, Sierra Facade Pte Ltd has encountered initial difficulties, as well. The primary problem was that suppliers and subcontractors did not give it credit terms in the beginning, since it was a new start-up. Now that the company is established, it gets credit terms from suppliers and subcontractors. There was also an additional problem with securing contracts fifteen years ago, as the company had no references, due to the fact that it was brand new. Now, the company has no problem securing contracts as it has references. Mr. James overcame the initial problems with the fact that he had been in this line for thirteen years prior to starting his own business. As such, he knew what to do, and could refer to his past work. The inspiration for the company’s name came from the fact that Mr. James wanted to go international. Hence, he chose a name that sounded international. “Sierra” means “Mountains”, which represented how Mr. James wanted to reach high peaks. As for the company’s logo, he chose the logo due to what it represented. The peak of the hills on the logo signifies the idea that the company is venturing into new heights. The lines of the logo, too, are similar to architectural lines.

Mr. James, founder of Sierra Facade Pte Ltd

Sierra Facade Pte Ltd differentiates itself from its competitors with its passion, as well as its speed and accuracy related to project management. Mr. James states that he is able to acquire materials very fast. This is because the process of internal procurement does not

have many stages of approval within the company. As a director with years of experience in the industry, Mr. James is able to approve of procurement requisitions very quickly, unlike in other companies. Other companies have multiple  stages  of  procurement  processes, requiring the approval of the finance manager, the project manager, the design manager,   and then, finally, the director. Such a process may require up to two weeks. If there is a change in the design, the whole process can start all over again. Sierra Facade Pte Ltd does not have this problem, and it utilises the same model for design, production, and even installation.

To get off the ground financially, Mr. James essentially started off as a one-man-show, as the company had just started. Once he had gotten the project and the down-payment, he was able to get a fabricator who was willing to support him based on his existing relationship    with them. Since there were no delays in completing the project, Mr. James had received the payment quickly, as well. It turned out to be a successful model.

In Mr. James’ opinion, there are three things that are required for establishing a successful company. In his own words, the first, and most important thing is “the way you do things”. Although every company operates differently depending on who leads them, there must nonetheless be a successful system in place. In the past, companies have failed because the way the directors managed their projects was wrong. The second is the staff, or the core team. The third is money. If someone has these three things in their company, they can succeed.

Mr. James is always on the lookout for new and innovative processes to facilitate his company’s business. As such, he is always looking into machines for installations, such as   the spider lifting machine. Over the years, these machines have gotten smaller and become more efficient, and are able to lift heavier objects. In the future, Mr. James foresees the use of robots to aid in installation.

To retain clients, Sierra Facade Pte Ltd provides top quality products. It does not cut costs, and always delivers the project as per specifications, with good workmanship. It also focuses on delivering its projects on time. On top of these two aspects, Mr. James believes that his relationships with his clients are also very important, as well. To this day, he still drinks  coffee with his clients. He believes that there is a need to maintain good Public Relations, as well having a good business sense; that is, to not be so calculative if some differences arise.

Going forward, Mr. James hopes that Sierra Facade Pte Ltd will expand and grow. He aims to hit the international market in countries such as Malaysia, Vietnam, and other countries in Southeast Asia. Although the company does not currently operate internationally, Mr. James  is looking forward to opportunities for working internationally in the future. There are no plans for franchising, as Mr. James thinks that it will not work, due to the fact that the  person who runs and manages the project is very important. The way he or she runs the project would have to be profitable and sustainable, on top of providing good quality results and delivering on time.

Back To Top