Planning to rebound to an “old normal” post COVID-19 will no longer drive success. Business leaders are acknowledging that growth strategies cannot be built on the same assumptions or principles in the pre-pandemic era.

We spoke to Wen Lieh Loo, Group Financial Controller of Singapore-based food manufacturing firm Tee Yih Jia Group (TYJ), about how adaptability and taking calculated risks has driven growth over the past 18 months, and, importantly, how it will put the company in good stead in the upcoming economic rebound. 

Loo has faced a storm of issues over the last 18 months, but has found many opportunities too. As the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted supply chains and export markets, he has been working hard to manage financial risks; develop the finance and technology behind a cutting-edge new factory; and deal with a product re-labelling issue.

“In addition to a product re-labelling issue in early 2020, we were in the midst of building a massive new factory, just as COVID was starting, so it was a very busy time,” says Loo. “Singapore is a small market; our exports are important and they have been challenging, with many disruptions to supply and distribution chains. However, in Singapore, lockdowns were positive for our brands that are available in supermarkets as people stocked up to eat at home. But for some other customers in the hotel, restaurant and café (HORECA) sector (including factories and airlines), those sales were adversely affected.”