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butler singapore ceo

How The COVID-19 Pandemic Catalysed Growth at BUTLER

In early April 2020, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the circuit breaker (CB) measures in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Singapore. 

While the company was prepared for such a measure to take place, when the month-long confinement was extended by one more month, it came as a surprise. 

Immediately, we looked into the preservation, sustainability and livelihood of the business and my employees. 

I thought, my job is to ensure that everyone is protected in situations like this. 

My goals were simple: 

  1. To not lose any employees.
  2. To ensure the survivability of the business.
  3. To seize the opportunity and grow new businesses.

To enable us to achieve our goals, we looked inwards and prioritized our values and beliefs over growth.

The questions we asked ourselves. 

  1. What does BUTLER stand for?
  2. Why does BUTLER exist?
  3. Where do we fit and our purpose in the new world?

The COVID-19 outbreak has definitely disrupted the lives of many people and businesses, including BUTLER. 

So, I looked into improving and optimizing every single process and policy that the company has implemented over the years. 

As we set out to tackle this massive challenge, the team brainstormed and reviewed the ways we can continue to help people. 

In the past three years, BUTLER managed to innovate and grow together with our clients, expanding our offerings of products and services to enable greater convenience for our clients and anticipate future needs.

Now, faced with an uncertain future, as the world is dealing with a new and unknown pandemic, I wondered how we could better use existing resources at BUTLER to create a plan that could further add value for our clientele? Can BUTLER be agile enough and adapt and take the lead in the service industry again?

We noticed that our business clients, the SMEs and startups, were the ones who have been impacted the most by the COVID-19 outbreak. This led us to realize we can help them restart their operations with a cost-effective, more efficient, and better solution.

Last year, we introduced our office management system (OMS) that provides a complete one-stop solution for offices to procure services, vendors, and contractors helping office managers free up time and increase productivity. 

With the COVID-19 situation, we decided to forgo profitability in view of sustainability, and launched the Service Catalyst Scheme (SCS) as a support scheme for businesses in Singapore. 

With the SCS, businesses will be able to procure services, contractors, and vendors through the BUTLER OMS at wholesale prices through BUTLER’s economies of scale.

This results in an average of close to 30 per cent monthly savings on existing services engaged by businesses.

As we expect more businesses to come onboard the OMS, we will be able to create more local employment opportunities and help bring displaced workers back to the workforce. At the same time, affected businesses stand to benefit from the savings enjoyed through the SCS. Hence the Service Catalyst Scheme. 

Throughout the CB period, BUTLER has been fortunate to not have lost a single employee and even continued to see positive manpower growth.

Rather than waiting it out, we took this time to review our business model, revamp our backend operations and website, introduce new products and services, and launch our all-new BUTLER e-concierge mobile application.

As Singapore goes back to a ‘new normal’ in phases, BUTLER will continue to strive to build resilience and do what we can to help the economy, just like what Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat had shared when he announced the Resilience and Solidarity Budgets.

If there is anything I have learned from the pandemic, it is that it is always good to plan ahead and to plan well.

Moving forward, BUTLER continues to expect growth this year and I look forward to growing the company together with everyone who has made it possible for it to do so thus far.

To our clients, thank you for the trust you have placed in us. BUTLER will continue to serve you with excellence. To my employees at BUTLER, thank you for the hard work, and let’s continue to serve with excellence in everything we do.

Cheers,
Poon

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