Not Afraid to start his own course

“I chose to go into the cleaning industry because it is a recession-proof sector,” said Patrick Lee, who has been in it for more than 15 years.

Today, Patrick’s career choice has paid off. He is not only enjoying a stable career providing cleaning services, he also carved a niche for himself as the founder and managing Manager of Biostar Cleaning Pte Ltd, one of Singapore’s most active cleaning services companies.

A difficult Start

“I’m very thankful to my family, especially my wife, for standing by me in good times and in bad, and for always believing in me,” said Patrick recalling what it look to grow Biostar over the years.

Setting up Biostar was particularly trying for Patrick. He had to wear many hats, handling everything from sales to operations, in order to operations, in order to establish a name for the cleaning services in his company could provide.

At the same time, he struggled to support his family and provide for his young children. To make ends meet, he took an few part time jobs, including being a relief taxi driver, and answered sales calls all hours of the today, even on weekends.

“There was no returning back for me. I had put in all I had to set up Biostar, so I had to make it work,” said Patrick who was a Police Officer for 9 years, and then a sales representative in a cleaning company for 5 years before setting  up Biostar.

Working hand-in-hand with his staff on the ground, Patrick grew the Biostar from one-man operation in 2003 to a small & Medium Enterprise with 200 employees. Today it has the capability to provide cleaning for building interiors, all types of flooring, external high-rise walls, and even cleaning rooms. Its clientele ranges from condominiums, learning centers, tourist spots to factories.

“Our motto is to provide quality and consistent services to meet total customer satisfaction. We strive to improve our performance continuously by using premium quality products and equipment, and having a well-trained, skilled and professional workforce,” he marked with pride.

To develop the expertise of his staff, Patrick sends his staff for training regularly as he believes in learning from the professionals and applying the knowledge on the ground. Thus on the recommendation of his friends, Patrick signed up for SME QIANG as he left that Biostar had to improve its sales process.

“Previously, the whole process from sales enquiry to quotation submission took 3 years or more. This is because the admin staff would simply take down the contact number for the sales team to follow up. There will be a delay in response if the sales person is engaged, and transportation cost will be wasted if the sale is not successful,” described Patrick of the problems Biostar used to face.

Working with The Experts

During the SME QIANG programme, Patrick and his team were guided by an experiences trainer on the DMAIC Methodology, Value Stream Mapping and Brainstorm on cause the effect concepts. They applied these to reduce man-hours, transportation cost and other wastage upon receiving sales enquiries via emails and direct calls.

Together, they identified a serious process gap at the point when the sales enquiry was received. They then decide to define the work scope of the admin staff, teach them to ask the right questions that identified the customers’ requirements and prepare the quotation. With this, the entire sales process was shortened from 4 days to about an hour, and their productivity improved by over 90%.

“We never expected to achieve such a big improvement in productivity,” said Patrick, clearly pleased with the outcome.

With training, Patrick has a clearer view of the situation of his company now and he is more confident in handling problems. He jokes that he has the SMEQIANG file by his desk so he can refer to do it anytime as running a lean operation and eliminating waste are priorities as the top of his mind.

“With Singapore being a knowledge-based country, attitude, lifelong learning and the ability to apply knowledge at work are important when competing with others. In the years to come, I want to emphasize on the technology and training for my workers even more so that they will able to give quality service to meet customers’ satisfaction, and in turn enable Biostar to expand and earn a larger market share.”

-1 year ago