I write this story for the freedom of our next generation. It accumulates 25 years of history - nice moves and stupid mistakes.
I hope that readers will correlate to current events to plot a course for their happiness.
The wide-format sign, display, advertising, apparel, and printing industries employ millions of people.
SAM★INK® started on a kitchen table in a small apartment. Today, she is a vertically integrated business from research and development to manufacturing.
The world's largest combined eco-solvent, mild-solvent, and latex ink manufacturer, she possesses deep knowledge of nanotechnology that will remain relevant for the next 50 years.
Established in 2001, she built a community of printers who discovered an immense freedom to prosper.
Her 50,000 customers and 100 dealers in over 150 countries consume 4,000 liters of inks every day.
Born, November 11, 1965, Sam holds a Bachelor's degree, Magna Cum Laude, in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters degree in Industrial Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin; and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Golden Gate University at San Francisco California U.S.A.
Sam researched nanotechnology at Cambridge and contributed at Hewlett-Packard. Prior to SAM★INK®, Sam served as a director at Sihl Papier, a public listed company in Zurich, Switzerland.
A social entrepreneur for freedom, Sam has been instrumental in the growth of the business - all of which began from zero revenue.
Mr. Michael Palmer was elected Speaker of the Singapore Parliament on 10 October 2011. He was the eighth Speaker in the history of the Singapore Parliament since it started in 1955 as a Legislative Assembly.
Mr. Palmer was a Member of Parliament between 2006 to 2012. He served on the Estimates Committee of the 11th Parliament and chaired the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Defense and Foreign Affairs.
In July 2011, he was appointed the Chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Home Affairs and Law. He was also a member of the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for National Development and the Environment.
Ms. Constance Leong, an associate at Goh Phai Cheng LLC, is a SCOPE IP consultant certified by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) and is a member of the Licensing Executives Society of Singapore.
Constance researches, advises, manages, prosecutes, registers, protects, monitors, and enforces the company's portfolio of intellectual property rights of trademarks and patents globally.
On IP strategies, she analyses existing IP assets and future IP needs, develops a set of measures for effective creation, development, and deployment of IPs aligned with business strategies.
She supports the company on international business entities IP transfer via license and franchise agreements, leading to non-monetary and/or monetary benefits as a licensor. She also reviews and negotiates Agreements from the Singapore government's technology research agencies on the secondments of A*STAR research scientists and Ph.D. research collaborations with Universities.
Prior to joining Goh Phai Cheng LLC, Constance served as Assistant Registrar / Legal Counsel at IPOS, Registry of Patents, where she, amongst others, reviewed and drafted Singapore Patent legislation and represented Singapore at the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO).
She has an LLB (Hons) and an LLM (specializing in International and Comparative Copyright Law and Information Technology Law) from the University of London UK. Apart from being called to the English Bar as a barrister at the Middle Temple in 1996, Constance is also admitted as an advocate and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore in 1997 and as a solicitor in England & Wales in 2000.
Brands: SAM★INK®, ECO★SAM®, YourPrinterTechnician®.
Company name: INKJET SYSTEMS Private Limited.
Business registration: 2005 02 997K.
Address: 180 Clemenceau Avenue 02-02. Singapore 239922. t +65.6333-3302. f +65.6341-7632.
Working hours are Mondays to Fridays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Sam overcame adversity at a young age and understands the challenges faced by many families. Born in 1965 in a racially diverse Singapore, Sam grew up in the midst of a newly independent country and struggling economy. There were abject poverty and mass unemployment.
The son of a school teacher, Sam was the eldest of 3 children of a God-fearing family. His father suffered from kidney failure and his entire family put up a brave and emotional fight for 11 years. That experience enabled him to relate to the poor.
Sam's life is all about hard work from the time he was a little boy. Beyond kicking a ball around with his friends, he was from the age of 10 bagging groceries at the grocery store. He worked for pay and did not choose to beg for the leftover coins people had in their pockets.
Sam's father, Alan Leong, was a school teacher, born and raised in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. Alan grew up selling cigarettes to Japanese soldiers during the World War II and went to school in a canvas tent.
Sam's grandfather, Leong Hung Wah, was a policeman, a civil servant of the Colonial British. He had a compassionate heart for the poor. In 1941, the Imperial Japanese Army invaded Malaya and started bombing government buildings. Leong's police station was bombed.
While people were scrambling out of the building, Leong went back in for the prison keys, unlocked the cells and saved hundreds of lives. His family became refugees and fled to Singapore.
Sam was very fond of his father, Alan, whose plans for him included educating him life's fundamentals. Sam saw how hard his father worked. The Leong's were not well off and neither were their neighbors. A school teacher's work was hard, with young gangsters to contend with, Alan was an exacting disciplinarian.
Alan didn't shower praise on his sons. Instead, he surrounded them with his own expectations and fanned the dreams they came to share: dreams of seeing the world and a higher education -- things his parents never had. Sam watched his father put in long hours during economic hardships.
But Sam didn't brood over his misfortune. He didn't ask his mother and father to figure out a way to take him. Instead, he developed a concept he would later make his signature theme at SAM★INK®, and indeed up till today in his adult life. It was something he called 'mindset'.
It was a term a lot of other people used to mean a host of different things, but to him, it connoted a powerful force, one that eliminated the doubt and risk and made sure something he wanted was going to happen. As an adult, he would define it in this way: " It's not a question of if we're going to get there. It's a matter of when."
"Whatever your mind can conceive and believe, your mind can achieve".
It was the 1970s, and many teenage boys, exposed to Apollo 11 and Sputnik, were fascinated with space missions and astronauts landing on the Moon. Sam poured over library books, did his research, and made his vow. He knew then what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. He would become an engineer.
While some youth exposed to the Beatles would plead for guitar lessons to start rock bands, Sam chose his fate more calculatingly. Here was something he wanted and now he knows how to get it. If I can land a man on the Moon by being a good engineer, he said to himself, then I'll be an engineer.
He kept to his principles. He was cautious by nature. In the 1980s, while a national service armor infantry soldier in the Singapore Armed Forces, his fellow soldiers frequently invited him to card games. There, as in most cases, Sam was conservative. He liked poker but diligently kept his losses, and wins, to a minimum, sticking to the one-dollar bets.
He liked control, and he liked predictability. Gambling with money is far from that control mode. So he would just put a toe into the water, never exposing himself to uncertainties more than he had to. In romance too, he took no chances. He proposed to his wife, Dr. Grace Kwan, only after two years of exclusively going through thick and thin together.
The workaholic Sam sold food as a restaurant worker and many a time labored 16 hours a day, hoarding an on-campus job to help pay for his tuition through engineering school. He focused his years in the university around a single purpose. "I was there for only one purpose: to learn enough to get a job when I get out of school". He is a mechanical engineering scholar who studied engineering law and graduated top of his class at the University of Texas at Austin (top US public engineering school).
The University of Texas Graduate School of Engineering then offered him a teaching assistantship to pursue his Masters of Science degree in operations research and industrial engineering. He later earned an MBA from the Golden Gate University, in the Silicon Valley of San-Francisco, California, USA.
Sam cut his teeth at HP engineering Designjet printers, supplier management, manufacturing, quality control, packaging, inventory control, and shipping. HP experienced bottlenecks on its postponement and packaging lines where 220 pounds or 100kg DesignJets had to be lifted onto and lifted off its production line every 3 minutes without damage. Sam was initially tasked to increase productivity within 6 months. However, when a senior manager from HP Barcelona wanted to bring forward the launch date at a lower cost, he reduced it to 3 months and slashed 50% off the budget.
Sam, in a military manner, assembled a project team and together they work in the mornings and over the weekends. Often hand drawing up project timelines, budgeting, processes, layout, human resources, speed, technology, and the support maintenance infrastructure. He then sourced globally for the technology suppliers and integration partners.
The pneumatic programmable logic controlled semi-automatic robot was designed, approved, assembled, tested, installed, and commissioned within 3 months. It increased DesignJets production throughput by 500% without dropping a single unit and it was so reliable that it was adopted by HP Barcelona and later into other global manufacturing operations within HP.
Sam subsequently took up the position of a technical marketing manager where his scope of work included the training of HP technical and service specialists. Driving himself further, Sam took on the role of a business development manager executing product, pricing, promotion and distribution strategies in the Asia-Pacific stretching from Australia to China and to India. Encad was then a NASDAQ public listed company and the number one market leader in the large format water-based inkjet 60" color graphics segment and Sam was tasked to take Encad down in the Asia Pacific hemisphere.
Using a combination of product, pricing, promotion, and placement strategies, Sam holed up in research and development, rolled up his sleeves on the factory floor, and then hit the streets to knock on the doors of country distributors and dealers to convince and muster up their spirits to take on the number one Encad. The rest is history. Encad was summarily delisted and then absorbed into Kodak.
Sam risked his life at HP. In 1998, Indonesia was not entirely stable & Sam was sent into Jakarta to train HP dealers. In the midst of the training, an employee burst into the room and screamed 'Run for your lives'. Riots broke out on the streets which neither the police nor the military was able to immediately control. Sam took his passport and ran to the airport. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClwV_VkdYFY From this experience, Sam vows never to send any of his staff into harm's way.
On a warm summer morning, a US headhunter knocked on Sam's door and presented an opportunity as a Director of Sihl, a Swiss public listed company. The job was to setup & spearhead their Asia operations. It was not because of money but for the new opportunity to explore the technology world of inkjet media. In Sihl, he assembled a laboratory-factory product team and supplier network to research & develop a new pigmented-ink instant-dry water-resistant scratch-resistant multi-purpose recyclable polypropylene based matte inkjet coated media for outdoor poster and back-lit film applications.
That product became an instant hit with outdoor advertisers like JCDecaux and ClearChannel on outdoor six-sheeter bus shelters and it empowered the sales of HP Designjet 5000 series large-format pigmented inkjet printers globally to clearly become the #1 best seller. He then brought the media to directors and senior managers at HP Barcelona and HP San Diego and managed to OEM it as HP-branded media. As Director Sihl Asia, Sam recruited & trained multi-religious & cross-cultural distributors in Japan, China, India, Korea, Australia, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, & Hong-Kong.
September 11, 2001, or bitterly remembered as 9/11 crashed the stock market and a recession ensued. It destroyed many print businesses who were not recession proofed. When Sam saw the economic destruction, he had a calling that the time was right to start SAM★INK®.
World peace, the industry's need for freedom, and Sam's hard work have enabled him to start his own company, INKJET SYSTEMS Private Limited. Sam encountered numerous obstacles from the first day he started. It’s an arduous journey to make and he did fell at the first hurdle.
He toiled a very punishing 16-hours every day. In the mornings, he would wear down the heels of his shoes, pounding the pavements looking for new customers. Many turned him away because he has become a one-man-show, unknown, and unproven. In the afternoons, he painted big blotches of sweat on his shirt and strained muscles on his back from packing ink bottles and going on the road carrying them to customers.
Many customers' shops were on the second or third-floor and he carried them up as customer service. In the night, he gets ink under his fingernails from filling cartridges and cleaning up the work area. He would try to wash off the stains before carrying and reading to his children at bedtime but too often he would be too exhausted to do so.
On the weekends, he would answer customers' call to service their printers and install bulk-ink-systems. In between activities, whenever he remembers, he would be on his phone requesting for payments that were overdue. His wife, Dr. Grace Kwan, while maintaining her medical practice, walked with him every step of the way.
It has been a long hard road with many wrong turns and dead-ends. Sam has made plenty of mistakes and has his share of follies leading to disasters. In an unforgiving economic climate, these mistakes have almost sunk the business. No doubt, the road ahead will have many more twists and turns. But he made sure these mistakes do not happen again.
This has proven his resilience and has shown his determination to succeed. Using his personal savings, step-by-step, dollar-by-dollar, he carefully leads and develops SAM★INK® into a multinational ISO9001 ISO14000 inkjet-ink franchisor manufacturer. Sam understands family challenges even now. He and his wife Grace have three children, Elizabeth, Victoria, & Alexander. The key to his success is that he likes to compete and hates to lose.
SAM★INK® offers 50 years distributorships for new Konica Minolta 512i and 1024i mild-solvent inks for 3.2-meter and 5-meter wide printers. These are life-long relationships. Many friends signed up❤️️.
SAM★INK® Survived The Great Recession while Competitors Die (2017-Dec-02)
SAM★INK® is the world's largest combined eco-solvent, solvent, & latex nanotechnology inkjet ink manufacturer with more than 30,000 customers in over 150 countries.
But as its founder, I still have vivid memories of the Great Recession of 2007 which wiped out many of our competitors and their clients and could have easily killed a fledgling inkjet pioneer.
While we enjoyed rapid early adoption among eager customers for our inks, it was slower going with large clients, who were skeptical about our reliability and our security.
So I relied on building a big enough user base among the printer-savvy adopters to show the rest of the business world that we are a serious player. It was a great strategy until the Great Recession.
"Suddenly everything around us was falling apart."
"Our friends were losing their companies and everyone was losing their jobs."
Many competitors and their customers were wiped out but amazingly many of our own clients remained. Their survival motivated our spirits as we went into crisis-management mode.
We really had to hunker down and focus. I remember that our factory was quite more often than usual, really quite.
We focus on questions like: "Why should I trust you to run my business?"
"How do I know that you're not going to walk go away?"
It was hard. We had to keep proving ourselves.
As the stock market shed trillions in value and thousands of companies collapsed around us, SAM★INK® continued to pitch to clients and slowly built up its customer numbers again.
After a couple of years of death-defying commitment, the now significantly sized company still couldn't shake the shadow of the doubt that hung over every company.
I decided that we needed to take drastic action.
NOT GOING AWAY
We actually placed people and stocks around the world because we wanted customers to realize that we are not going away. We are going to grow, we are here to stay.
As we grow, we have to be highly collaborative and we have tools like WhatsApp to make sure everyone stays aligned.
It's 16 years since I sat down to pour the first drops of SAM★INK®, but I have no plans to move on to another company.
I like to build things and just love working with smart people. I wouldn't be as happy if I wasn't building things.
I can't think of anything much better to do than to keep building something innovative for the next 50 years.
2018-June-9th: Trump-Kim Summit
Singapore is Neutral & Trustworthy.
Although her cost of living is not the lowest, she offers the safest relationships.
When you consider all factors, SAM★INK® is the safest choice.
2018-09-10: Make Peace, Not War
What is true wisdom?
Best relationships are born of wisdom.
Do not let jealousy and selfishness take heart.
Else there will be disorders like trade disputes.
Wisdom is peace-loving and full of mercy. No hypocrisy.
Make peace, not war.