SAM★INK® - This is my story, this my song,
Born, November 11, 1965, Sam holds a Bachelor's degree, Magna Cum Laude, in Mechanical Engineering Law 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 San Francisco California U.S.A.
Researched nanotechnology at Cambridge, contributed at Hewlett-Packard and was a director at Sihl Papier, a public listed company in Zurich, Switzerland. Sam founded SAM★INK® in 2000.
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 technology research agencies like A*Star and the Universities.
Prior to joining Goh Phai Cheng LLC, Constance served as Assistant Registrar / Legal Counsel at IPOS, Registry of Patents, where she, among 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.
Sam overcame adversity at a young age and understands the challenges faced by many families. Born in 1965 in a racially diverse Singapore, he 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 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 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 is far from that control mode. So he would just put a toe into the water, never overextending himself. 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.
Sam hoarded an on-campus kitchen job to pay for tuition. "I was in University for only one purpose - to get a job when I step out of school". He is a mechanical engineering scholar majored in engineering law and graduated top of his class at the University of Texas at Austin (top US public engineering school).
The UT Graduate School of Engineering then offered him a teaching assistantship to pursue the Masters of Science in operations research and industrial engineering. He later earned an MBA from the Golden Gate University, in the Silicon Valley of San-Francisco, California.
Sam cut his teeth at hp building designjet printers. HP experienced bottlenecks on her production lines where 220 pounds of printers had to be lifted on and off every 3 minutes. Sam was initially tasked to increase productivity over 6 months. However, Barcelona brought forward the launch date at 50% of the budget and reduced it to 3 months.
Sam worked late nights 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 technology.
The pneumatic programmable logic controlled semi-automatic robot was designed, approved, assembled, tested, installed, and commissioned within 3 months. It increased throughput by 500% without dropping a single unit and it was so reliable that it was adopted by hp manufacturing operations around the world.
Sam subsequently took up the position of a technical marketing manager where his scope of work included the training of technical 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 company and the market leader in the wide-format printer segment. Sam was tasked to take Encad down in Asia.
Balancing product, pricing, promotion, and placement strategies, Sam holed up in R&D, rolled up his sleeves on the factory floor, and then hit the streets to knock on the doors of customers to take on Encad. The rest is history. Encad was delisted and then absorbed into Kodak.
Sam risked his life at hp. In 1998, Indonesia was not politically stable & Sam was sent into Jakarta to train dealers. In the midst of the training, an employee burst into the room and screamed 'Run for your lives'. Riots had broken out on the streets. 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 bright summer morning, a Swiss public listed paper-mill knocked on Sam's door and offered a Directorship at Sihl. HP was not a paper-mill so Sihl was not a competitor. In Sihl, he researched & developed 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.
That product became such a hit with JCDecaux and ClearChannel that it lifted the sales of hp to #1. He then brought the media to hp and hp OEM it as hp-branded media. Sam then built cross-cultural distributors in Japan, China, India, Korea, Australia, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, & Hong-Kong.
The good LORD called Sam to start SAM★INK® in 2000.
September 11, 2001. The 9/11 tragedy crushed big and small print service providers.
Sam encountered obstacles from the first day of business and he stumbled at the first hurdle.
Sam toiled very punishing 16-hour days. 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 Dr. Grace have three children, Elizabeth, Victoria, & Alexander. The key to his success is that he likes to compete and hates to lose.
2007 The Great Recession
I still have vivid memories of the great recession which sank many fledgling pioneers. While SAM★INK® enjoyed adoption, it was nice until the Great Recession. Suddenly everything around us was falling apart and everyone was losing their jobs.
I remembered that the factory was quiet, very very quiet. As the market shed trillions of dollars, I went on the road and started pitching to new customers and slowly grow a base again.
We placed people and stocks around the world because we wanted customers to know that we are not going away. We are here to stay. It's 16 years since I sat down to pour the first drops of ink and I have no plans to move on to another industry.
I like to build things and just love working around smart people. I wouldn't be as happy elsewhere. I can't think of anything better to do than to keep formulating innovations until my last breath.
2013 China Trap
We ship to China for years. In 2013, Chinese premier Li Keqiang invited Inkjet to invest in China's free-trade zone. China (Shanghai) Pilot Free-Trade Zone 中国（上海）自由贸易试验区. Inkjet accepted the offer and set up a Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise or WFOE.
Inkjet imported more for about 6 months. But one morning, a shipment got stuck in customs and in exchange for its release, China wanted our ink formula. I gave my formula and China released my shipment. But in 2014, another shipment got stuck. This time, China wanted my new formula.
Unbelievable. I will not be forced to transfer intellectual property anymore.
2017 Distributors 512i
SAM★INK® offered distributorships for Konica 512i and 1024i solvent inks for 3.2-meter wide format printers. Many distributors signed up.
2018 Trade-War & the Sea of Galilee
"You have a solid product, outstanding delivery and a price that NOONE can touch. My worry was you are in Singapore. If you had an address in the USA that would give me a much better feeling for purchase. You can still ship from Singapore. You saved my business, I was looking at over $500 for everything I got from you. Now I can invest in materials, grow and provide a great looking product. Thank you."
Trenton Ohio U.S.A. 2018-10-27
I thank India for 2 decades of love and support. Your generosity shows that the ink trade has been mutually beneficial. Sam-inks has been instrumental in shaping the Indian printing industry from the very beginning. Our friends tell us that they enjoy our 512i mild-solvent inks, dx5 eco-friendly eco-solvent inks, latex inks, and sublimation inks. They say that our dx5 eco-friendly inks are both environmentally and ecologically friendly with no odor. They literally print in their bedrooms. I have a lot of respect for friendly competitors and we are actually the best of friends because we draw on each other's strengths to find partnerships to address challenges together. It's funny but we share birthday greetings and warm wishes for each other because we have a vested interest to advance a healthy marketplace. My friends tell me to position and price Sam-ink for the mass market. It is true that she was positioned for the Pantone intensive and outdoor durability specifications but those same inks are now available for every budget. With our friends' encouragement, we have also set up a local private limited company in India. I am blessed to see business partners becoming friends and this is rare and precious. It is also this genuine love that brings us new friends and a new network. 30 years from now, I see a meaningful contribution of Sam-ink touching every life and every society she lives in.
Sign & POP World Magazine 2018-11-14.
Elizabeth and Victoria (standing together).
1. Sort things out
2. Set in order
3. Shine & clean
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