Champion of Change

We believe in and celebrate our staff’s diverse talents and willingness to take a step out of their comfort zone and explore new roles.  In December 2019, we presented the “Champion of Change” Award to 6 staff who had deviated from their conventional career path by undertaking new roles and responsibilities.

From Left: Mr Siow Kim Bok, Mr Fabian Koh, Ms Desphine Tan, President & CEO of KLPL: Mr Makoto Hashizume, Ms Florence Lee, CFO: Mr Yukihiko Itagaki, Mr Bernard Ng, Mr Tan Teck Chuan

Here we present the stories of their transformational journey in “K” Line.

Ms Florence Lee

I am deeply honored to receive this Award. It is a testament of our efforts to effect a Positive Change in a new KLPL, post container era.

As Division Head of KSP Administration & Human Resources, I am glad I was able to rally our KSP and KSPI colleagues to assimilate into the new KLPL smoothly in April 2018. Upon transfer to KLPL, I was tasked to oversee Information Technology (ITD) and Digitalization & Green Initiative (DGI) Departments in addition to my portfolio in GAD ADM Division. It was not an easy task overseeing ITD and DGI in view of my lack of relevant experience in these 2 new areas. There are many challenges and how do we assist KLPL on her road to a more digitalized platform. With the kind support and co-operation of all involved KLPL staff, we are able to see our RAS (Receipt System) & IMS (Invoice Management System) being rolled out. KLPL has also received very positive feedback from EMG (Environment Management Group, Tokyo) on our green initiatives and efforts.

Thank you to all team members who were involved in the projects and this award would not have been possible without the open mind, teamwork and the willingness to accept change from all of you. Many projects are in the pipeline and I sincerely seek everyone’s continuous co-operation in our journey of digitalization and green movement.

As the Chinese saying goes : “活到老,学到老”, it is never too old for me to learn new things and accept changes. Often, we need to move out of our comfort zone so that we can see things from a different perspective and live a more fulfilled career and life.

Thank you to the Management for this award and I want to share this award with everyone in KLPL for they are the catalysts of change.

Mr Siow Kim Bok

I joined “K” Line Pte Ltd on 1st Feb 2001 with Trade Management Division (TMD) and started off as an Executive handling Latin America Trade. Throughout my time in TMD, I also had a lot of opportunities to handle different trades such as Africa, Australia, India and Middle East as well as a short stint handling Honululu related trade. I was very happy to accept these changes while honoured to have been given so many opportunities by KLPL Management.

After about 14 years of container trade management, a new challenge arose when the company invited internal candidates for a vacancy in Human Resource and Administration of the General Administration Division (GAD). After some consideration, I decided to apply for the opening. To my surprise, I was invited to an interview and eventually got offered the position by KLPL Management and I started the new role on 1st August 2015.

While trade management has been my first love, after about 15 years in this area, I felt that it was a good time to make a career switch so that I can improve my personal development as well as to continue contributing to “K” Line.

Time flies and I have been in this new role for 4.5 years, which I am still enjoying very much. It was a tough initial stage for me personally but fortunately, I had good assistance from various colleagues in GAD.

For me, one of the most memorable achievements in my new role was my involvement in the integration of our container business into a new joint venture company, ONE, where there were also opportunities for us to learn new things and practices. I would also like to thank KLPL Management for recognising our effort to make and accept changes, including drastic ones relating to our career development.

As CHANGE has been a key area for “K” Line Group in the past 2 to 3 years and also in the near future, therefore, I will like to encourage each and one of us to be ready to accept CHANGES which can bring us positive development, which is also in line with Singapore Government’s push for digitalisation as well as to up-skill and re-skill workers in Singapore. In that aspect, we are also looking into how we can tap on the current technology disruptions applicable to new HR technologies to enhance our HR processes and management systems. Together, we can embrace CHANGE with open arms!

Mr Fabian Koh

I was seconded to 1Stop Docentre Sdn. Bhd. from KSP in March 2006 to manage and ensure that operations is running smoothly. It has been an eventful 13 years where I have learned not just about the job but also embracing a different culture in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. As time goes by, the team stabilised, and we were constantly hitting our targets.

With the restructuring of “K” Line Group’s businesses after the formation of ONE, KLPL formed a Digitalisation & Green Initiatives department to focus on Environmental, Social and Governance issues, which is also in line with KKK formation of AI/Digitalisation Promotion Division and Drive Green Network.

The KLPL Management thought that assigning someone with no preconceptions of these standards would enable the person to see all possibilities from different angles. When the opportunity came, I decided to embark on this new journey and stepped out of my comfort zone and took up the challenge as the head of KLPL’s DGI Department under GAD.

This new challenge has definitely reignited my enthusiasm and drive. As this is a totally new job for me, it is both challenging and interesting at the same time. The past 6 months has been a fruitful learning journey. I felt a huge sense of achievement when we cleared both the internal and external DGN audits as we received positive remarks and feedback in the end for our Green Initiative efforts and not forgetting that Digitalisation has also completed its first project. These are the first milestones for DGI which will definitely spur me on towards the future!

Mr Tan Teck Chuan

I started my journey in KLPL in June 2002, 1 year after KLPL was established, as a young Trade executive in the new Trade Management Division (Asia Team) covering S.E.A. route.  I worked my way up to Assistant Manager in 10 years. By then, the drive in me had been deteriorating as I started to feel that the opportunity to expand my knowledge had diminished and I felt the urge to look for a new challenge.    

Opportunity came in 2012 when KLPL’s Bulk division had a vacancy in the Operations department.  I was rather pessimistic about my chances on the transfer as there had been no precedence of such arrangements in KLPL.  Despite that, I went ahead with my transfer request.  I was surprised when my application was approved, and I learned from my manager that the green light was given by then Container Division Director Hashizume-san due to his open approach towards staff development as the reason for accepting my application. My internal transfer was the first such occurrence in KLPL which I believe may have set a new benchmark for future transfers of personnel among departments.  It was a major step taken by the KLPL Management towards adapting to changes which has proven to be very worthwhile in order to adapt to the fast-changing business environment. 

Making the switch to Bulk division’s Operation department was both challenging and exciting.  Although I was armed with Container Operation experience, it was a totally different game in the Bulk business.  I was requested to adjust my title downward from Assistant Manager to Senior Operation Executive, which did not deter me in my quest to expand my knowledge.  In fact, it inspired me to work even harder and prove my worth. This change also had a major impact in my career as I discovered that I am better suited for operational work.  With various kinds of operational activities that happened daily, there was never a dull moment as resolving each case was a unique experience on its own.

One memorable achievement I made was back in 2015 when there was a sudden shift of personnel changes that left the operation team in crisis with only 3 operators including myself to manage more than 25 vessels in the fleet.  As we were seriously shorthanded, I was tasked by the Management to oversee and rebuild the Operations team.  It took me a couple of months to rebuild and stabilize the team.  It was never easy from the start, from selecting the right candidates, providing proper training and instilling the right culture and mindset in the company.  I am glad I did not shun away the problem and took it positively.

After 7 years in KLPL Bulk, I am now a Senior Manager of Bulk & Tanker Division and I oversee the operation works for both Bulker & Tanker divisions.  We have a good team consisting of many young operators from various backgrounds which I have set up to achieve a good balance of creativity, good attitude and responsibility within them.  In return, I hope they can give their best and bring KLPL to even greater heights.

After 17 years in KLPL, having made the switch to Bulk operations was one of the best career decisions I have made. It has helped me to strengthen my character and made me realise that our abilities can be limitless as long as we are willing to try.

I hope my story can help to inspire more people to have the willingness to take up new challenges and be positive to changes when opportunity arises.

Ms Desphine Tan

KLPL is the second company I have worked for after my graduation from National University of Singapore. I embarked on my exciting journey with KLPL in March 2007 where I started off as an Executive, handling container inventory in Asia Operation Centre under the Regional Container Control Office. Over the course of the nine years in Regional Container Control Office, work was never mundane as I was tasked to handle different office regions where geographical locations, inventory situations, vessels calling schedules were quite different. In January 2015, I was assigned as Manager of the Global Operations Centre under the Global Container Control Office. I had to manage good external relationships with leasing companies in order to secure favorable leasing rates and to ensure container availability during peak season for the company while managing the team’s KPIs. 

An appealing opportunity came in late 2016 where there was an open position in the Energy team under Bulker Tanker Division. Having spent a decade managing containers, it was the spur of the moment where I seriously thought to myself, should I challenge myself and apply for it? The struggles were real as I grapple to weigh the pros and cons – possibly sailing on a new episode with “Ocean Network Express” or to stay with “K” Line.

As the saying goes, “One is never too old to learn something new.” I decided to stay with “K” Line to take up the new challenge and was determined to step out of my comfort zone “managing containers”. I started my new role with the Energy team in May 2017. It has been an enriching and valuable experience so far. With great support and team work from Tokyo and Singapore, we, “K” Line, is delighted to be appointed as the ship manager for the First LNG Bunkering Vessel owned by FueLNG, due to be delivered in 2H 2020! I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Management of KLPL for this award. This is a testament of the recognition by KLPL – to spur and inspire the younger generation to be positive in taking on new roles and challenges.

Mr Bernard Ng

Prior to the integration of KSPI (A.K.A as KSP InfoSystems Pte Ltd) into KLPL, KSPI was just like any other IT Service company operating under a profit-oriented business model which focused on providing IT Helpdesk services; IT Infrastructure and Application development for “K” Line group of companies. My role back then in KSPI, was a Manager in charge of IT Infrastructure team and IT Project management.

In April 2018, I was officially transferred to KLPL under the newly setup ITD division. My first primary task on hand was to remove a deeply entrenched container business IT infrastructure setup in our environment, moving in-line toward post-container era in “K” Line.  My second primary task was to assume the leadership of both Helpdesk System support team and Infrastructure team as recommended by previous KSPI MD, Saito-san.  That includes improving the cohesiveness of both teams, review & streamline System Support team’s work process and to achieve work efficiency. I took up the challenge without hesitation as I saw it as an opportunity to widen my horizon and hoping to make a positive contribution.

Also, in 2018 I was promoted to the rank of Senior Manager and assisted in IT management strategy and planning. It was a challenging year as I had to adapt to a new workplace, new company culture, new policies and most of all my new role. The rising trend of cyber-attacks globally in the same year helped to create a perfect storm which resulted in IT Security being immediately added to my list of functions. IT Security was an entirely new domain in which I had no prior experience, and my key challenge was to identify potential risks and propose mitigation measures.

It was a tough period having to juggle managing existing Infrastructure operations & projects, building a new team, adapt to new work environment and perform in my various roles effectively and professionally. Looking back at what had happened, I had endured an eventful 2 years. It was a period of adapting to changes and embracing them with the right mindset.

My most memorable achievements in KLPL are the establishment of an efficient work process-oriented Infrastructure & System support teams and adoption of Cyber Security Agency guidelines that reinforced KLPL’s Cyber Security.  All these could not have been accomplished without the support of my fellow team members and the collective effort of every individual colleagues in KLPL.

Today’s cyber threat landscape is constantly evolving. The proliferation of Cloud computing services, Internet of Things (IoT) and Mobility solutions create new potential entry points for cyber-attacks. ITD commits to constantly keep up with these evolving threats to promote a safe and resilient IT environment in KLPL. We look forward to everyone’s continuous cooperation and understanding in 2020 and beyond.