Alvin Tang: Celebrating Two Decades In Sales
Alvin Tang joined Swagelok Malaysia more than two decades ago as a young fresh physics graduate from Universiti Pertanian Malaysia (now renamed as Universiti Putra Malaysia).
Not Sales, Please!
"There was an opening for application engineer. I decided to give it a shot. I didn't want to do sales as I felt I might not have the confidence to talk and persuade people," says Alvin who hails from Ipoh, Perak.
Lo and behold, when he reported for work, he was assigned some territories and given an open list of customers to contact. A sales job, after all!
"Hauling the big demo bag, and professionally attired in black pants, white long sleeve shirt and tie, I would meet with customers. They would immediately recognize that I represent Swagelok. Such was the company's reputation and image which far exceeded the market standard back then,” recalls Alvin with much pride.
Manual to Technology-enabled
"My KPIs then were to meet the assigned number of customers per day, present focus product demo per day, enter sales call report manually, respond to pager calls from the office, among others. Only later did we progress to call reports generated from Outlook calendar.
"The biggest breakthrough back then was the ability to dial in to the Singapore office server to check for stocks availability through the 56 kbps dialup modem!!
"Now, we have a well-established system, fairly advanced technology and efficient processes to help us work more efficiently and effectively,” says Alvin, who is now the Construction Project Sales Manager.
"Closing a major instrument and piping package for DungQuat Refinery in Vietnam through an order by Technip Malaysia was a big achievement and learning curve for me. That was in 2005. I also had my first lesson in risk management, specifically in inventory management versus commitment to the customer, while working on that project.
"The other highlight was travelling to Swagelok Headquarters in Solon, Ohio for the first time. Enroute, I visited Hawaii and Los Angeles. And this was right after the 911 incident!" recalls Alvin.
Twenty-two Years and Counting...
"Swagelok is a good company, with good people and good environment. We trust and respect each other. We engage in very open communication; we debate and discuss for the good of the company, willingly share competitor’s intelligence, all for the ultimate goal of winning the project as a team, not as an individual. Through close engagements, we get to know each other not just as colleagues, but as individuals. (Photos below show some great moments with colleagues.)
"Personally, I feel I am empowered and trusted by my leaders, thus have the free hand to do and plan to achieve for the company. I feel valued as a person, not just an employee. The Management truly cares for the employees, as is evident during the past two years when the COVID-19 pandemic hit,” shares Alvin.
"Also, I have a bigger plan for my life, and work is just one part of it,” adds Alvin who secured his Master of Business Administration degree from UPM while working full-time. A real feat!
Learning and Growing
"Because of having to swim through thick and thin, I have become a stronger, more confident person in decision-making, and less distracted with noises when dealing with both opportunities and challenges.
"Also, thanks to changes in roles and responsibilities, I am exposed to more industries, products and services. However, I believe I have not seen enough just yet,” shares Alvin.
Swagelok Core Values
"All six values are important, but two stand out for me:
- Respect. Respect is earned, not asked.
- Customer Focus. We are in a people business. Without customers, there will be no us!" says Alvin.
“There are so many activities I like but video calling with people I love is among the ones I cherish the most,” shares Alvin who is ‘happily married and blessed with three children – 15-year-old son, 11-year-old daughter, and 7-year-old son, and of course, two baby kittens”.