Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Not your usual boring industrial buildings

Business Times: Tue, Aug 21

WITH its new design of the A'Posh BizHub and Primz BizHub, OKH Holdings has shown that industrial buildings can also "amaze our eyes" with modern and aesthetic looks.

Starting out in 1998 as a local contractor undertaking renovation projects and minor Alteration & Addition (A&A) work, OKH has elevated itself to a property developer with integrated construction services over the years and progressively cemented its presence in the premium industrial property development segment. Led by the current chief executive officer, Thomas Bon, the company has won numerous awards and accolades, including the Enterprise 50 Award and the SME 1 Asia Award last year.

Mr Bon has had an entrepreneurial mindset since young. "When you are young, you always dream," says Mr Bon. His longtime interest in architecture and his strong business acumen led him to start a business in property development. When asked about the project that he is proudest of, Mr Bon says: "When the dream is big, this is just beginning. The best is yet to come."

OKH has a niche focus on the premium industrial property market segment and its aesthetically appealing designs give it an edge. Its designs grab attention and create a positive first impression of the firms based at the property. Mr Bon has always been very involved in providing guidance to both the in-house and outsourced design teams.

Such emphasis on aesthetic features has helped OKH gain recognition and popular demand for its properties, especially among the younger generation. "Thomas is very well read and knows the younger generation well," says Ang Poh Seng, assistant to the director. "Under his influence, our team is able to think out of the box and to come up with elements that entice the younger generation. We call such a development 'an OKH project'."

OKH is proud of its young team. "We are a family business without a family member," says Mr Ang. "The spirit is very important. The employees are proud of what they achieve."

OKH employees look to be entrepreneurial and think out of the box. The synergy in OKH continuously motivates its employees to generate creative ideas, which ensures OKH's competitiveness and future success. OKH also provides its employees continuous learning opportunities. For example, the firm conducts periodic technical training to strengthen the employees' professional expertise. This learning spirit helps improve the overall efficiency and productivity of the company.

Despite its humble beginnings, OKH is committed to playing its part in giving back to society. The company puts a strong emphasis on incorporating eco-friendly concepts in its design as well as in the company culture.

"We pay a bit more to contribute to society," says Mr Bon. OKH has promoted the usage of eco-friendly materials despite incurring higher costs. For instance, instead of using normal lighting, OKH installs LED lighting which has a longer life span to save electricity in properties that it develops. In order for the green features to fit into its aesthetic design, OKH also engages a green consultant, a third party to make it all come together.

Eco-friendliness is part of the company culture. For instance, OKH encourages employees to avoid excessive use of resources such as paper as well as to switch off the lights during lunch-break.

The company has also actively participated in various corporate social responsibility activities such as the UOB Heartbeat Run 2012, POSB Kids Run, NUSS Endowment Fund, SASCO, Kwong Wai Shin Hospital and SMRT Silver Tribute Fund, as well as environmental conservation programmes. The company has been actively involved in community services such as handling out daily necessities to 200 needy people.

Given the limited size of Singapore's real estate market, new developments of industrial properties are constrained, which poses possible obstacles to OKH's growth potential. With the rise of developing countries such as China and India, OKH might expand overseas to tap on under-served markets of premium industrial buildings in these emerging markets. Also, the company can consider leveraging on its current expertise of eco-friendly and aesthetic features in industrial property and venture into the residential property sector.

Being an industrial property developer that prides itself on the combination of eco-friendly concepts and aesthetic features in design, OKH has great potential in the premium industrial property development sector. It hopes to keep doing well.

The writers are students at NUS Business School

Martin Koh | 86666 944 | R020968Z
Sherry Tang | 9844 4400 | R020241C
Senior Sales Director
Email: marshe_inc@yahoo.com.sg
DTZ Debenham Tie Leung (SEA) Pte Ltd (L3006301G)

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