Alick Chia

DMS is the right course for many Singaporeans without tertiary qualifications.
Discover SIM GE Alick Chia in the SKF Logistics warehouse at Changi South Lane which he designed for efficient movement; the operation is completely paperless using RF and barcode. SKF Logistics serves both internal customers and external global customers IF THERE were to be a Mr Logistics contest in Singapore, Alick Chia Mui Leng would probably win the title hands down, for his more than four decades of service to the industry. The 63-year-old SIM pioneer graduate and managing director of Swedish multinational SKF Logistics Services Asia, has been involved in all aspects of the industry, from helping drive the Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Material Management, to designing warehouses in Asia Pacific, including two major warehouse projects in Singapore and Shanghai. He is also a Fellow of the UK Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport and Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management From DMS to MBA A solid tertiary education was the foundation for Alick's career rise in the industry. He completed the SIM Diploma in Management Studies in 1978, followed by two more diploma courses in Marketing and in Finance and Accounting. In 1993, he completed another SIM-based MBA programme. “The DMS is the right course for many Singaporeans with good working experiences then but without tertiary qualifications," says Alick. "In fact, it is even more comprehensive than many degree programmes because it covers diverse areas, such as management, leadership, marketing, human resource , purchasing and finance.” On the MBA programme he undertook, the quality of the students was high, Alick notes. It was also demanding, including a requirement to write a 30,000-word dissertation. “My dissertation theme was service culture. I had to design a questionnaire and interview people. One of my key findings was that a customer-focused outlook resulted in the company being able to retain customers and be successful. Hence it is crucial to train your staff in providing good customer service.” A major achievement that Alick recalls with pride was his role in helping to develop the Singapore Purchasing Managers Index in the late-1990s. At the time he was chairman of the Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Material Management. “Today, the industry has accepted our Index as the norm,” says Alick. “For my contribution to the development of the logistics profession in the region, I received the international Lewis E Spangler award from the International Federation of Purchasing and Material Management in 2003.” Alick also won a China Council Supply Chain excellence award as well as his company's excellence award for his contribution to improving supply chain with the distributors as partners. Diverse careers for logistics graduates For students studying logistics and supply chain management, he tells them there is a bright future because this industry offers many different kinds of career development. “It's not just about learning to move goods from one place to another.You can build a career in inventory management, shipping, customer service or system support,” Alick says. “From procurement to operations and systems, there are a lot of areas where one can develop skills and grow. The world of industry has changed over the last 20 years. Logistics is more systems-oriented instead of simply hand delivery. To succeed, you have to focus on process and the competence of your staff to man that process. Once the process is stable, continue to simplify the various steps in it.” Alick also refers to new challenges and opportunities because supply chain is now global. Final products are being put together with components that have been produced and assembled at many different locations along the chain.Challenges include the shortening of the global business cycle and the frequent occurences of natural disasters. - Interview by RMIT logistics student, Jamie Ng (picture below), updated and posted online, October 2013