OPERATING a business tied to the notoriously cyclical construction industry is no easy task. Yet, Excel Precast Pte Ltd might just have gotten it right.
A healthy cost structure, customer-centric mentality and counter-cyclical investment strategy have not only helped Excel win in the current upturn, they can also be counted on to shelter the company from any upcoming downturns.
Incorporated in March 1999, Excel is a manufacturer and supplier of precasts for the local construction industry. Precasts are pre-fabricated building components produced by casting concrete in reusable moulds.
Compared to the alternative of on-site concrete casting, using precasts offers real advantages, one of which is cost savings. Precasts help customers increase their productivity by substantially reducing labour requirements.
Despite initial struggles to build a name for itself - crucial for survival in the industry - Excel has since evolved into an award-winning company reputed among customers and business partners for its reliability and product quality.
Excel now has 250 employees spread across its two production facilities in Singapore and Johor, Malaysia.
For Excel, managing the ups and downs of the industry is key.
"We know a downturn is coming," Tan Bian Tiong, Excel's chief executive officer, says. "We just don't know when. And downturns in the construction industry can be lengthy. It is thus pertinent that we constantly plan and prepare ourselves for demand dips."
Mr Tan is an industry veteran with 27 years of experience in the field.
Central to Excel's resilience amid the business cycle is a fundamentally healthy cost structure. This allows Excel to provide superior products at competitive prices, while serving as a buffer against revenue dips during bad times.
Excel's both factories are equipped with a computerised concrete batching plant conformed to the latest standards. This, together with stringent quality control during the production process, means that only precasts of the highest quality are produced, minimising costs by reducing defects.