SINGAPORE - Unlike most other Singapore companies, it all started for Goodpack founder and chairman David Lam with the need to solve a packaging problem which had been plaguing buyers of natural rubber.
For years, they had bemoaned the damage caused to raw rubber during the shipping process in one of Singapore's oldest industries.
Wooden crates used to package natural rubber bales would be tossed around in ships, causing wooden splinters, sawdust and other debris to contaminate the raw material. This foreign matter then clogged up machines used to process the rubber.
After latex is tapped from trees, it is coagulated and refined as rubber for use in tyres and other rubber products.
Mr Lam, now 60, became aware of the packaging problem in the late-1980s when he was involved in trading natural rubber. Spotting a potentially vast market opening, he turned his mind to how best to replace the wooden crates with better packaging.
"Since I was already in the rubber trade, I looked at the packaging of rubber and the disposal problem in the US, (to create) something that could be cheaper than the existing packaging," he said.
"Once, I visited a rubber factory when a lorry hit something and everything dropped on the floor. The splinters were stuck to the rubber, which is already very hard to cut. It took an enormous amount of time to remove the splinters and the contamination to the rubber," he recalled.
"So I thought we should look at something that is easy to pack, environmentally friendly, easy to stack and cheaper than the wood we were buying."