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Thrown into the fire: Kavine Vaswani

Kindly brief us about the company, its specialization and the services it offers.

LHT Holdings Limited is a publicly listed company that has been in the timber industry for more than 20 years. Established in 1977, LHT has grown to be a leader in the industry with an annual turnover of more than $30,000,000 and is also one of the largest manufacturing company of high-quality wooden pallets, boxes and crates in Singapore. Sited on a 63,568 sq m land, LHT has a staff strength of 180 involves in the areas of administration, manufacturing and warehousing.

In 1997, LHT was awarded ISO 9002 certification on the quality management system on the manufacture, purchase and supply of wooden pallets, cases and crates, and Technical Woods.
In 2001, LHT was further awarded ISO 14001 certification on its environment management system that indicates its commitment towards environmental excellence, The Company was also awarded the Enterprise 50 Award in 1995 and 1996 respectively.

As part of its ongoing efforts to reduce waste and to protect the precious timber resources of the earth, LHT has established the Singapore's first wood wastes recycling plant equipped with highly automated system from Germany to produce a series of Technical Wood products. With the high technology involved, the products have the advantage of being consistent in color, texture and high density. Wood cracks, mould and insect attacks are prevented through strict process of treatment and drying. The products are therefore ideal for furniture, building material and heavy-duty industrial usage.

Services


  • Technical Wood: An engineered compressed wood made of original tropical hard wood fibers that undergo a high-pressure and high-temperature steaming process. A “new wood” that substitute natural wood that made from wood waste material.

Our green journey in recycling wood waste to “Technical Wood” and waste management. Technical Wood is the raw material and bio-products that used to make into furniture component for Greenflo Doors (fire-rated) and flooring strip.

  • The Innovative Process Product Conversion (IPPC) Pallets series: It is the fast gaining a strong foothold in the arena of green products that are designed and produced to reduce carbon footprints. The pest-free pallets provide innovative packing solutions that helps customers reduce waste, thereby contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions.

  • ECR Leasing Pallet; the Efficient Consumer Response, or ECR: It is a strategy to improve consumer choice, satisfaction and service and at the same, reduce total costs, inventories and physical assets. ECR requires distributors and suppliers to focus jointly on the efficiency of the total grocery chain, rather than the efficiency of individual components". A four-way 1M by 1.2M standard size conformed to the international standard ISO 6780 “General Purpose Flat Pallets for Through Transit of Goods Principle Dimensions & Tolerances.”

  • Industrial Packing: By providing services and solution to customer large machineries, unique design shape that require special care and the packaging that starts from a commercial sales point and arrives at the consumer as a sales unit, that is used to deliver goods from producer to consumer.

  • RFID Technology: As a pioneer in RFID technology since 2006, the RFID pallets were mainly used on RFID ASRS warehouses and our own ECR pallet leasing. RFID is a technology tool and it’s not meant to eliminate or replacement of “anyone.” It creates convenience and better job environment. It enhances your productivity by eliminating all unnecessary manpower wastage on information retrieval for customers’ verification documentations, provide accuracy, control and efficiency for your business. Enhance efficiency for right goods delivery to the right location, right condition, right customers and right time.

  • Wood Plastic composite (WPC) is our new area in R&D that uses wood wastes and plastic wastes in combination to form or develop more greener products.

Give a brief overview of your background and your role in the company.

As at 2nd January 1988, I was Sales Director in-charge of all sales and marketing functions. I took the opportunity to be an Executive Director by purchased as one of the major shares holders during the company restructured for its listing.

I am appointed as Acting Managing Director on 26-02-2016 and was re-designated as the Chairman, Managing Director and CEO on 10 February 2017. With over 20 years’ experience, I play a key role in exploring opportunities in new markets. My responsibility is to monitor market developments and to ensure the Company’s product development efforts is aligned to market demands. I am actively involved in the pallet rental business in Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. I hold a Diploma in Sales and Marketing from the Marketing Institute of Singapore and has successfully completed the Operation Management Innovation (OMNI) programmer conducted by A-Star in 2011. I am also a member of the Singapore Institute of Director.

What were the past experiences, achievement or lessons that shaped your journey as a successful leader?

In December 1977, after graduated from GCE ‘O” level, I joined former Lian Hup Timber Pte Limited before it was renamed to LHT. As a teenage admin clerk, I hold multi-tasking jobs like receptionist, delivery arrangement, stock inventory, accounts, and housekeeping etc. The company had less than 20 employees in its workforce and on leasing land size not more than 100 sqm situated in Mandai area.

Wood pallets were demanding as many foreign MNC invested heavily in Singapore that required these pallets to export goods. At that time, Singapore was at its journey toward development nation and we saw our business grew tremendously that we had to seek for bigger land in Sungei Kadut. Having said moving factory two times, in 1988, we finally bought a 63,568 sqm and the company staff strength has grown to 168 employees and with the right timing the group renamed to LHT Holdings Limited when listed in the main board in 1999.

Describe some of the vital attributes that every thought leader should possess.

In 2004, the company account was in red and we close to bankruptcy as our US$15 million wood waste recycling plant that produce Technical Wood (made from wood waste) were not saleable and better cash flow, constantly upgrade workforce in skill and technology, pro-workforce and workers or management are put full effort to contribute to organization and made it sustainability and keep the company very good image and reputation in internally and externally, and government agencies.

LHT was the first company in Singapore to have developed EPCIS (Electronic Product Code Information Service), and led the way in the use of UHF RFID Gen 2 pallets, which are essential for automation especially in RFID ASRS (automated storage and retrieval system) warehouses.

Additionally, in 1999 the firm established Singapore’s first wood waste recycling plant, which allowed timber industrial waste to be turned into a product known as “technical wood”. This is a compressed engineered wood that can be substituted for natural wood. As a result, LHT re-engineered its products that transformed the market using a lower carbon footprint processed wood that made from waste wood materials. In 2018, LHT was awarded Climate Action Champion and EcoFriend Awards by NEA.

The use of this technology lowers waste disposal cost by a few hundred thousand dollars, saves 4,500 trees.

How do entrepreneurs and leaders are wired differently, what makes them unique.

Kindness tough Lady,” LHT has been relentless in our efforts to provide products of innovative technology, constantly investing and upgrading to ensure we are always able to meet changing market demands and provide the best value-added products and services of our customers. We are always conscious of our role in the conservation of natural resources. Recycling is one of many efforts that reflect our commitment towards mitigating climate change and deforestation.

What is your advice for budding or emerging business leaders/executives?

Don’t worry to fall, how it come and how it goes. From the day you born you bring nothing, upon we die we should not have something, but do-good deed. Lastly earn from society and pay back to society. Kind to everyone it is kind to ourselves and use our lifetime to the fullest.

Tell us about your success story

In December 1977, after graduated from GCE ‘O” level, I joined former Lian Hup Timber Pte Limited before it was renamed to LHT. As a teenage admin clerk, I hold multi-tasking jobs like receptionist, delivery arrangement, stock inventory, accounts, and housekeeping etc. The company had less than 20 employees in its workforce and on leasing land size not more than 100 sqm situated in Mandai area.

Wood pallets were demanding as many foreign MNC invested heavily in Singapore that required these pallets to export goods. At that time, Singapore was at its journey toward development nation and we saw our business grew tremendously that we had to seek for bigger land in Sungei Kadut. Having said moving factory two times, in 1988, we finally bought a 63,568 sqm and the company staff strength has grown to 168 employees and with the right timing the group renamed to LHT Holdings Limited when listed in the main board in 1999.

*This interview was covered by: Swiftnlift Business Magazine