Interview: How Anewtech Systems innovates and keeps up with the economy


" Our goal is to ensure we continue to create a conducive working environment for our staffs to grow with the company. We always bear in mind employees are our asset, and our objective is to create value for employees, customers, and partners."

Mr. Terence Teo, Managing Director, Anewtech Systems Pte Ltd

Company Profile

Founded in 1999, Anewtech Systems is a leading specialist in industrial computing platforms, OEM services and intelligent IoT Solutions. Focuses on smart manufacturing, intelligent retail, data centre server and network infrastructure

Q: How has the pandemic changed the way your business operates over the past two years?

Anewtech: Over the past 2 years, we had transformed the company by enhancing the company traditional business of industrial computing platform sales and services to a higher level of providing IOT and I4.0 solutions and customization. With the solutions and customized platform, we had developed and co-create business opportunities with IOT and I4.0 solutions partners and this bring additional revenue for the company by diversifying our product and services to serve industry needs. As a result of the need arising from COVID-19, we launched an AI facial recognition access control solutions with contactless thermal scanning. This has 150 systems installed island wide within a 6-month period. We also developed intelli-kitchen, a central kitchen processing system which helps F&B companies in delivery order processing, track par level of raw material and ingredients during preparation process as well as a E-menu platform to assist kitchen staff to prepare the same consistent high-quality cuisines based on their recipe while able to track productivity level of staff and operational efficiency of cooking equipment. By observing the increase in demand for servers and storage systems from data centres, the company built up the competency of our engineers in networking and ICT equipment configuration to capture revenue from this new business.

Q: Can you share some challenges your company faced in the pandemic?

Anewtech: With the increase in demand for ICT hardware, biomedical and semiconductor equipment, the company face the huge challenges in fulfilling orders on time due to the global component shortage coupled with delays in shipment. Leadtime of components has increased 4 times compared to pre-covid time. In addition, increase of costs of materials and operations as well as expenses due to safe management measures imposed. Hiring of software developers and development engineer is another challenged faced due to competition with MNCs and large corporations for recruitment as well as reduction in availability of talent from neighbouring countries due to COVID-19.

Q: How did your company cope, and overcome these challenges?

Anewtech: To overcome the components shortage and increase in delivery lead time, the company uses its experience for OEM projects by hedging ahead of orders. This buffered the company from the impact of increase in price of components and freight costs. For the solutions development we utilize the current resource and some of our engineers who had attend courses in IT and networking were tasked to assist the development team in some of the area of the solutions developments. In urgent projects, we involve the entire company resource to deliver and complete the projects in the shortest time.

Q: What advice do you have to share with other SMEs on growing their business in the face of an ever-fluid pandemic? How do you spot opportunities during these uncertain times?

Anewtech: In the current context of the pandemic that is affecting many businesses, there is no choice that SME business owner need to find their key differentiation area in their market segments. The only way to sustain is to transform by adopting digitalisation and Industry 4.0. This new world is fuelled by data and connected devices that can collect and processing ever-growing amount of information. It is important for every SME business owner, in various state of their business and every industry, to consider the implications of this new transformation and how it will change their sustainability plan. SME business need to come together in strength to collaborate and build up the industry eco-system as well as collaboration business-model to grow their business together. It is not possible to continue to work in silo, where traditional businesses stay conservative and very protective. To spot opportunities during these difficult times, companies coming together to expand their businesses need to each identify their area of strength and play different roles which can speed up time to market. Joining forces and working together to achieve a solutioning approach is the key to address total solution requirement. By working with trade associations like SIAA and tapping on some of the initiatives such as SME Go Digital Solutions, Productivity Support Grants and Enterprise Capabilities Development grant will allow SMEs to digitalise and transform their business in the shortest possible time and lower the initial investment costs to adopt and built up their capabilities. SME business owner should also consider hiring engineers with I4.0 and digitalisation background so that when they embark on their transformation journey they have someone to ensure the right approach and the correct mindset to train their team members as this is roles is always lacking in many SMEs.

Q: What direction is the company heading in the next 3-5 years?

Anewtech will continue to build up our in-house solutions development capability; working with eco-system partners to develop solutions together and forming joint venture with like-minded companies to expand our solutions. We would like to explore fintech, telecommunications and data centre businesses. With the expansion of business in the provision of high-end AI servers and with these capabilities it will allow the company to continue to grow our revenue. In the next 3 to 5 years, internationalization remain a very important factor that allow the company to continue to sustain and grow our revenue and profits. We plan to setup a regional office in Jakarta or East Kalimantan and ramp up our regional sales activities.