By SOMLUCK SRIMALEE
THE NATION WEEKEND
Opas, who serves as chief executive officer and managing director of the listed developer, has created a business model under which can LPN can navigate the digital disruption that has been sweeping across the property sector.
Accordingly, 2017 was declared the Year of Shift and the company has now entered the Year of Excellence for 2019.
Since 2017, Opas, 57, has guided the company to maintaining its business growth in a period during which it has moved from a focus on condominiums to become an integrated property firm catering to all segments of the property market – from single detached house and townhouses to condominiums and office buildings.
Under LPN’s shift to cover all segments of the market it has also embraced digital technology, and operates a platform. The transformation has been achieved through Opas’ focus on driving the company to become a developer distinguished by a reputation for excellence. This entails building quality residences for LPN’s customers and providing them with the best after-sales service. Employees’ skills are also being upgraded to help drive sustainable growth over the long term.
“When I gained the appointment to the top management of the organisation, I had to think about the future of business operation for sustainable growth together with the need to drive business growth for the day-to-day operations,” Opas says in an interview with The Nation Weekend recently.
With this twin concern for the business’s future structure and its day-to-day operations, Opas has to contend with intense competition from existing rivals and newcomers to the market.
The business environment has also undergone change with the digital disruption buffeting the industry. Opas notes that the company has to navigate its way through these upheavals in the quest for sustainable growth over the long term.
“This year, our business strategy is to create the Year of Excellence under our business model and by doing so, we will create excellence for all of our business units,” Opas says.
Under this approach, the company is reviewing its product development in an effort to improve the design of its products and to better manage its production costs.
In tandem with this, the company’s after-sales service is being service improved to meet all the demands of its customers.
“Quality built-in is one of our business strategies to achieve quality control of the products before they are delivered to the customers,” Opas says.
“With the use of Big Data, we have created an application to improve our services and increase customer satisfaction.”
Opas say the company has fostered a mindset among the staff for the pursuit of learning. Staff are trained at the company’s academy on business philosophy and how to develop themselves to achieve both the company’s goals and their own goals for the future. The training covers all business units.
“All of these things are important for creating sustainable growth in the long term for LPN Development Plc. This is how we set up the system to drive business sustainable growth for after I have retired and when the new management come in,” Opas says.
Opas began working for LPN in 1995 when he joined the product development operation. He had graduated with a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Silapakorn University and went on to work in architecture with friends.
“When I started work at LPN I thought I would stay about two or three years and then return to the architecture world with my friends. But, once I got settled in at LPN, I found I enjoyed the work. And then I was given the opportunity, from the company’s directors, to become managing director in 2006,” Opas recalls of his start at the company 24 years ago.
Opas, pointing to the Bt3 billion in presales that the company posted in 2006 when he took that post, says the company had to endure the country’s economic crisis in 1997 and its aftermath. Less than a decade after the crisis, the company had to find a new direction for doing business by focusing on the development of condominiums aimed at the middle to lower-income market when Opas saw strong demand in this segment.
“The business direction in 2006 proved correct as we went on to boost our sales to Bt10 billion and even hit Bt25 billion in 2013 - that was our golden year at the height of the property market boom,” he says.
Then, in 2017, the property market began to undergo higher competition and disruption from innovative and digital technologies. The company had to change its business model to become an integrated property developer by focusing on both sales and recurring income.
“This is the way to survive the storm that we see coming in 2019,” Opas says.
“All of our moves since 2017 have been aimed at contending with the storm that is coming as a result of all the disruption in the country’s economy and the changes in the industry.
“This is the way that we have found to survive the coming crisis and, in this way, we can turn the crisis into a business opportunity and drive business growth into the double digits each year.”
For this year, the company expects total presales to come in at Bt16 billion, marking growth of more than 10 per cent from last year, Opas says.
Under the business strategy, Opas says his staff are the key to getting the business through the crisis that will impact the business.
“We cannot walk alone, as we need a good team to drive our business through all of the business changes coming,” he says.
Away from the office, Opas says he has the best of families, with a wife and son to act as supports in his professional life. In seeking to strike a balance in life, he values the time that he can spend with his family on weekends and holidays. He even fits in extra time with his son when he drives him to university.
“Family is essential when it comes to supporting my working life. I have to have time for my family every day and to do activities together,” Opas says. “This helps me to have the energy to carry out the company’s business at a time when we face ever more changes, especially this year.”