By SOMLUCK SRIMALEE
“We learned how to manage our business risks from the 1997 economic crisis by expanding our investment both at home and overseas,” Siam Cement Group (SCG) chief executive officer and president Roongrote Rangsiyopash said recently.
Whenever the group expands its investment, it focuses on two factors: money and human resources. The company takes care to invest in a business that the group has knowledge of, he said. In tapping overseas business opportunities, the company will test the market by exporting some of its products, he added.
“This policy is in keeping with the sufficiency economy philosophy; we will do business in a field where we have the knowledge and the products to serve the market demand. This helped us survive the 1997 economic crisis and we gradually expanded our business to become a market leader in our field in Asean countries,” he said.
SCG was saddled with a debt burden of Bt206 billion during the 1997 crisis. The group had to restructure its business by using the sufficiency economy philosophy to finally achieve a turnaround. Today, the group is financially strong with growth in double digits every year.
Property developer Pruksa Holding Plc is another company that uses the sufficiency economy philosophy to drive its business.
“We take care to manage our risk by following the sufficiency economy philosophy. Our business decisions are based on the ground realities and not driven by greed. When we launch any new residential projects, we have a clear idea of who our targeted customers are and we also ensure we have enough resources to support our business expansion,” Pruksa Holding Plc’s chief executive officer and president, Thongma Vijitpongpun, told The Nation recently.
Thongma said following the sufficiency economy philosophy enables businesses to cope with any crisis. This is a precious legacy of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej for his people.
Bathroom Design Co Ltd was one of many business that was hit by the financial crisis in 1997 following the baht devaluation.
“After the economic crisis of 1997, we changed our business. From an importer, we became a manufacturer and exporter,” Bathroom Design Co Ltd president and founder Watchara-mongkol Benja-thanachart said recently.
“We manage our financial risk by ensuring our debt is lower than our capital. We also share our gains with our staff, shareholders, customers, and community in keeping with the sufficiency economy philosophy.”
Dr Prasarn Trairatvorakul, a former governor of the Bank of Thailand who is now director of Thailand Sustainable Development Foundation, said that the sufficiency economy philosophy is an ideal way to develop small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
“All the 4,000 royal projects launched by the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej are the way to operate for SMEs. All of them follow the sufficiency economic philosophy. They produce goods that serve local demand, and when the output is in excess of the domestic demand, they research and develop ways to add value to make them suitable for export. The concept of sufficiency economy philosophy is based on demand, knowledge, and development, and that is the way to drive the country’s economy, corporate, and people to ensure sustainable growth over the long term,” he said.