IPMUDA builds legacy on lasting relationships
Malaysia is no exception when it comes to the ups and downs in the construction industry. This is why the phenomenal success of IPMUDA as one of the country's largest distributors of building materials is truly notable. Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the company goes beyond continuously strengthening its one-stop-shop reputation and excellent customer service. IPMUDA distinguishes itself by cultivating lasting business relationships with customers and suppliers, and by implementing a prudent risk management strategy rooted on an aggressive diversification programme.
"Through our employees, we've built connections from the first generation of contractors, developers and suppliers through to the second," says CEO David Chua. "We've groomed our talents well, making sure that succession planning is always in place."
Many of its employees have been with IPMUDA since the beginning. With the accumulated expertise, the company is able to advise customers on the best products to use. Comprising exclusive brands from regular suppliers and its own labels made by original equipment manufacturers, IPMUDA carries the complete range from structural steel and cement all the way to finished products such as tiles, sanitary wares, faucets and tap fittings, ironmongery, locksets, kitchen cabinets and wardrobes. Its product portfolio includes international labels such as the long-renowned French-German bathroom and tableware specialist Villeroy & Boch, Dutch bathroom expert Geesa and leading Italian taps manufacturer Ottone Meloda. These products complement the company's own brands such as Ipcera, Ortolani and Roset.
"We know our clients well and never compromise on the quality of service we provide them," Chua says. "We've won their trust by giving them support not just from a pricing perspective."
The company effectively assists customers with branches all over Malaysia, while its long-standing relationship with many manufacturers assures steady supply even during shortages. IPMUDA's robust financial position built on an excellent risk-management strategy also allows the company to provide clients materials even ahead of payments.
"We always try to look for opportunities within our segment, whether it's upstream or downstream," Chua says. "This approach is critical to our sustainability in this highly cyclical industry."
Having investments within the industry value chain such as property development and manufacturing of kitchen cabinets and wardrobe, IPMUDA is able to achieve significant liquidity. The company is exploring to venture beyond the construction sector into medical glove production, prompted by the expertise of its subsidiary, which has been in the industry for more than 20 years.
"Although we've been successful in terms of revenues, profits and level of business diversification, we'd like to grow the company on a bigger scale in the Asean region," Chua says.
IPMUDA is seeking partners in markets such as Indonesia and Thailand, where there have been tremendous improvements in disposable income. While the company needs local help on issues such as licensing and trading requirements, it is eager to share its years of expertise in distribution and business strategy. IPMUDA is similarly inviting new suppliers as it expands its product offering.
In Malaysia, IPMUDA sees great opportunity with the government's focus on affordable housing and the good showing of the construction sector. The industry has been growing about twice as fast as the local economy over the past four years, and is expected to maintain brisk growth that is forecasted to reach 10.7 per cent this year.
Against this upbeat backdrop, IPMUDA wants to work with incoming Chinese and regional developers and contractors who want to partake in the upswing.
"We can provide investors, suppliers and manufacturers from the mainland the local expertise they need to succeed in Malaysia," Chua says. "We have access to a network of dealers, distribution houses, contractors, architects, interior designers and real estate developers throughout the country. We can also collaborate on other aspects such as marketing, finance and government compliance."