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50 Fastest Growing Companies of the Year 2021

May Yap, LHT Holdings Ltd, Chairwoman, CEO and Managing Director: “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”

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As we continue to follow the latest technological trend as a business and move forward towards development, it is also important for us to stay aware of the damaging impact we are leaving on our environment. In recent times, people are being more conscious about recycling their waste. While we are well aware of the benefits of recycling basic household materials like plastics, metals, paper, and glass, many businesses do not understand the importance of recycling wood waste. Creating sustainability for wood and wood products is now more than just intent. Lawmakers and regulators have been making sure that the origin of your wood is legal to have accountability and promote sustainability.

Globally there are various commercial wood suppliers, but LHT Holdings Ltd stands out from the rest. LHT Holdings Limited manufactures and supplies wooden pallets and cases for the packing of industrial products. The Company also trades raw timer-related products and manufactures technical wood, technical wood flooring and, and wood waste collection. LHT Holdings rents pallets and warehouses and acts as a commission agent. LHT Holdings Ltd was founded in 1977 and is based in Sungei Kadut, Singapore.

In conversation with May Yap, Chairwoman, CEO and Managing Director of LHT Holdings Ltd

Q. At the outset, please give us a glimpse of yourself.

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

Wood pallets were in demand as many foreign MNC invested heavily in Singapore, which required these pallets to export goods. At that time, Singapore was on its journey towards development, and we saw our business grow tremendously. Having said moving factory two times, in 1988, we finally bought a 63,568 sqm place, and the company staff strength has grown to 168 employees and with the right timing the group renamed to LHT Holdings Limited and got listed in the mainboard in 1999. On 2nd January 1988, I was the Sales Director in-charge of all sales and marketing functions. I took the opportunity to be an Executive Director by purchasing shares from major shares holders when the company restructured for listing.

I was 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 ensure its product development efforts are 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 have 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.

Tell us about your products and services.

Our products and services are as follows:

Technical Wood: an engineered compressed wood made of original tropical hardwood fibres that undergo a high-pressure and high-temperature steaming process. A “new wood” that substitutes natural wood made from wood waste material.

Innovative Process Product Conversion (IPPC): Pallets series is quickly 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 help customers reduce waste, thereby reducing carbon emissions.

ECR Leasing Pallet: the “Efficient Consumer Response or ECR 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 solutions to customers, a large piece of machinery, unique design shapes 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 a better job environment. It enhances your productivity by eliminating all unnecessary manpower wastage on information retrieval for customers’ verification documentation; provide accuracy, control, and efficiency for your business. Enhance efficiency for right goods delivery to the right location, right condition, right customers, and the right time.

Our green journey in recycling wood waste to “Technical Wood” and waste management.

Technical Wood is the raw material and bio-products that are used to make furniture components for Greenflo Doors (fire-rated) and flooring strip.

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

Who was your inspiration while growing up?

My mum was my role model; I learned from her to talk less and work more, like what the common saying “action speaks louder than words.” She was filled with perseverance, determination, and a never-die attitude. She was very kind to others and did many good deeds, and was respectful to her seniors. As a woman, she worked hard to build her farmhouses for chicken and pigs and had to oversee eight siblings without complaining.This motivated me to overcome all the problems in the factory with ease and achieve my goals. With her influence, I believe I was able to make it and do everything needed with determination, perseverance, and never died attitude.

How do you deal with increased cost of production and labor in the timber industry? What is your take on climate change and how can you promote sustainability?

Transformation from traditional business to the digitalization Industry 4.0 factory with Innovation and high productivities, at the same time we are work toward Zero Waste Management and Circular economy.

As a source of inspiration for many, what would your advice be for female entrepreneurs, who are planning to enter in the business world?

Don’t worry about falling, how it comes and how it goes. Continue to do good deeds and lastly earn from society and payback to society. Stay kind to everyone and yourself. In Singapore, I do not see any gender discrimination as long as you can do the job. These days, I see many women leaving their homes as housewives to join the society, and many women are now holding high-ranking posts. I could only post and set an example from being a female clerk; I was able to become the company’s top executive.

“With the high technology involved, the products have the advantage of being consistent in color, texture and high density. Wood cracks, mold and insect attacks are prevented through strict process of treatment and drying.”