Introducing TMX Asia Team – Q&A with our people.
This week we talk to Greg O’Shea, who leads TMX in Malaysia and Singapore and is based in Kuala Lumpur.
Greg has over 30 years of supply chain experience successfully delivering complex solutions across Asia, Australia and The USA for leading international retailers and multinational companies, including Big C, The Australian Wine Industry, Continental Tyres, Kraft Danone, Tesco and Unilever.
Greg’s expertise lies in creating industry changing solutions for emerging markets and he has worked in a number of challenging environments such as Mexico, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. He has led global 3PL’s and a number of start-ups in Supply Chain and Tech. Greg is also a passionate advocate of sustainable supply chain solutions.
Greg is acknowledged as a though leader on supply chain in ASEAN and is a finalist in a number of prestigious Supply Chain Awards in Asia and Australia. Greg has consulted to governments throughout the region, including The Malaysian Government on Road Transport and to The Thai Government on Disaster Relief and the UN World Food Program after the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami.
What do you see as the key trends and opportunities with businesses in the ASEAN region in the next few years?
I see the ASEAN region continuing to grow at an accelerated pace which is exciting. Trade disputes and covid related shutdown issues in China has opened opportunities for countries in ASEAN to become more agile and more involved with manufacturing.
In Malaysia, The Government and bodies such as The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) are aggressively pursuing investment into manufacturing which makes solid economic sense. An educated workforce, English is widely spoken, excellent infrastructure and a stable rule of law means more companies are choosing to set up in Malaysia. The Australian Government through Austrade has also been extremely helpful here in KL in connecting us with businesses who require TMX’s expertise.
This week the World Bank has raised its expectations on GDP growth for Malaysia for this year from 5.5% to 6.4% which is extremely encouraging.
Another key driver coming out of Covid is the lack of labour. In Asia where labour rates have always been lower compared with other regions – a solution has traditionally been to throw more labour into the mix. However, in countries like Malaysia which relies heavily on foreign labour that’s now an issue as the depth is just not there. Additionally labour rates are also increasing.
This means that we are having more meaningful conversations around automation in supply chain. Digitalisation of Supply Chains are also a hot topic.
Digitalisation means different things to different people but the inescapable fact is that digitalisation is an enabler and a benefit as we come through COVID. Digitalisation has touched just about everyone now with access to a phone. Some digital solutions can be quite simple but when applied to the size and complexity of supply chains in Asia, digitalisation can make a huge difference not only in bringing goods to market but in terms of customer interaction with a brand and loyalty, provenance and traceability – particularly with food security which is on the mind of many governments and populations today.
What do you think businesses should do to take advantage of these new opportunities?
I recommend businesses to be open about getting help from experts like TMX.
We are always willing to sit with customers, talk about your business, understand your supply chains, your challenges and issues. Often with a fresh set of eyes and ears that these opportunities are uncovered
How long have you been working in the supply chain industry?
I think this year is coming up to 34 years – Obviously I started when I was 5 years old!
My father worked most of his adult life in The Australian Customs Service. He rose to the position of Assistant Collector – and so there was always colleagues, friends and industry type people at our house, I guess I was exposed to the exciting world of international freight and logistics from an early age. My father would often drive me down to the docks in Melbourne to see what ships were in. I remember of being amazed at all the faraway ports that ship had visited!
What do you think is your key strength that help you excel in this industry?
Honesty and integrity are really important to me and I still have friends who were clients back when I started out. Also, respect for people at all levels and the ability talk to all of them.
I’m a big picture person who can visualize how a supply chain should look and work.
I love drawing and mapping and understanding the gaps and how to solve the issues with my team.
In previous roles I’ve done a lot around transport networks and vehicle design to provide better capacity, reduce emissions etc. It’s an area which still has so much potential in South- East Asia as infrastructure improves. This is something I am very passionate about so expect to see more from TMX in Malaysia and South-East Asia very soon!
What advice would you give people who are interested in working in supply chain industry.
I’ve been fortunate to have two or three great mentors in my career and I’ve really tried to pass that on to my teams. Open and honest communication and path forward for people. I think particularly in Asia where an employee might be supporting a large extended family or be away from family. My biggest piece of advice is to think big. Don’t worry about the naysayers. If you believe it can be done – it can!
It is also really important to set realistic expectations with clients and to stay with them on the transformation journey.
Why did you choose to join TMX?
Because of Travis and Milan, the two founders of the business. It met them in December 2021 when TMX was planning to expand to Malaysia.
I loved the fact that they made a decision quickly and that we moved fast. It’s a dynamic organization and growing quickly. I also enjoy the camaraderie and working with colleagues from across the region.
I’m really proud that we have established TMX Malaysia and been able to grow at a rapid rate in Malaysia and Singapore.
I also believe that Australian ingenuity is valued in Asia – Australia has developed supply chain solutions in often harsh environments and where distance is a huge factor. These factors resonate here in Asia where we need to be creative and continually evolving.
Finally, can you please provide some fun facts about living and working in Asia?
It’s warm every day in Malaysia!
I love the vibrancy of Asia, the feeling you have that everyday something is being built and the way that folks work so hard.
I love the food and understanding what different foods originate from particular regions of a country.
I also like the friendly nature of Asia – walking along the street and most people saying hello or giving you a nod. Business is built around relationships in Asia and I enjoy this aspect of my role immensely.
Thank you, Greg, for a great conversation. We are looking forward to seeing a lot of great things happening with TMX and in Malaysia.
Next time we will talkg to Gerry Power, Managing Director, UK and Director Asia.
Watch this space.