UOB Malaysia and The FinLab help more than 110 SMEs improve productivity amid the impact of COVID-19

UOB Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, 1 April 2021 – UOB Malaysia and The FinLab have recently concluded its 2020 run of the Jom Transform Programme, during which 116 local small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) received advisory and assistance in digital transformation. Through the programme, the SMEs improved their productivity and grew their revenue, helping them to overcome the challenges brought about by the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

In its second year, the Jom Transform Programme was conducted virtually on The FinLab Online amid physical distancing restrictions during the pandemic. The regional digital platform enabled SMEs to access online workshops, video tutorials and webinars in digital marketing, business operations and e-commerce. 

Mr Wong Kim Choong, Chief Executive Officer, UOB Malaysia said, “Through our engagement sessions last year, we found that SMEs have long considered digitalisation essential to reinventing their business models. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted these businesses to accelerate their digital transformation efforts as they had to operate with strict standard operating procedures within physical restrictions. By hosting the Jom Transform Programme on The FinLab Online, SMEs could access our resources online easily and conveniently, progressing on their digitalisation journey from the safety of their own homes and offices.”

Wong Kim Choong, Chief Executive Officer, UOB Malaysia

At the start of the business transformation programme, 60 per cent of the participating SMEs expressed the intent to adopt digital marketing to expand their online brand presence. The remaining participants were focused on incorporating digital solutions to improve their operations and integrating e-commerce to boost their sales. Upon completion of the programme, the SMEs were able to achieve the following outcomes – increase in revenue, reduction in business cost, improved process time, reduction in man hours or creation of new sources of growth.

One of the participants of the Jom Transform Programme 2020 was The Makeover Guys Sdn Bhd. The company manages interior design, renovation projects and secures rental tenants for property owners. Having renovated more than 3,000 properties in the last five years, they recognised that the interaction among the property owner, tenant and property manager is instrumental to quality engagement and experience and to maximising rental revenue for property owners. However, existing interaction touchpoints, processes and requirements for documentation were time-consuming. 

Mr Gavin Liew, Founder of The Makeover Guys Sdn Bhd, said, “Through the Jom Transform Programme, we implemented a tenancy management platform that has helped us to streamline our costly and resource-intensive back-end processes. The solution enabled us to eliminate errors from manual data entry and tracking. We have also noticed a significant 70 per cent reduction in the number of steps required to perform different tasks as job requests, updates and data recording are now automated. This translated into a faster turnaround and increased resource efficiency.”

Yap Kok Tee, Executive Director and Country Head of Channels and Digitalisation, UOB Malaysia

Another participant, Sauna Holm Sdn Bhd, is a pioneer supplier of equipment and furniture for the spa, wellness and hotel industries. They recognised the importance of accurately capturing their customers’ orders to ensure better collaboration between their sales and operations teams and to manage these transactions effectively. As the multiple orders had been captured through different systems, completing transactions was a complex and fragmented process. 

Ms Regine Lau, General Manager of Sauna Holm Sdn Bhd, said, “Under the Jom Transform Programme, we integrated a customer relationship management software into our existing network which enabled our sales and operations teams to streamline and to manage our customer engagement, sales and project delivery better within a single system platform. The software integration has improved our customer relationship management with a 20 per cent reduction in the time taken from order placement to shipment, within just a month of implementation.”  

Jom Transform Programme reaches more SMEs with The FinLab Online

Since its launch in 2020, The FinLab Online has enabled businesses across Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand to access and to receive guidance on their digitalisation journey wherever they are located. In Malaysia, with The FinLab Online, the Jom Transform Programme reached more SMEs outside the Klang Valley last year, including companies in Kedah, Penang, Terengganu, Perak, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak. 

Mr Yap Kok Tee, Executive Director and Country Head of Channels and Digitalisation, UOB Malaysia, said, “In 2020, we took the initiative to conduct the Jom Transform Programme virtually to widen our reach and to engage with more SMEs and our ecosystem partners. Last year, one out of four SMEs that participated in this programme was a business located outside the Klang Valley area. UOB Malaysia and The FinLab will continue to offer the Jom Transform Programme 2021 on The FinLab Online to support more SMEs in their digitalisation efforts and to help them embrace the new normal of doing business.”

The first cohort of the Jom Transform Programme 2021 will undergo a business transformation curriculum through The FinLab Online starting 18 May 2021. Local businesses interested to participate in the programme are encouraged to register their interest now at https://thefinlab.com/malaysiajomtransform/.

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About United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) Bhd 

United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) Bhd (UOB Malaysia) is a subsidiary of Singapore-based United Overseas Bank Limited (UOB) and has had a presence in Malaysia since 1951. UOB Malaysia offers an extensive range of commercial and personal financial services through its branches, subsidiaries and associate companies: commercial lending, investment banking, treasury services, trade services, cash management, home loans, credit cards, wealth management, and bancassurance products. 

UOB is a leading bank in Asia with a global network of more than 500 offices in 19 countries and territories in Asia Pacific, Europe and North America. Since its incorporation in 1935, UOB has grown organically and through a series of strategic acquisitions. UOB is rated among the world’s top banks: Aa1 by Moody’s Investors Service and AA- by both S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings. In Malaysia, UOB Malaysia receives AAA/Stable/P1 financial institution rating from RAM Ratings. Over more than eight decades, generations of UOB employees have carried through the entrepreneurial spirit, the focus on long-term value creation and an unwavering commitment to do what is right for our customers and our colleagues.

We believe in being a responsible financial services provider and we are committed to making a difference in the lives of our stakeholders and in the communities in which we operate. Just as we are dedicated to helping our customers manage their finances wisely and to grow their businesses, UOB is steadfast in our support of social development, particularly in the areas of art, children and education.  

For further information, please visit www.uob.com.my.

About The FinLab  

Founded in 2015, The FinLab is an innovation accelerator powered by United Overseas Bank (UOB) and SGInnovate for fintechs and start-ups to develop fit-for-market solutions. In 2018, it expanded its scope to help small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups to transform their businesses. In 2019, to support the needs of SMEs in the region and to serve UOB’s large SME customer base, it expanded regionally. Currently present in three countries – Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand – The FinLab helps businesses scale across ASEAN by connecting them to industry experts, mentors and facilitating the right technology solutions to power their growth, maximise their efficiency and enable long-term success.

In 2020, The FinLab Online was launched to enable more businesses to tap on the knowledge, tools and resources from The FinLab’s regional network established over the years.


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