Soft Touch AB is a Swedish company founded in 1986 by Michael Cederkvist, the company mainly purchase and sell items in the personal protection business such as safety gloves and safety garments. The purchasing is done in Asia and the products are mainly sold in Scandinavian. In 2001 the company has a subsidiary in Hong Kong which responsible for the control of purchases from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The subsidiary in Malaysia is responsible for the control of purchases from all Asian countries in terms of logistics, planning and marketing the business idea.
However, the establishment in Malaysia is not a common type, since the CEO, Michael is working there and almost like he is a consult for himself.
“When you have your own business you become so addicted to what you’re doing and I needed to do something else for a change to get away from that,” says Michael who is now living in Mont Kiara with his wife and two children.
“I was locked by my own routine back in Sweden and I didn’t know what to do. My children were growing up fast and I had been traveling six to seven times a year to Asia and when I’m in Sweden I was at the office most of the time. This was one of the reasons why I wanted to move so I discussed this with my wife. Logically we should move to China, Hong Kong or Pakistan where our factory located but my wife said that we should move to somewhere it’s good for the family and Malaysia seems to be the answer for us.”
The establishment in Malaysia makes traveling and business within the Asian region easier for Michael, and still it enables him to be close to his family. He emphasized that Malaysia is a good country for establishments because of its strategic position in Asia. Furthermore, it has good education possibilities for foreign children, and has a stable society that is adapted to the modern business.
Shrinking the World by the Internet
Michael have his office in the family’s home since he is working alone, and the cost of having a telephone operator in an office is about €450-650, and it did not seem to be needed.
“I consider it necessary to move closer to the production industry to ensure the development of our quality, logistics and deliveries and with modern technique such as Internet, e-mail and telephone meeting, there is no problem working in Asia and keeping in close contact with Sweden these days,” says Michael whose skype is an important tool for his business.
“Also in term of technology wise we use software which I can access database of the Head Quarter in Sweden. I can manage the invoicing, helping with the register. It’s like I’m working in Sweden but at the same time I’m enjoying life in Malaysia. The funny thing is that when I first got here we didn’t have the Internet access at our house so Starbuck was actually my office for the first four months,” he says.
Everything seems to be working well for Michael except for the time different between Malaysia and Sweden that can be a burden for him sometime.
“There are times when I have to get up early for a meeting and it can take all day, but the good thing about working at home is that in between I can always take couple of hours break.”
“One more thing that is missing from this e-communication is the real feeling like working in an office with my colleagues or face to face interaction. Sometime I don’t see or feel what is happening, I can only read from the computer but these are small problems compare to the upsides.” he continues.
Soft Touch AB is a parent company based in Sweden with a turnover around US$10 million. The company has a purchasing office in Hong Kong with a turnover of US$ 3 million, a turnover of US$ 1 million in Malaysia, a transfer-printing studio with a turnover of US$ 16 million and other business subsidiaries Michael has invested on.
To take care these lines of work Michael chose e-solution to improve and simplify the function of his businesses.
“I try to connect all of the companies together and make a very strong e-solution. So what we are building from here is to improve the e-solution between the warehouse in Pakistan and the company in Sweden. When people order our products, the request will go directly to Sweden and from there it will link to the warehouse. It is very systematic and things are done properly.” explains Michael.
Michael has developed Soft Touch as an online store where you can order the products on the website and the items will be shipped to the following address.
He is also looking for new market in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.
Many expats and their family find Malaysia a great place to live because of its good environment for children to grow up. Beside KL there’re many nice towns not too far from the city and Mont Kiara is one of them.
“We arrived here with just full suitcases, no one was helping us with the moving so we tried to do it the simple way. I’ve done some researches where all the Swedes live and turned out that most of them live in this area. Also if you walk around town you will notice a lot of foreigners with multi-nationalities,” say Michael.
The Swedish society here is kind of active according to Michael. “We try to hang out as much as we can but the problem is that everyone works too much,” he says with a smile.
Michael’s daughter and son go to Mont Kiara international school where they have Swedish class once a week for Swedish students.
The Aim of Life
Michael has his own company since he was 21, now he is 44 living a good life with a wonderful family. His goal in life is to stay healthy and be happy.
“Moving out here makes me see a bigger picture of my business. It’s easier for me to come up with a creative solution than back in Sweden,”
“In one’s life there’s time when you need to get out of your own box, go out and take a risk. I have done it and I don’t regret it at all. ” he finishes with no plan yet to move back to Sweden.