10 April was an auspicious Swedish day in Penang, Malaysia as Monitor ERP System both inaugurated their new, expanded Asean headquarters and launched their enterprise resource planning (EPR) system’s fifth generation (G5).
With owner Jörgen Persson and Group CEO Morgan Persson flown in for the occasion Monitor impressed Sweden’s Ambassador to Malaysia H.E. Dag Juhlin-Dannfelt, Guest of Honour Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow and the many other V.I.P guests with their Swedish-inspired office.
So impressed was the Chief Minister that he jokingly asked if Monitor could spare a work desk for him at their Wisma AIA, Straits Quay-based co-working space style office.
“I’m sure your whole team will be happy to work here. This workplace environment is truly inspiring, and I hope that our local companies in Penang will try out something similar,” said Chow Kon Yeow and continued: “In my vision for Penang 2030 the first theme is to increase liveability to enhance quality of life. People’s work-life balance is of great importance. Monitor comes from Sweden, which is known for being one of the top countries in the world when it comes to work-life balance, and has really showed us here that you take this very seriously. I am very impressed and I hope that your business here will continue to grow, our local talent will benefit from working with you and improving their knowledge and skills, and that our SMEs and our industry in Penang will also benefit from your presence here.”
“It gives me great pleasure to be here to officiate the opening and that this is their biggest office outside of Sweden. I am happy that a continuous initiative by Penang to create a business and investment-friendly environment, together with an abundance of human capital, have further encouraged Monitor to increase its presence here,” the Chief Minister also said.
Commenting on Monitor’s role in contributing to industry 4.0 in Penang and beyond he believed that the state offers lots of opportunities for such a company. “We have an ecosystem of at least 3000 SMEs and driving the fourth industrial revolution we are not there yet but SMEs who want to transform themselves need to be supported. And we are happy to know that Monitor ERP Systems are increasingly serving our SMEs in Penang and elsewhere in the country.”
He believed in the opportunities to grow this segment of business.
“Sweden with its impressive experience and knowhow in innovations and productivity is an exceptional partner in our journey towards industry 4.0. In this era in the growing importance of industry 4.0 I would take this opportunity to encourage all companies, especially SMEs, to respond positively to change and to embrace the new advancement in technology and innovation,” Chow Kon Yeow told the invited guests from the stage.
Speaking to the media Managing Director Daniel Häggmark explained that their complete system is based on 45 years of experience from the manufacturing industry in Sweden – one of the top countries when it comes to efficiency and how efficient companies are working.
“Having low-cost labour available has never really been the case in Sweden, so even small SMEs can go deep with SMEs in Asia because Swedish SMEs are automated; all their processes are efficient. That is very interesting in Asia where it has previously been more low-cost labour intensive work – which is now starting to disappear. Malaysia is also trying hard to reduce the number of foreign workers, which means factories have to be more efficient. There we have a lot to give and knowledge to share as our whole system is built in that kind of environment.”
“You need a system as the backbone of your business before you can start looking into other things related to industry 4.0 so there we see great timing and opportunities.”
Ambassador Dag Juhlin-Dannfelt was especially impressed by the way Monitor had expanded in Southeast Asia.
“It is a joy to see how in less than three years here Monitor has grown and established itself big, not only in Malaysia but in the region. And, as it happens, just a month ago in Penang, Ikea, a fellow Swedish company at nearly the same age as Monitor, established a store in Penang, the biggest so far in Southeast Asia. And today we are here to inaugurate Monitor’s new office, six times bigger than its previous one, so the Swedish footprint is growing. It’s a good time for me as ambassador to see Sweden grow in Malaysia and in Penang.”
“I think Penang is putting itself on the map as the success story it also used to be in the past. Penang is obviously attractive for a segment of SME companies, while historically bigger companies tend to establish themselves in Greater Kuala Lumpur,” the Swedish ambassador told ScandAsia.
“What the future holds in the form of incoming investments I can only guess. But when all Swedish Asian ambassadors recently met in Kuala Lumpur we took note of the fact that Swedish companies chose that city for the second Sweden – Southeast Asia Business Summit. Also, as we discussed the relative positioning of our interest globally Asia featured very high, with Malaysia being a country of high interest and Penang a place of high interest there, especially so now with the new government putting a much stronger emphasis on transparency and good governance.”
The auspicious Monitor ERP System day continued in the evening with an extravagant launch programme, featuring the Swedish inspirational speaker Fredrik Haren and the Asian launch of Monitor G5 (the first generation was launched back in early 1980s), including a detailed snapshot of the all-new ERP version.
“It was first developed for the Swedish industry; for subcontractors to large Swedish multinationals. Ikea’s very first sub-contractor was powered by Monitor. Today we are the market leader in the manufacturing industry. With Monitor G5 we will be strengthening our position further, and not just in Sweden; now we are focusing also on the Malaysian market and the Southeast Asian markets. That is why we are opening a new office and strengthening our team in Malaysia. We have 42 years of experience from the ERP business and we have gathered views and suggestions from our more than 4000 customers all over the world,” owner Jörgen Persson introduced G5 on stage.
Its development was a 10-year, 30 million Euro investment project, with the aim to refresh their established ERP System and help to ready their small & medium size manufacturing customers for the future with the latest in information technology.
“It is the firm’s latest offering to the manufacturing industry, enabling the business owners to better respond to market demand and plan their operations with a focused eye on future developing complexities in the industry. Our Monitor G5 is developed using the latest technology, decades of invaluable experience and a pool of software experts,” commented Daniel Häggmark.
“Having been in the region for some years we made a decision around two years ago. We had found Malaysia to be our new home; from day one the support we got from business partners was overwhelming. Being the market leader in Sweden for forty years was a big advantage in the beginning to reach out to new customers and representatives from the industries. With the fantastic commitment and support from our great owner we told ourselves that if we could become the market leader for SME manufacturing in Sweden, why not aiming to become the same here in Malaysia!” he explained the launch’s slogan ‘Time to level up’ on stage.
“Thus, Monitor started to level up and has grown from three to around forty employees. We now have a local support team that support all our customers in Asia. We have a consultancy team to ensure we do successful implementations. We recently set up a new development team to take care of local requirements and give faster response on governmental changes such as GST to SST to take one example.”
“With this great team and local presence we are starting to see some results. We are getting recognition from governmental organisations, being contacted by different universities for collaborations and invited to different manufacturing organisations to share knowledge.”
“So we have started our journey to be the market leader in Malaysia – committed and long-term, step by step we are leveling up,” he concluded.