People Are The Resource That Drives All Other Resources: William Sim, CEO of Heilind Asia Pacific

22-Feb-2018 Intellasia | BusinessWire | 4:59 PM Print This Post

HONG KONG–(BUSINESS WIRE)–William Sim never forgot the advice he received from one of his former
CEOs, and it’s something he has carried into all of his leadership roles.

When William Sim entered the world of electronics, he received a piece
of advice from one of his CEOs that has remained a cornerstone of both
his personal and professional life. “He said, ‘People are the single
most important resource in any organization. It is the resource that
drives all other resources,’” the now President of Heilind Asia Pacific
tells The CEO Magazine.

William has spent most of his working life either on the manufacturing
or the distribution side of electronics. He began at Philips
Semiconductors, working in sales and marketing roles before getting
bumped up to general manager for South Asia–Pacific. William left
Philips (which had changed its name to NXP) in 2006, and became senior
vice-president of Global Operations at semiconductor distributor WPG.

He then moved on to Arrow Electronics as the vice-president of Global
Alliance before taking up his current role as president of Heilind Asia
Pacific. A subsidiary of US-based Heilind Electronics, Heilind Asia
Pacific specializes in distributing interconnect and electromagnetic
products, switches, relays, thermal management and circuit protection

William Sim leads Eastern expansion

With its headquarters in Hong Kong, the company made a foray into the
East, which was filled with challenges, especially in its first year.
“We were basically unknown in Asia when we first came, so we spent a lot
of time and effort on marketing activities and exhibitions to publicize
our presence,” William says.

“The market at the time, and still today, was crowded with distributors
that had longstanding relationships with suppliers, so we introduced the
concept of ‘Distribution As It Should Be’. We spent a lot of time
selling our concept and telling potential customers that we have a
business model that is being used successfully in America.”

The company survived due to its business model and because it took
calculated risks, something William believes is necessary in the
distribution business. “We built inventory before customers placed
orders. Sometimes it fails, but we have been successful more times than
not. Over the course of our operations, customers have appreciated the
way we do business.”

Heilind’s culture based on valuing people

Having been president since the company’s inception five years ago,
William made sure he based its culture around valuing people. This has
yielded positive results in terms of employee satisfaction. “We have a
very low staff turnover, which is unique in the market,” William says.
“For instance, in the first year, we employed about 30 people, and 27 of
those are still with the company.”

William believes in empowering his staff and knows it will allow the
business to achieve its goals. “We believe every individual in the
organization is important. We try, as far as possible, to have all
workers involved in decision making, which allows them to take ownership
of what they want to do for the company,” William says.

What makes a good leader?

William says there is no one style of leadership, but as president he
ensures he has:
- A distinct vision of where the company is going;
Clear KPIs;
- The ability to pre-empt challenges
- And courage
to make changes;
- An understanding that all problems stop with him;
And a belief that each person is important to the organization.

“I want our employees to feel like they belong and to learn and grow
with the organization. When someone makes a mistake for the first time,
they are not penalized; instead, they are encouraged to learn through
the process. They know that my door is always open and they can come and
talk to me about what they think we should be doing differently.”

William is also a fan of rewarding success. “Our people understand and
support our business goals, and we make sure we keep them abreast of our
progress and milestones,” he says. “Each time the company achieves a
milestone; it gets published in our newsletter and is celebrated in the
team. And every year, we have a company outing and include every single
person, right down to the store hands.”

“Distribution is a relationship business”

William’s attitude towards his employees extends to his partners and
suppliers. “Distribution is a relationship business,” he says. “We do
not manufacture products, so we are dependent on suppliers, and on
customers to buy from us. Every distributor offers the same thing, so it
boils down to how well we manage relationships with all of our

When the company first came to Asia, it spent a lot of time establishing
relationships with suppliers, forming strategies with them on the types
of services it should provide, what it should stock, and even how it
should set up its offices.

“Over the years, suppliers change, so we try to keep up with what they
require,” William says. Since the company brought large stock quantities
into Asia, it has been able to do away with minimum order quantity and
shorten turnaround times for customers.

On top of that, William adds, it doesn’t select market segments but
rather provides services to everyone from the small equipment
manufacturers to large original equipment manufacturers. “We are moving
away from some of the bigger distributors who are very selective in the
customers they want to engage. As long as customers want this kind of
service, we will provide it.”

Heilind Asia–Pacific’s next step

The company’s next step is to evolve along with the shifting needs in
the electronics industry. “In the past, the distribution market was
basically about buying and selling, but this has since changed to a
number of additional services that offer more value. In Asia in
particular, we see e-commerce becoming increasingly important, so you
get a lot of stockists putting their inventory into a platform where
people can just go in, and buy and sell.” As a result, the company plans
to make a name for itself in the digital space.

“We have been in the market for five years and have gone beyond the
initial phase of transition and consolidation,” William adds. “We will
finetune some strategies and make use of social media tools to continue
promoting our brand because this is something that is prevalent in the


Heilind Asia Pacific (HK) Limited
Vesper Hu,
[email protected]
Asia Pacific (HK) Limited
Sarah Luo, 00852-26119634
[email protected]


Category: BusinessWire, PRAsia

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