Victor Tan, Toll’s Executive Vice President - Asia, has worked for the company for over 25 years, including more than seven years managing Toll’s operations in China.
Victor started his career by joining the family logistics business in Singapore — delivering goods, operating trucks and working closely with customers. Throughout this time, Victor saw the business through numerous changes including a strategic venture with a Singapore Government Linked Company, being listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange and, finally, being acquired by Toll in 2007.
In 2010, Victor was asked to oversee Toll’s operation in China and accepted the opportunity and challenge without a second thought. With support from his leadership team, Victor has since transformed the business to operate to global standards by introducing best practice from the group’s global operations, implementing lean management and building and growing a high-performing team.
“China is a very competitive market,” says Victor. “As a foreign company operating in China, Toll needs to provide the best value to our customers in order to be successful.
“After seven years and with more than 1200 people working at Toll in China,” he continues, “we have transformed the business into one that focuses on continuous improvement, innovation and value creation.”
Toll’s start in China
China’s rapid economic growth over the past century has created many opportunities for both local and international businesses. Many multinational companies were entering into China with few options for third-party logistics providers. Realising that China was on the road to becoming the world’s second largest economy, Toll sought a way to enter the market, and in 1995 began operations in South China through a joint venture. This saw Toll partner with Singapore government-owned SembCorp Logistics Ltd, a company we would go on to acquire in 2006, gaining us a stronger foothold in the logistics market in China.
As a fully owned foreign entity, Toll began to merge and streamline our extensive network of logistics distribution centres, cross-dock and depot facilities to 21 strategically located distribution centres across China. Toll now operates in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Qingdao, Wuhan, Urumuji and other key Chinese cities to service over 50 customers.
Like all foreign businesses that venture into China, Toll has encountered cultural and language barriers.
“China is very big and dynamic, with a very promising economy,” says Victor. “Risks, barriers and challenges can be found in every country, and I consider these opportunities. At Toll, we focus on having an in-depth understanding of these factors, and overcoming them.”
All Toll employees are educated in local business practices that fully comply with Chinese regulations as well as Toll Group’s global compliance policy.
“The logistics market has many competitors,” says Victor. “At Toll, we don’t just focus on price, we focus on addressing and meeting our customer expectations and looking to create value for our customers. By providing independent and wide-reaching distribution services across the country, Toll cares, responds and delivers to ensure goods arrive punctually and safely.
“Toll cares about our customers,” continues Victor. “We have open discussions with them about their business concerns, and can offer flexibility and tailored solutions to help their businesses grow. To cater for our customers’ requirements, we run our business according to the local calendar and successfully manage peak seasons like the Spring Festival and other public holidays. We continually invest in technology and innovative track-and-trace systems to ensure punctual and efficient delivery.”
Toll’s operation in China aligns with the same core values that all Toll entities share.
“Safety is our top priority, and we spend a lot of time working on safe workplace practices to prevent people from being injured in the business,” Victor says. “We also improve our operations by focusing on our people in the workplace to measure and improve their productivity and operational excellence.
“Customer satisfaction is something we are very serious about. At Toll, we want to learn more about our customers: what they want, their values and the changing landscape of their businesses,” says Victor. “We deliver efficiently and on time, and we also invest in advanced technologies and innovation, which help us improve visibility and track-and-trace systems. Furthermore, customers in China can use our customised app to track their orders using their mobile devices.”
Toll regularly listens to its customers through a formal Voice of Customer program. This feedback is used to drive further improvements and value for our customers.
China and beyond
“We’d like to expand and help more businesses across Asia achieve a seamless supply chain — and China is a great place to start,” Victor says.
Committed to continuous improvement, Toll guarantees nothing less than excellence, competitiveness and customer satisfaction.
As Asia Pacific region’s leading integrated logistics provider, Toll’s services in China include:
- Supply Chain Logistics
- Warehouse & Transport
- Freight Forwarding
- Custom clearance