Leader’s advice: The Three rules of business

IT is always inspiring when we hear about business owners who go out of their way to take care of employees especially during times of crisis.  This is exactly what happened during this pandemic at Sorella Underwear Company when the resulting lockdown affected their employees’ welfare.

According to company owner Cheung Tan, his father founded the business in 1985.  From the start, his father established very clear priorities:  1) Take care of customers; 2) Take care of employees; and 3) Take care of suppliers and partners.

After graduating from college, Mr. Tan was hired by his father to handle the marketing side; his brother took care of production. Through the years, Sorella has grown into a success story in the garments industry.

Today, it manufactures and sells well-known brands like Sorella and Gigi Amore. It also sells licensed apparel brands – manufacturing Disney apparel (particularly Mickey Mouse) sold in mall chains Walmart and Target in the United States. It also supplies apparel to the Filipino mass market, with its products sold in Divisoria.

Mr. Tan takes pride in the fact that from the outset, their company has always been about caring for their people.

“In our business, we make it a point to always side with the people’s welfare. Many of our employees have been with us for decades, some even right when the company was founded. Some of them became husbands and wives to each other and have been able to send their kids to good schools. These children have grown up and are now helping their families.”

“The owners and managers address any employee grievances. We look at matters from the employees’ perspective. Then we make the necessary changes to improve their situation. When you take good care of your employees, it’s a win for everyone. They become more productive and the business benefits. This is why as owners and managers, we are very involved with our employees’ well-being,” said Mr. Tan.

This people-focused approach to business extends to Sorella’s customers and suppliers as well.  Mr. Tan said that the company is always attuned to feedback from customers and suppliers.

“With our customers, we make sure to provide them with quality products. There’s no other way to keep them happy with your products. We also believe in innovating, in offering our customers something new,” he said.

During the pandemic, Mr. Tan and his company faced a problem that affected all their employees:  the company’s payroll master couldn’t go to work due to lack of transportation brought about by the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).  When the payroll master couldn’t report for work, there was no one left in the office to process the salaries. Due to the community quarantine, Sorella at the time was only operating with a skeleton workforce. Well, what happened next was this: Mr. Tan rolled up his sleeves and took it upon himself to process the payroll for the entire company.

As he faced this task, Mr. Tan was fortunate enough to have the proper tool and partner to help him out. The tool was the BDO’s Cash Management Services and with the help of the bank’s Client Support Officer, Charlotte Mae Francisco, Mr. Tan was able to make the tool work for his employees’ benefit.

Of course, Charlotte wasn’t helping Mr. Tan on her own: she had the entire CMS-SME client support team behind her, too. With that, they worked on completing the payroll process for the company. Mr. Lim used the cash management services to process and release his employees’ salaries through online transactions.

“As a business, we have partners and suppliers who help make our operations efficient, cost-effective, profitable and successful. We appreciate their advice and input. Take the case of BDO, who is our business partner through their Cash Management Services.  During this crisis, we’ve seen how BDO can help us adjust to and manage our business through difficult times,” said Mr. Tan.

According to Mr. Tan, that’s really the main reason why he’s happy to choose BDO as his company’s bank. “I find BDO to be very dependable and reliable even during challenging times. They always find ways to help us. They are ready to address our problems right away.”BDO’s Cash Management Services is designed to benefit both employers and employees enjoy faster, safer, convenient, and reliable cash transactions. This has proven crucial especially during our new normal when many restrictions are in place to protect the public’s health. To learn more about the BDO Cash Management Services, you may visit www.bdo.com.ph/business/cash-management-services.

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