Interview with Alex C. Lo

PresidentUni-President Enterprises Corporation

"...we focus on building robust systems that can operate under a variety of conditions. If we have good basic operating systems and good work ethics, we will surely benefit when the economic environment improves. If economy declines further, those same systems will sustain us because they provide a solid foundation for our enterprise."

"Large organisations tend to have too many intelligent people spending too much time on predicting the future. We feel it’s more practical to spend time on improving our execution."

"So, I don’t think that the distribution sector is shielded from the effects of the economic slowdown. Rather, I think that being in this industry we are much more sensitive to market trends and adjust our offerings accordingly."

"People assume that as a consumer goods company, Uni-President is somewhat shielded from the economic downturn. I think it’s just the opposite. Consider our network of convenience store across Taiwan, for example. Every day, roughly one out of every two Taiwanese buys something from one of our various stores. Even a small drop in that level of consumer engagement would hurt our business. So, I don’t think that the distribution sector is shielded from the effects of the economic slowdown. Rather, I think that being in this industry we are much more sensitive to market trends and adjust our offerings accordingly."

"For us, I think the largest source of growth will be overseas markets - especially China. Yet we also see room for growth here in are home country of Taiwan. Taiwan is a changing society and offers unprecedented business opportunities."

"We will also continue to stress the importance of simplicity and focus. Because there are so many opportunities available to us, it’s easy to get distracted. So, we’ve undertaken “subtraction” projects to make the Group businesses more focused and simplified."

"Consumer preferences vary constantly as society changes over time. If we’re busy doing too many things, we’ll forget the most basic and fundamental things. So, we continuously try to refocus our business scope back to our core competencies."

"Uni-President has 100,000 employees. It’s an enormous challenge to build a consistent mindset and behaviour across such a large workforce. We often say that the greatest challenge we face - as well as greatest opportunity - is to foster a highly qualified and motivated workforce."

"If a company has a clear framework and explicit objectives, everyone is able to understand what role to play, just like in a ballgame. And when people systematically do the right things in the right way, there’s an increase in productivity."

"Now, differentiation has become internalised in our organisational thinking. China is such a huge market. It needs something different, and the purchasing power of its people is definitely able to support products that are different."

"To us, we care about two types of relationships. The first is related to external relationships in which we try to create maximum value for stockholders and make them happy. The second is related to internal relationships. We challenge ourselves continuously to better care for our employees."

"We didn’t intentionally choose to set a higher standard of disclosure. ...We simply believed that the right thing to do was to disclose all without hiding anything."

 

 

As part of PwC's 16th Annual Global CEO Survey, we spoke with Alex C. Lo, President of Uni-President Enterprises Corporation. In this short video, Alex talks about adaptability, operational effectiveness, opportunities for growth, and fostering a skilled and motivated workforce.

  
Mr. Lo currently serves as the General Manager of Taiwan-based Uni-President Enterprise Corp. (UPEC), one of the leading peers of food conglomerates in East Asia, which serves millions of consumers with delicious nutrition and reliable brands in the region on daily basis. Before his appointment, he assumed the positions as Executive VP and Senior VP at UPEC. During the tenure, Mr. Lo was charged with the responsibilities of corporate strategy development and execution, marketing, and P&L of all consumer-packaged business units include Instant Noodle, Beverage, Dairy, Frozen Foods and Ice Cream Divisions. Prior to that, Mr. Lo served in Shanghai, China, as the Special Assistant to CEO with President Enterprises (China) Investments Co., the China arm of UPEC and as COO of President International Inc., the UPEC’s US subsidiary based in Los Angeles. Mr. Lo holds a MBA degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
  These interviews contain the opinions and views of the CEOs interviewed, and do not necessarily represent the opinions and views of PwC.

 
 

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