When Covid-19 began hitting hard many parts of the world, Singapore was no exception. Earlier this year, there was a severe shortage of face masks. The novel coronavirus had propelled the thin and tiny little thing into a precious item.
At that precise moment, a Singapore company made a critical decision. The subsidiary of Mohar Shipping Corporation Pte Ltd took the bold step to build a manufacturing plant in Singapore to produce high quality 3-ply disposable medical masks.
“This project was started to fill the gap in the market when there was a critical shortage of personal protective equipment worldwide,” DIP Investments Pte Ltd managing director Jaslyn Kaur told Asia Samachar.
This gave birth to Mohar Medical, a brand name under DIP Investments, a company under Mohar Shipping.
“Most importantly, with the disruption of supply chains occurring during that time, we wanted to ensure that we are able to serve the local market with minimum logistical hurdles. Hence, we decided to manufacture our masks locally rather than importing masks for resale,” she added.
Jaslyn, who’s overseeing the marketing side of the project, spoke at length on the how the team made it happen under some pretty intense operating environment.
Q: How long did the whole process take – from idea to getting the factory up and running?
A: The entire process, from the inception of the business idea, to get to production, took four months. We initiated the process in January 2020 and our first mask rolled off the production line in May 2020. In between there were lots of work to do – from the purchase of machinery, recruitment of staff and engineers, training of engineers, testing of raw materials to the establishment of a quality management system, full factory audit and ISO 13485 certification. We managed to pull this off in record time thanks to a team of dedicated staff with all hands on deck!
I am the Marketing Director for this project. In my role, I undertake a full suite of responsibilities from managing our brand, product labelling, customer outreach, media outreach and daily coordination with our production, logistics and sales teams.
What other role do you play?
I am in the second generation managing my family’s portfolio of companies, all of which are Singapore registered businesses. Our primary business is in the shipping trade. Mohar Shipping Corporation Pte Ltd was started by my father, Mr. Sarjit Singh, in 1981. Mohar is one of the proudly Sikh-owned businesses with a long and successful history in Singapore. The company owns and operates a fleet of bulk carriers and cement carriers which trade regionally. In 2003, we incorporated DIP Investments Pte Ltd with the objective of seeding new ventures across various industries and geographies. Some of these ventures include equity investments in the hospitality sector in Sri Lanka and renewable energy projects in both Sri Lanka and Sub Saharan Africa. For these projects, I am tasked with investor relations, client outreach and investment analysis. DIP Investments’ newest venture is Mohar Medical – a HSA licensed manufacturer of Class A Medical Devices, for which I am in charge of marketing.
How has this venture helped in the Covid-19 pandemic?
As a local manufacturer of medical equipment, one of our key goals is to ensure that our masks are ready to be mobilised within Singapore in a timely manner without any concerns of airfreight, logistical delays or compromise in quality. Without the concern of airfreight, we are also able to retail our masks directly to Singapore consumers at affordable prices as we believe no household should be deprived of protective equipment during this pandemic. As such, our masks are priced very affordably for the local market and sold directly on our e-commerce platform, with logistics and local deliveries being managed in house by our own fleet of vehicles.
What is the response so far?
We are appreciative of Singaporeans’ support for our homegrown brand and very grateful that the venture has taken off the way it did. We are currently receiving enquiries for 5-10 million masks in the next two months for export alone, hence we are actively looking to grow our mask manufacturing capacity. To supplement our existing production capacity and benefit from scale economies, we are actively searching for a site for a second mask manufacturing plant in Southeast Asia within the next six months, with the intention of distributing the production from the new plant to global export markets. We intend to double our production capacity within the next six months.
What else are you looking at?
As a homegrown enterprise, we are also actively looking for opportunities to give back to the community. In July 2020, we teamed up with the Young Sikhs Association (YSA) of Singapore to donate 1000 masks to the Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home. ThehHome was impacted by Covid19 as they had seen some cases amongst their elderly residents. We worked with Young Sikh Association Singapore (YSA) President Mr. Sarabjeet Singh to provide masks for their staff and elderly residents, along with other items that the YSA had provided for them in care packages. We appreciate the good work done by the YSA and other community organisations, and welcome them to get in touch with us to further our community outreach.
Coronavirus awakens millennial Sikh entprepreneur (Asia Samachar, 22 July 2020)
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