Mr. Sulimro, you have been in the furniture business with San Lim Furniture for over 15 years. What has been your biggest milestone on that journey?
The year 2015 was a major milestone. Our production processes were still totally chaotic, and the machines were constantly covered in a thick layer of sawdust. I knew things had to change – and that’s when I started the whole process of turning the company around. We bought some high-end machines from Germany, installed an extraction system, and the results were remarkable. We saw a significant improvement in safety and productivity at our facility as well as lower scrap rates. And the changes weren’t just on paper – I also feel that the whole working atmosphere has improved since we took those steps.
Your company specializes in furniture. Was that always the case?
Yes. We are furniture experts and have continued to expand that core competence over the years. Most of our chairs, beds and shelf units end up in people’s homes, but one of our plans for the future is to kit out four and five-star hotels with our furniture, too.
That sounds ambitious. Will you still be focusing on wooden furniture?
Yes and no. Wooden furniture has always been our primary line of business. But, right now, we’re building a second facility not far from our main site, where we will be making furniture out of metal. It was when we were searching for the right machines to work with metal that we came across TRUMPF.
Why choose metal?
Times are changing, and we need to change with them. Flick through any furniture catalogue and you’ll see lots of plastic and metal as well as wood. We want to tap into that market so we can offer our customers a broader range of products in future.
You’ve pledged to make the lifestyle we enjoy in the West accessible to people all over the world. What part does TRUMPF play in that?
Simple metal structures are in high demand all over the world, from London to New York. I think our main line of business in future will primarily consist of those kinds of products. We want to make sure we have the right partner on board to take that step, and TRUMPF fits the bill. It’s essential that the products we make meet the quality standards of the countries we export them to – and right now most of our furniture goes to the US.
You’ve invested in four new machines that can handle bending, tube cutting and laser welding. It’s the first time TRUMPF has installed some of those machines in Vietnam. What led you to place your trust in this new approach?
The way I see it is that new investments open up new opportunities. Obviously it’s a risk to make such a big investment, but I think that with TRUMPF’s support we can take that risk together and overcome it. Sometimes it’s important to trust in a new approach to keep things moving forward.
Is that your recipe for success?
You could say that, yes. We’re always striving to improve and looking for ways to make our customers even more satisfied. I would say that my personal motto of “keep improving” sums it up nicely!
Tony Sulimro is Managing Director of San Lim Furniture. As early as 2015, he installed high-end machines from Germany in his company and improved productivity and quality. Now he wants to expand production to include metal furniture.