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21 Aug 2018, Kuala Lumpur - “Transforming business models is a must to succeed in the Industrial Revolution,” according to ninety six percent of ASEAN CEOs interviewed in preparation of the 8th HR Talk Show, happening on April 24, 2019 at the Sunway Putra Hotel Ballroom in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

This interview confirms an earlier survey carried by think tank, McKinsey (2018), underscoring the transformative potential of Industry 4.0 was clearly confirmed. 

"The workforce can only be part of the solution if they are digital-literate,” says HR Talk Show keynote speaker, Nora Manaf, Chief Human Capital Officer and Head of Workplace Futurization for ASEAN’s second largest bank, Maybank. 

Almost all of the respondents, 96 percent, believed Industry 4.0 will bring new business models to their industries and, slightly less, 90 percent, said improved performance will be one of the main benefits from these new technologies. 

Additionally, in manufacturing-based economies such as Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam, respondents were generally optimistic about prospects of Industry 4.0. 

“Ten years ago, a trend gave birth to then-nascent job title, The Chief Culture Officer. Today, that is ten years later, we observe a new job title once again, The Workplace Futurization Director,” says HR Talk Show Research and Communication Director, Frank Mercado. “This is proof that budgets are being placed in ASEAN to digitalize the workforce and the workplace.” 

HR Talk Show will be opened by BAT Malaysia Managing Director, Erik Stoel, who in 2017 led to completion Project Aurora—the transformation aimed to strengthen their business model via reinforcing their commercial capabilities and optimizing their supply chain and transactional activities. All done in order to maintain BAT Malaysia's leadership and to maximize shareholder returns given the challenging times for the legal tobacco industry.”

"In British American Tobacco Malaysia, we constantly believe and advocate the ethos of continuous improvement as a way of life. As we transition towards a much sharper, integrated and consumer-centric organisation in British American Tobacco Malaysia, we adopted Programme Aurora, the global British American Tobacco blueprint to evolve Human Resources into a leading, integrated, and agile function which is better able to work with the business as a true partner and drive change forward to deliver a world-class Human Resources function." says Erik.

ASEAN manufacturers cannot risk failing to capture the large opportunities made possible by these new technologies. By embracing Industry 4.0, ASEAN manufacturers can become the next leaders in their fields.

In recent decades, ASEAN manufacturing, once seen as a global phenomenon, has been overshadowed by the meteoric rise of Chinese factories. The digital technologies associated with Industry 4.0 can help ASEAN manufacturers overcome relatively low productivity rates to regain their stature as factories to the world.  

Industry 4.0 is the confluence of disruptive digital technologies that together carry the potential to change the manufacturing sector beyond recognition. The movement has gained critical momentum as a number of factors have come together: an astonishing rise in data volume, computing power, and connectivity; the emergence of advanced data analytics and business-intelligence capabilities; new forms of human—machine interaction, such as touch interfaces and augmented-reality systems; and improvements in how digital outcomes are transferred to the physical world, for instance through advanced robotics and 3-D printing.  

Industry 4.0 is expected to drive productivity increases comparable to those generated by the introduction of the steam engine in the Industrial Revolution. Globally, it is expected to deliver between $1.2 trillion and $3.7 trillion in gains (Exhibit 2). Of this, ASEAN, whose member economies have significant manufacturing components, has the potential to capture productivity gains worth $216 billion to $627 billion.

Infineon Technologies, a semiconductor company with a large presence in ASEAN countries, plans to invest more than $84 million in a smart factory in Singapore to test these technologies. The company expects to cut cycle times in half, increase productivity by 10 percent, and save $1 million a year in energy costs through the initiative. Infineon Technologies HR Director, Arulkumar Singaraveloo will be present at the show to talk about digitalizing initiatives.

Malaysian energy group Petronas has launched efforts to digitize their operations and customer offerings. Petronas Leaders CEO Nor Hazleen Madros will highlight specific case studies.


As ASEAN takes a dominant role in the world economy, ASEAN CEOs and CHROs are intensifying their transitioning efforts to becoming digital enterprises. Your role is even more crucial to keep up with speed of change and maintain our competitiveness in the region. The 8th HR Talk Show’s theme is “ASEAN Gearing Up for a Digital Future.” 

Join HR Talk Show 2019, held on April 24, 2019 at the Sunway Putra Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. Join live! To exhibit or sponsor, email the Secretariat at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call +65 6602-8264.


Aiello, Chloe (2018). “Uber's loss jumped 61 percent to $4.5 billion in 2017.” CNBC, February 13, 2018. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/13/ubers-loss-jumped-61-percent-to-4-point-5-billion-in-2017.html

Arbulu, Imanol, et al (2018). “Industry 4.0: Reinvigorating ASEAN Manufacturing for the Future.” McKinsey and Company. White Paper for Digital Capability Center Singapore. February 2018.

Goldstein, Beth (2011). Lucky by Design: Navigating Your Path to Success. Marketing Edge Consulting Group, LLC. Dog Ear Publishing. 

Robinson, Tony (2017). “You fired your top talent. I hope you’re happy.” Redwhale. Blog Article, October 16, 2017. https://startupsventurecapital.com/you-fired-your-top-talent-i-hope-youre-happy-cf57c41183dd

San Juan, Alexandria and AFP. “Uber sells SE Asia business to rival Grab.” Manila Bulletin, March 27, 2018. https://business.mb.com.ph/2018/03/26/uber-sells-se-asia-business-to-rival-grab/

Solórzano-Hamilton, Jonathan (2017). “We fired our top talent. Best decision we ever made.” freeCodeCamp. Blog Article, October 12, 2017. https://medium.freecodecamp.org/we-fired-our-top-talent-best-decision-we-ever-made-4c0a99728fde

28 Jul 2018, Singapore - ASEAN, a 10-country regional bloc consisting Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Singapore, Laos, and Myanmar, highlights $250 billion potential in construction, reports New Building Materials and Construction World Magazine. 

From 2017 - 2021, the six countries in the ASEAN zone (Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Viet Nam) are expected to grow at 7.5% in the construction sector, compared to global growth of 3% over the same period.

This growth forecast is partly buoyed by China Development Bank's $250-billion commitment and by ASEAN countries drafting 5-year plans to build infrastructure.

The Philippines tops the region in construction activity, following the development plan that coincides with the 6-year term of the country’s president, President Rodrigo Duterte. 

In his 10-Point Socioeconomic Agenda, President Duterte has committed the country to public spending on infrastructure projects in the order of USD 160 billion—dwarfing the investments of his predecessors.

The 11th Malaysia Plan, which runs from 2016 to 2020 includes the development of water treatment plants, power plants, a high-speed rail project connecting Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and a refinery and petrochemical integrated development in Johor. 

As a socialist country, Vietnam regularly draws up 5-year Socio-Economic Development Plans. The latest plan guides the country through to 2021 and mandates investments in transport infrastructure, energy, utilities and affordable housing. It prescribes that the dwelling space per capita for the country’s growing population is to increase from 16.7m2 (2015) to 25.0m2 (2020), resulting in the government’s commitment to build one million houses by 2020.

Tatag Pilipino 2019 - Philippine Construction Materials Expo - will run on November 20, 2019 in Manila, Philippines. The theme this year is: Reliable materials and specialty chemicals for durable public infrastructures. More info will be made available by the Secretariat. You may also email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to sponsor or exhibit. 


Krups, Matthias (2018). “Southeast Asia Construction Market - The State of Play." Design Intelligence, March 6, 2018. https://www.di.net/articles/southeast-asia-construction-market-state-play/

 Sun, Nikki (2018). “China Development Bank commits $250bn to Belt and Road.” Nikkei Asian Review, January 15, 2018. https://asia.nikkei.com/Economy/China-Development-Bank-commits-250bn-to-Belt-and-Road

The reputation of a company and its brands are primary determinants of its margins. 

Reputation is how your company is viewed in the marketplace—what it is known for, how its culture is viewed, and, most importantly, what the market believes about the value of its offerings. 

These are all external perceptions, but in both B2C and B2B, they add up to a sort of capital that accrues as customers willingly pay a premium price for a company’s offerings. 

Only then will margins expand predictably over a sustained period of time. 

What differs in B2C and B2B companies is how corporate and brand reputation is created. 

In the B2C world, reputation is defined by elements such as advertising, package design, and the experience of using the product. B2C companies invest millions to understand the demographic and geographical nuances of customers in order to position and manage their corporate and brand reputations in the mass markets of the consumer sector. Retailers, such as Starbucks and Target, add the look of the store and the behavior of employees to the mix. 

In the B2B world, corporate and brand reputation is composed of the same elements, but in very different configurations. The priority and weighting of the elements are altered by the three realities discussed above. As we’ve seen, the people you are selling to within your customer companies are usually industry veterans with high levels of domain expertise. Simply put, they’re living what you’re selling.  

These customers aren’t going to pay a premium for your offerings because you’ve got a cool logo, a catchy tagline, or a slick PowerPoint presentation. 

What do they respond to? Business value. 

And how do they determine that value exists in an offering? In addition to their own knowledge, they rely on their peers. For example, surveys of CIOs consistently find they rate peer input as the most credible and trusted source of information about products and services.  

Thus, the path to a premium reputation in the B2B realm is through your current customers. 

It is how they perceive and describe your offerings and what they think and say about working with your company and your ability to deliver what you promise that ultimately determines your company’s reputation. And the higher these customers are on the corporate ladder, the greater the impact of their opinions and recommendations. 

AMG will work with you to help you successfully attain sustainable, predictable, profitable growth by anchoring your reputations as high as possible within their customers’ organizations. 

Through AMG’s Reference Programs, tap the good will of the person who makes the decision to buy. This is far more important to B2B companies that are trying to maximize their margins.

Source: Geehan, Sean. The B2B Executive Playbook: The Ultimate Weapon for Achieving Sustainable, Predictable and Profitable Growth. Clerisy Press.

 As a B2B sales organization, are you experiencing the following:

  • Poor market reception of newly launched products and services or an unwillingness among customers to pay extra for new features and functionality? 
  • Overwhelming price pressure and being treated like a commodity supplier? 
  • The loss of key accounts or reductions in their volume Increased competition in profitable segments? 
  • Sales engagements which are reactive and focused on today versus proactive and focused on the long-term? 

These are reliable indicators that the voice of the executive customer isn’t being heard clearly. 

Often it means a company is listening only to the voice of end users and thus R&D, marketing, and sales are either not including or not fully communicating the business value essential to the executive decision maker. Just as commonly, companies tend to listen to only the voice of their sales organization.  

Feedback from the sales team is very important, but it does have limitations. 

Most salespeople meet with users and purchasing agents, who tend to discuss lower-level issues, such as features and functionality.  

Salespeople are also very focused on overcoming objections and matching competitors’ offerings. They extrapolate market needs from these interactions and bring that feedback to their employers as the voice of customer. 

One major consequence of mistaking the voice of other players with the voice of the executive customer in B2B sales is very evident in studies of success rates of new products. 

IBM, AcuPoll, and other organizations have consistently found that newly launched products suffer from failure rates of 60-70 percent. 

Many of these failures result from neglecting executive customers. 

When the needs and concerns of executive customers are not built into market offerings, companies find themselves investing valuable resources in projects that add only incremental value or worse, actually diminish a company’s ability to differentiate itself in the marketplace.  

This is why it’s so important that innovation is relevant …meaning that there is at least one point of differentiation in new offerings for which decision makers are willing to pay.

In the B2B world, your customers may not be familiar with your offerings per se, but they usually know their industries better than those who supply it, and they know how to evaluate your solutions in light of their needs. They aren’t going to be swayed by marketing collateral; they will scrutinize, compare, benchmark, and test your offerings. And they will also seek out expert advice from peers and third parties for references and validation.

AMG solutions are straight-to-buyer engagement programs and executive buyer platforms that cut through the sales jargon and create the platform to understand the true value of solutions offered to the company.

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to seek our advice and paint a clearer picture of your next profitable innovation. Engage your executive buyers today!

Source: Geehan, Sean. The B2B Executive Playbook: The Ultimate Weapon for Achieving Sustainable, Predictable and Profitable Growth. Clerisy Press.

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