Over the past 40 years, Yeo Kim San has remained dedicated to finding the acoustic sweet spot in every project he undertakes. Starting his career in 1978 as a Senior Sales Engineer at O’Connor’s Engineering in Selangor, Malaysia, Kim San worked his way up the ranks to become CEO of Acoustic & Lighting System Group (A&L Group) in 1996. “When I first joined the company, we had a total of four staff,” he recalls. “That number has now grown to close to 200 staff.”
A household name in professional sound, lighting and accessories solutions, A&L Group is an industry leader and a reliable distributor of some of the most sought-after brands for lighting and sound equipment. It has more than nine brick-and-mortar stores that cater to a diversified market throughout Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.
Kim San says A&L Group’s strategy continues to see success because it allows the company to correctly position itself in each market and deliver customised solutions that meet the requirements of each client. “Our range of products covers world-renowned brands that cut through four main product categories – sound, lighting, video and accessories,” he notes. “We use the same people and the same winning expertise to prove ourselves over and over again in different markets throughout South-East Asia. This is how we continue to grow.”
A&L Group has already established a strong reputation and an impressive portfolio, notable for its
installation and maintenance of equipment for landmark projects including Kuala Lumpur Sports City, Mid Valley Art Centre, The Gardens Mall, DoubleTree by Hilton, The St Regis Kuala Lumpur, Asia’s first LEGOLAND in Johor Bahru, and Radio Televisyen Malaysi a across the country.
In 2013, A&L Group obtained the rights to supply a full range of Germany’s Sennheiser microphone systems to several prominent Malaysian artists for their performances and stage appearances. So far, Sennheiser microphones have shared the stage and helped boost the performances of stars such as Dayang Nurfaizah, Hael Husaini, Siti Sarah and Ayda Jebat.
“The greatest challenge we face today is competing with bigger players, because we’re only a small company and there are a number of larger, stronger competitors filling the market,” explains Kim San. “Nevertheless, we continue to make our mark. For example, we were able to fully equip a sporting complex with high-quality equipment within just six months, which is an enormous achievement.”
With strong footholds throughout Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia, A&L Group is now looking to further its reach across South Asia. As cultural differences are always an important factor, A&L Group has invested countless hours, plenty of human resources and effort in understanding the unique cultural traits that distinguish each country.
“We soon hope to set up operations in Japan because we see great potential in its entertainment, audio and lighting market,” says Kim San. “There is a lack of Japanese talent specialising in our line of work, so we will be able to fill the gap.”
“We soon hope to set up operations in Japan because we see great potential in its entertainment, audio and lighting market.”
To support its rapid growth and expansion, A&L Group relies heavily on its dedicated workforce. Boasting close to 200 staff in various regions, A&L Group consistently focuses on providing various training programs, seminars and technical learning experiences to help expand the potential of its employees. Through training and development programs, the Group also hopes to reinforce the notion of continuous improvement within the organisation.
Kim San explains that although A&L Group employees come from different functional areas in many different geographical locations, they are united in a single mission: to provide a wide range of value-added services to their customers. “We believe that good customer service is the lifeblood of this organisation. We treasure people and treat them as our biggest asset,” he notes. “In saying this, different people have different talents. As a leader, it’s my job to identify these talents and make use of them in the best way possible. It’s about being proactive and productive.”
A&L Group’s Selangor headquarters hold a well-rounded service centre, a spacious warehouse, four multi-functional product showrooms, and a flexible workspace for various divisions. From the beginning, Kim San has endeavoured to be a hands-on leader, deeply involved in all aspects of the organisation, and getting to know its people, products and projects thoroughly.
“We are proud that our longstanding partnership with Acoustic & Lighting has enabled us to deliver highly valued services and cutting-edge pro audio solutions to our customers. Sennheiser Asia is committed to continue bringing the very best in audio innovation to the market.” – Vince Tan, Vice President, Pro Audio Solutions, Sennheiser Asia
“This means I now know every process within the business – from finance and technical, to our products, services and all our projects,” he says. “I have dedicated the past 23 years of my life to this business and I am committed to its growth and success.”
He notes that A&L Group believes after-sales service is an important component to warrant long-lasting customer loyalty. Its service division, A&L Service, established in 1994, is dedicated to providing efficient service, including regular maintenance, equipment installation, product testing, and after-sales follow-up. Made up of a small team of technical workers, administration staff, and repair and maintenance workers, the service division provides technical installation works and post-sales service to clients in all regions, and has the support of its product manufacturers.
Just a few years ago in 2014, A&L Service was further boosted by the establishment of a new project defects team, which is a smaller, project-oriented division that checks defects, corrects errors and repairs
equipment to ensure the best possible product and service to its customers.