There is a phrase, or rather a mindset, that has taken hold within the offices of Philippine home builder Ovialand. Its origins lie in that tale for the ages, David versus Goliath.
“We all know how that story ends,” Ovialand President and CEO Pammy Olivares-Vital acknowledges. “And right now we’re embracing David.”
It is not the slaying of Goliath that occupies Pammy’s thoughts and drives her forward, however, but the notion that the business embodies the spirit of the underdog.
“It’s a phrase we’ve been saying for a few weeks around the office. Every day it gives us so much energy and so much passion. And rather than being impatient, it makes me look forward to the journey.”
In short, Pammy is relishing the challenge of what lies ahead.
It is a psychology that has resonated across the workforce as Ovialand delivers on its ambition to supply premium, affordable homes to thousands of Filipino families.
And the ambition is there for all to see. Ovialand developed and handed over 308 properties in the first six months of 2022 – 94 more than the same period last year. It has 3,000 more in the pipeline and has a stated aim to expand region-by-region ahead of nationwide coverage by the end of the decade.
Yet Ovialand’s business philosophies and operational aims do not begin and end with constructing houses, Pammy tells The CEO Magazine. It wants to “elevate the standards” of affordable housing by providing a “better product, better service and better experience” than its larger competitors.
Among its objectives is identifying the exact month people can move into their home – thereby removing uncertainty during an often stressful time – and reducing the wait time before customers take ownership of their properties.
“Instant homes, instant financing. We call it the HousEasy Program,” Pammy reveals. “Currently, the industry standard is to make homebuyers wait between 24–36 months before they can move into their brand new homes. We’re challenging this timeframe by cutting that wait time down to 3–6 months.
“If you can walk into a car dealership and have a brand new car in 30 days, why does owning your dream home have to take so long? It’s also extremely frustrating for a client when they are given a vague timeframe for when they can move in, so we pinpoint the exact month when their home will be turned over to them. People need a defined timeframe because their whole lives will be moving.”
If you can walk into a car dealership and have a brand new car in 30 days, why does owning your dream home have to take so long?
It’s one of Ovialand’s biggest differentiators from competitors, she adds.
Such a focus on customer welfare – a client services group has also been established to more effectively handle enquiries – sits at the heart of what Ovialand is trying to achieve; building lives for a generation of Filipinos with renewed hopes and aspirations.
Pammy believes the Philippines is on the cusp of growth. “Of course we have challenges but it’s so exciting to see this generation who are able to afford houses and cars, who can send their kids to better schools,” she enthuses. “It gives us confidence to pursue our dreams of becoming a nationwide player.”
Such dreams, however, are rarely achieved on wishes alone. Working alongside Pammy is a proactive and energetic team that shares the vision and contributes to the culture.
Outlining her management style, Pammy says she has long been an advocate of empowering staff, and encouraging individuals to maximise their potential. It’s an approach that is reaping rewards.
Instead of needing to push, we’re in a flywheel, there’s real momentum, and it feels amazing.
So positively, and passionately, has her team taken ownership of projects, that her own role has almost taken on a new dimension.
“After setting up the right structures for processes and control and defining our company culture, our managers and associates are now empowered to make decisions aligned with the goals of the company,” she reveals.
The change has allowed upper management to focus on charting a course for the company’s future.
“Instead of needing to push, we’re in a flywheel, there’s real momentum, and it feels amazing.”
Keeping the soul
Ovialand oversaw growth of 90 per cent in 2021 and is looking to end 2022 with further growth of 60 per cent. With growth, however, comes inevitable challenge.
For Pammy, retaining and strengthening the culture that has given the company its growth spurt is the most pressing. After all, history is littered with companies who have expanded too rapidly, and lost their identity.
We don’t want to lose sight of our mission, which is to provide Filipino families a way to achieve their dreams of home ownership with satisfaction.
“I’m very conscious of the big leaps we’re taking, and I don’t want to become a bureaucratic company as a way to try to maintain control amidst the growth,” she says.
“We don’t want to lose sight of our mission, which is to provide Filipino families a way to achieve their dreams of home ownership with satisfaction.
“I want to preserve and strengthen the culture so that we have people who are guided by the mission of the company.”
The spirit of David is well and truly flourishing.
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