CMS Management Retreat 2017

CMS annual management retreat was held this year from 23 to 25 October at Samalaju, Bintulu. This round’s participants were very privileged as this was the first time the management retreat was held outside of Kuching.

A total of 68 employees including the senior management team, secretaries, managers and senior executives from the various divisions participated in this year’s retreat.

During the retreat, we received valuable insights from our esteemed leaders and I would like to use this platform to share my personal experience about the retreat and some of these insights I gained, with the CMS family.

Day 1

Upon arrival at the Bintulu Airport, we took an almost 2-hour bus ride to Samalaju where we were accommodated at our Group’s very own “4-star hotel” – Samalaju Resort Hotel.

Hotel compound
Hotel compound
Hotel accommodation
Hotel accommodation
Sea view from the hotel
Sea view from the hotel

The Samalaju Resort Hotel has a total of 148 hotel rooms and 27 chalet units and all CMS employees are entitled to special room rates as shown below.

Accommodation Normal rate/night (RM) CMS Staff rate/ night (RM)
Superior room 250.00 180.20
Deluxe room 300.00 217.30
Chalet 350.00 254.40
Chalet Premium 400.00 291.50

For more information, you may contact Ms. Priscilla Yek from Samalaju Properties, Bintulu Office at 086-335 995. Or simply visit the hotel’s website here.

After settling in and grabbing lunch, we were brought on a tour of the Samalaju Industrial Park (SIP) by our colleagues from Samalaju Properties. During the tour, I was awed by the massive land size of the whole industrial park – a total of 7,000 hectares! We were shown the manufacturing facilities of a number of industrial giants operating in the area including Press Metal, OM Materials (Sarawak), OCI, Samalaju Port and also the project site of Malaysian Phosphate Additives (Sarawak) (of which Samalaju Industries Sdn Bhd owns a 40% stake) which is scheduled to be completed by 2020.

Tour of Samalaju Industrial Park
Tour of SIP
  • Samalaju Industrial Park & Samalaju Eco Park

Next up, a tour of the Samalaju Properties’ very own Samalaju Eco Park which consists of 16 blocks 4-storey walk-up apartments with a total of 256 units.

As a pioneer in the area, the apartments are attractively priced from RM259,000 to RM284,000. On top of that, there are also plans for a special Staff Purchase Scheme which will offer guaranteed rental income known as a Guarantee Lease Back of around 7% per annum for 3 years.

For further details, you may refer to a write-up on Samalaju Eco Park published by Samalaju Properties’ CEO, Mr Goh Chii Yew earlier in October 2017. For interested investors, please contact Ms. Priscilla Yek for enquiries on available units, staff discounts and other incentives.

Tour of Samalaju Eco Park apartments

Tour of Samalaju Eco Park apartments
Tour of Samalaju Eco Park apartments
  • Samalaju Lodge

A casual dinner was held at the Samalaju Lodge which is also owned and managed by the Group under Samalaju Properties. The lodge has 2 types of accommodation – Workers Quarters and Executive Accommodation, and is able to accommodate more than 5,700 workers.

The organisers and senior management team also took the opportunity to celebrate Mr Goh Chii Yew’s birthday.

After dinner, we bonded till late on the balcony of the hotel’s coffee house. It was a good time for the guys to unwind and chill out after a long day, getting to know each other a little bit better in a relaxed atmosphere.

Day 2

Things got more hectic and exciting come this day.

  • Division Presentations

The day started off with presentations from each of the 4 Divisions who gave a brief background of their divisions, a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis and sharing of their respective division’s short-term and long-term plans. The following were our colleagues who represented their divisions and did a great job:

Cement Construction Materials & Trading
Construction & Road Maintenance Property Development
Deejay Liaw Anak Robin
Abdul Rahim Bin Abu Bakar
Noryati Morni
Saimi Bin Sapawi
Lai Son Tong
Yvonne Foo
Tan Chian Shuh
Masli Migor
Richard Jong
Abdul Aziz Bin Hj Ibrahim Steven Mong
Ashley Ang
Lim Sin Yin
  • The Risks in Our Business Landscape

 This was followed by an interesting presentation by our Group Managing Director (GMD), Dato’ Richard Curtis titled ‘The Risks in Our Business Landscape’.

Dato’ Richard used the different characteristics of zoo animals in a business context to describe the different types of risks that CMS are facing or may potentially face. To recap, the 3 greatest animals/types of risks that we as a group should watch out for are:

  1. The Grey Rhinos
which represents big & visible issues with warning signals that are wholly/partially ignored
  1. The Black Elephants
being big events that are acknowledged but are not addressed
  1. The Crocodiles
who are ambush predators, aggressive, with highly cognitive capabilities & capable of highly negative impact
  • Breakout Session: How Does CMS Embrace the Digital Economy & Where are the Opportunities?

In the afternoon, participants were involved in a breakout session facilitated by Brendan Bates from Group MIS.

In each of our groups (by Division), we were asked to discuss and come up with ideas on how our individual sections and departments may be able to incorporate various technologies, IT and embrace the digital economy. Some notable recommendations resulting from the session include digitising certain procedures (such as online claims, e-leave system), using virtual reality simulations for safety briefings and virtual tours in place of showrooms for our property marketing.

  •  Presentations by GCCO & GCOO

Next, we were addressed by our new leaders, Group CEO – Corporate (GCEOC), Dato Isaac Lugun and Group CEO – Operations (GCEOO), Mr Goh Chii Bing.

Dato Isaac started off by reflecting back on CMS’ amazing growth 11 years ago based on its share price from RM0.278 in September 2006 to its recent peak of RM6.00 per share in July 2015, thus proving the successful creation of incremental value in the company. He also shared on the top management’s direction to continue CMS’ growth story, specifically in strengthening and protecting our core businesses and to enhance the controls and governance framework with added focus on sustainability compliance, which our Group Internal Audit Department has a major role to play.

Mr Goh then shared on the Group’s plans to restructure and improve certain areas including the relooking at the divisional structures, divisional operations and human resources. He also touched on enhancing corporate governance with increased accountability, strengthening of the company’s internal control system as well as compliance monitoring.

  •  Panel Discussion

For the final activity of the day, we had a panel discussion with the GCEOC and GCEOO which was facilitated by our Group Executive Director (GED) himself, Datuk Syed Ahmad Alwee Alsree.

Datuk Syed encouraged us, the participants, to be vocal and set the tone by asking us ‘What problems do you have and how can I help?’

The 2 Musketeers (GCEOC and GCEOO) including Datuk Syed as D’Artagnan, as our GMD fondly refers to them, took questions from the floor and answered them openly and with conviction.

Datuk Syed as D'Artagnan
Datuk Syed as D’Artagnan

  • Open-air Banquet

On the final night, participants were greeted with a cosy open-air setting, beautiful garden lighting, a BBQ station with a cool live band brought in all the way from Bintulu.

During the dinner, Datuk Syed went on stage together with Dato’ Richard and sang the world-famous song – My Way – in tribute to Dato’ Richard who will be retiring from his position as GMD at the turn of the new year.

Even after dinner, participants continued to party away to the dangdut songs belted out by the live band. For others who still felt that the night was young, it was karaoke time at the hotel’s own KTV room.

Below are amongst the many positive feedback received from other participants on the Management Retreat:

Besides being able to enjoy the comforts of the newly built Samalaju Resort Hotel, I personally benefited from the Management Retreat as I was given the opportunity to present in front of a large crowd and also gained a better understanding of the other subsidiaries and their functions within our Group. I also enjoyed the chance to get to know our other colleagues as well. – Charlotte Bong, Senior Sales & Marketing Executive, CMS Property Development

Management Retreat 2017 – a special event this year as the majority of participants were young managers and executives who were given a chance to gather, to know each other better on how and what each division are doing, especially the developments at Samalaju.

Enjoyed the scenic views from Samalaju Resort Hotel, the food and great service, the special dinner on the final night, getting a chance to dance (poco-poco) together with the top management, especially with our soon-to-be retired DRC.

A lot of new knowledge gained especially during the IT discussion session – on big data, virtual reality. All these were very new to me and the discussion was very useful and gave me a better idea on what the new developments and issues are all about. – Saimi Bin Sapawi, Acting Assistant Manager, Marketing & Logistics, CMS Concrete Products

In my opinion, the Management Retreat is one the best ways to create and strengthen the bond between middle management and top management. I also learned a lot about other subsidiaries’ roles and functions. – Herzuandy bin Norman, Design Engineer, CMS Roads

I like the being away from the city atmosphere, where we can spend time amongst ourselves just to get to know one another from the different subsidiaries. I liked the Samalaju tour as well. Since I joined CMS, I’ve heard and knew quite a bit about Samalaju but have not visited the place before.

Personally, I like the session where we could openly discuss issues we faced with the top management. Unfortunately, there was not enough time for everyone to voice their issues or concerns and I’m sure there is much more for us to listen and learn about from the others. – Chang Chee Khiong, Senior Engineering Executive, CMS Roads

The Management Retreat has definitely strengthened camaraderie-ship amongst peers from the different divisions and subsidiaries. I also felt privileged to be able to personally receive updates on the Group’s performances directly from the senior management. – Vincent Chung, Production Engineer, CMS Cement (Bintulu)

I was able to learn about the current projects that the other divisions are undertaking as well as having a better understanding of their operations. The Management Retreat also helped me better understand CMS’ strategic direction. – Oliver Seli, Senior HR Executive, Cahya Mata Sarawak Management Services, and Management Retreat 2017 Organising Committee

I enjoyed the Q&A session the most – where everyone of us had to come up with at least one question or one problem to pose to the GED. For me, that was the most “heart attack” moment as we didn’t know whose name was going to be called. – Lai Son Tong, Accountant, CMS Quarries

I very much enjoyed the tour around Samalaju Industrial Park, Samalaju Eco Park and the Lodge. It gave me the opportunity to have a clearer picture of Samalaju as I previously heard from one of my colleagues from Samalaju that OM’s plant at Samalaju is so huge that you cannot imagine and her description to me was right when I was privileged enough to be able to see it with my own eyes.

Also, my first experience staying at the Samalaju Resort Hotel and the pool side dinner really gave me a different perspective of Samalaju – that Samalaju is not just an industrial area, but also a place with beautiful scenery.

In addition, presentations by each division allowed me to have wider and clearer understanding of the business processes of each subsidiary. Moreover, due to the retreat setting, I got to know colleagues from other divisions where it would be rather difficult to personally get to know them during other Group events like the Townhall or Annual Dinner. I am grateful to be selected to participate in this year’s Management Retreat. – Lee Chai Li, Senior Accounts Executive, Cahya Mata Sarawak Management Services

It was a special one for me because it was the first Management Retreat held outside of Kuching and knowing it is the last one with Dato’ Richard Curtis.

I really benefited from the presentations by employees from other departments and divisions on SWOT, their short and long-term business goals especially the presentations by Dato’ Isaac Lugun and Mr Goh Chii Bing on their strategic plans for the company.” – Representative from Group Corporate Communications, Cahya Mata Sarawak Berhad

Final thoughts:

Besides the nice hotel, great food and the live band, I’m grateful to the Company and management for providing us this platform to hear from our top leaders, align ourselves with their vision and strategic direction and also for them to hear from us – the people on the ground.

In addition, I believe all the participants cherished the opportunity to meet our colleagues from the various divisions within the Group and being able to know them on a personal level.

The time, effort and cost to organising these kinds of events are definitely significant but I believe that CMS as a group will stand to benefit in the long run from the synergy and ideas generated and also the level of employee engagement by senior management.

Also, on behalf of all the participants from CMS Management Retreat 2017, I would also like to say a BIG “Thank You” to the team from Group HR as the organising committee.

Finally, I would like to also take this opportunity to appreciate our dear Dato’ Richard.

I believe Dato’ Richard must be overwhelmed by the countless farewell meals, speeches and the many sincere “thank you’s”, “all the best”, “good luck”, “goodbye and we will miss you” wishes. This really goes to show that words alone are not enough to express our deep appreciation for your contributions and dedication of the many years of your life to CMS.

Dato Richard, from all of us at CMS: “You are one in a million”.

CMS Management Retreat 2017