In an effort to boost productivity and stay competitive Lim Kee was an early adopter of technology, turning very early on to machines to speed up the otherwise laborious production process.
Steamed buns known as “Paus” with a wide variety of fillings, are a staple for breakfast or a quick snack for many growing up in Singapore. Homegrown company, Lim Kee Food Manufacturing Production is a household name for this decidedly local snack. The company has evolved quite significantly from its beginnings and is currently one of the largest steamed bun distributors in Singapore, with it’s wide range of products readily available in all major supermarkets.
Established in 1980, Lim Kee’s founder Mr Ang He Siong first started selling the steamed buns he made in his home kitchen, when licenses were subsequently required for food producers, he moved into a coffee shop in Ang Mo Kio where the business steadily grew through his hard work and the first production plant was established in Ang Mo Kio before moving to its current premises in Woodlands in 2004.
Lim Kee’s commitment to make the freshest paus, using only the finest ingredients has assured its spot as the market leader today. Fresh Lim Kee Paus are a staple in numerous coffee shops, to meet this demand, fresh paus are still being made daily and delivered before dawn to serve the morning breakfast crowd. To cater to the changing consumer palate and consumption habits, Lim Kee currently also produces and distributes ready-to-eat products for a varied range of steamed buns, rice meals and meat dumplings. The classic Pau series has also evolved to incorporate into new, unique and local flavours and packing size.
As the scale of business expanded, Lim Kee was confronted with the challenges of increasing labour and production costs. In an effort to boost productivity and stay competitive Lim Kee was an early adopter of technology, turning very early on to machines to speed up the otherwise laborious production process. Founder Mr Ang believed that proper investment in the right equipment will naturally reap ROI for the business and this philosophy has solidified Lim Kee’s spot as one of the top manufacturers in Singapore. More recently, Lim Kee tapped into the Enterprise Development Grant to adopt full-scale automated rotary sealing machine to improve productivity as well as switching from analog machines to digital systems. The machine can automatically calculate Lim Kee’s daily production volume and stamp different shelf lives on individual products. This system was installed in early 2019 and now helps Lim Kee to leverage on data collected to further streamline their operations. Mr Ang Khim Wee, head of business development views the new system as an essential step to reduce the reliance on manpower and will allow existing workers to take on higher value roles like process flow management. Lim Kee was recognised in the SME Digital LEAP Awards 2019 by UOB in the Medium Size Category for its efforts in automation and data management.
As the second generation custodian of the company, Khim Wee has witnessed first-hand the evolution of the company over the years. To drive future growth, Khim Wee feels, “Redesigning of engagement of our workforce is important, in order to promote human capital as an asset for future growth.”
For Lim Kee, valuable lessons as one of the most successful homegrown manufacturers include:
• Start Small, Think Far, Go Deep
• Always be people-centric in all actions and initiatives
• Give the most, expect the least