Business As Usual

A customer-centric approach to business

Aliyya Sawadjaan - The Philippine Star
A customer-centric approach to business

MANILA,Philippines — What started as a retail business in the late 90s, Magna Prime Chemical Technologies Inc. has diversified itself numerous times until it has now become a leading distributor and manufacturer of construction chemicals and quality adhesives for the construction and automotive industries.

Derek Tan, Magna Prime president and CEO, started as a distributor for a range of products before finally becoming a manufacturer of chemicals for the construction industry. “I started as a distributor of lubricants, tires and batteries. As a distributor, there is a lot of pressure to hit certain targets, and then I thought that if I continued on this path, I might eventually lose my business if I didn’t hit those targets. That’s why I entered into the manufacturing business, thinking that chemicals will have good profitability. When it comes to chemicals, there is a high barrier for entry because not everyone can go into the manufacturing of chemical products,” Tan said.

“My customers would inform  me that they need certain items, certain products and would ask if there was a way that I can get them those products. And that’s where the idea of making our own products, that were not readily available in the market, came into play,” he said.

Customer-centric approach

From the start, Tan admits that he was more of a profit-oriented businessman, but later changed gears and became a customer-centric businessman. “I believe that selling is a by-product of us helping others. The main philosophy of our company is to help our customers,” he said. “Selling became fun when we became more customer-centric, because we developed friends along the way.”

As a manufacturer of chemiicals for the construction industry, majority of Magna Prime customers are contractors, engineers, architects, masons, tile setters, and painters. “But I would consider the homeowners as our customers, too because they are the end-user. They rely on the recommendations of the contractors,” he said.

What also makes Magna Prime customer-centric is its different approach to business compared to its competitors. “Some of our competitors are focused on tiling only, or on finishings only. Our company is focused on being a solution provider. We cannot say that we provide this product but you have to buy another product from another vendor,” Tan said. “Our products are chemicals, all chemicals are interconnected with each other. Our company provides a one-stop-shop solution for construction chemicals, from the start of construction to the end.”

In addition to being the head of his own company, Tan is also the current vice president of two organizations – the Philippine Dry Mix Mortar Association and the Philippine Association of Paint Manufacturers. 

“The associations are actively collaborating with the government and end-users, like architects and engineers, to discuss what standards are applicable to the Philippine setting,” Tan said.

Tan credits the success of Magna Prime Chemical Technologies Inc. to the ideology that selling is a by-product of helping others. “In my opinion, doing business should never be about you, or about profit. Our business has always been about helping people, by doing this, your business will flourish,” Tan said.

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