SME of the month for October 2016: NSP Tech Pte Ltd
Our Borrowers, Their Stories:
Since our inception, our mission has been to fund worthy SMEs, with the hopes of improving societies in Southeast Asia. On our journey so far, we have found SMEs that are not only worthy, but are outstanding and deserve so much more recognition.
Enter our little contribution: a set of highlights and stories of our borrowers, those who are willing to talk to us about their mission, their values, and their challenges. With their stories, Funding Societies hopes to show a wider audience the amazing businesses Singapore should focus on helping.
Enthusiastically described by a Funding Societies team member as "a great company doing great things for the greater good" and "our SME of the month," the medical device manufacturer NSP Tech is first on our list of spotlighted borrowers.
About NSP Tech:
NSP Tech is an ISO-certified leading manufacturer of innovative and reliable medical devices. They specialize in the design and manufacture of injection molding. Founded in 1995, the company began as a contract manufacturer but started medical device manufacturing in 2000 and has since experienced major growth over the years. Today, they support large foreign-owned MNCs, with a client base from a variety of industries, ranging from medical, pharmaceutical, consumer electronics, and telecommunication industries.
NSP Tech’s pride and joy is their award-winning product Safeticet, a lancet so painless and small that patients no longer fear having to prick themselves several times a day. Invented by founder and managing director Mr. Joseph Lum, Safeticet is a capillary blood sampling device ideal for blood glucose monitoring. The device can also be used for hemoglobin, cholesterol, and blood testing.
A quick overview of the rest of NSP Tech’s history: post-invention of the Safeticet, NSP Tech patented the product and applied for global registration. Safeticet was approved by the USFDA in 2011. In 2012, NSP products gained approval to enter the European and Singapore markets. NSP Tech now has access to international distribution, with products sold in parts of Asia, Europe, and the USA. NSP Tech has also won global and major local awards, including Unity Pharmacies Best Product Awards two years in a row (2015 and 2016): a testament of their product.
To summarize, NSP Tech is an innovative company using state of the art technology. They have a solid client base, an award-winning product, and international distribution. Yet despite its success and standing, NSP Tech, like most SMEs, faces a host of challenges.
Meet Maurine Lam
We interviewed Maurine Lam, one of NSP Tech's Directors. She is a passionate and caring woman, who is genuinely excited about her company values.
“Quality, innovation, and YOU,” she said. “The ‘you’ part of our values serves our customers. Our client base comprises of hospitals, clinics, laboratories, but also, we affect direct patients.”
Lam told the following anecdote: “Because Safeticet is so painless, some patients no longer resent having to prick themselves. We've heard stories from patients who developed a regular self-monitoring blood glucose test habit. Such self-formed habits led to a healthier lifestyle and combats diabetes. We not only serve health professionals, but also the patients themselves."
So passionate was Lam when talking about the difference Safeticet has made on the lives of patients, that she had to take a minute to compose herself. It was an emotional moment, breaking the cynics in us. We believed that she cared for patients' health and well-being.
Lam was much calmer when talking about NSP Tech's pain points, used to the challenges the company has faced over the years. What was the worst problem?
“Finding the funds is number 1, of course,” she said with a dry smile. “Our founder spent 2 million in Research & Development to produce superior devices. Post-invention, devices require patents to get international distribution and registration as insurance. But patents are expensive! They add up to 5 million.”
“We need to penetrate new markets and position for global growth, which also need funds. We also want to expand our product list – a varied product list is necessary to be an attractive supplier. Additionally, we face the challenge of hiring qualified staff. Our staff is our best assets, and they require funding."
Enter Funding Societies
Like other SMEs we have encountered and reviewed, NSP Tech has healthy financials but ups and downs of cash flow. Banks, Lam said, scrutinized cash flow, which was why NSP Tech has had difficulty securing loans from traditional financial institutions in the past.
When asked, Lam said, without hesitation, that she would recommend Funding Societies. She said, "Funding Societies is a great alternative for companies like us. But more than that, their team was willing to listen, understand our needs, and come up with the right proposal. They spent time talking to us, listening to our requirements, and were very supportive."
Lam also added that Funding Societies stands out because their products are suitable with the right cost structure. She advised other SMEs thinking of applying for a loan from Funding Societies to "think about your needs and understand your requirements. Funding Societies will come up with the right proposal and cost structure for you.”