A 30 Year Journey, From Good to Great

Advantech Corporation

Advantech started as a very small company and with time and dedication to advancing technologies grew into a sizeable enterprise with more than 30 offices worldwide employing more than 5000 people.

Santo Gazzo, Advantech General Manager, explains that, “the company was established in 1983 by three ex HP employees. Since then the organisation has grown to a billion dollar company with offices in 21 countries focusing on Industrial I/O and embedded computer platforms for a diverse range of Vertical Markets.”

The core spirit of the Advantech Corporation is well presented in its corporate altruistic LITA Tree diagram. Chaney Ho, Advantech’s President, explains that, “The altruistic LITA tree represents our corporate philosophy, business vision, corporate governance as well as talent strategy.”

Over the last 30 years, Advantech has gradually established many different business groups: Automation, Embedded Computing and Intelligent Services. In each Business Group the company further divided its services into Sectors and Regions. Chaney Ho likens the growing of Advantech to “the growth of one tree into a forest.”

Why does Chaney Ho want to use a tree to express his ideas? “Firstly, trees grow continuously and steadily,” he explains. “Secondly, a forest is one of the core elements that make up our planet Earth.”

Chaney uses this concept to express how we “Pass on” our philosophy in the future. What does “Pass on” mean? “We anticipate to ‘Pass on’ our corporate philosophy, governance, vision and traditions through this altruistic LITA Tree as it is the core spirit of our corporation,” he shares.

“Our business expands like the forest, and each tree represents a business group. Currently there are just a few important trees, but in the next 30 years we will grow more and more. For now there are three, but they may become five or more after the next 10 years, expanding to gradually become a forest.”

The concept of “business expansion” is just like the expanding forest, says Chaney. “But we have an important heritage and philosophy here to ‘Pass on’. Each tree is a single independent living being. It’s just like a business unit, with an independent system, a leader, leader group decisions and many other functions, and also a comfortable space for development.”

At the time of this 30 year anniversary, the heritage and philosophy of Advantech is very important, he explains. Each tree represents this tradition, and this tradition means the company has independent Business Units – all sharing the same governance and philosophy.

All LITA business units follow the same corporate vision: “Enabling an Intelligent Planet.” Chaney believes that, “we will need some time to realise this vision to a meaningful result; the time frame should be around 10 to 15 years. For this 30 year vision, we may need more time to plan and structure. At this moment we have a vision for cloud services and the ‘Smarter City’ is a core concept for us to achieve this ‘Intelligent Planet’ vision. For the next 10 years, the Intelligent Planet will be our Corporate Vision.”

Next, let’s talk about people. Over the past 30 years, Advantech has acquired and nurtured many talents, outstanding talents, says Chaney. The company’s aim is to continue its efforts to achieve a “Good-To-Great” business model. “See the figure on the bike; it represents our colleague’s adventures in the forest, up-and-down – sometimes having tough assignments while sometimes enjoying and relaxing on the job. However, on top of everything we are still targeting our goal toward the business model of ‘Good-To-Great’. This model of ‘Good-to-Great’ will continue to reinforce the business in the next 30 years, so this journey will never stop.

“The sun in the left top corner and the human figure logo on the bottom right represent Advantech’s ‘Beautiful Life’ – this is the concept of working and learning toward a beautiful life. This includes our talent nurturing and development for the next 30 years; clearly it is key to have the right talent in our company in order to develop it into a forest,” says Chaney.

Current concerns that Product Sales Manager Richard Ronc sees for Advantech are “the long term trends on the market.” Richard says, “As we continue to innovate and create open platforms and architecture for clients to develop on, at an extremely cost effective rate, the industry itself can be a hurdle, as it tries to hold onto legacy systems.

“This often comes back to the case where clients have already invested time, effort and staff into projects and once a solution has been designed in, it will remain there for the duration of its lifecycle which in industry can be between 5 to 10 years; so this makes the idea of changing any infrastructure very difficult.”

Although this may be one challenge the company faces, it hasn’t affected the company’s growth. As Santo Gazzo explains, Advantech “achieved a 14 per cent growth in 2012 despite a decline in the Manufacturing industry.”

In the future, Chaney sees the need for innovation as the trend for future global development. In order to expand Advantech’s employee capacity in creativity and innovation, the company must inspire employees to reach their potential. “The industry trend 30 years ago was very different from that of today; looking over the long term, innovation is the key.

“Recently, I read the book ‘What Matters Now’ by Gary Hamel. This book clearly indicates the importance of innovation in the future. Therefore, under our core concept of working and learning toward a beautiful life, pursuit of continuous innovation is very important to our future development.”

Richard agrees, saying, “It is often a case that a change or a new standard in the market needs to be adopted quickly by Advantech so that we can continue to react to the market and support the respective industries.”

2013 marks the 30th anniversary for Advantech which will be celebrated with activities and events. Chaney emphasises that, “the core concept of this illustration is to express the concept of philosophy and tradition, and next year I would like to encourage all Advantechers to gain a better understanding of this illustration and have this concept as the core element that brings us closer and makes us more focused.” Advantech encourages everyone who is interested to email the team on info@advantech.net.au to get involved in the 30th Anniversary celebrations.

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Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

December 16, 2018, 6:44 AM AEDT