「金獅」王——鍾廷森

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1989 / 2月

文‧蕭容慧 圖‧王煒昶


在台灣,鍾廷森的知名度似乎沒有妻子金馬獎影后陳秋霞來得響亮。

但在東南亞地區,幾乎無人不知馬來西亞的「鋼鐵大王」——William H. J. Cheng。

一位報社記者形容這位四十五歲的企業家:「凡是他涉足的行業,沒有不賺錢的。」


在馬來西亞吉隆坡近郊的一家海鮮樓堙A鍾廷森席開數桌,宴請賓客。杯觥交錯間,笑聲不斷。

座上客來自商界、政界、傳播藝文界,還有公司股東、幹部等,各路人馬分坐在不同房間。只見鍾廷森捧著酒杯,馬不停蹄地四處敬酒。「沒辦法,這年頭老闆不好當,只好趕場羅!」他自我打趣。

應酬不是花天酒地

這天不是什麼特別的喜慶節日,而是鍾氏的「酬賓日」。由於工作需要,鍾廷森得經常與各界保持聯繫,如果個別應酬,太花時間,於是他「集中處理」——在同時段宴請各方英雄好漢,省時、場面熱絡,又能聯絡情誼、交換情報。

談笑風生之中,鍾廷森從政界朋友的口堙A了解最近政局的變化;南洋商報的主筆為他分析經濟走勢;他也從台灣來的廠商得知目前外來投資的狀況和困難;從日本貿易商探得管理訣竅;而他公司的幹部也藉機認識老闆在商場上的諸多「貴人」,日後可登門請教……。

鍾廷森善於處理時間的能力,可見一斑。難怪他身為擁有九千三百多名員工、一百多家公司的金獅集團的領導者,仍顯得從容不迫,應付裕如。

擅於溝通、掌握資訊,正是鍾廷森之所以獨霸商場的秘訣。除了每天固定上班,和分給妻女的「家庭時間」之外,他喜歡找朋友吃吃便飯、喝喝小酒,主要目的不是酒色財氣,而是交換意見。

「白天上門找人談事,對方多半忙,不太能好好地談;吃飯時氣氛比較輕鬆,可以很深入地談事情」,鍾廷森表示,很多棘手的問題,在和有經驗的朋友談過後,很快就迎刃而解了。

離家出走,白手起家

應酬對他而言,其實是「上課」的最佳時機。

看來殷實忠厚的鍾廷森,腦筋可是靈活敏銳;在馬國的名氣雖大,卻很少曝光,他寧願讓自己的企業——金獅集團出風頭。

走訪馬來西亞,隨處可見怒吼的金獅——金獅集團的標幟,在大街華廈上閃閃發光。除了製鋼廠,金獅業務還包括機車裝配及銷售、工程與建築業、金融服務業、種植業、水產養殖業和綜合農產,一九八七年更進軍百貨和零售業。

它擁有馬國規模最大的製鋼廠,最大的家具業,最大的百貨公司和超市的連鎖店……等。在馬來西亞經濟持續下降的年度中,金獅的盈利卻日有增長。日本、美國等地都設有它的辦事處。

鍾廷森雖然是企業家的第二代,但他的江山卻不完全是靠祖蔭得來的。

三、四十年前,鍾氏鋼製家具公司在新加坡起家,而後這個中型的家族企業遷至馬來西亞。鍾氏是個大家族,人多不免口雜,爭執頻傳,原本立志卅歲出外打天下的鍾廷森,逼不得已提前在廿九歲自行創業。為了不和家族打對台,他決心「離家出走」。

一九七二年,初生之犢不畏虎的他,在印尼開設鋼廠,沒拿家堣@分錢。萬事起頭難,鍾廷森初期雖也面臨股東臨時退股、印尼金融政策突然改變……等窘境,但此人心中不為所動,咬牙撐下去。從設廠、融資、建立行銷網,到開拓市場,什麼都自己來。「我不認為我會失敗!」他的理由是,當時印尼雖是東南亞地區最落後的國家,但以他的技術和生產成本去比較,卻是獲得利潤最高之處。

眼光看準、勇往直前

比較而言,馬國的基本建設、對外資的處理和勞工的生產力,都比印尼好。但印尼人工便宜,卻是馬國比不上的。鍾廷森認為只要管理得當,在印尼也可獲利。他果然使公司業務很快地走上軌道,到第二年就開始賺錢,如今已擴展至五家公司。

「當初退股的股東都後悔死了!」金獅集團的一位股東描述。

鍾廷森對「白手起家」有他的看法:「最好在這個行業有十年以上的經驗再自立門戶,這樣可減少很多不必要的錯誤」,他認為創業戒之在「急」,如搞不清狀況就莽撞投入,風險一定大。「要蒐集第一個一百萬元,至少要花五到十年的時間;有了這筆錢,把這個行業做成功,再進入第二個行業就容易多了。」他表示,等到那時,公司人手和研究人才一多,要發展就更快,如果只靠一人單打獨鬥,就會很辛苦。

到了一九七八年,由於印尼工廠在穩定中發展,鍾廷森決心回馬來西亞接掌家族企業,並創設鋼廠。

然而馬國當時已有頗具規模的製鋼廠。可是俗話說得好「來者不善,善者不來。」鍾廷森胸有成竹:「我不是隨便加入的。」他表示,無論是進入那一行,事先都要有清楚的認識和周密的籌畫,知道競爭者是誰?自己的定位、優勢和市場競爭能力何在?如果認為可以降低成本或有表現,再進入。

找最好的!

他在打算分鋼鐵市場的一杯羹時,就卯足力設下「天羅地網」。先到歐美日許多個大鋼廠參觀,比較其優劣,然後選用最合適的機器,並聘請專業技術人才。「選對機器很重要,可以改進產量、降低成本」,鍾廷森預估成本可降低百分之廿之後,毅然設廠。

他還和日本、法國幾家著名的鋼廠及台灣的中鋼技術合作,以期提升品質、控制成本。對於花錢在專人的技術合作上,鍾廷森可說是大手筆,毫不心疼。「因為我們產量太少,要從事R&D(研究與發展)很辛苦,所以須儘量學習頂尖者的長處,當然也付出應付的費用」,鍾廷森認為以小錢換大錢十分值得,而通常「小錢」在一、兩年內就可以回收了。

金獅集團和世界著名企業生產合作,如美國「Knoll」家具、日本「Suzuki」機車和「Hitachi」電器、瑞士「Hugo」公司、法國「Fichet」公司……等。有人好奇:不知金獅是否有「高攀」之嫌?

「當然,必須先取得對方的信任」,鍾廷森間接回答:金獅在馬國是大股東,外國公司所佔股份較小,如果整天要佔人家便宜,以後就沒人願意理睬了。

公平、公開、公正

而如何讓外國公司覺得合作愉快呢?

「要把公司的利益放在第一,不能把私利放在首位」,鍾廷森覺得,凡事秉公處理,就能獲得合夥人的信心,也才能得到在技術、市場上的各種幫助。

「無論是建立商譽或個人的名譽,都需要長久的時間」,他強調,信用最重要。

身為管理者,必定有獨特心法,才能闖出「鋼鐵大王」的名號。很多人奇怪,這麼大的企業集團,鍾廷森如何分身有術?

「疑人不用、用人不疑」,應是他的原則。一百多家公司、工廠各有總經理主其事,直接對總部負責。而掌管內部帳目、稅務、財務、法律工程發展等事的總部,通常只在加入新工業或設廠之初才參與建立制度,公司一旦正式運作就「放牛吃草」,此後只進行按月考核。鍾廷森目前就是在總部上班,最主要的工作是「增加員工的向心力」。

一位高級主管指出,他處事明快、待人謙和,沒有老闆的架子,也很能接納他人的意見。

舉例而言,總部採玻璃隔間,員工連大老闆辦公室的一舉一動都看得清清楚楚。職員想見他,只要經秘書通知一聲,有時沒經秘書就直接跑進去。有什麼問題通常馬上可進行討論。

誠以待人

「我們公司文件很精簡,處理也很快」,一位職員很驕傲地說,事情多半當天就解決,最慢到第二天。不過,在上公文時,資料必須齊備,所提方案也要具體可行才可以。

「我沒什麼管理絕招,只是待人以誠」,鍾廷森在過去跟隨父親做事時,收穫最大就是老人家的「勤」和「誠信」,把這套處世原則應用在自己身上,果然獲得好口碑。

他不隨便給員工承諾,一旦答應,就必然做到。他也比較過日本與美國企業的管理方式,然後找出適合自己的一套錦囊妙計。

美國式管理的特色是,表現佳者可馬上升至最高位,一旦表現退步則走路;雖然效率高,但員工難免只追求短期利益,對公司也無歸屬感。

日本式管理把長遠利益放在第一,職員升遷較慢,但每個人都有機會接觸、學習公司的營運狀況和操作,一旦爬上高位,做錯誤決定的機會就會減少。

鍾廷森個人較偏向日本式管理,但並不全盤接收。「新行業成立之初,一定要找最專業優秀的人才,這可能就無法由自己公司內部人員升遷」,他補充,原則上,還是希望員工在企業發展,一直到退休。因此,讓員工覺得公司是可以「安身立命」的地方,便是他最大的挑戰。

人力資源最重要

雖然大家認為金獅集團已是大企業,鍾廷森卻覺得離成功的路還很遠。

向世界其他大企業看齊的同時,金獅希望及早塑造自己的企業文化。「儘量提供理想的環境,讓員工有機會發揮所能,表現自己」,鍾廷森十分注重人才的培訓,除公司固定的在職訓練外,還經常派員在國內外受專業訓練;在做一般決策時,基層員工也有參與討論的機會。「他們以後就知道做重要決策時,要顧慮那些因素!」

若遇到重大決策,鍾廷森會召集幾個負責人詳細討論,很少一個人獨斷獨行。難怪員工形容他是「不像老闆的老闆」。

而今,金獅集團的目標是,出口半數以上的產品。「希望也能帶動馬來西亞的出口業」,鍾廷森指出,馬國人口比中華民國還少,國內市場很小,很多工業如全靠內銷工廠規模不能擴大;另方面也買不到最好的機器(很多機器有最低產量限制,否則使用不符合經濟效益)。如要走出口路線,產品品質要好,才具競爭力。「對我們的員工而言,這也是一種警惕。」

「要有競爭,才會進步!」鍾廷森可以說是自由競爭的擁護者。他表示,從長遠看來,與其由國家來策畫經濟,不如讓民間做更來得有效率。政府出面,每個銀行放款可以不必考慮可行性,反正有國家作擔保;民間企業的資本靠自己籌措,就會努力想辦法賺錢,也會設法取得銀行的信任——這是第一關。銀行在貸款時更會考慮企業所提計畫是不是符合市場需求和經濟性——這是第二關。經過雙重考慮,失敗率就會小一點。「政府只要在背後支持就好了!」

和氣能生財

對於馬國種族間的風風雨雨,很多人都不陌生。鍾廷森身為華人,不知有何體會?

「馬來西亞是多種族國家,政、軍政權操在馬來人手中;而憲法立法之初,馬來人享有特殊優待,這已是事實」,他感慨良深地說,今天大家再繼續吵吵鬧鬧,並無益處,不如冷冷靜靜坐下來解決問題。

「其實馬來人本性善良」,他指出,如和他們交朋友,得到他們的信任,雙方可成為很好的合作者。「國家需要工業化和出口,只有大家合作,才能增加財富。」

他相信「和氣生財」。

鍾廷森覺得現任的馬國總理馬哈地頗注重各界反應,「但我們與其在報紙上公開攻擊,不如私下溝通」,喜歡用溫和方式解決問題的他說,由於目前在吉隆坡中華工商總會負責會務,因此經常蒐集民間的反應和意見,提出建議,如碼頭的應用、稅務制度的改良等,甚至把一九九○年後國家經濟政策的新走向做成報告書,供政府參考。

「政府知道我們沒有政治目的,純粹是站在國家立場考量事情,就會願意接受我們的意見。」他表示,只要懂方法,事實上華人一樣可參與決策。

「我希望我的國家越來越好」,鍾廷森豪氣地說。看來,他並不只是一個成功的商人而已。

〔圖片說明〕

P.15

吉隆坡最大的百貨公司,是「鋼鐵大王」●力經營的新企業。

P.16

攤開小冊,由各式各樣的商標,可看出鍾廷森企業的多樣性。

P.17

鍾廷森全家福。

相關文章

近期文章

EN

"Lion" Master--William H. J. Cheng

Sunny Hsiao /photos courtesy of Wei C. Wang /tr. by Phil Newell

On Taiwan, the name of Chung Ting-sen is not as famous as that of his wife, actress and Golden Horse award winner Ch'en Ch'iu-hsia.

But in Southeast Asia, almost no one has not heard of "Steel King" William H.J. Cheng.

One wire service reporter described the 45-year-old entrepreneur as follows, "No business he gets involved in fails to earn money."


In a suburb of Kuala Lumpur, William Cheng hosts a festive dinner. But it's no holiday. Cheng needs to maintain contacts for his business, but can't afford the time to see others individually, so he brings them all together to exchange intelligence. From this we get a clue as to Cheng's ability to deal with time. No wonder this leader of the Lion Group--with over 9,300 employees and 100 companies--still seems unhurried.

Getting the scoop on information is the key to his success. Apart from time set aside for his family, Cheng likes to dine with people. The object is to exchange views. He has always been able to solve numerous vexing problems after talks with experienced friends.

The big-hearted Cheng is sharp and intelligent. Though his name is well known in Malaysia, he prefers to let his Lion Group bask in the limelight. In Malaysia, the group's golden lion's head symbol is everywhere. Besides steel, its activities include auto assembly and sales, construction, financial services . . . and in 1987 it charged into department stores and retail outlets. The group has the biggest steel mill in Malaysia, the biggest furniture business, the biggest department store. . . . Business boomed even as the Malaysian economy slowed. There are offices in the U.S. and Japan.

Although Cheng is a second-generation entrepreneur, his empire is by no means due entirely to relying on his family.

The Cheng family set up a steel furniture factory in Singapore, later moving to Malaysia. Unwilling to wait, William Cheng struck out at 29, setting up a steel factory in Indonesia in 1972 without any family money. The going was rough--early on Cheng faced the problems of investors temporarily pulling out and changes in Indonesian financial policies.

Cheng did the work of building the factory, finance, setting up a sales network, and open ing markets himself. "I never thought I would fail!" His reason is that although Indonesia at that time was the most backward country in Southeast Asia, considering his technology and production costs there it was also the place with the highest profits.

While Malaysia's infrastructure, investment policies, and productivity are better, it cannot match Indonesia for low wages. Cheng was convinced that a properly man aged company could succeed. He got the company on track very quickly, turning a pro fit by the second year. Today there are five companies. One investor says, "Those who pulled out in the early days regret it!"

In 1978, with the Indonesian factory stable, Cheng decided to return to Malaysia to take over the family business and build a factory. Malaysia already had a steel factory of considerable scale, but, "I didn't just jump in on a whim." He says that before entering any industry you must know the competition. If you can do better, then go for it.

In planning, Cheng visited major plants in the U.S., Europe, and Japan for comparisons. After determining he could cut costs 20 percent, he went ahead, choosing the most appropriate equipment and laying out serious money for specialists. In Cheng's view, it is better to pay now what needs to be paid, and recoup later. There was also technical cooperation with major French and Japanese steel concerns and with Taiwan's China Steel.

Today the Lion group cooperates with many renowned foreign firms including Knoll (U.S., furniture), Suzuki (Japan, motorcycles), Hitachi (Japan, electronics), Hugo (Switzerland) and Fichet (France).

"You have to put the good of the company first; you can't think of personal benefit," advises Cheng. "Regardless of whether you are building the reputation of a business or an individual, it takes a long time." Trust is the most important.

How does he manage so many enterprises? "Don't employ those you doubt; don't doubt those you employ." Each concern has its general manager, responsible directly to head-quarters, which handles internal bookeeping, taxes, finance, and law. But the latter usually only intervenes in the early stage; firms are on their own, with only monthly reviews. Cheng sees his main job as "raising employee dedication."

One high-ranking officer notes Cheng handles matters quickly and clearly, is unpresuming when dealing with others, and is open to others' views. His office door is ordinarily open to employees on a moment's notice. "Our company's documents are clear and simple," says one employee proudly. Decisions are usually handed down the same day--the second day at the latest. However, the documents must have complete data, and proposals must be concrete and practicable.

"I don't have any absolute management technique; only that people be treated with sincerity." Cheng learned from watching his father the value of diligence and trust. He does not easily make promises to employees, but when he does they are inevitably carried through.

But Cheng feels far from completely successful. The Lion group hopes to develop its own corporate culture, to "provide as much as possible an ideal environment, and allow employees to have the chance to show their abilities and express themselves." Cheng especially emphasizes cultivating talent. Aside from the fixed training provided by the companies, Lion sends employees to receive specialized training home or overseas. Base-level employees have a chance to participate in ordinary decisions. Cheng discusses important decisions in detail with other key figures; rarely does he decide without consulting others. No wonder his employees say he is "a boss who doesn't seem like a boss."

Lion's future goal is to export over half of its products, and in the process stimulate all of Malaysia's export industries. Smaller in population than Taiwan, Malaysia's domestic market can't support large-scale production without exporting.

Many are aware of Malaysia's often turbulent racial relations. As a person of Chinese ancestry, Cheng says, "Malaysia is a multi-racial country. That political and military power are in Malay hands and that Malays enjoyed special privileges at an early period is already a fact." There is no point now to causing trouble about it; it is better to coolly sit down to resolve problems.

"In fact the Malaysian character is quite kind-hearted and well-disposed," he says. If there is trust, the two groups can make good partners. "It's going to take everybody's cooperation to industrialize Malaysia." He believes the current premier, Mahathir, looks at the reactions of all sides, but notes that "attacking the other side publicly in the newspapers is not as good as personally communicating."

He says the Chinese business community offers suggestions to reflect public views on policy matters: "The government knows we have no political purpose and consider matters from the national viewpoint." If they understand how, Chinese can in fact participate in decision-making.

Says Cheng with undaunted spirit: "I hope our country gets better and better."

[Picture Caption]

The biggest department store in kuala lumpur is a new venture of the "St eel King." Cheng's business interests are extremely diverse.

A Cheng family portrait.

 

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