Keppel Urban Solutions is collaborating with Keppel Land to develop Saigon Sports City into a vibrant destination of choice.
Keppel Electric has partnered M1 to expand its customer reach (pictured: M1 Shop at Paragon).

Harnessing synergies

Over the past few years, Keppel has been actively promoting collaboration among its business units (BU), to harness the synergies of the multi-business group. These efforts have begun to yield results, with inter-BU collaboration becoming increasingly commonplace. Ms Cindy Lim, Director of Group Corporate Development and Managing Director of Keppel Urban Solutions, has a concurrent role as a facilitator of collaboration across BUs. Keppelite spoke to Ms Lim for her take on collaboration, and how Keppel BUs have been working together.

Winning internal customers

"The Group has made considerable progress in promoting collaboration and it is increasingly an important part of Keppel’s corporate culture and language", said Ms Lim. She sees collaboration at Keppel happening on several levels.

The first is when a BU buys or sells a solution to another BU. We encourage our BUs to transact with each other, and win business not just by offering the best value proposition to customers, but by being the best among the best’ to our internal customers,” she explained.

To facilitate such transactions, Keppel has rules of engagement for procurement and tender processes to ensure that contracts awarded to Keppel entities are transparent and above board, with proper governance structures in place. A recent example of a Keppel BU providing a service to another is Keppel Infrastructure partnership with Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) on a solar leasing project at Keppel O&M’s yard in Singapore. Keppel Infrastructure is providing Keppel O&M with a retail service to sell the renewable energy certificates (RECs) generated from the solar leasing project to electricity retail customers in Singapore.

Reaching beyond core markets

The next tier of collaboration can be described as moving up the value chain to create new businesses outside our core markets, leveraging the Group’s vast network and resources.

Some BUs have established strong reputations in certain markets, and can provide credible referrals for our other Keppel businesses. For instance, our property arm has a strong presence in Vietnam, having operated in the country for more than 20 years. Through our property business, we have been receiving more requests for our infrastructure solutions, and are actively pursuing business opportunities that have been borne out of such referrals

Ms Cindy Lim

Director, Group Corporate Development at Keppel Corporation

Managing Director of Keppel Urban Solutions

To ensure that requests from potential clients are managed efficiently, Keppel instituted a “no wrong door” policy. As part of the policy, BUs are encouraged to maintain active dialogue with prospective clients keen on a product or service offered by any Keppel entity, and connect them directly to the team in charge within the Keppel Group.

An illustration of how collaboration allows our business verticals to reach beyond their immediate playing fields and create new customer pools is Keppel Electric’s partnership with M1 to integrate Keppel Electric sales booths within M1 retail stores in Singapore. Ms Lim elaborated, “The collaboration between M1 and Keppel Electric extends beyond tapping synergies for bundled solutions and front-of-house marketing, to plans to converge on backend customer service infrastructure to provide a holistic OneKeppel consumer experience. There is also potential for City Gas and UrbanFox to tap such partnership opportunities.”

Master development

The third tier of collaboration is what Ms Lim terms a “platform play”. The formation of Keppel Urban Solutions (KUS) was based on the premise that sustainable urbanisation solutions can be a business engine, with KUS as an end-to-end master developer, bringing together the Group’s capabilities and track record in energy, property, infrastructure and connectivity to create smart, sustainable urban townships and smart cities.

Ms Lim shared, “In this phase of collaboration, we see our BUs coming together to jointly pitch solutions to prospective clients, such as municipal governments or private land owners. In providing turnkey solutions for an entire city or township, we will look beyond traditional land development, to how we can create additional value by providing complementary enablers for the city, such as placemaking, energy, water and waste management, last mile and first mile logistics and connectivity.”

An example in point is KUS and Keppel Land’s collaboration on the 64-hectare Saigon Sports City in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It is envisaged to be a bustling hub, combining modern and sustainable urban living with vibrant and healthy lifestyles, which can be a model for other urban developments in Asia.

Ms Lim explained that by working together as a group, Keppel can enhance the value of its landbank and real estate, as well as enjoy multiple income streams from developing and managing properties and infrastructure, and providing a host of high-quality urban services. She added, “We can also leverage digitalisation and big data analytics to identify potential areas for value creation.

In addition to the many instances of collaboration happening organically, Keppel Corporation is also providing the strategic direction to drive inter- BU projects. She said, “To embed collaboration as an integral part of our culture, all BUs are encouraged to include ‘BU plus’ projects as part of the BU’s growth strategy”; i.e. projects that involve collaboration with at least one other Keppel BU.

In concluding, she remarked, "Collaboration is a culture and an enabler. The key conditions for the culture to permeate, and for the enabler to flourish are trust and the common understanding that this collaboration is not just for the benefit of any one BU, but for the greater benefit of the Keppel Group, to allow the whole to be greater than the sum of its parts."