MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN AND GROUP CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
In 2019, the business sector encountered a slowdown in domestic economy, including slower growth in export and low growth rates in tourism. Nevertheless, the Company was able to achieve its strategic targets, thanks to the vision of the Board of Directors in setting the right strategy, packed with the dedication of the management and employees in driving the business under Makro 4.0 strategy. Examples include domestic and international expansion, provision of more sales channels, digital transformation, capability enhancement for customers and employees, in parallel with responsibility for the balance of the society and environment based on the principles of good governance and ethics.
Across our 30-year journey, Makro has grown alongside our professional customers in Thailand and overseas. From our start with the classic ‘Cash & Carry’ store format to diversity of store formats and services that cater to the changing needs of customers in each generation, we have upheld a customer-centric view in order to create sustainable growth and prosperity for our customers. The Company is committed to offering quality products and services to our professional customers at fair prices, and to keeping the business moving forward by integrating technology, creativity, and innovation under Makro 4.0 Strategy, to reaffirm our reputation as “Your Trusted Partner” and in pursuit of our vision “To be Number One Food Solution Provider for Professional Customers”.
Makro has remained committed to continuous expansion. In 2019, we opened 5 stores in Thailand, bringing the total number to 134 stores as of year-end. Due to a very prominent role of technology in business operations today, Makro has opened 2 “Digital Stores,” at Ladkrabang and Ramkhamhaeng 24, using technology to enhance service standards, elevate satisfaction for customers in their purchasing experiences, and increase the efficiency and accuracy of employee work. In addition, we have considered the impacts of these new technologies on small-scale retailers and restaurants, as they must quickly adapt to these changes, particularly with new players entering the industry and competing for market share by leveraging their strengths in digital platforms to respond to the needs of a new generation of customers. It is why Makro officially launched the Offline-to-Online (O2O) Ecosystem to integrate all of our sales and service channels, which include Makroclick.com, Makro Application, Credit and Delivery, and Makro LINE Official Account. It connects to Makro’s delivery systems and diverse payment formats, including e-Payment options such as QR Code and E-Wallet. Not only that, the Company has utilized “Big Data” to analyze customer data so as to customize the offering of products, services, and special promotions for members. This is to provide customers with more choices and experiences to purchase products with convenience, anywhere, and at any time. It further helps us to increase our competitiveness in a rapidly changing market.
In terms of international expansion, the Company has set the target to enter high-potential markets. In 2019, we opened 2 stores in Cambodia, 3 stores in India, and the first store in Guangzhou, China. We also got approval for MIC (Myanmar Investment Commission) Permit from the government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and prepared to open the first store in Yangon in the year 2020. This is indeed a crucial step for the Company in becoming a regional player in retail and wholesale industry in Asia and the Middle East.
It is well accepted that food represents a nation’s culture, particularly Thai food, which is a unique renown of Thailand, and that consumers are now demonstrating a preference for foods prepared with fresh, high-quality ingredients from around the world. These driving factors have been behind the organization’s strategy to expand the business to Hotel, Restaurant, and Catering (HoReCa) customers, large and small, by becoming an integrated provider of goods and HoReCa business solutions. During the past year, the Company established the Makro HoReCa Academy (“MHA”), a learning center for new HoReCa business owners. We also launched the last-mile delivery service from 100 stores around the country for convenience of business owners without travelling to store to pick up their purchased items. In addition, the Company enhanced the Makro Retailer Alliance (“MRA”) project, which has been implemented for more than 12 years with the aim to uplift the capabilities of Sho Huay (small retailers), by transforming them into “Community Kitchens”. This involves increasing the proportion of chilled and frozen foods within those retailers to generate additional revenue. Currently, more than 2,000 stores are participating in the initiative.
Another key challenge concerns ensuring sustainable business growth through human resources management, i.e. recruiting quality personnel, developing people’s skills in line with business strategy, retaining valuable employees, and building successors. Amidst the differences of employees of various generations and the increasingly prominent role of technology, the Company has focused on steering the “Building the Next Generation of Makro” strategy. This strategy aims to create a work environment that encourages employees of all generations to work together efficiently, share experiences and ideas to foster new innovations, and provides opportunities for employees of new generation such as Generation Y and Generation Z to work on tasks that are most suited to them and more experienced senior staff to serve as mentors. In addition, the Company also encourages the internal people promotion along their respective career paths, and equips them with necessary skills for their responsibilities. Likewise, we focus on embedding skills to increase work efficiency in the digital era, such as data analytics and technology application.
On the occasion of the Company’s 30th Anniversary, we organized various projects under the concept “The Creative Companionship towards Sustainability”. An example is the “Run for Fund” activity, a charity mini marathon to raise funds to build layer chicken houses for the Sustainable Lunch Project offering to 30 Border Patrol Police Schools and other schools in remote area across the country. One of our pride was the collaborative project with the Thai Red Cross Society, “Makro Volunteers, Blood Donation, Doing Good Through Giving,” where the Company set up designated blood donation points at 97 Makro stores around the country and Head Office. The amount ofblood donated throughout the year exceeded the target of 1 million C.C.
On behalf of Siam Makro Public Company Limited, the Board of Directors would like to extend our sincerest thanks to all of our valued customers who have put their trust and support in Makro through all this time. We would also like to thank our business partners, shareholders, public agencies, financial institutions, and the communities who have always supported our work. Moreover, we would like to extend our thanks to our employees, whose combined efforts and dedication have enabled us to accomplish our targets and strengthened the business over these past 30 years. We offer our promise that we will continue operating with responsibility to all parties, to uphold the principles of good governance and transparency, and to develop the business on the foundations of sustainable growth.