The Fu Brothers: Time For a Cool Change
Mention the two words “cooling water”, and one would typically think of the image of three legs, with two legs on solid ground and the third, an inverted leg towards the top. The three running legs symbolise the three values of diligence, humility, and parity. Further underscored by the principle of “Love and Gratitude”, these values were laid down by Three Legs’ founders three generations ago back in 1937. Today, the two brothers, Mr Fu Siang Jeen and Mr Fu Shou Jeen, keep the entrepreneurial flame embedded deep within the core of Three Legs continually burning, as they persist to mould Three Legs into a sustainable business that is beneficial to society.
The two brothers began their journey in Three Legs very differently. For Mr Fu Siang Jeen, he joined the family business immediately after his university education without qualms. However, that did not mean that he joined Three Legs free from worries. Like everyone else, he had to learn the ropes in the same manner. To add on, prior to joining the business, he already had personal relationships with some of the business associates. This was a potential challenge as Mr Fu Siang Jeen found it critical to learn how to manage his business associates as he took charge in navigating and charting Three Legs’ business direction.
“The most important thing is to be aware of what to focus on. For me, I hold the value of humility close to my heart. We must always put ourselves in our consumers’ shoes. Be it new product innovation or improving the current product packaging, we should look into improving the consumers’ experience when they use our products. By striving to always be relevant to our consumers, brand loyalty is created.”
By staying true to his beliefs and aligning the business strategy to Three Legs’ core values, Mr Fu Siang Jeen gained the trust of his business associates and, at the same time, showed and proved his capability to lead Three Legs.
On the other hand, Mr Fu Shou Jeen was trained in accounting and spent close to a decade as an auditor, and then a consultant in various firms. He initially had little inclination to join the family business. It was only till his father was ill that upon his father’s request, Mr Fu Shou Jeen decided to join Three Legs.
“I guess one could say that I joined Three Legs out of a sense of familial duty.However, the first two to three years in Three Legs changed my perspective radically.I witnessed, firsthand, the benefits thatour consumers derived from Three Legs’products. It was through this realisation that my interest in the family business began to develop. This is a huge motivation for me to carry on working on and expanding Three Legs’ products.”
Being a leader can potentially be an arduous journey, but an extremely fulfilling one. Mr Fu Siang Jeen shares that there was an overseas business partnership that began before he took over as the Managing Director. Things were done differently in the past, and there was no proper legalised agreement for the partnership at that time. It became a trying period when the partnership came to an end and both parties had to part ways.
The two brothers took the situation positively, and turned it around by taking away valuable life lessons that would guide their leadership mantra for years to come. For Mr Fu Siang Jeen, he understood the value of preparing for the worst case scenarios while doing business, such that instruments are in place to resolve issues should things go south. For Mr Fu Shou Jeen, this intensified his belief in the concept of being a servant-leader. “It should be a win-win situation”, Mr Fu Shou Jeen quips, “I aspire to form good working relationships and have our business partners grow together with us.”
TOWARDS FURTHER SUCCESS
As leaders of the company, it is pertinent for both brothers to have the foresight and plan for Three Legs’ long term goals. With Three Legs being a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) company, the Fu brothers are aware of the typical stereotypes of TCM being outdated or unscientific. They believe that the key to success is to constantly reinvent themselves and Three Legs, and stay relevant to their consumers.
“We have two key business concerns which we place great significance on. The first is the safety and health of our customers. To do so, we constantly push the boundaries to innovate and improve the standards of our product range. The second is to take good care of our employees and business partners. We want to impact positively, the lives of the people connected to Three Legs. This is important to us.”
Mr Fu Siang Jeen explains that the mindset of “Don’t fix it if it ain’t broken” is a dangerous mindset to have. To him, the consistent revision, improvement, and strict maintenance of high safety standards is extremely vital. This mindset also extends to how the brothers, as leaders, treat their stakeholders. Mr Fu Shou Jeen strongly believes in always seeking to improve oneself and to grow as a person. Change is the only constant, and the Fu brothers try to ensure that the management does not stay stagnant.
In Three Legs, Mr Fu Siang Jeen manages the aspects of human resources, corporate social responsibility and currently, Three Legs’ expansion into Indonesia. On the other hand, Mr Fu Shou Jeen’s portfolio covers the company’s operations, sales, and finance. However, when making any major decisions, the Fu brothers believe in putting their heads together and making a combined decision. They also often go back to the core values of Three Legs. These values form the cornerstone of Three Legs’ business philosophy and the building blocks of Three Legs. Mr Fu Shou Jeen views these values not just as slogans used to exemplify the brand, but fundamentals in which business practices and operations should be aligned with. This is how Three Legs became a heritage brand that has grown to become a household name throughout the years, and how the Fu brothers will continue to bring Three Legs to further levels of success and inspire generations to come.