From a Small and Medium-sized Business to a Strong and Medium-sized Enterprise
"Genetic Engineering will be the Most Promising New Advance in Medical Technology in the Future" was the headline of a newspaper in 1981 that changed a medical instrument salesman's life. With a newspaper clipping in one hand, he tracked down the professor in the article. When he finally knocked on the door of Professor Kang Hyun-sap's office at Seoul National University, he threw his first question, "What is genetic engineering"
After three years of gathering knowledge, a former salesman became CEO Hwang Eul-moon of Seoulin Bioscience Co. Ltd., and started selling imported laboratory tools to Korea. In the field of bioscience, CEO Hwang planted a seed, and that seed grew to be a mighty tree. In ten years, Seoulin Bioscience sprouted above the ground as a corporate company. By 2005, it stood tall on the ground as the first bio-related enterprise to be listed in KOSDAQ.
At the end of 2009, both annual reports and quarterly reports suggest that Seoulin Bioscience has been well nurtured to grow. According to the most recent quarterly report, Seoulin Bioscience Co. Ltd., KOSDAQ (038070), has set a sales record of W19.5 billion, an increase of 15% compared to the same period of the previous year. Within less than a year, the operating profit of Seoulin increased by 101% and its net profit reached 263%.
One Plus One: Creating One Business Community Together
With a new strategy of connect and development (C&D), Seoulin's future looks brighter than ever before. "Our field, biotechnology, is highly demanding convergence with Nanotechnology, Information Technology, and Environmental Technology. Having that trend in mind, we have been encouraging companies in different fields to share their strengths with us. C&D strategy put together university R&D centers and venture companies to produce cutting edge products in partnership." CEO Hwang continued by saying, "With a growing network, we can now take our technology to the next level, convergence."
Seoulin recently signed a firm partnership with Microdigital, whose company has its strengths in engineering. Having innovation in common, two companies' collaboration is expected to bring a synergy effect to the future growth of Seoulin.
Hwang's emphasis as a CEO is put on "connecting minds together among employees." To him, connecting minds means making workers happy, affluent, and creative. "You are the best, you are amazing," is what he tells his employees every day, and the workers at Seoulin give the thumbs up every time they run across each other at the workplace. He always wants his workplace to be full of fun with applause from workers who always smile. The CEO of Microdigital made a visit and said, "I think it is great that Seoulin family encourages each other and visitors in the most vigorious and tensed working condition."
Singing and Applaus
The corporate culture created by the fun management makes the company stronger even in the midst of recession. It is said that recession seems not to hurt Seoulin. Positive ways of thinking keep the shadow of stress away from its workers and makes the company stay healthy in the downturn of the economy. "Crisis is Opportunity" symbolizes the spirit of the company. It is not peculiar to hear the sounds of laughter coming from the walls of the company. The employees never feel blue in the time of crisis. Mr. Hwang instead orders all members of the company to take breaks twice a day to sing and laugh. This is to put energy and vigor into the hearts of the workers who would be fragile to bad news about the economy coming from the outside. Kim Tae-young, PR Officer, said that workers sing a happy song together with Namgung-Okbu to make employees relax. They clap ten seconds and shout loud "you are the best, amazing." They learn that crisis does not come from outside, but it comes from inside the mind. All believe that if crisis is like that, it can be overcome by how they get rid of a passive minds. Hwang is a believer in the power of fun and laughter. They can heal the wounded and closed minds. To understand what Seoulin is all about, you have to analyze the fun management.
Acclimation is also a mirror that reflects why workers here are happy. Every Monday Seoulin relays acclamations from one to another among workers. Thus, if one employee helps another during the week, he is given an opportunity to say gratitude in public.
Read and become a Jack of All Trades!
Seoulin also has been promoting a Reading Program since 1994. "Reading is the trademark of my management. One reason is that unlike big companies, small companies have no room to accommodate education facilities for workers. Reading should be an alternative for Seoulin Bioscience. Since Seoulin is a biological company, most workers are from natural science majors. They are advised to study human science, management, marketing, and sales."
All workers should finish reading more than three volumes of books to post on DAO Net, an intranet that workers can make use of for self-development. Excerpts from books by workers have reached 8000 pieces by now. Those who newly joined the company are obliged to read 12 books for three months. "We were not accustomed to read at first, but today reading has become part of our employee life," said a worker. As a result, Seoulin is always driven with wisdom collectors and Jacks of all trades.
"As a bio-infra provider, Seoulin Bioscience has a bright future in terms of business and the fun culture we have in the company," said Hwang. "Even in the turmoil of recession, we always try to work happily and have fun that leads to higher indices."