Alvin Loy gives City News his practical formula on how his seafood company has grown to be successful and reveals to us a few enlightening facts about seafood itself.
|CN PHOTO: Michael Chan
“It is all about tithing and no-nonsense hard work,” says Alvin Loy Jin Hui, 33, director of F.I.S.H. International Sourcing House Pte Ltd, as he talks about his business philosophy and how the company overcame many of its challenges.
The company, F.I.S.H., is an international seafood company, headquartered in Singapore, specializing in manufacturing, distribution, import and export of high quality deep frozen seafood products.
Started in 2004 together with his wife, Zoe Zou, the couple has worked hard to expand the company’s market to places such as China, the European Union, Middle-East, Russia and South-East Asia.
In Singapore, the company supplies retail-packed seafood items to supermarkets such as Giant, Shop ‘N’ Save and Cold Storage and also to places such as the Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa.
Loy recalls a particular event in 2008 during the financial crisis, whereby banks were holding back credit from the European and American customers and significantly reducing their purchasing power. “There was a sharp decline in revenue because F.I.S.H. was still mostly dependant on these markets for its turnover. The phenomenon of many seafood companies ceasing its operation was also very discouraging,” says Loy.
Yet, Loy and his wife never gave up; they continued to trust God in their finances and never stopped tithing. What was most commendable was that during the unfavorable point in their business, the couple took a bold step and began tithing at a company level, above and beyond their own personal tithes.
It was after they took this leap of faith that God began to open new doors and opportunities. Markets that Loy had never thought of entering, such as China, Middle-East, Russia began to approach F.I.S.H. and enquired about the products that they supplied.
In 2008, while other companies in the similar industry as F.I.S.H. were facing one of their darkest moments, F.I.S.H. actually saw their demand moving from the West to the booming markets of the East, and experiencing a doubling of their turnover within the next year.
Loy is also very thankful that all the managers and most of the employees at F.I.S.H. are Christians. Very often, company prayer meetings are conducted at the start of the year for dedication, at the end of the year for thanksgiving and whenever the company faces problems and obstacles.
Indeed, one of the successes of F.I.S.H. can be attributed to the power of prayer and being able to commit everything to God together as a company.
Although God has blessed F.I.S.H. tremendously, a lot of hard work was involved before the birth of the company could be actualized. Prior to his involvement in the seafood industry, Loy was actually working in the financial industry in England, facing many good prospects and working opportunities.
But in 2003, his father was diagnosed with glaucoma, a medical eye condition. Persuaded by his father, he returned to help out in his father’s company, which back then, was the largest seafood processing company in Singapore. The company has since been sold off.
The transition from England back to Singapore proved to be a challenge for Loy. Instead of giving him an office job, his father made him first work at the plants from eight in the morning to 12 midnight everyday for a year, frequently transferring him around the different sections of the production process. The work was physically very laborious and arduous, but it facilitated a hands-on learning that helped Loy to acquire valuable production knowledge and skills. Loy continued to work diligently and slowly moved on to sales, and finally opening F.I.S.H. in 2004. Loy’s father has also stayed with him to serve as the advisor of the company.
F.I.S.H. can now pride itself as a company with 35 years of experience because of the vast network and connections it has built with suppliers across the world since the days when Loy was working under his father.
Although the seafood business is highly unpredictable and dependent on the resources of the sea, F.I.S.H. can stand out from its competitors because their connections has allowed them to consistently supply superior quality seafood products, and also be able to supply a variety of products specially tailored to their customer’s wants or needs.
During the interview, Loy also reveals a few interesting details about the frozen seafood industry that the public may have little knowledge about.
|PHOTOS COURTESY OF F.I.S.H INTERNATIONAL SOURCING HOUSE
He says, “There is a frequent misconception that fresh seafood is always better than frozen seafood. Although this may be true, it is also possible that frozen seafood can be as fresh, if not, fresher. If frozen as quickly as possible after it was caught, and at an optimum temperature of about minus 60˚C, meat can actually be preserved and remain very fresh.”
Loy goes on to mention that some of the highest grade of sashimi might also be frozen. Fish such as the bluefin tuna, weighing up to about 500kg, are often caught very far out at sea in deep waters and have to be frozen first because the quality of its meat deteriorates each second it is out of the water.
Very often, fresh seafood from the wet markets and supermarkets, are actually frozen fish, defrosted before being sold. This is what Loy talks of as the “re-fresh” industry, whereby seafood is supplied frozen, but defrosted and sold as fresh seafood. In fact, famous fresh seafood markets in Japan also operate with the “re-fresh” business.
Nevertheless, one should always keep in mind the different qualities of frozen seafood available in the market and be discerning enough to know when frozen seafood is fresher and when it is not.
So the next time you try to look for the freshest seafood available, be it fresh, “re-fresh” or frozen, try the same old method. Look at the fish’s eye and poke its flesh.
F.I.S.H. International Sourcing House
Boon Lay Way
#10-155 Tradehub 21
+65 6316 8671