While he may be in the business of electricity, Jimmy Yam believes that the most powerful source of energy ultimately comes from people.
"Everything comes down to people," the Vice President of Eaton Electric Singapore tells The CEO Magazine. "The best advice I’ve ever received was, ‘treat your people well and they will treat you even better’. People are the number one. Number two is the company’s product and quality."
Indeed, compiling a perfect team has been a major focus for Jimmy since joining Eaton Singapore in 2016. "Getting the right people for the right job and working out how to motivate them is essential," he says. "We want people that share the same vision, that same passion to do something for the good of the environment. It’s not just to sell our product, or to make money. It’s something we can do to help future generations."
This also applies to the partners Jimmy chooses to have as part of the Eaton family. "For me, the way the partner must be, is that they have value in working with us. Policies form a very important part of the ecology for us, so we make sure that they are a partner by the extension of a business," he says.
"There’s a reason why I only choose partners who are really impassioned and serious and understand our reasons. If a partner does a bad job, it’s me doing the bad job. We also make sure that they have massive training. They are even more technical than us. We invest in our partners, and most of them we have known for a long time."
We have different ethnicities, different nationalities, different genders and people with different handicaps. At the end of the day, empowerment is essential to grow in experience and evolve.
Celebration of diversity
Indeed, Eaton has established itself as a leader in the industry, not only in terms of product offerings, but also in company culture, thanks to its celebration of diversity and prioritisation of an inclusive, supportive mode of operating that underpins everything they do.
"This is a major part of our business philosophy and people management," Jimmy explains. "I think the more we engage with people and the more understanding we have for their culture, the better. We have different ethnicities, different nationalities, different genders and people with different handicaps. At the end of the day, empowerment is essential to grow in experience and evolve."
With a heritage dating back to 1911, Eaton has been one of the major players in the power management markets across the globe. But, as Jimmy explains, that doesn’t mean it’s not keeping up with the shifts continually occurring in the industry.
"Power is a very traditional industry and has a long history," he says. "But times have changed. People talk about climate change, carbon zero, carbon neutral. I think the only way for us to keep agile in the market is for us to understand, to continue to do research and development and look at how we can cope with environmental changes, as well as how we can make life easier for people."
In the short-term, Jimmy believes that new technologies and data centres will be the biggest drivers in terms of development both within the industry as a whole, and at Eaton. "The new technologies that we have, the new solutions we have, it helps two things," he explains.
"One, is to be able to help track down the power bills of the data centres and two, is to assess how we can actually look at alternative forms of power, to power these big users. My East Asia headquarters are in Singapore, but when I look beyond Singapore, at the business in Malaysia, Vietnam and even Indonesia, these are up and coming in power.
"We could actually help them kick-start some of those power solutions that we have. You can see every day, there’s new technology coming out in the company, where we can see how to improve the lives of our people."
We could actually help them kick-start some of those power solutions that we have. You can see every day, there’s new technology coming out in the company, where we can see how to improve the lives of our people.
As for the future of Eaton, it’s undeniably bright – especially as they work to involve more people in their mission to transform the energy industry and leave this Earth better than they found it. "We are very open and transparent with our customers," Jimmy explains.
"I don’t want our customers to be just a transaction. I want to be an advisor, I want to be a catalyst to help them to grow. People are beginning to understand the environment, so I think the challenge has accelerated the passion, or the need, and we have a responsibility to help educate and offer the right technologies. Ultimately, customers are solutions."