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  • The CEO of Du Ek Sam, Inc.

    With Loy M. Palapos
    July 6, 2014

    The CEO of Du Ek Sam, Inc.

    The number of business establishments honed by Boholanos, and are presently distinctively soaring high in the national scene, can be counted by the fingers of one hand. One of these very few is Du Ek Sam, Inc. Starting off as an insignificant entrepreneurial attempt in Jagna, it has now 175 branches in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao propelled by thousands of freelance salesmen from all walks of life.
    DES is now a name to reckon with in the marketing of appliances and motorcycles; but prior to 1979 it was engaged in the buy-and-sell of copra. Later the Du patriarch ventured to the spare-parts hardware business, and put up a gasoline station.
    Mr. Eksam Du came from mainland China. Having Mrs. Melecia Uy-Du as a wife proved a fruitful union. Their seven offsprings inherited from them the basic Oriental values and ethical standards in the practice of their professions, including that business acumen balanced by corporate social responsibility.
    After the passing away of the Grand Patriarch, Mrs. Melecia Uy-Du took the cudgels in manning the family Corporation. When DES opened in Cebu, it was timely that Wilson just became a Doctor of Medicine. It was his decision to be a part of the business world, by managing the Cebu Branch, one he has no regrets whatsoever.
    Now, he is the President and Corporate Executive Officer (CEO) of Du Ek Sam, Inc., and has followed the footsteps of his parents. If there is one thing that distinguishes his management style from the other successful tycoons, it is his belief that the success of entrepreneurship lies on the ability of management to give higher premium to manpower and its developments. Without a well-motivated work-force, any company would have an uphill climb.
    A visit to his office along Clarin Street, the afternoon he received the Business Achievement Award last July 1, which highlighted the 48th Charter Day of Tagbilaran City, proved one point: the man at the helm of DES is a well-respected and most admired Manager, as shown by the way his subordinates look up to him as their leader.

    LMP: Tell me about yourself.
    WUD: I am Dr. Wilson Uy Du. I was born in Tagbilaran City on March 22, 1961. I am the youngest in the family. I finished Pediatric Medicine at Southwestern University in Cebu City. I took up BS Psychology, my Pre-Med course at the University of San Carlos. For my elementary, I graduated from Colegio de la Medalla Milagrosa in Jagna. In high school, I went to Sacred Heart (now Ateneo de Cebu). I had my residency training at Vicente Sotto Medical Center.
    LMP: Your parents?
    WUD: May father is Du Ek Sam. He descended from mainland China. My mother is Melecia Uy-Du. She is from Dimiao.
    LMP: How many are you in the family?
    WUD: We are seven, five boys and two girls. Medelyn Du-Lim, was a Pharmacist. She graduated from Holy Spirit College in Manila. Atty. Edward Du finished Law at the Ateneo de Manila University. These two already passed away. Gilbert Du manages his own business, Des Mark, in Cagayan de Oro. George Du, also handles his own business venture, the Gud Moto, based in Dumaguete City. Marilou Du-Lumapas is a businesswoman. Most of her businesses are based in Mindanao, and there is also one in SM City. Edsel Du is also in business. He is the franchisee of Mang Inasal and Bo’s Coffee in Tagbilaran City. Although they have their own businesses, but all of us are Incorporators of Du Ek Sam.
    LMP: Who is your wife?
    WUD: I am married to Evelyn Zamora from Naval, Leyte. She now manages the Petron Service Center located at CPG Avenue. We have three children, all boys. The eldest, Kenneth (10 years old), is in fourth grade at Bohol Wisdom School. Second, Austin Kyle (7 years old) is also studying at BWS. The youngest, Kraig Jacob, is still five months old.
    LMP: Why did you take up Medicine, when you have a family of businessmen?
    WUD: It was really my decision to take up Medicine, because at first, I was not planning to enter into the business world.
    LMP: But you are a businessman now?
    WUD: Yeah. It was on my second year of training on Pediatric Medicine, when I joined the Corporation. After my duty in the hospital, I directly went to the office to work.
    LMP: The way I look at it, all of you are really businessmen.
    WUD: Actually, two of us were not involved in the business before, me and my Lawyer brother, because he had his own private practice in a law firm.
    LMP: What made you decide to set aside Medicine, and concentrate on business?
    WUD: It was during the time, when we opened a branch in Cebu, and no one would handle that area. So, I was asked to be involved in the business.
    LMP: Did you not have any option to say no, because you would concentrate on Medicine?
    WUD: I had a choice. But, I just wanted to help the family-business.
    LMP: Since then, you have not been involved in Medicine.
    WUD: Yes. After I finished my four-year training in Pediatrics, I concentrated on the business.
    LMP: You are trained to be a Doctor, was there a problem in the transition becoming a businessman?
    WUD: There was, because business is a different world. I really needed to adjust. But since, I was brought up seeing my parents managing the business, I became knowledgeable and exposed to it.
    LMP: All your life, everybody in the entire family, has been exposed to the business world.
    WUD: Yes. It was my kind of orientation. I am enjoying where I am now, and the work that I have. No regrets.
    LMP: Let’s talk about Du Ek Sam. When did the business start?
    WUD: The business started in Jagna, in the year 1979. But before that, the family ventured into copra (buy and sell), a gasoline station, and spare-parts hardware.
    LMP: After Jagna, what was the first place you ventured into?
    WUD: When our motorcycle business flourished in Jagna, the family decided to branch-out in Dumaguete, Tagbilaran, Cebu, and all others. Now, all in all, we have 175 branches nationwide.
    LMP: How about the management side, are you the CEO of the entire business?
    WUD: Yes.
    LMP: How did you manage to prosper in the other places, when you are here?
    WUD: Maybe, one of the reasons is, we have trust to our people, and we take care of them.
    LMP: What is the usual procedure, you place somebody there from Bohol, or you just pick- up somebody in that place to manage the branch?
    WUD: It depends. If it is our first time in that place, we usually bring people from Bohol, or a staff that has been with us for so long, not necessarily from Bohol, it could be from Cebu or Negros.
    LMP: Usually, when you start in one place, how many people do you have?
    WUD: It depends also. If it is for motorcycles, the basic number of staff is about seven, and for the appliances, it is lesser.
    LMP: I have heard you have a lot of people, the canvassers or something like that, who would go around the Province.
    WUD: Actually, they are not our employees. They are freelancers.
    LMP: Can you explain how it is done?
    WUD: They are usually called the Sales Force. They earned their money canvassing to customers, to buy to our store. In return, they would receive Salesman Incentive, which comes from the manufacturer. For example, if a customer buys product from Sony, that particular Sales Agent, will be receive a commission from Sony.
    LMP: How do you select these people?
    WUD: They same thing, they submit their application, we screened them, and if they are qualified, they are hired. There is no capital needed, just effort.
    LMP: What happened was, from the start you have the copra and some other businesses. Did you abandon all of these things, in favor of motorcycle?
    WUD: No, not all of them, the gasoline station still exist until now.
    LMP: You have branches in Mindanao. How many is it, approximately?
    WUD: We have in Malaybalay and Valencia, Bukidnon. We just opened a branch in Carmen, Cagayan de Oro.
    LMP: How about Luzon?
    WUD: We have branches in South and North Luzon like, Pangasinan, Tarlac. We did not push through in Manila because our type of business is financing. In Metro Manila, there are so many transient, and it is too risky on our part, unlike in the Provinces.
    LMP: How about in the Visayas?
    WUD: We have the most number of branches in the Visayas Region. In Cebu, we have twelve, four in Tagbilaran, one in Jagna, Ubay, Talibon, Tubigon, and Loon.
    LMP: How did you compete with the other businesses the same as yours?
    WUD: It is on our managing approach, because we emphasize more on service. One of our advantages also is, we have service center in all of our branches, where our customers can bring their appliances or motorcycles for repair.
    LMP: As far as repairs are concerned, how is the payment, is it free?
    WUD: It is free for those covered by the warranty period. With regards to the payment of the repair, we just followed what is being prescribed by the supplier. For example Honda, the Honda Company has a sort of a menu, for the charges to be made.
    LMP: How many companies are supplying you with all of these products like, motorcycles?
    WUD: For motorcycles, we only have four Japanese brands, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Suzuki. For appliances, there are plenty. But mostly Japanese and Korean brands like, Sony, Sharp, Panasonic, LG, Samsung, and many more.
    LMP: What is the procedure that you use? Do you have to go to Japan to make these contracts?
    WUD: No. They have an office here in the Philippines.
    LMP: You have really help Bohol, as far as the manpower problem is concerned, giving jobs to people.
    WUD: Yes, we have employed so many people from Bohol.
    LMP: No plans to expand further?
    WUD: As of now, our expansion is still ongoing all over the country.
    LMP: Who are the other members of the family that manages the business? You are the CEO, who is next to you?
    WUD: My nephew, the son of Medelyn Lim. He is the one helping me now, because my other siblings are busy with their own businesses. But they still Members of the Board.
    LMP: How often do you meet?
    WUD: Sometimes every month, or every two months. It depends on our availability.
    LMP: You are also at the same time Chairman of the Board.
    WUD: No, it is still my mother, Melecia Du.
    LMP: What do you think is the biggest accomplishment Du Ek Sam has, aside from hiring people?
    WUD: Actually, we have this Corporate Social Responsibility. Every year, we donate one classroom in Jagna. We are also planning to build more classrooms in the neighboring municipalities. We started this project six years ago. Aside from that, we have tree planting, and some other activities.
    LMP: What other benefits have you given to your employees?
    WUD: Aside from the bonuses, every month they are receiving incentives. For example, in Bohol, majority of the sales are walk-in, so the whole amount which should have given to the sales agent, is divided among the employees. The incentive varies on their sales, the bigger the better, because they will receive more. Our branch managers have also gone to the different places in Asia, all expenses paid by the company, plus allowance, as a sort of a gift, for a job well done. That is why, our managers are staying with us because we take good care of them.
    LMP: How is your relationship with the Provincial and the City Government?
    WUD: We cooperate with them, when it comes to the activities of the Province and the City. Projects and activities they spearhead, that affect or concern us, always get our support. Regulations emanating from governance need to be followed, so could be of better service to the community.

    Years back, Dr. Wilson Du’s mother was awarded one of the Ten Outstanding Boholanos Around the World (TOBAW) during the Tigum Bol-anon Tibuok Kalibutan (TBTK), a feat that was one of the highlights in the once-in-every-three-years celebration. Last Tuesday, Dr. Du received the plaque in Business Achievement given by the City Government of Tagbilaran. From the Father, to the Mother, to the Son… the leadership of DES changed hands. As the business empire grows bigger, so does the responsibility.
    Dr. Wilson Du is aware of this responsibility, not just for his family, but for the thousands of workers and their families, who depend on them. He knows his job. He knows his role. He cannot fail them. This is the mark of a true entrepreneur.

    Filed under: 2014, July | Permalink