Family Business: Dato’ Beh Chun Chuan and Garvy Beh
Ask founder and chairman Dato’ Beh Chun Chuan how he built BP Healthcare to be the healthcare giant it is today and he’ll tell you that it is a collective family effort.
BP Healthcare group of companies today stands as one of Malaysia’s largest healthcare corporations, providing everything from pharmaceutical facilities to specialised solutions in obstetrics and gynaecology as well as ophthalmology and general surgery. It also has R&D test labs and restaurants under its name; a cumulative portfolio that is highly impressive for a brand that started out as a humble clinical lab back in 1982.
Ask founder and chairman Dato’ Beh Chun Chuan how he built it to be the healthcare giant it is today and he’ll tell you, “I didn’t do it alone. I owe it all to my staff and to my family.”
Since the inception of the group 34 year ago, Dato’ Beh has his children actively involved in the business, overlooking different sectors of it.
“Garvy likes all these tech stuff so I fitted him into the IT sector,” Dato' Beh tells. “He came back for his school holidays one summer and introduced e-commerce for BP Healthcare. He revamped our entire website and now it’s a multi-million e-commerce platform running 24/7, 365 days a year.”
“Lovy is a trained pharmacist so I gave her the pharmaceutical arm,” he shares further about his eldest daughter. “She’s now the president of the Malaysian Community Pharmacy Guild, representing tens of thousands of pharmacist in the country. She’s the first woman and youngest president.”
He speaks of his children with a lot of pride but do not be mistaken that he goes any easier on them than his other employees – the Beh siblings are each subjected to the same scrutiny and training of their father, who values nothing more than hardwork and discipline.
Their own call
For Garvy, the youngest of the four, the guidance into business started as early as when he was 13.
“My father always told me I have to start from young,” the 22-year-old recalls. “That’s the only way I can be different from my peers. He gave me a good formulation on the do’s and don’ts on how to manage people, how to hire people and also how to do sales and marketing.”
Dato’ Beh is always ready to provide the guidance, but he has never imposed it on his children.
“My children are all groomed to be go-getters, but I didn’t start out wanting them to help," he makes clear. "I ran my business and allowed them to discover and find their own passions. Whether they would want to use my BP Healthcare Group as their platform to achieve what they want, is up to them."
Transparency and honesty
Dato’ Beh led by example, showing Garvy and his siblings everything he does to keep the company running smoothly.
“In every single business email, he’ll loop us in. He’ll inform us why he decided on certain things and explain to us why he chose to do that,” shares Garvy. “That’s how we see and learn from his decision making and are clear with every step of the company movement.”
This is a clear reflection of Dato’ Beh’s own business motto.
“My dad always tells me you have to be honest and truthful all the time,” Garvy elaborates. “There’s nothing more important in business than earning the trust of your clients. It is established over the course of a long time. Only then can you get a sustainable business.”
United by polo
Outside of work, the family is an avid group of polo players. So serious are they about the sport that they have a BP Polo Club in which they compete on an international level, making regular trips to England for games.
It is more than just a dose of healthy sibling rivalry or exercise; Dato’ Beh uses it as an evaluation of character for his children.
“My dad loves polo,” Garvy exclaims at the mere mention. “He always says how we play on the field, how we communicate, reflects in real life our characters. It shows him how we play as a team member, how we manage our team and how we strategise our ideas to play against our opponents.”
“Polo is a family sport,” Dato Beh echoes. Through it, he learnt that Garvy, like his brother Joevy are the easy-going ones of the lot.
Garvy agrees, "A lot of polo players are very picky with horses because the horses are to a polo player what a car is to an F1 driver. I am okay with any horse and I don’t get angry easily. I always tell myself “It is what it is”. If we win, we win; if we don’t, we’ll try harder.”
Keeping things simple
In business where family ties and and professional roles are so easily blurred, Dato’ Beh advises on keeping things simple.
“I always preach to my staff and also to my family, whatever you do, your standard operating procedure (SOP) must have simplicity,” he says. “Never complicate things – you only confuse those around you."
He once again leads by example in that area: “When I need to be a father, I put on my father hat. When it comes to business, I put on my business hat. I switch between the two regularly."
It is a method that has clearly worked, if all that his children have achieved is anything to go by.
“Personally, he taught me that discipline and hardwork are two of the most important things,” Garvy tells. “You have to be passionate in everything you do because when you’re passionate, you’ll climb mountains and swim through oceans to get to your goals. Nothing can stop you. That, and to always treat all the staff like family."
(Photos: Garvy Beh)
Another society figure whose father's influences shaped a big part of his life: Dato' Dr Devan Pillay