Leadership in the retail of technology-related products such as smart appliances, gadgets, and accessories as well as deftly managing employees is a balancing trick that Jerry P. Tiu has learned to master.
As Business Development director of Saipan Computer Services Inc., his 25 years in the business has given him his unique foresight.
“I came to Saipan in 1991… my father said go to Saipan and I did but, at that time I was a consultant for Sony Philippines and another computer school. Then I worked as a systems administrator for a golf course,” he said.
“At the same time, the family started a computer shop and somewhere along the way, the year was 1994, our computer company was offered to take over SCS that was established in 1986 and everything moved forward from there.”
In an industry that is restlessly dynamic, Tiu believes that growing with the times is what makes SCS successful.
“We are not afraid of change. …We change, we grow as technology changes and grows, especially the last 15 years. …Growth is something that the computer industry and technology will require of you…we train for it as we get our people ready because it is a non-stop learning process. …We invest in people to undergo trainings and get an upgrade—sometimes online [or] sometimes they have to go elsewhere.”
Tiu said the Saipan market had a lot of potential in the mid-’90s—selling technology-related products at a time where most countries haven’t caught up yet.
“What I remember is that Saipan, despite its [small] size and being remote, was not lagging behind on technology know-how. It was catching up with the latest technology.”
“Despite [its] fewer resources compared to being in a big city, there were people [here] who were pushing to get those things done like Saipan Datacom. …Many people were informed about current technology,” he added.
According to Tiu, SCS didn’t run without challenges. “Immigration is one, as the upcoming new CW-1 regulations aren’t out yet. We are often asked, ‘What is your plan?’ I say it is hard to answer that because, without any clarity, it is hard to plan ahead. …We are exploring avenues. …Currently though, our number of U.S. workers exceed the minimum requirement,” he said.
“In terms of supply and demand, I think logistics has always been a problem on Saipan. We have to take into consideration the distance between us and other islands. …We are dependent on either air or sea so when a typhoon hits us, we are automatically cut off. …Of course it takes a lot more planning and we have learned to deal with it to make sure that our customers get what they need,” he added.
SCS recently concluded its yearly Customer Appreciation Raffle and Tiu said that this is their way of thanking customers for their continued patronage.
“Of course, we want to grow the business but the business is always dependent on the market size. In the meantime, we don’t want to be or stay as good as our last sale. …We are doing our best to be up-to-date,” he said.