Electronics & Engineering Celebrates Its 70th Anniversary

E&E Magazine Mock Up-01

Systems integrator and distributor Electronics & Engineering are celebrating their 70th anniversary
this year. Based in Singapore, E&E as it is fondly known is the longest established company involved
in AV in the Southeast Asia region. The company still operates from its’ original shophouse but has
expanded to an additional unit a few doors away that features their Experience Centre (ENEXC).
There is also their Services and Maintenance Centre (E&E Services Pte Ltd) at the nearby Tan Boon Liat Building.

In 2015, they secured a piece of land in Tuas measuring 70m x 44m from JTC and built their double-storey Warehouse Complex consisting of four individual 27m x 15m x 7m height warehouse spaces with commercial humidifier units to ensure that room humidity is kept to below 50%. An elevated loading bay for four container trucks including an engineering workshop and Logistics Centre was also included in the Complex. The family-owned company is currently headed by the third generation of the Goh family,

Gary Goh, while his father Ronald Goh, has assumed the position of Chairman of the E&E Group of Companies. Ronald’s dad, Goh Kiok Chuan, started the company in 1951 to serve the Cinematographic and Audio-Visual Industries, however, Ronald found that the Cinema industry was too boring, and he shared that “When you install the projection and sound system equipment for one cinema hall, it will be the same for the next ten halls.

Therefore, I ventured into sound reinforcement systems which was more interesting as the set-up for each room and applications are different from one other.”

The company then graduated into sound systems for sound reinforcement applications to this present day. E&E continues to be involved in some of the most iconic projects in Singapore, providing a full range of sound, light and visual solutions. The company also has branch offices in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Systems Integration Asia has a chat with Ronald and Gary Goh about the company’s journey

What were some of the key challenges over the 70 years, and how were they overcome?

Ronald: Over the years, we did have project challenges that required our expertise and creative thinking to execute jobs without compromise successfully. However, one of the more challenging periods for us was when we parted ways with Harman distribution after representing the brand for 15 years. We were doing exceptionally well for Harman, but unfortunately, different market strategies between the brand and us resulted in a parting of ways. The silver lining from this experience was that many of our customers continued working with us as their emphasis was on E&E and not so much on the brands that we represent. The good news is that Harman Professional has renewed its relationship with us once again under their new management.

I would add that E&E has gone through many world crises, but the recent COVID-19 is a different kettle of fish. It has affected the whole world, and everyone is affected one way or another. We have had to change how we work but at the same time, ensure that we can serve our clients effectively, keep staff motivated and continue to go after business opportunities. I am pleased to say that our team has remained steadfast, and we have been able to get through this period with as much positivity as possible.

Over 70 years, there have certainly been gamechanging technologies introduced in the AV Field. Which are the ones that caught your attention, and why?

Ronald: As a person very passionate about sound, I would say Dolby Surround and later Dolby ATMOS were game-changing technologies. The technologies changed how one would experience cinema. It truly provided a fully immersive experience for the audience. In a way, this is now being translated into performance art theatres and live events as 3D Immersive Sound.

What were some of the proudest moments for you with regards to the company?

Ronald: There are a few that come to mind. In 1972 we won the tender to supply the sound system for the National Stadium in Singapore. Boston based acoustic consultants BB&N designed the stadium sound reinforcement system. We learnt a lot from this project. We had to install the Altec Lansing loudspeaker system correctly. The engineer in charge, Dr. Jacek Figwer, had a lot to share, which I absorbed fully as opportunities to learn from an expert were hard to come by during those times.

The installation also taught us how to manage large scale projects. A resounding endorsement of the sound system in the National Stadium immediately brought us other high-profile projects in Singapore and within the region.
The other is related to the performance of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at the National Stadium in 1984. We were commissioned to provide and design the sound system for this once-in-a-lifetime, one-night performance. Many purists and critics insisted that the National Stadium was not the proper venue owing to its size and echoes and that the sound reproduction would not be good. I was even interviewed on television and had to reassure everyone that I would look into all aspects to make sure that
the sound system would be good and would live up to expectations, and I am glad to say it turned out very well. The next day, many people who attended the performance commented that it was a splendid evening and the sound reproduction coming from the stage was so natural and clear, so much so, that they did not realise that a sound system was being used to amplify the sound.

It has been a very challenging two years now with COVID-19. What steps and decisions did E&E take to keep the business going?

Gary: Most of our team used the downtime during the “Circuit Breaker” to focus on training and selfimprovement. We also took the opportunity to reflect internally, on processes and strategies to get us ready for a recovery. Most importantly, we were constantly navigating the ever-changing regulatory restrictions to ensure that our SLAs with our Clients are still met. It has indeed been a challenging time for our industry and we had to implement some cost-cutting measures, but I am glad to say that we did not have to let anyone go. It was very much a decision taken by the Senior Management that we were in this together, and we would get out of this together.

Where does the opportunities lie for the present and the future?

Gary: COVID-19 has undoubtedly accelerated the adoption of digital technologies and changed the way we work, meet and interact for the foreseeable future. As a solutions provider, we are constantly on the lookout for new and relevant technologies that we can bring to our Clients; and ARHT Media is one such technology that we partnered with recently. Their HoloPresence technology provides a unique solution of being present while eliminating the challenges of time and travel restrictions.

People make the company. From that perspective, what are some of the opportunities the company provides to its staff?

Gary: At E&E, we have always placed a big emphasis on people development, training and education. Our philosophy is to always equip our staff with the right skills to succeed in their career. We even offer scholarship programs for certain candidates to further upgrade their skills. Being as established as we are, we are able to attract the best of the best, as we offer the opportunity to work on some of the most exciting projects in the region. We want to attract talent and at the same time retain them, by providing them with a career path within E&E. The Company grows along with its people, the two go hand in hand.

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Heading towards the future, what does the company hope to achieve?

"It is important for us to keep our fingers on the pulse of the industry, ensuring that we stay relevant in these fast evolving times. We are always on the lookout for new technologies and trends which will continue to drive our growth locally and in the region." shared Mr. Gary Goh, CEO.


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