Etika Holdings (“Etika”), one of Malaysia’s most prominent Halal beverage companies, has recently appointed Santharuban Thurai Sundaram as the Chief Executive Officer of its newly acquired Advend Group of Companies. In his new role, Santharuban will be responsible for the expansion of Advend Systems, developing go-to-market strategies for the Advend Group’s contactless vending and retail experience for consumers in Malaysia and Singapore.
“I’m honoured to be recognised by the management as a leader in Etika’s new pursuit towards excellence. In times of instant gratification, where consumers are used to a touch-and-go lifestyle, the vending business holds a lot of potential such as the ability to integrate new technologies in payments and shopping while offering a more seamless buying experience for our consumers,” said Santharuban on his appointment as CEO of Advend Group of Companies.
Santharuban brings to the Group nearly two decades of marketing and commercial experience having launched several new brands and successful marketing campaigns. His persistence and creativity have also led to multiple recognitions in the industry during his roles in brand marketing, trade, sales and consumer engagement. Under his leadership, Etika delivered on targets and earned more than 200 accolades and recognitions for their visionary product launches and campaigns. In his new role as CEO of Advend Group of Companies, Santharuban will bring his brand of creativity to strengthen the company’s brand presence and footprint in Malaysia and Singapore.
Etika acquired Advend Systems Pte Ltd, a Singapore-based vending business in December 2019, in a strategic move to offer more options to their consumers. As a leading beverage company, Etika always looks to offer its consumers a more convenient and affordable way to purchase great tasting products, served chilled and as freshly produced as possible. With this acquisition, Etika has now become the largest independent vending solutions provider in Malaysia and Singapore, with services ranging from hot and cold beverages like coffee, canned and bottled drinks as well as snacks such as cup noodles. Having 10,000 vending machines across Malaysia and Singapore, the company is expanding to increase their presence in high traffic areas and strategic locations.
Advend is focused on bringing as much convenience to consumers as possible as they continue their lives in the new normal. Here, vending brings a positive experience to consumers by making products available at a higher number of locations and enabling them to purchase their favourite drinks and snacks at more locations via multiple payment options such as e-wallets, cash, credit cards and other contactless payments.
The new vending distribution business falls in line with Advend’s expanded new channel capabilities, which includes e-commerce, innovative partnerships and more. In the near future, Advend will expand its cashless payment offering and enhance its transaction tracking capabilities to provide valuable insights for better decision-making.
Digitisation and data analytics on sales, seasonality, buying behaviour, transaction trends, product types, and categories can lead to more effective decision-making and quicker product innovation. Adding to the digitisation features available, Advend Group’s vending machines also allow for seamless operations by making the analytics present on one unified platform. This way, decision makers can easily analyse data and be informed of inventory levels with alerts prompting the company to refill machines with low stock levels.
“Combining digital insights with new technology can help not just the Advend Group but also our business partners customize their product and service offerings to suit today’s consumer. Having the data and insights on hand, we can make decisions quickly and act on any challenges that may pose a significant threat to our business. These digitisation functions are necessary if we are going to pull through these volatile times,” said Santharuban.
In his new role, Santharuban will face new challenges that come as part of a market recovering in a post pandemic economy. “As the on-demand market continues to grow rapidly, the challenge would be for Advend Group of Companies to find a unique voice that resonates with our customers, while navigating the new normal concept in our operations to be a true game changer in the food and beverage industry,” added Santharuban.