Architect of business performance

Interview with Ronald Kleer,
BPG Business Performance Group, Singapore

German Centres Worldwide are an excellent platform to establish contacts, gather information and benefit from the community’s collective intelligence. We promote strong networks and a vibrant business community with companies, service providers and experts.

Today, we interview Ronald Kleer, founder of BPG Business Performance Group and expert in driving measurable improvements in company performance.

After more than 20 years of experience at the helm of industry leaders such as Daimler, CHEP, and GSK, Ronald channelled his passions into the creation of BPG Business Performance Group. Together with his global team, he supports companies on their profitable growth and expansion paths by focusing on sustainable and measurable P&L-results.

Dear Ronald, it’s a pleasure to have you in our business community. Your job title sounds very interesting. What does Chief Problem Solver stand for and which value do you create?

I have spent over 20 years in the Corporate world, most of it driving business transformations and performance improvements, and being the go-to person when major issues had to get resolved or capabilities had to be built. It was a natural progression and became one of my passions. Understanding the Business challenges, identifying the underlying issues and finding sustainable and holistic solutions together with people. I had great mentors who helped me to understand how to combine people, processes and technological solutions while being value driven and authentic.

I love fixing problems with my client teams, especially if everybody said it would be impossible. My biggest turn-on is seeing a successful implementation through and delivering the expected results. This can only be done in a sustainable manner by generating a Win-Win-Win situation (Customer-Company-Employees).

You have spent your career in Manufacturing & Supply Chain, Commercial as well as across Shared Services. Given your expertise, what do you see as the main challenges today and why?

Across the world, the business landscape is evolving rapidly, innovation is a key driver as well as geopolitical events. In Asia, the main challenges are related to geopolitical events, which are impacting the economy and the omnipresent fragmentation of the business landscape. For instance, we see many companies implementing the ‘China Plus One strategy’, which allow them to diversify and expand their supply chain outside China. This is triggering a positive effect in Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand in terms of capability building and manufacturing expertise. Regarding the fragmentation of the business landscape, one should not underestimate the cultural differences and different ways of working between Asian countries, which is one of the main challenges when foreign companies are trying to establish business operations in the region.

Indeed, at BPG, your primary clientele comprises Western companies aiming to grow their business in Asia but facing operational challenges. What guidance would you offer to a company aspiring to broaden its reach in the Asian markets?

We are working with several MNCs which seem to have a slightly better grasp of the challenge through a stronger support infrastructure and the ability to recruit the right talent. Smaller organizations do however struggle and often approach it with a “German / Western approach and mindset”. It is critical to adapt to local culture and establish a company culture and ways of working which combine the best of both worlds. Cultural awareness and capability building are critical – for European managers being appointed to run in-country operations as well as local employees who often have to deal with a culture shock. I believe that common values are a key success factor and are components we assess when establishing new teams. That’s why we have established a network of over 6.000 Asia experienced problem-solvers and interim managers who build the bridge between West and East and understand how to get things done and drive profitable growth in respective markets. We are confident in our methodology and people and therefore link our fees directly to the delivery of the agreed client business outcomes which has led us over the last five years to 100% repeat business and results delivery. I believe it is only fair to have “skin in the game”.

You have been working with the McLaren F1 team on building a high-performing organization framework BPG has been using with company clients, tell us more about it.

I had the opportunity to collaborate with the McLaren Formula 1 team to research key success drivers in one of the worlds most competitive sports. How strategy and innovation is driven, how analytics and decision making is done, people are developed and the role leadership plays in establishing the right working environment has been fascinating and by the way, it can be applied in business context easily. It has been amazing to see what impact those changes can have on the business performance as well as people’s engagement and wellbeing when we build high-performing teams with our clients.

You have been in Singapore for over 10 years, how do you envision your future to look like?

From a personal standpoint, Singapore is an amazing place which my family and I consider it home. We plan to stay here long-term and can’t imagine to move elsewhere, beside the high cost of living. Having difficulties to leave, is a common challenge for any Expat staying in Singapore for a longer period of time – the convenience, safety, diversity and strategic location is hard to beat. We do love to travel and explore the diverse cultures in the region which is very exciting to us. From a professional standpoint, I see great opportunities in Asia and believe in its potential. I want to continue growing BPG to be known in Asia and globally as the go-to partner for any business who is facing performance challenges and needs to get things done. Always delivering real value, being implementation and outcome focused. I want to connect the West and the East to establish trusted people relationships and drive results. Most importantly, I want to be true to my values, being proud of having delivered what we promised and improved the situation for customers, clients and people.

Beside growing BPG, I am also embarking on a new venture called ASIA-CONNECT Executive Interim where we provide Executive Interim solutions to predominantly European clients in Asia. I am very excited to have found another solution to address client challenges effectively and am looking forward to share more at a later point.

About Ronald Kleer

Ronald Kleer grew up in a small town near Stuttgart – and started his career as apprentice at Daimler which ignited his interest and passion for Continuous Improvement and led him to ultimately acquire an Executive MBA degree from the National University of Singapore.

After more than 20 years of experience at the helm of industry leaders such as Daimler, CHEP, and GSK, Ronald channelled his passions into the creation of BPG. Together with his global team, he supports companies on their profitable growth and expansion paths by focusing on sustainable and measurable P&L-results.

Ronald has lived and worked in Europe, the USA, and Asia. He and his family have called Singapore home for over a decade. He loves the fast paced, competitive and diverse environment where he values complex challenges, innovation and working across cultures

What do you think is the German Centre’s most important benefit for companies venturing and growing in ASEAN markets?

Most convincing for me to start and run a business in the German Centre is the high commitment of the German Centre management team to provide a risk-mitigated platform on which companies can work, network and grow their business. It is a unique place where so much expertise from very different perspectives comes together. You meet people from different industries, with different career backgrounds, different cultural imprints, excellent specialist know-how and, and, and. All these people create a community in which real exchange is possible that helps companies to successfully navigate their business in the region.

Finally, our classic: What is your favourite place in Singapore?

While everyone thinks of Singapore as a big and busy city, it has to offer so much more. I like to switch off from the hustle and bustle by either taking my MTB for the usual mud bath at Chestnut Nature park or hike around Kent Ridge and Alexandra Park with some friends.