SGS at 70 and Beyond

Published On Oct 12, 2022


From of the Office of the Executive Director:
From the dream that was, to the enterprise that it is today, SGS Corporation has impacted countless families and communities throughout the seven decades of its existence.  My grandfather, Simplicio S. Gamboa, started this enterprise with no capital, education and a family beside him. He was a student of life, learning from the people around him, the experiences he gained, the painful mistakes he had to endure, and his collection of successes. He is a man known by many to be righteous — making the right choices regardless if it brings him gain or not.

Simplicio started this enterprise with a simple dream: to provide for his family, and the families of his employees. He highly valued education, despite his lack thereof, as he made sure that all his children would finish school, even when it was financially difficult to do so. This value has rippled across our family throughout the years, memorializing it in the establishment of an education foundation named after him, the SGS Foundation. Today, the foundation has more than 200 graduates and is supporting around 80 students annually.

While much accolades and stories have been written about my grandfather, I would also like to give recognition to his children, of whom without their hard work, perseverance and dedication, we will not be celebrating our platinum year. Unheard stories of their heroism have long been kept in the annals of their memories, some of which I only discovered through curious inquiries during our casual chats.  In honor of them, I am sharing excerpts of these stories, so that not only can we remember, but we can also appreciate their sacrifices that have brought us to where we are today.

SGS at 70th anniv

– One of the siblings, during the startup years of the company, slept on the office floors of his foreign supplier-partner to save on hotel cost whenever he attended international conferences and exhibitions;

– One of the siblings, covered customers by walking from Monumento to Avenida to save on transportation cost;

– One of the siblings would leave home at 5:00am in the morning to oversee delivery operations, visits customers, vendors and banks at mid day, comes back to the office by 7:00pm to do accounting and admin work, and arrives home by 12:00am, including holidays;

– One of the siblings left home and relocated at a young age to establish an important component of the business that served as the logistics hub for the entire group.

In 1991, the siblings reorganized the enterprise into the corporation that exists today through the leadership of my father, Bonnie, who was elected Chairman. The reorganization was one of the first innovations of the enterprise.  It provided structure to professionalize the organization, a framework to execute the expansion strategy, and the foundation to attract more partners to invest.  Today we operate in the Philippines, and have satellites in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.

My Lolo passed on early and I never knew him any deeper than his role as a disciplinarian to his grandchildren. Growing up, I was terrified just by his mere presence.  Standing at 6 foot 1, a big body built and a low heavy tone of voice,  he was someone that easily overwhelmed any kid.  Listening and reading about his story made me reckon that I grew up too late (or he moved on to early), for me to be mature enough to know him at a deeper level.   To me, SGS is more than an enterprise, rather, it is a heritage to all her stakeholders.  This enterprise has raised me to the man I am today as it not only provided for my physical needs, but it also developed my skills and nurtured my character to be a community servant.

As I look back and appreciate where we have journeyed from, I wish to impart to the Gamboas who are still too young to understand, that SGS Holdings is more than just an inheritance but a continuous fulfillment of a simple dream of our Lolo.  To our SGS family, partners, and community, we are very grateful for your partnership and trust.  As we work and serve, we must continuously plant seeds of dreams and make a bigger ripples of change to make the world a better place.

Looking beyond and moving past the 70 years of success requires a lot of foresight, and passion to continue the journey from one generation to another.  My mission is clear, and that is to stretch the simple dream and make a deeper impact into the succeeding generations of the SGS family. My guidance comes from our new mission-vision statement: “…to focus on customer experience …to serve our stakeholders …so that they can live the quality of life they deserve.” With the ever changing business environment, technological breakthroughs, and socio-cultural regenerations, I intend to pursue and lead the next decade with this strategy: Think Big, Start Small, Go Deep.

Just like my Lolo, I am starting with a dream.  Thinking Big is dreaming big.  While it may seem that my dream is much bigger than his, it is with our resources today that I have based my dream upon. I dream to be a regional entity, to be listed in many stock exchanges, and to create greater value for our stakeholders by engaging in various enterprising activities.  I dream of the quality of life for our stakeholders to go beyond the measure of financial success, but to create value and enrich life in a holistic way.

To create this much impact, I believe that starting small is key.  To Start Small means starting the change from myself by living out our mission in providing our stakeholders a quality of life they deserve. To start small also means driving it from the top, with a few key leaders and influencers who will dictate the tempo of how successful we can implement internal changes in adoption to external changes.

To ensure sustainability, we must Go Deep. Going Deep means I intend to invest time and energy building relationships and developing small groups of influencers to do the same, so that we can create a culture that will transcend challenges, successes, failures and victories.  Time and focus will allow these small groups of impact-makers to ripple out their influence and prayerfully drive us to our next summit.

[email protected] is calling us to Innovate thru the Next.  It is a call for us to recreate ourselves, to better serve our stakeholders, and to succeed this and the next generations to come.  From now until the next decade, that is my call to heed.  I invite you to join me, and make this calling yours too.