Thiraphong Chansiri
TUF Strategy – Moving Fast Growth with HRD – Smart, Good, Happ

Interviewed date: 6th October 2010
by : Easra Disorntetiwat

TUF has been successful at maintaining consistently high margin by focusing on value-added products. TUF announced its sales growth of 2000 million USD in 2008, ahead of its plan to achieve in 2012. TUF is now the world’s largest and second largest producer and exporter of canned and frozen seafood products.


TUF has experienced rapid growth rate in term of operation excellence and high profitability. Success comes from good collaboration and effective communication. Thiraphong Chansiri, President of Thai Union Frozen Product Plc (TUF), the world’s largest and second largest producer and exporter of canned and frozen seafood products, has given HR management the same highest priority with corporate strategy and management.

Thiraphong revealed that since TUF is the contractual producer, we were facing many uncertain factors, such as, materials, customer demands, number of workers, high turnover, etc. Its business nature is the labor–intensive industry, hard work, details-oriented quality and safety. And that’s why it’s hard to maintain alive in this business.

Empower HRD

We must accept that we were quite slow in deciding to reshape our HR strategy. Earlier, we only think of how to expand our business. Until the end of 2003, our business earned up to 3000 million USD. We were struggling because of lack of people. Some departments worked too hard while others have not done at their full potentials. As a result, we lost lot of good people.

“At the certain level of growth, we started to focus on our people, especially in the global competitive businesses/industries. Today we are competing in term of who has more good people. Thus, I spent most of my time focusing on people management as everyone is recognized as the key asset of the company. Our next performance result will be looking at the model of DNA development on our people.”

In 2004, TUF started to put HRM strategy into practice seriously aiming at attracting potential and qualified employees into the company. Our senior and middle managements and employees were sharing on how to harness the potentials of our people and building the system for long term sustainable growth and transparency.

Getting sales is easier than getting the best employee Set Global Standard

Today, TUF reaches the highest profits through effective plan and people. TUF earns annual sales of 2,000 million US in 2008, which is expected to achieve in 2009. TUF is planning ahead to achieve 3,000 million US in 2012. Now, TUF is regarded as the large exporter with 90% of its products exported. Thiraphong understands the importance of reshaping HRM strategy to harness its employee potentials to work more effectively and efficiently in the international competitive market with concentrating on quality and safety.

Our human resources strategy needs to be redesigned to reap most out of employee’s potentials and competency. To ensure successful outcome, we decided to get CSR in place to assist and guide us in the area of role clarification, right-sizing, salary structure, competency and appraisal, compensation and training curriculum. Theeraphong emphasized that we compete with others by empowering our people, which is somehow harder than getting sales.

Restructure Restart

Thiraphong restructured his organization by merging and combining departments and changing work procedures and get employees to restart from the very beginning. We want everyone move out from their comfort zone. We want to have new fresh ideas. We want everyone to help think of what to do to improve our performance because our business is changing everyday. Some positive thinkers gave feedback fast, but negative thinkers were slower.

Seek the very best Fast-track program

TUF started from the very first step of recruitment. We aimed and targeted our people from education institution and university. We have established role clarification and career path planning to keep our employee on successful track.

Thiraphong said that what has been unclear, clear it. For examples, the benchmark program to readjust salary structure and compensation to reflect fairness and competitiveness, as well as, communication program to make every single employee understand KPIs, how KPIs could help improve performance for individuals and company as a whole.

KPIs are those key indicators used to assess the performance in a fair and transparency manner. If it is unfair, leave it. We have established the pilot program to find out what KPIs is acceptable and agreed for all. We are not following it theory, but making it happens in 360 degree.

TUF also focused on core competency to harness employees’ potentials in all levels by creating and devising training programs that is well-suited for every position and level.

We designed more than 300 training courses in various topics focusing on both functional and competency training. We want TUF to become the learning organization as in the university system. We regularly revised them as necessary to ensure the sustainability of people development.

Ensure Success With Communication & Coaching

Our business is growing rapidly both in term of sales and profits, including the number of our employees. Thus, our challenge is how to effectively establish the culture of participation and collaboration. We need good and effective communication as well as coaching. This is not complex, but it is the matter of idea and thought. We have been focusing too much on work, not paying attention to others’ feeling. The problem thus linked together with no ends. Our top management must understand this and solve this through effective communication.

Today, all have the same problem, that is, we talk to each other everyday, but we don’t know what we are talking. What needs to be discussed, we don’t discuss. We have very weak relationship with other colleagues. We are not taught and trained. We have poor communication and all these have made our employees feel ignored.

Thiraphong moved back one step to rethink about coaching. He reduced ordering through hierarchy but focused more on time and people management through communication and coaching, resulting in building good relationship among employees.

Sometimes, we may not communicate well. We ask our department heads and he or she asks his or her subordinates respectively. If we have miscommunication at the first place, along the responsibility line will have trouble. Therefore, we want our people to start thinking and understanding more. The more they think, the more they have initiatives and the more development is an outcome.

Build “Smart, Good, Happy”

Thiraphong ended that TUF focuses on our people. Our approach is “Smart, Good, Happy”. We want our employees to work happily with us because the heart of organization is at its operations. All of our senior managements/executives have stepped from operations level.

Today, TUF is moving forward its operations along with HRD. We create our culture of staying closely, helping each other and respecting others among our key stakeholders; customers, subordinates and suppliers.

TIP: Organizational Management by Thiraphong Chansiri, President, Thai Union Frozen Product Plc.

  1. Reorganization
  2. Salary Structure
  3. Role Clarification
  4. Career Path Planning
  5. Functional Competency Training
  6. Key Performance Indicator (KPI)
  7. Training Curriculum
  8. Communication & Coaching