[Innovation Strategy] LBS Group's Ecosystem Innovation

Franco Lam

  • Chairman, LBS Corporation Limited
  • Fellow of Hygiene Industry (2020-2021), Asia Pacific Institute for Strategy ( 亞研所院士 )


Under the Covid-19 global pandemic, people pay unprecedented attention to health and hygiene, and hygiene safety has become a prerequisite for all businesses. However, the most hidden places often best reflect the essence of hygiene. A toilet often represents the hygiene of a restaurant and the quality of a shopping mall.

"Sanitized by LBS" has become a guarantee for customers. LBS started its business with an innovative concept in 1998 and introduced toilet hygiene management services to Hong Kong. A clean toilet is one of the important elements that attracts consumers to revisit. The more prosperous the central urban area, the more obvious is this demand. In addition, the more prestigious the venue, the more attention the consumers would pay to the service elements of the toilet: the cleanliness of the toilet, whether there are sufficient sanitizing measures, odor treatment, air filtration, the aroma of air fresheners, etc. A general cleansing company may not be in a position to meet such demands for deep level sanitizing services.

1. Technology and the Internet can never replace the health management industry

Hygiene and health are eternal issues for mankind, because life brings hygiene problems. With global warming, the problems of bacteria, viruses, and pests are becoming more and more serious. In addition, with continually improved living standards, hygiene awareness has improved correspondingly, leading to increased demands for hygiene services and products.

The development of life sciences and the Internet are of great benefit to the health management industry. Consumers also have a new understanding of the definition of hygiene. From the toilet and the kitchen to the lobby; from air to water; from sight, sound, touch to smell; LBS has responded to the consumer's needs and introduced a brand new hygiene technology and management method, and launched the "Total Hygiene Solution" to "protect health and clean the world".

2. Toilet sanitization and pest control services as the core to continually expand innovations

From the moment when LBS was founded, its mission has been to "protect health and clean the world". Many businesses can be carried out in the field to achieve the mission, such as life technology, medical technology and new energy technology, etc. However, LBS clearly understands that our competitive edge is in sanitization and pest control. If we can do a good job in toilets, we can do a good job in many more environments; if we can do a good job in Hong Kong, we can do a good job in many more markets; if we can do a good job in air, we can also do a good job in many more aspects.

The "Comprehensive Sanitation Solution" is not expansion without a cause LBS Group has itself been practicing "ecosystem innovation":

• Service target expansion: from the toilet to the kitchen, to the entire commercial building and the family

Through advanced technology and equipment, and weekly service to ensure the sanitary quality of toilets, to avoid germ contamination and unpleasant odors, thus maintaining high quality of toilets, and maximizing the use of paper towels and liquid soaps.

In terms of the catering and commercial businesses, we provide weekly services at a cost equivalent to that of other companies' monthly services. We also use environmentally friendly and effective baits and a variety of tools to eliminate pests.

Through bait and spraying methods, we can kill all kinds of pests in the home, protecting you and your family from pests, and giving you a comfortable and happy home.

By atomizing the disinfectant, all spaces and physical surfaces are cleansed in depth, sanitizing the walls, partitions, countertops, ceilings, door handles, light switches, etc., so that customers have a clean and pleasant living space.

• Market scope expansion: from Hong Kong to the mainland, to the entire Asia Pacific

In the first ten years, we focused on the Hong Kong market and based on Hong Kong’s success, we analyzed the problems of other markets. In 2004, we started to develop the Greater China market, and in 2016 we opened up our services to other Asian cities.

Throughout the process of market expansion, we have always stayed true to the core of "disinfection and pest control", and entered the new regions with the business that best guarantees quality and effect,, and gradually added new services. To date, our business has covered 31 cities in the Asia-Pacific region, serving more than 50,000 shops and customers.

• Product category expansion: from toilet hygiene products to cleansing products to paper products

As early as 10 years ago, a large toilet paper machine service provider suggested that LBS Group be their agent to provide customers with "one-stop purchase" and "toilet paper" services, but LBS Group declined this invitation believing that we could gain a share of market segments through product innovation.

During the SARS period, the middle-drawing paper toweling machine was launched, and quickly replaced the hand-touched lever-type paper toweling machine. When the sales of the middle-drawing type machine increased sharply, there began requests to paper merchants to customize the paper for middle-drawing machine. This development broke the monopoly of the giant opponents over the entire industry chain, and enabled us to successfully cut into another market segment.

3. People are the foundation of the organization, and "helping employees to develop and become successful" is one of the missions of the company

LBS Group knows that to support the ecological innovation of enterprises, especially the increasing uncertainty of businesses, "people" are the foundation of the organization. In the service of the company, employees must realize their self-worth in order to continue to serve the company and LBS Group has been continually "helping employees to develop and become successful."

Judging from the strategic maps of many companies, most companies will take the maximization of shareholders' interests as their strategic goal. However, LBS Group's values put the interests of shareholders in the third place, after customers and employees respectively. Shareholder value is realized through customers and employees and shareholder value is the result of the operation rather than the original intention.

Some say that the epidemic reveals the worst evils. Many companies reduce the number of employees as a first step when they face difficulties. We in LBS Group refuse to lay off staff or reduce salary under the Corona Virus and stay true to the people oriented philosophy"

4. Promote the "circle of good" with "altruism"

Enterprises exist for the society. In the long run, high profits often erode the fabric of a society. If enterprises operate without paying attention to the social benefits, they will definitely be abandoned by the society. The importance of social benefits is particularly obvious in the field of health services.

As early as 2013, the LBS Charity Foundation was established by LBS and in line with a the unique "charity points" system, we promote the "circle of goodness" so that colleagues understand the true meaning of work, to motivate them to act with an "altruistic" mindset and to develop their sense of mission and commitment through feeling “self-virtue”. Through the promotion by Roundtables and other elite associations, we support events such as "LBS Charity Run", , "Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace", " Filial and Love Inclusiveness", etc, by providing financial, action support and emotional support to pay back to the community in various ways and to enhance people's health awareness and actions.

Summarizing LBS Group's journey, it is the mission of the organization to make "employees successful", "choice" is the prerequisite for hard work, "social benefit" is the foundation of the company's existence, and "core competence" is the source of all innovation.

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Asia Pacific Institute for Strategy (C) 2022

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