“Battery technology is the future, we cannot continue to just harness and waste energy, we have to learn to distribute it sustainably.” – Mr. Moon, Foreseeson Technology Inc.
Growing up in Gunsan, a port city in South Korea, the innovations of international trade and technology were never far away from Sung Ub Moon. Today, Moon is the president of Foreseeson Technology Inc., in Richmond, British Columbia.
As one of Canada’s biggest homegrown companies, Foreseeson is a multifaceted, award-winning technology innovator, providing services in electronic manufacturing, IT security distribution, Electric Vehicles (EV) charging equipment and battery storage solutions.
We caught up with Moon to learn about how innovation and dedicated diligence, drives Foreseeson, which can make an inventor’s dream come true by manufacturing it and getting it to Asian and North American markets.
Where did your work-journey start?
When I was growing up, South Korea did not have any natural resources. I knew that trade was the only way that South Korea could survive, so I chose to study international economics at Seoul University. Today, South Korea’s natural resource is our people; we are known for our skills in various industries, especially technology.
How did you come to be in the tech world?
I joined Daewoo Industrial, which was the second largest conglomerate after the Hyundai Group company, and they assigned me the computer export division. My job was to not only sell the product, it was also to work with the Information Technology (IT) department team. Remember, this was in the early 90s, so the irony of this was, there were probably no computers being used in Korea.
We worked together with IBM, Komodo, Compaq, all the great brand names. IBM had to come in and teach us about what a computer is, and all the great things a computer was capable of doing. Back then we literally called the computers by their numbers like 8086 CPU and so forth. Although I liked everything about my job, I found I loved the manufacturing aspect of the business most of all.
Did you work in the manufacturing department too?
No, but during that time, I went on a tour of the manufacturing factory and there were about one thousand people working there. I was awed, I thought, wow people are working so hard! I was even more inspired to deliver, because they were working so hard. That visit made me realize that we, all the people, we were working hard, we were helping our country, and we were helping our people. I was happy the company wanted to gain US business, and I was happy to have a trade degree. I was in the right place to bring in more business so Koreans could get more jobs, I was on a mission. Plus, at the end of every year, we got a bonus.
When did you choose to move to Canada?
It was 1994, as a matter of fact. Daewoo was one of the top company in Korea, I had a good future with them. However, I wanted to have some overseas experience. At that time my wife and I were working in different cities so we only saw each other once a week, so, when one of my Canadian customers invited me to come here to work for them on a one-year work visa. I thought, why not? I could use that Canadian experience in the future, plus my wife and I could live together.
Was that an easy transition for you?
Once I started working with the company, here in British Columbia, I quickly realised I loved it! The philosophy I grew up with has always been “Customer is King”, and I am a worker and we make our customers happy. So, once I got here, I wanted to meet the customers’ needs. I wanted the customers to be happy and satisfied. Plus, I was working in a 1,000-people company so coming here to a small company, it was really easy to adapt to the work.
Did you have any difficulties adapting to a new culture?
Speaking English right away was the challenge, even though I spoke English quite well in Korea, here the English everyone spoke was different. In the working environment, there are different styles and terminologies and that was tough.
But, that initial adjusting helps us a lot when we are new Canadians. We arrive here in this new country with lots of experiences and talents from our home countries. Our natural ability to adapt is better than the locals. Locals did not have the chance to work in many industries and countries so their adaptation skills are not as good as ours, I think.
Another difficulty I had was, I barely survived 6 months without my family before I called my wife and asked her to quit her Teacher’s job in Korea, and come here. I said, I cannot wait any longer please come. Thankfully she came.
How long did it take before you decided you wanted to remain in Canada?
Because I knew I only had a very short time to learn as much as possible before I had to return to South Korea, I worked longer and harder than my co-workers. The harder I worked, the higher they promoted me in the company and before I knew it, my visa had been renewed 5 times. When you are just a worker, it is good work, but when you become a manager you have to always find ways to grow the company. During my time with the company, we grew from a 30-million-dollar business to a 250-million-dollar industry. After 5 years renewing our visas, I realised we could not go back, I was doing too well here. We applied for PR and stayed here.
Why did you leave the company?
As with all growth, comes change. There was some disagreement where the company wanted to shut down all manufacturing, and I wanted to keep that department.
How did you start Foreseeson Technology Inc.?
I did not have any money after I quit the job, and nothing to do because it was a sudden decision. I did not have any long-term plan at the time for our future. My daughter, she was 7 years old at the time, she asked me one day…Father, where do you go?
I had no place to go, so in the mornings I would dressed for work, and go wandering around the neighbourhood. And sometimes I would go to the driving range and buy one basket of golf balls and stay the whole day with my computer, and I would make plans. For almost one month I had nothing to do but think of a way to secure a future for my family.
During this time, I had sent some emails to my local friends asking if they needed any small parts I could arrange to buy for them, and I got a positive response. Then I called my friends in Korea, China and Taiwan, and asked them if they could give me those parts for less than the going price. They said yes. I made 5 percent.
I like to call it the Asian Relationship. When I joined as a small purchaser, I had access to friends, ex co-workers and manufacturers from the Asian side. I could get the same quality of product at a cheaper price. I definitely used all my experiences and contacts in Asia to build my business. That’s another advantage of being a newcomer to Canada, past relationships.
Was that the initial stage of your business?
Yes, as soon as I made 20,000 dollars, I set up an office by renting a shared space. It was tiny and did not have a washroom. We had to use the park’s washroom. Instead of a washroom I hired two people. That was more important. Luckily, 3 months later I got my first big order, 50,000 dollars. My cost was 20,000. Remember, I did not have much space so I had to be creative with storage. I got a bigger place.
Was it difficult to find people to work for such a small business?
The two people I hired were people I had worked with here in Canada, they were laid off when the company shut down.
Now I have 100-people strong team. I pick my staff by referral. My work family grew by recommendations. Someone here would refer a friend, and a friend would refer another friend. It is a very close knit, and diverse workplace. Our company is made up of women and men of every race and culture. Our workplace is really multicultural and diverse, and inclusive.
How did you grow the business, especially during the risky times after the dot.com bubble burst?
My customers and my suppliers helped me. As I said earlier, my relationship with the vendors on the Asian side, that is my asset. It was not my sales skills that developed this company, it is my relationships with my friends and suppliers. I will always appreciate my customers and my vendors. Customers will always be king, and the suppliers help me do my job.
Your company is known for having a diverse range of departments, was that in your business plan?
No, I started a business to import small parts for sales. But when I sold those small electronic parts, the customers needed a manufacturer. So I started manufacturing for that customer. Then the customer needed designs and developments of new products. Of course, that meant I had to hire the engineers to develop the customer’s product. I could not fire my people after the job was done.
The customer would ask us to help them sell their new product, in Canada, the US, and Asia. Through my contacts, I helped them sell the product. I hired a sales department.
After that I added some more products across Canada. So now I have engineer, manufacturing, and a sales team to make and sell IT products all across Canada, and sometimes on the Asian side too. My customers grew, and continues to grow the company. Currently, 10 percent of our products are created by our company, and the remaining 90 percent were created by our customers.
How many departments do you currently have?
Admin, sales, IT, manufacturing, distribution, shipping, and we can assemble any computer board right here. We do everything from piece by piece manufacturing, and entire software solutions, to EV installation.
We build for the medical industry, the automobile industry, the security industry and pretty much every industry. We are always upgrading and expanding. The company went from a tiny office to 30,000 square feet. Our volume is not huge but our product diversity is wide. More and more production lines are being created.
Do you have a favourite aspect of the business?
I will always love manufacturing, because I can see it makes a difference in peoples’ lives, the money is shared, moves around with the people and eventually grows the economy. Really, most of all I like manufacturing, that’s really where my heart is. I work with the people. As a young boy, I loved the family structure, and I still do. You know the senior, junior, brother, sister, aunt. I love the family structure, where we all work all together for a common good.
What was the first software you invented?
Well, I have always invented what I wanted to see, so we created a software for in-house, the Dashboard (Key Management Report). What usually happens is as a company grows we start having some confusion, especially when new people join the team. When new people join Foreseeson, I send them to this software, which is a clear procedure of each division. This is my ISO procedure. ISO is an international standard that defines the requirements for a quality management system.
The DASHBOARD has it all, from ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, and, MRP (Material Requirements Planning), to APS, Advanced Planning and Scheduling software systems. The DASHBOARD allows you to easily integrate your company’s ERP and MRP, it is virus-free, simple and easy to set up and use, it can be self-managed, and is accessible from anywhere, anytime, 24/7, 365 days a year.
This includes processing, manufacturing, marketing, accounting, HR, right down to my own hours, payroll, everything. I streamlined the software so there are no mistakes, no confusions, no fighting. Every company should have the DASHBOARD, there is no long-term contract, it is secure, there is a low monthly cost, and it is cloud based.
The sales team love it for their Sales and Marketing presentations. They don’t have to make their own story to create their presentation. With the DASHBOARD, it is one story, the story of the company.
Could you tell us about Foreseeson’s Green Technology?
Foreseeson’s Green Energy Solution division. We are the suppliers and installers of EV chargers in the city of Vancouver, and 10 other municipalities. We are also suppling residential and commercial properties with EV ChargePoints. EV chargers make everyone with an EV our customer.
The future is about finding alternative ways of energy, to move away from fossil fuels, and more and more people are choosing to drive EVs’, this is good for our world.
Soon, we will have the battery too. We will give the car owners, the battery with backup power so they can charge their EVs’ at home. We are in the process of manufacturing the battery for saving energy. This is all for the future; for hospitals, homes, everywhere.
Battery use and management is the future. Unlimited electricity is limited. For example, in South Korea they don’t have EVs’, and yet they are short on electricity. So, if in the future, we are all driving EVs’, where will we get the energy from? We have to find some other ways of generating electricity.
Do you have a solution?
Wind turbines, solar, nuclear plants, ocean, seaweed, we need to harvest energy from many pathways but not in such a way that it destroys our nature. We all want to see green and beauty when we go places, not destroyed mountains and rivers. Battery will help us use less energy. I believe that just how we manage our finances, our lives, then our power usage should be managed and redirected in areas where needed. We are essentially paying money to waste power right now.
Battery technology is the future, we cannot continue to just harness and waste energy, we have to learn to distribute it sustainably.
Have you built anything for the urban garden?
Yes, we have the grow container we developed. This is the future of food. The grow container is an old technology, about 50 years old, but at that time there was no LED lighting that could make it a full-spectrum grow container. But now with new LED technology, we can mimic the natural world, and grow the vegetables almost as natural as what is grown outside.
We are in the final stage of building the Grow Container. It is ideal for people who do not have the quick access to the stores or farms, or if they want to grow their own food. This technology makes it especially perfect for people who are concerned about food-origins.
Chefs will love the Grow Container, they can grow fresh produce right in their restaurants, all year long.
The way the world is going in the technology industry, we have to keep up. But not only that we have to be diversified and that means manufacturing close to home too.
Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Richmond, BC, Canada, Foreseeson is an award-winning technology company with four primary divisions: Electronic Manufacturing Services, IT Distribution, EV Charging and Energy Storage Solution.
Contact number: (866) 233-0247