Mr Nachhattar Singh is a man who has always possessed an entrepreneurial spirit with a perseverant attitude towards life. It was these qualities that made him start his own business with other partners in the early 80s. Later, the partners decided to venture elsewhere and Mr Singh was made to fend for himself.
Not a man to give up, in 1985, Mr Singh started Dashmesh Trading Pte Ltd as a one-man operation by bringing in reputable brands such as Fonterra dairy products and Sime Darby edible foods into Singapore.
As a small brand with no brand power, it was a struggle in the early days being forced to compete with larger brands. To survive the competition, Mr Singh offered personalised service and accessibility.
However, the nature of the business was not simple. The margins were low, hours long. With constant demand, came the need to be constantly available. As the company grew, it began to dabble in various sectors, namely wholesale, retail, maritime industry, food services and even exports.
As the company grew, in 1994, Mr Singh started Dashmesh Minimart with his wife, Ms Harneet Kaur, running the store while he took care of deliveries with a fleet of three lorries. However, Mr Singh had to close the store in 1997 when their daughter, Malika, was born to focus on distribution.
From 1997 to 2004, there was a focus on growing the number of brands carried. Popular brands such as Daawat and Lal Qilla were added to the growing repertoire of products.
Another milestone was created when a long-time friend and business associate, Mr Arthur Tan, joined Mr Singh as a shareholding partner and Executive Director in 2004. With a background in the banking and corporate world, Mr Tan introduced technologies such as SAP and new processes and systems to enhance the efficiency of the company from supply and marketing to delivery. It was here where Dashmesh Trading was incorporated as Dashmesh Singapore Pte Ltd (“Dashmesh”).
Mr Tan was also instrumental in creating Dashmesh’s own brands of food products to distinguish them from other brands in terms of quality and affordability. Thus, the Temasek Gold Basmati Rice and the Malika range of basmati rice, lentils, nuts and spices were born in 2006. Temasek Gold Basmati Rice is now available in NTUC FairPrice supermarkets and e-commerce platforms like RedMart and Amazon.
As a pair, they travelled far and wide, finding suppliers, not just from India but from all over the world, ranging from Vietnam to USA to provide the multi-national supply chain we boast today.
Under the leadership of Mr Singh and Mr Tan, Dashmesh has weathered many challenges including SARS in 2003 and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company has grown by leaps and bounds, boasting a manpower base of 60 and a fleet strength of 17 today.
Despite this rampant growth, Dashmesh’s principles and values have remained uneroded. Dashmesh, similar to in 1985, aims to offer South Asian non-perishable foodstuff to its customers at an affordable cost, while not compromising on quality. That has been and will always be the promise of Dashmesh.