1 June 2003
Sharp As A Pin(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 06,2003)
Sharp As A Pin
Wagon Enterprises Ltd
Pins come in all shapes and sizes and with many different features, according to Wagon Enterprises Ltd
The ubiquitous pin may not immediately appeal to most users as anything other than a simple product. However, in the hands of designers at Wagon Enterprises Ltd, pins of varying forms and sizes have been adding colour to events worldwide, some even ending up as collectors' items.
This pin and key chain manufacturer has won worldwide acclaim for innovative pin designs and high quality since the 1990 Football World Cup, according to sales manager Antony Leung.
"With more than 10 years' experience in the field, we have established an edge in producing a multitude of quality pins, especially for many famous sport competitions such as the World Cup and both the summer and winter Olympic games," says Leung.
The 2002 FIFA World Cup jointly hosted by Japan and Korea marked one of Wagon's recent significant successes. "We competed with our rivals not on price but on quality," Leung explains. "Thanks to our production expertise, we were able to stand out from the crowd and corner about 70-80% of the exclusive World Cup pin market."
Leung expects the 2008 Beijing Olympics to be another enormous business opportunity, and sales generated by international sports tournaments now form one of the company's main income streams.
Additionally, Wagon is gearing up for the growing worldwide licensing business and has already gained a foothold in the US market for products licensed by The Walt Disney Co.
"We expect more and more licensing orders in the next two years," Leung says. "As most licence owners do not specialise in production work, our well established factory facilities enable us to serve as their best production partner."
In order to effectively serve customers and manage an increasing range of orders, Wagon has set up operations in three business locations: Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.
Wagon's manufacturing base is in Dongguan, where it employs about 1,800 workers. The plant, divided into sections, includes die struck, photo-etched, pewter, injection, offset printing, silkscreen printing and PVC departments.
According to Leung, floor managers supervise each production line to ensure products are finished on time and meet the exacting quality standards of the company's customers.
"We place great emphasis on strict quality inspections," he says. "Our quality control team accounts for one-fifth of the total number of staff. This allows us to place quality inspection points at every stage of the production process to ensure very high standards. It is no exaggeration to say that an item as small as a pin has to go through eight inspection points before being sent to the market."
However, increasing competition has driven Wagon into research and development of new production technologies, while also presenting creative design concepts to customers.
Wagon focuses on manufacturing pins for the upper-end, or collectors' market, while most of the industry is working on other, relatively cheap promotional items, Leung claims.
"To achieve the correct design appeal of pins that eventually become collectors' items is very demanding, while the trend is toward multifunction pins," Leung explains. "We offer a wide assortment of pins with light and sound effects, for example, and some pins even incorporate motion features."
He says pins are not only fun to use, but also functional. "Just imagine a pin that works as a bottle opener, a photo frame, a clock or even a strap for a mobile phone," Leung says. "We will continue to extend our design concept to cover these and other gift and premium accessories."
WRITTEN BY VANAPA ONGVISES
Wagon Enterprises Ltd
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