8 Oct 2007
Well Written(HKTDC Gifts, Premium & Stationery, Vol 04,2007)
|Vanker Industries Ltd supplies a myriad of writing instruments, including markers, watercolour pens and crayons as well as arts and crafts items|
Writing instrument maker Vanker Industries Ltd has been inking increasing numbers of deals with patrons impressed by its excellent track record.
The company has taken just 11 years to evolve from a manufacturer of only three types of pen into a supplier of a myriad of writing instruments, including markers, watercolour pens and crayons as well as arts and crafts items such as glitter glue and art sets.
"I believe it was our good quality which initially won the confidence of buyers and they started to place more orders for more varieties, enabling us to expand quickly," recalls Marketing Manager Rita Lam.
Vanker subsequently made an important breakthrough by collaborating with major local toy companies and publishers to develop products for their toy and book sets.
Ms Lam highlights the importance of Vanker's expertise in these projects. "A pen may look simple, but in fact lots of knowledge and experience are required for a good design," she says.
"Take a toy airbrush gun for example - we must ensure the structure of the pen, the tip size and ink density all work well together to generate a smooth ink flow."
Ms Lam claims that many Vanker-developed products have become buyers' best-selling items, and many customers are happy to rely on the company's creative offerings to stimulate sales.
"In this business, a new type of ink will often give rise to a new idea for pens," Ms Lam explains. "So we work closely with our ink suppliers in developing fresh prototypes."
Among the latest hot items from Vanker are the Easy Painter and Paint Brush Marker. "The Easy Painter is a bottle of paint with a sponge applicator and is designed for little kids," Ms Lam elaborates. "The Paint Brush Marker, which shares the same concept but has a paintbrush tip, caters for teenage artists."
Many of Vanker's pens are used by children, so Ms Lam stresses that the company takes "extra care" when it comes to safety.
She says that the firm's designers pay attention to every detail, from the reservoir to the tip, barrel, and front and end caps.
"Our pen caps are designed with air holes so that kids won't choke even if they swallow a cap," Ms Lam explains. "Pulling tests are also performed to ensure the end caps of our pens cannot be removed easily."
Vanker also considers the needs of buyers as well as consumers. "Some of our pens are designed with a safety lock to avoid ink leaking from the reservoir," Ms Lam notes. "Our pens also incorporate an inner cap to protect the tip and provide a longer shelf life."
At present, the company operates three factories on the mainland - two in Shenzhen and one in Dongguan - covering 30,000 square metres and employing 1,500 workers.
Certified to ISO 9001, ICTI, BSCI and ETI standards, the plants place a high priority on quality and begin the monitoring procedure with incoming materials.
"We check the certificates required for every single item with our suppliers," Ms Lam stresses. "We test materials and products at accredited external laboratories as well as at in-house laboratories in all three factories."
Vanker produces 45 million units monthly using tips from Japan, branded ink from the US and Germany and plastic from Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan.
These products conform to stringent safety and quality standards, including relevant provisions in the EN71, LHAMA ASTM D-4236 and BS7272 regulations.
Europe makes up 30% of Vanker's sales, the US accounts for 20% and Southeast Asia 15%, while the remainder comes from local toy manufacturers and publishers.
Looking ahead, Ms Lam says the company will focus on Eastern Europe. "We see orders from this region growing," she points out. "Many retailers are sourcing direct from Asia instead of buying through importers, so the potential is there."
Vanker requests a minimum order value of US$3,000 for delivery 45-60 days after order confirmation.
With an expanding mix of innovative products, Vanker looks ready to write even more successful chapters in the years to come.
TEXT BY WINNIE HUI
Vanker Industries Ltd