29 June 2006
Keeping The Customer Satisfied(HKTDC Fashion - Leather Goods & Bags, Vol 03,2006)
P & S Enterprises Ltd
|Europe, the US, Australia, Japan and Asia are big buyers of the rugged backpacks, travel and fashion bags produced by P & S Enterprises Ltd|
Marketing experts claim the customer is always right - a maxim which bag and luggage manufacturer P & S Enterprises Ltd learned in rather a roundabout fashion.
"In the beginning we made lots of fashion bags and buyers were constantly asking us to develop travel bags and backpacks, which initially we didn't want to do," recalls director Andy Siu.
"Eventually, however, we received too many requests to refuse and the new business went so well that now about 70% of production is backpacks and travel bags, while fashion bags are only around 30%."
The 13-year-old company now does healthy business internationally, mostly as an OEM/ODM supplier, although it also has its own Piranha, Passion and View brands.
"In many cases we are working to customer designs," Siu states. "Nearly 60% of our sales are to Europe, with about 20% to the US and the rest going to Australia, Japan and Asian markets."
P & S' steady growth over the years has been based on prudent forward planning and timely investment in its manufacturing facilities, always keeping in step with the market.
"Originally we manufactured under a contract arrangement whereby we occupied a certain part of a production line," Siu explains.
"But we had more and more customers and we wanted to develop more items by ourselves - plus we also wanted better quality control - so we established our own factory."
P & S' first owned and managed manufacturing facility, established in 1997, was located more than 100km away from its Hong Kong headquarters.
However, when the time came to increase productivity the company decided that there were strategic advantages to moving closer to home.
"We found that our supporting industries like printing and production of webbing, metal parts and plastic parts were mostly in the Dongguan area of the Chinese mainland, so we decided it would be more convenient to move there," Siu says. "We now have about 400 workers and around 7,500 square metres of floor space, which is nearly 40% bigger than our first factory."
Materials such as nylon, polyester, PVC, leather and various textiles, including corduroy and denim, are sourced on the mainland and in Taiwan and Korea.
They are used in an extensive range of bags that includes rucksacks, computer bags, trolley suitcases, briefcases, organisers, camera bags and even bags for carrying skis - a popular line with customers in northern Europe.
P & S employs three designers, two of whom are based in the Hong Kong head office while one is located at the Dongguan factory, who produce around 500 different designs a year.
"We do a lot of luggage design," Sui says, adding that FOB Hong Kong prices range from about US$3 for a small bag up to about US$30. "We also do very big bags and trolleys."
Minimum consignments and delivery times vary according to the number of bags required and the availability of materials, but orders for upwards of 1,000 small bags can be delivered 45-60 days after order confirmation.
Good customer service, Siu stresses, is a well-established company priority, and P & S likes to offer good quality products, punctually and at reasonable prices.
He says the company also works hard to be responsive to changing customer needs and priorities, citing initial queries about ISO certification that faded when clients saw the quality of P & S products.
"Now, however, we are applying for it in the interests of the company's future development," Siu confirms. "We are also very mindful of environmental requirements, particularly in the European markets, so we have reduced the use of PVC and increased that of more environmentally friendly materials."
Plans for the near future include upgrading P & S' production still further so that the company can manufacture more high-end items, although the emphasis will remain on luggage rather than fashion bags.
The company is also keen to increase production capacity to service growing demand, but is waiting for the necessary skilled labour to become available.
"We have sufficient space to increase our workforce to 700, but we want to increase it slowly," Siu explains. "There is a shortage at the moment of skilled workers, and we need to get the right people to maintain our reputation for quality."
WRITTEN BY ROBERT PIERCE
P & S Enterprises Ltd