8 Feb 2005
Keeping the Customer Satisfied(HKTDC Fashion - Footwear, Vol 01,2005)
Evermax Industrial Ltd
|Mid-price casual and sports footwear from Evermax Industrial Ltd is a big seller on three continents|
The company was only established in 1999 but already has long-standing relationships with customers in Germany, Switzerland, Poland and Greece, and has also done business in Africa and the Americas.
"Europe has been our main market, but over the last year conditions there have been difficult so we have had to diversify our business elsewhere," explains manager Sarah Li.
"We are hopeful of seeing some improvement this year, though, and we will be going back aggressively into the European market now that the quota problem no longer exists."
Trading through relatively tough times, according to Li, has taught Evermax some valuable lessons about the need for flexibility and responsiveness in dealing with customers.
"It's a question of adapting to the needs of the market," she believes. "Over the last year, for example, we seem to have been particularly in tune with the requirements of the South African market."
Li adds that Evermax has sold a lot of different shoes to South Africa, but "no two countries - or customers - are alike".
The company, which makes mostly sports shoes, casual shoes and a wide variety of sandals, has yet to establish a brand of its own, although according to Li that is very much on the cards for the future.
"At present we are focusing on OEM work for customer brands, usually to customers' designs, but we work closely with them to develop the shoes," she explains. "Often they will give us rough designs from which we make the samples, so in that sense it is a collaborative process."
Evermax works with both leather and synthetics, particularly PU and PVC, and sources exclusively on the Chinese mainland, where it has established good relationships with suppliers.
"We manufacture at a factory in Fujian Province on the Chinese mainland, where we employ 300-400 workers on two production lines," explains Li.
"Capacity per month depends on a number of factors, including materials and workmanship, but we can generally make up to around 100,000 pairs of sandals while the total for sports shoes would be more like 10,000 pairs per month."
Evermax, which was filling and shipping 30 TEUs per month during the high season last year, accepts minimum order quantities of 1,200 pairs of shoes per size range.
"We have our own factory but we also work in partnership with other factories," Li adds, noting that there are many advantages to pooling resources.
"We can help other companies fulfil orders for which they may not have the capacity, and if our capacity is stretched they can assist us," she explains. "We can also subcontract manufacturing of footwear outside our specialised areas to other factories."
Quality control is also a high priority for Evermax, which has its own inspectors who visit Fujian on a daily basis. "Customers also sometimes send their own QC people to check on production and we are perfectly comfortable with that arrangement," she adds.
"We tend to focus on mid-price items, but have the ability to produce low-end footwear at highly affordable prices as well as higher-end work that is still priced at a competitive level."
FOB prices vary according to the materials, level of workmanship required and size and complexity of the order, while the average time taken to complete an order is 35 days.
Evermax is always on the hunt for new business, and makes a point of participating in important trade fairs and making strategic use of print advertising.
"We go to Dusseldorf and we also work closely with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, which has supplied some of the contacts through which we have built our customer base," says Li.
She insists buyers come to Evermax for a combination of good quality, good prices and reliable customer service. "Wherever we can find customers we'll do business," Li vows. "It's all about building relationships."
WRITTEN BY ROBERT PIERCE
Evermax Industrial Ltd
Flat K, 13/F, Phase 2,
Kaiser Estate, 51 Man Yue St,
Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong
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