11 Aug 2004
Putting The Customer First(HKTDC Fashion - Footwear, Vol 02,2004)
Vol 2, 2004
Putting The Customer First
Building A Foothold
Hong-Tech Footwear Co Ltd
The US, Central and South America, Europe and Asia are major markets for Hong-Tech Footwear Co Ltd
Never judge people by their appearance is an age-old maxim but one that is particularly ignored when it comes to shoes, which are increasingly viewed as economic and social yardsticks the world over.
Not surprisingly, shoes have become a hot fashion item, which helps Hong-Tech Footwear Co Ltd sell thousands of children's, women's and men's shoes worldwide each year.
According to marketing executive Catherine Sin, Hong-Tech started in 1995 as a one-man business that depended on a few American and European clients.
"By 1997, we'd opened an office on the Chinese mainland in Longgong, Guangdong Province, which now has more than 30 staff," she explains. "This September, we will move to an 8,000-square-foot single-floor office space in the same town, where clients can view our shoes."
However, Hong-Tech will retain its Hong Kong head office as the first marketing contact, as it is more convenient for clients to view products in Hong Kong before visiting the mainland.
This customer-first approach also applies to manufacturing, as Hong-Tech is an OEM/ODM producer that does not own any production facilities, preferring to work with 10 long-term partnering factories on the mainland that manufacture exclusively for the company.
The company's farsighted manufacturing strategy gives Hong-Tech's clients confidence, while also ensuring that Hong-Tech maintains a tight hold on quality control.
"We send our own staff to all of the factories to take care of quality control," Sin explains. "There is one quality control person for each factory, and they work on-site every day to make sure everything is under control."
All QC staff also meet once every two weeks to discuss any issues, while Sin visits the mainland herself every week to provide administrative and sales training to local staff.
As a result, Hong-Tech has maintained steady growth even during the financial turmoil of the past few years. "What sets our company apart is the fact that we are quick, serve customers with all our might and can tell what clients want," Sin maintains.
"Sometimes a client says they want a shoe changed but can't say exactly how - with our experience we can fill in the blanks for them, which they appreciate."
Hong-Tech is also patient with even the pickiest customers, some of whom have asked the company to make 20-30 different shoe samples. "It normally takes about two weeks to make a sample, and once we made all of them even though they didn't place an order and we had to delay other jobs," Sin recalls.'
She believes this customer-oriented culture puts Hong-Tech a step ahead of its competitors, citing the firm's willingness to scour Guangdong Province for the right materials once it has an order.
"We specialise in making uppers in various materials such as PU and leather, and seek to provide good quality fashion shoes at a low and competitive price," Sin notes. "Our most recent best seller was a transparent-heeled girls' party shoe."
Hong-Tech is particularly adept at manufacturing children's school shoes and ladies' fashion shoes, and prides itself on its flexibility, which enables it to cope with the vagaries of international markets.
The company's principal markets are the US, Central and South America, Europe and Asian countries like the Philippines and Korea, with the biggest growth occurring in the US. "We accept a minimum order of 500 pairs per colour per style and take 35-45 days to deliver an order after confirmation," Sin adds.
WRITTEN BY CAM CHEUNG
Hong-Tech Footwear Co Ltd
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