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Timely Measures

Timely Measures

Fine Jewellery

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A strong and continuing emphasis on customer service is helping Noble Jewelry Holdings Ltd boost its fine-jewellery sales

Noble Jewelry Holdings Ltd CEO Stephen Tang has taken bold steps to help dealer-customers worldwide maintain sales and keep their doors open in the face of the current economic downturn.

"Change dictates developments in today's tough business climate - if you stand still you'll stagnate, especially in the present situation," says the practical-minded ex-banker.

So he has revolutionised the 17-year-old, fine-jewellery company's management style, implementing the Hong Kong Productivity Council's Lean Manufacturing Model to boost efficiency and make the firm leaner and keener. "We don't call ourselves a jewellery company but a 'service provider' that provides many practical and useful services to its dealer-customers," Mr Tang insists.

Professional customer service teams in each of Noble's main markets are now in constant touch with customers to obtain feedback on new trends and styles and check which lines are selling and why.

Unsold diamond pieces can be returned to Noble's 1,000-employee factory in Panyu, Guangdong Province, to be re-styled and re-set. "The value of the item is in the diamonds so it only costs customers a little more, but in return they get still more beautiful pieces of jewellery in the very latest styles," Mr Tang explains.

Noble also helps if a good customer in the US or Europe needs eye-catching publicity material printed. "We get everything done for them much cheaper in China," Mr Tang maintains.

The key to Noble's service role is the Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, which it uses to deliver maximum value to customers by monitoring interaction among sales teams, distributors, manufacturing, materials, finance, staff and maintenance.

This is complemented by the firm's Innovation Team programme that involves regular staff meetings to spur initiatives, reward key performers and encourage all 50-plus employees to become achievers. "We communicate, we co-ordinate - every little bit helps," Mr Tang notes.

The lessons he learnt as a banker ensure Mr Tang keeps minimal quantities of expensive diamonds and gold in stock and mitigates currency fluctuations by hedging euros, sterling, renminbi, US dollars and rupees.

He also has to juggle currency controls, business taxes and changing import/export regulations in more exotic countries and regions like the Russian Federation, the Ukraine, the Czech Republic, the Middle East, Azerbaijan, Iran, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco.

His success ensures that Noble, which began life as an ODM before evolving in recent years to OBM and OSM (Original Strategy Management), continues to thrive.

Noble was, Mr Tang claims, the first Hong Kong jewellery company to obtain ISO 9001 accreditation for quality management in design and manufacture of jewellery and ISO 14001 for environmental management system.

The firm has also acquired two brands - Chad Allison in the US and Spain's OriDiam - and collaborates with renowned designers from Italy and Japan to develop its own-brand business and build a solid base for further development in future.

TEXT BY GEOFFREY SOMERS

Fast Facts

Noble Jewelry Holdings Ltd
Units 306-7, 3/F
Lippo Sun Plaza
28 Canton Rd
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2722-9721
Fax: 852-2369-1412
Email: info@noble.com.hk
Web: www.noble.com.hk
www.hktdc.com/em/noblejewelry
Year Established: 1992
Major Product Categories: fine jewellery
Own Brands & Certificates: -
Minimum Order: -
Monthly Production: -
Delivery Time: -
Factory Size & Location: Panyu
Workforce: -

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