7 March 2005
Pursuing Perfection(HKTDC Packaging, Vol 02,2004)
Artech Printing Ltd
According to managing director Samuel Fung, the packaging business should not only be about manufacturing materials, but also incorporate a full set of supporting and higher-value services.
"Instead of resting on our laurels, we have to focus on value-added services and develop our own brand to rival our competitors in today's tough business world," he believes.
Fung says Artech doesn't want to confine itself to competing on price. "Hence, we offer a quality one-stop-shop service such as product design, printing, production, contract packing and distribution to satisfy our customers' changing needs."
He claims Artech has an "excellent" reputation as a leading manufacturer of high quality stationery for the retail and branded goods markets, and packaging such as gift boxes and cartons, paper bags and carry bags.
Its standing is due to its commitment to meet client demands, including providing customers with product briefings, planning and scheduling, quality control, stock control, delivery, logistics and product evaluation services.
"Our offices in London and Stuttgart are responsible for the logistics service in Europe," Fung adds. "This provides customers with such benefits as economies of scale, product consistency and an assurance of high quality."
The packaging manufacturer also boasts a unique and sophisticated online service. "Customers can track the progress of their own production orders with just a click by using our online tracking system," Fung says.
There is even a real-time Web camera that provides a live broadcast of the manufacturing process in the Artech factory. "Customers can view the production status of their own products online, according to the timetable we give them," Fung explains.
Artech has come a long way since its beginnings as an advertising company with 10 employees in 1991, expanding steadily to become a 500-people packaging and stationery manufacturer serving the retail and branded goods markets in Europe, the US and Japan.
"Our proactive approach and professional attitude have received wide acclaim from the industry," Fung claims. "We have experienced significant growth with an enviable list of blue-chip customers that have remained loyal to the company over a long period of time."
Today, Artech is an approved supplier to a large number of multinational companies including Asda, Boots, MUJI, National, Wal-Mart, Walt Disney, Warner Bros and Woolworths.
"One of our major strengths is in character merchandise, which supports the promotion of Artech as a successful producer of licensed products," says Fung. "We use a premier portfolio of licensed characters and designs to produce innovative ranges of products for children, students and adults for sale through the mass market and gift distribution channels."
The company's strong emphasis on product design and development, which includes an extensive library of designs and an in-house design team that works closely with customers to create exclusive products, has paid dividends.
"We were able to generate a 10% sales growth last year and are expecting another 10% increase this year," Fung notes. "Europe is tipped to be a potential area of growth with the strong euro and increasing market demand."
These results are the fruit of Artech's ISO 9000-certified factory in Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland, which spans a total area of 100,000 square feet and is, Fung claims, the first 5S audited printer in the world.
"The 5S - sort, systematise, scrub, standardise, sustain -management certificate is used to establish and maintain a quality environment and safety in an organisation," he explains, adding that Artech achieved its biggest deal in Japan thanks to the application of 5S practice.
More than 80% of the company's turnover is presently in OEM but Artech is eagerly expanding its range of in-house products and licensing activities. "For example, we have a fruit-scented stationery range entitled FruitScent that we believe will be a big seller during the coming year," Fung predicts. "Together with our licensing activities, I think this type of value-added product will offer strong growth potential in future."
WRITTEN BY VANAPA ONGVISES
Artech Printing Ltd