Since its founding in 1978 in the central Taiwan county of Changhwa, Chang Loon Industrial Co., Ltd. has specialized in making all kinds of hand tools.
Having started with manufacturing hand tools meeting GeprUfte Sicherheit (GS) standards, Chang Loon is also one of the most experienced makers in the sector on the island, providing two major product lines, namely ratchet wrenches and bolt cutters, mainly on an original equipment manufacturing (OEM) basis.
With particular emphasis on product quality, each hand tool made by Chang Loon boasts higher torque rating and stronger structure than those of competing models that already meet international standards, such as ANSI and DIN. Such achievement is realized by the company's effective production system and rigid quality control.
To secure quality-dependable raw materials, Chang Loon adopts steel only from Taiwanese suppliers, and pays special attention to heat treatment, which is a key process to achieve sturdy structure and prolonged service life.
Also, Chang Loon employs advanced testing instruments, including precision projectors and tension testers, in house to make sure quality controlling standards measure up. Furthermore, the company assigns three or four staffers out of a total of some 66 to check the product quality of finished wrenches before packaging. In other words, Chang Loon does not compromise in terms of upholding functionality and service life, making sure to deliver tools that work better and last longer than any other sold in the market.
Having weathered several years ago intense rivalry from mainland Chinese hand tool makers, Chang Loon has successfully survived and prospered by devoting itself to R&D, which has built the supplier into one of the best hand tool makers in Taiwan. Having co-written the company's success story, the biggest contributors that have steered Chang Loon to a promising sea include chairman Chung-shing Chang and every industrious worker on-staff, said Andy Chang, deputy general manager.
In fact, the years of work at Chang Loon has seen Andy, who majored in mechanical design in junior college, and had acquired ample experience in metalworking by working part-time in Chang Loon when much younger, successfully brainstorm various new, innovative manufacturing processes—the man seems an endless well of energy as he comes up with new ways to use resources so as to create products with higher added-value.
Despite having only two R&D technicians, said Andy, the company's management and supervisory staff also form part of the R&D team, including Andy himself, who takes an active role in every R&D decision as he wants to make sure the R&D process is properly carried out, and in line with up-to-date information and market trends. Managers should take part in R&D with an aggressive attitude, always trying to achieve the best in the line, he added.
Also, one of the factors contributing to its successful R&D projects is that Chang Loon provides newly-developed hand tools to users on a trial basis and then, based on their feedback, the company rounds out the rough edges. Such process continues as Chang Loon perfects the tools until they are ready for launch. This may be costly, but allows the company to fine-tune products to meet requirements perfectly, according to Andy.
In fact, Chang Loon has hammered out a so-called standard operating process for R&D, also adopting 3-dimensional design for new products and inviting clients to join the drafting of blueprints. Adopting such interactive R&D process allows Chang Loon to secure competitive edge in developing new products with differing variety and functionality as quickly as possible.
R&D Pays Off
Proof of Chang Loon's R&D prowess lies in its 3-in-1 bolt cutter, which features innovative design in function and structure. Both arms of the bolt cutter are heat treated instead of merely being painted as are typical models, whereby the relatively-stronger structure achieved by heat treatment can perform more effectively.
To design a bolt cutter that can grab even round bolts tightly, Chang Loon's version has serrated cutting edges, with the feature protected by multinational patents. Besides effectively making cutting round bolts far easier, this bolt cutter is multi-functional—able to shear not only bolts but also wires and cables. Andy said that the bolt cutter is developed to meet the need for lightweight, meaning users can merely use it to cut wires, bolts and cables without adding any other complementary tool, with its 3-in-1 function and heat-treated body perfectly addressing such demands.
Another one of Chang Loon's function-oriented tools is its ratchet wrench series, which are of chrome vanadium and hot drop-forged and heat treated for prolonged life and good looks. But the most noteworthy feature that Chang Loon has built into the tool that sets it apart from the competition is the precise, practical 72-teeth ratchet mechanism in the wrench.
Andy said that each small turn of the wrench precisely moves through five degrees, allowing users to work in narrow spaces, such as repairing automobiles and doing construction and plumbing work. In addition, the improved 72-teeth ratchet also makes the wrench more efficient and energy-saving than others.
“What makes our wrench practical is its highly sophisticated structural design, as well as extremely precise tolerance built into the ratchet. The well-built mechanism allows the user to work from one cycle to the next efficiently,” explained Andy. In fact, the ratchet wrench has pushed Chang Loon to a leading position in the sector in Taiwan as foreign buyers recognize its high quality.
Brand Recognition is Ultimate Goal
With bolt cutters sold under its own brand “High Tensile” and ratchet wrenches under the “Pro Ratchet®” brand, Chang Loon's hand tools have become very popular worldwide.
Unlike other suppliers focusing merely on sales volume, Chang Loon builds business by accentuating branding, and, according to Andy, the ultimate goal is to achieve ready brand-recognition globally.
In addition to offering innovative design and eye-catching packaging, the company has also taken concrete steps to differentiate its hand tools. For instance, Chang Loon makes the heads of all its ratchet wrenches thinner than those of competing models, as well as lighter, which make them readily recognizable.
Another patented, considerate design on its ratchet wrenches is the colored ring embossed on the head that clearly shows the size of the wrench in Imperial or metric units.
The company also has set up a service unit to handle complaints, which is rarely used as Chang Loon insists on making the best quality products.
Andy said “when customers place repeat orders, it means we offer good products and service, and that's why I take brand recognition seriously.”
Despite having built a solid reputation globally for hand tools, especially ratchet wrenches, Chang Loon still keeps sharpening its R&D capability to become the world's best hand tool maker on the OEM and ODM (original design manufacturing) basis. Andy said that the company will always try to improve production process by updating equipment, and invent new applications of raw materials to cut production costs.
Chang Loon also continues to adopt new ideas to develop high-end hand tools to meet market trends. Andy said that makers can easily stay competitive by offering tools with reasonable prices, high quality, eye-catching looks, innovative design and lightweight, a formula that Chang Loon sticks to.
Another strategy Chang Loon relies on is partnership. To go global, the company has worked with a number of overseas traders worldwide, and quite a few contract suppliers in Taiwan to form an integrated production network. “We ink contracts with them to keep patented technologies in-house and follow certain quality control measures. Without such strong partnership, Chang Loon would not function as well,” Andy said. Plus, Andy reiterated that Chang Loon is a specialized hand tool maker who is not eager to take part in trade fairs due partly to its existing good reputation and partly to its concern not to trigger unintentional rivalry against overseas partners.
Andy said that Chang Loon's motto is “Not to be the biggest, but the best.” With its name recognized as one of the world's best hand tools makers, Chang Loon is living proof that Taiwanese makers can be successful globally by making the most of their considerable R&D capacity.