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 gear 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. Writing the success story for the company, one that has sailed Chang Loon through rough waters to new, promising seas, is Chih-ming Chang, deputy general manager, 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.
In fact, the years of work at Chang Loon has seen Chang 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 Chang, the company's management and supervisory staff also form part of the R&D team, including Chang 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 Chang.
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.
Innovative Packaging for Added-value
The features mentioned so far are only part of the formula for Chang Loon's success. To enhance the overall added-value, the deputy GM knows that capturing consumer attention in retailers is critical. So he has come up with refreshing ideas for packaging that effectively raise visibility of products in spacious display aisles at big-box outlets as Wal-mart, Home Depot or B&Q.
Chang designs packaging with eye-catching looks and functions for optimal appeal. In fact, he offers ready-to-display packaging options to buyers due to rising cost of raw materials in recent years, as well as to meet the needs for cutting labor input for buyers who can simply deliver pre-packaged goods to retailers.
It is unusual for hand tool makers to fuss over packaging, but Chang Loon is no ordinary supplier, who is not only an experienced manufacturer but also a specialized marketing expert. As a result, many clients prefer to place orders with Chang Loon, which can help buyers achieve better sales by offering innovative packaging.
“For example, conventional packaging for wrench sets mainly consists of black plastic cases, which can't show contents clearly to impress. In contrast, Chang Loon's innovative packaging is transparent, exposing clearly each wrench to catch consumer attention with visible views of product quality,” Chang said. He still gets new ideas by referring to packaging of cosmetics and other big-name products.
The transparent packaging has opened a new window for Chang Loon to promote its high quality hand tools worldwide, helping the company to stand atop the line in Taiwan by shipping the most ratchet wrenches per year.
Brand Recognition is Ultimate Goal
With ratchet wrenches marketed under its own “Pro-ratchet” brand, Chang Loon's hand tools have become very popular worldwide, including in the U.S., Japan, the U.K., Germany, France and so on.
Unlike other suppliers focusing merely on sales volume, Chang Loon builds business by accentuating branding, and, according to Chang, 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 circle 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.
Chang 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. Chang 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. Chang 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 more than 300 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,” Chang said. Plus, Chang 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.
Chang 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.