Switch to full organic output pays off for Foodle Noodle

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


Yingsak Sriseangboon, left, managing director of Foodle Noodle Co Ltd and the company’s general manager Vipada Plathanaporn present its organic dried-rice noodle products that generate sales of Bt12 million a year.

Yingsak Sriseangboon, left, managing director of Foodle Noodle Co Ltd and the company’s general manager Vipada Plathanaporn present its organic dried-rice noodle products that generate sales of Bt12 million a year.

August 20, 2016 01:00

Innovated ice cream shop offers durian flavour

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



The creative ice-cream brand IceDEA, established four years ago, is seeing sales take off after introducing a new product with the taste and appearance of a durian.

Prima Chakrabandhu Na Ayudhya, an ice-cream designer and owner of IceDEA Co, said “Thai Durian Ice Cream” was inspired after many elderly Thais and foreign travellers had asked for this flavour.

Prima said she had decided to respond to this demand not just with the flavour of durian, but by shaping the ice-cream product just like a real durian to attract consumers.

“After creating the durian flavour, sales at the shop have increased fivefold, compared with normal growth of about 10 per cent last year,” she said.

For a regular flavour, the price of a scoop of IceDEA ice cream starts at Bt59, but for the Thai Durian flavour, the price is Bt239.

Other flavours on the menu are Grass Brownie, Tonkatsu, Chinese Dumpling, and Steak. Prices vary from Bt159 to Bt179 per dish.

Prima is a graduate of the industrial department of the faculty of architecture at Chulalongkorn University.

Prima, 35, said that as the ice-cream market in Thailand was highly competitive, she wanted to differentiate her products from the mainstream. So she decided to combine ice cream with creative ideas – “IceDEA”.

The IceDEA ice-cream shop is currently located at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. In the near future, Prima plans to expnad her shop start an export business after a good response from the market, particularly from mainland Chinese and Hong Kong tourists.

However, before getting too ambitious she has to increase her production line, which now can produce 1,300 pieces of ice cream per day.

For the Thai Durian flavour, the company will use about a tonne of fresh durian each month.

Creativity can help differentiate a business from its competitors. IceDEA is applying to the Intellectual Property Department for a petty patent and for a copyright as an innovated art product.

Gypsum board maker eyes listing for further expansion

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



Supachai Hirunyanitiwatna, managing director of Gypman Tech Co Ltd, presents its gypsum board under brand, GM Gypsum, that generated sales of Bt150 million last year.

Supachai Hirunyanitiwatna, managing director of Gypman Tech Co Ltd, presents its gypsum board under brand, GM Gypsum, that generated sales of Bt150 million last year.

GYPMAN TECH Co Ltd plans to raise up to Bt100 million by listing on the Market for Alternative Investment (MAI) in 2018, in order to further increase its production capacity.

The gypsum-board maker’s revenue goal, meanwhile, is to double its annual revenue to Bt300 million in the same period.

“We invested Bt100 million last year to increase our production capacity from 6 million to 12 million square metres this year, in a move which will enable our sales to double by the end of 2018. This will build our financial results and make them healthy enough to raise capital from the MAI in 2018,” managing director Supachai Hirunyanitiwatna told The Nation in an interview early this week.

Supachai, 30, established Gypman Tech in 2014 with registered capital Bt20 million to produce gypsum board to serve local demand, when he was helping in his family’s business, Western Shoji Corp, which distributes construction materials such as glass blocks and tiles.

“I learnt from our family business that domestic demand for gypsum board was strong, but that most producers supplying the market were foreign firms. I believed I had sufficient know-how to produce quality gypsum to compete with these foreign makers, so we decided to use our savings to buy land and then get a bank loan to set up a gypsum plant in Nakhon Sawan province, the location of our source gypsum mine, at an investment cost of Bt80 million,” he explained.

Supachai, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Chulalongkorn University and a master’s in engineering management from Southern California University, said Gypman Tech then started to distribute its products under the GM Gypsum brand, with an initial focus on northern provinces located close to the company’s production plant.

“Our products have sold well as we offer prices about 10 per cent lower than those of other producers, while our product quality is similar to that of our competitors,” he said.

With this price strategy, the company generate sales worth Bt150 million last year and decided to double its capacity this year.

The Bt100-million expansion commenced last year and has now been completed, he said, adding that it had been funded by increasing registered capital from Bt20 million to Bt100 million in 2015.

As a result, the company targets sales of Bt200 million this year, a figure that he expects will rise to Bt300 million in 2018.

“Our sales growth will come from both our increased capacity and our market expansion from the provinces to Bangkok and its suburbs, by focusing on supplying GM Gypsum boards to residential projects this year and next,” the managing director said.

Supachai added that the company’s success was down to two main factors: making quality products that match demand at reasonable prices, plus having a workforce |with the ability to drive business growth.

Kieattayakorn Metal cuts steel products to order, reduces contractors’ hidden costs

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



Prajaub Kiettayakorn, managing director, at his steel factory.

Prajaub Kiettayakorn, managing director, at his steel factory.

KIEATTAYAKORN Metal Co, a manufacturer and distributor of steel products, has enjoyed organic growth annually by embracing a strategy to initiate innovative solutions to save hidden costs that would otherwise be faced by the construction industry.

Kieattayakorn Metal is the only Thai company that cuts and bends steel bars, include round and deformed bars, for construction contractors and subcontractors to reduce their onsite costs.

Managing director Prajaub Kieattayakorn said subcontractors typically wasted a lot of steel – and money – by cutting it on the construction sites, or by ordering too much for their actual needs.

“How will they get richer if they don’t know about the hidden costs and hidden losses from cutting steel? They have huge costs from including [steel] stocks in accounts payable and then receiving delayed payments. Those problems should be resolved once the subcontractors secure the job from the project’s owners,” he said.

Prajaub has positioned his company as a specialist in the steel industry, able to reduce hidden waste and losses and manage costs for customers by cutting and bending steel products according to their requirements.

“The steel is processed at our factory and delivered to the project sites. The clients can [keep to] schedule each day, making sure they can receive money from their customers and will have more cash flow to get additional projects,” he said.

The company says it can help subcontractors cut their costs by 40-50 per cent. When he first offered these solutions to customers, some did not believe him because no one else could do this.

Projects that use his deformed steel run on schedule while saving costs, for which reason Kieattayakorn Metal has become well known among contractors.

Companies working with steel must use good sense, he said, noting that steel was a commodity whose price could be volatile while the global economy is in a period of uncertainty. Therefore, he has to follow the movement of steel prices, and purchases from upstream steel producers have to comply with the projects that his company is negotiating for.

“My company has grown by 100 per cent a year because we think differently and move faster [than rivals] in this industry,” he said.

This year, sales revenue should grow by only 30-40 per cent, but he said he was happy with the figure given the country’s economic slowdown.

Prajaub said the economic recovery would take time, so the company has shifted its focus to infrastructure projects to reduce risks from the uncertain situation of condominium construction subcontractors.

“Small and medium-sized subcontractors don’t have much cash flow and banks are not lending to them.

“Our clients have to have a bank guarantee, a promissory note or bill of exchange. In this situation, we should play safe by moving to infrastructure projects,” he said.

Herbal supplement firm diversifies into energy-efficient freeze drying

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



Eastern Herb owner and CEO Patr Nangsue presents its high-performance freeze-drying machine at ‘ProPak Asia’ last month.

Eastern Herb owner and CEO Patr Nangsue presents its high-performance freeze-drying machine at ‘ProPak Asia’ last month.

EASTERN Herb Co, a producer and distributor of food supplements and herbal snacks, has diversified its business by spending more than Bt10 million over 10 years to develop a high-performance freeze-drying machine, which it has now brought on the market.

The company won a patent for |the machine from the Commerce Ministry’s Intellectual Property Department early this year, and introduced it to the market at the “ProPak Asia” event last month.

The machine got the positive feedback at the event from both domestic and foreign manufacturers, especially from Asean countries such as the Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam, the company’s owner and chief executive officer Patr Nangsue said in an interview with The Nation.

He said the device had been designed to use significantly less energy than other freeze-drying machines.

According to Eastern Herb’s research, its machine will use Bt20 worth of electricity to make 1 kilogram of freeze-dried product, 10 per cent of the cost of using a conventional machine.

The system is also designed to maintain the original quality of dried products, such as the colour of fresh vegetables and fruits.

Patr said his company initially had to use freeze-drying technology from Germany to produce its herbal foods and supplements when it established its business in 2002. “We learned how to improve the machine to make quality products and also save electricity costs for the long term.”

Since 2002, the company had been developing the machine to the point that it could introduce it to the market in the second quarter of this year.

He said the company aimed to sell up to 10 units this year, worth Bt50 million, after putting it on the market last month.

In the current second half of the year, Eastern Herb plans to launch a new snack food produced by its patented freeze-drying technology under the brand “My Fit”.

“We plan to launch up to 30 snack-food products made from fresh vegetables and fruits,” said Patr, 47.

The company targets revenue doubling this year from the Bt100 million it posted in 2015.

Patr earned a bachelor’s degree from the Royal Police Cadet Academy, a Master of Business Administration from the National Institute of Development Administration, and a doctorate from the University of South Australia. He said he decided to resign from the police when he saw the business opportunities from Thai herbal culture. That inspired him to spend Bt300,000 of his savings to launch his Vetchakorn Osoto brand.

“The key to our success has been learning how to make quality products and also differentiate them to match customers’ demand, and then develop the technology ourselves. This is the way to complete with multinationals and to be a healthy small company,” he said.

Garment maker in radical shift to offset fall in orders from modern traders, wholesalers

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


Suprang Kaewcham, founder of Sadhida Garment.

Suprang Kaewcham, founder of Sadhida Garment.

SADHIDA Garment has shifted from its previous focus on fashion clothing to the making of uniforms, as well as using the online channel, in a bid to offset falling orders from modern trade outlets and wholesalers.

Running an original-equipment-manufacturing operation for more than 10 years, the company has witnessed a lack of cash flow in the past two years due to the sharp drop in orders from modern traders, and from wholesalers in Platinum Fashion Mall, said the company’s founder, Suprang Kaewcham.

Modern trade outlets and wholesalers together contribute 70 per cent of the company’s sales, with the remainder accounted for by exports via agents.

The economic slowdown has negatively affected consumer purchasing power, especially in the fashion segment, resulting in clients requesting the extension of credit terms, and leading to a cash-flow shortage, she explained.

In general, Sadhida Garment sets credit terms of 60 to 90 days for modern trade outlets, but when customers seek an extended repayment period, it leaves the company with insufficient cash to pay its accounts payable.

Moreover, sales by wholesalers in Platinum Fashion Mall have dropped by 20 per cent, and some wholesale customers have had to close down their businesses, Suprang said.

“We were obliged to pay off debt with SME Bank to the tune of Bt100,000 a month, but the cash-flow shortage meant we weren’t able to keep up our payments. We have had to go into rehabilitation, with the bank now allowing us to pay Bt30,000 a month,” she said.

However, the rehabilitation with the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailandhas in fact been a turning point for Sadhida Garment, because the bank suggested that the company enter the “turnaround” project of the Office of Small and Medium Enterprise Promotion.

Under the project, the company was advised to produce uniforms for private companies, and to embrace the online channel.

The credit term for uniform business is 30 days, much less than for modern traders, and the company now knows its costs and margin with much greater certainty than when dealing with modern trade outlets.

As a result, its cash flow has improved, she said.

The company currently produces uniforms for three automobile companies, and hopes to build sales further as it cannot rely on Platinum Fashion Mall clients returning to previous order levels any time soon.

The company’s founder plans to open a Facebook page as the online channel to promote Sadhida Garment among wholesalers and retailers that are seeking a quality garment supplier.

Although garment-making is a sunset industry, she insists that there will always be a future for businesses that make the right sort of quality clothing and know who their customers are.

With the mass market for clothing facing intense competition from China, it is crucial to make quality products in order to survive, she added.

“When the modern traders want quality apparel on their shelves, we are the choice [they turn to]. Each piece of clothing has a different grade and different pricing. If you see a shirt with a price tag of Bt599 or more at a modern trade store … [it’s most likely] one that we made,” she said.

Water-tank maker opts for output across borders

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



Kosilp Patarateeranond, founder of Advanced Stainless Steel Co Ltd.

Kosilp Patarateeranond, founder of Advanced Stainless Steel Co Ltd.

ADVANCED Stainless Steel decided to set up a manufacturing plant for stainless-steel water tanks in Laos five years ago, after finding that the products it had been supplying from Thailand were being pirated by a company from China.

Founder Kosilp Patarateeranond said that prior to 2011, the company had never thought of having a factory in Laos because it was successfully supply its products to the market via agents.

However, he was forced to rethink that strategy after witnessing a decline in sales and, on visiting Laos, discovering that his products were being copied and sold there by a Chinese company with a local presence.

Advanced Stainless Steel then decided to act to protect its position in the market, spending seven months establishing a manufacturing plant in Laos, after being granted privileges from the Lao Board of Investment.

“We used a Dok Champa [national flower of Laos] design as the contour on the polymer part of our [Laos-made] water tanks, which made them popular as Dok Champa won the hearts of consumers there. We started to sell 500 tanks per month, from less than 100 tanks monthly before building Dok Champa into our design,” he said.

Kosilp also registered the firm’s trademark in Laos to prevent it being copied.

Based on its learning curve in Laos, Advanced Stainless Steel was determined to grasp the opportunity presented by Asean integration, seeking to build its customer base beyond primarily the Thai market.

Given the size of the Myanmar market and with Thailand-Myanmar cross-border trade expanding, which supports the logistics of dispatching assembly parts for production in the neighbouring country, the company and a local partner set up a joint-venture business two years ago for the local production of water tanks.

However, Myanmar is a tougher proposition than Laos, he said, adding that his company had experienced unclear regulations and difficulties in communications with local staff.

These issues contributed to the joint venture making losses in each of its first two years, with the business faced by high operating costs – especially the cost of shipping parts from the Mae Sod border checkpoint to Yangon.

Kosilp hopes to generate a profit from the Myanmar operations over the next year, however.

Sales from Laos and Myanmar together account for 20 per cent-30 per cent of Advanced Stainless Steel’s overall sales.

Meanwhile, the company has recently been approached by an investor in Cambodia to form a joint venture in that country.

However, Kosilp said he required time to study the market because local production of stainless-steel water tanks was quite strong.

Back home, Advanced Stainless Steel plans to increase its capital from Bt50 million to Bt70 million to expand its manufacturing facilities in order to accommodate a new product line, he added.

Skin cream entrepreneur banks on nanotech

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



Siwapat presents the skin-cream products under the T&D brand.

Siwapat presents the skin-cream products under the T&D brand.

T&D COSMETIC Limited Partnership is collaborating with the Thailand Research Fund in the research and development of nanotechnology for use in skin cream, in a bid to double monthly sales to Bt200,000 by the end of this year.

“We have to develop our products to serve the premium market by using nanotechnology, as the overall market is highly competitive with the presence of global brands,” owner and managing director Siwapat Wangpol said during an interview with The Nation recently.

Siwapat, 27, started to produce skin cream in 2011 after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in law from Khon Kaen University and moving to Bangkok to study further with a view to becoming a barrister.

Her interest in skin cream began while studying at university, during which time she learned about all the products on the market, and the raw materials contained in each of them, before trying out her own formulations and testing which were best for her skin.

After graduating, she initially produced 500 packages, which she distributed free via her Facebookfan page and to her friends.

Half of the people then got back to her and asked to buy more of the skin cream, which led to initial sales of Bt2,000 per month.

This small but promising beginning inspired her to research and develop her products for wider sale, for which she used Bt10,000 of her savings before putting them on the market via her T&DFacebook page.

With sales then rising to an average of Bt10,000 per month, Siwapat decided to expand the operation through an investment of Bt150,000, some Bt50,000 of which was from her family and the remainder in the form of a loan of Bt100,000 from the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Bank of Thailand. She also applied to have her products licensed by the Food and Drug Administration.

After being granted a licence, she started to promote her creams and lotions by taking part in a trade fair conducted by the Commerce Ministry last year, which resulted in monthly sales shooting up to Bt100,000.

She then decided to open the Ziva Beauty Centre by T&D in Surin province in the Northeast last year.

This year’s focus is on joint R&D of nanotechnology for the T&D-branded range with the Thailand Research Fund, her target being to launch nanotech items that focus on the premium market and to distribute them via modern-trade outlets in 2017.

Out of treachery comes success for steamed-crab queen

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



Sureerat Seepromkhom presents steamed crab products

Sureerat Seepromkhom presents steamed crab products

CHEATED by a middleman in 2011, Sureerat Seepromkhom shifted to delivering her own steamed-crab dishes under the company JQ Foods and used Facebook to promote them

She and her husband opted to cut out the cost of using a middleman, not just because they were cheated but because they had confidence in the quality of their seafood, which comes from Sureerat’s home province Surat Thani.

“We received orders from friends and used word of mouth to make deliveries because it is a low-cost channel and the large number of motorcycle taxis in Bangkok is enough to deliver steamed crabs to clients within one hour,” she said.

At first, she used leaflets to promote the delivery service but it didn’t work. She then opened aFacebook page, promoting her steamed crab as being different from other crab goods, and that generated a lot of buzz quickly.

Now, she delivers more than 100 kilograms of steamed crab per day after delivering only 15kg a day in 2011.

She said “people nowadays cannot wait” for her food, adding that her customers can afford to pay Bt600 or more.

Sureerat said social media were the right channels for small and medium-sized enterprises that didn’t have a merchant, as they provided interactive communication with clients.

She said SMEs had to improve all the time, adding that even though her steamed crab was popular, she had to increase the menu of steamed seafood she sold and also offer innovative dishes to appeal to consumers for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The supply of seafood is a problem for her business. Therefore managing the inventory is important, and so is the quality of her central kitchen, she said.

Thanks to the influence of social media, JQ Foods has been contacted by investors in Singapore, Cambodia and Laos to launch the business in those countries. However, she admitted that the supply of crabs in Thailand was not enough to serve consumers in neighbouring countries.

“We are interested in expanding JQ Foods in AEC [the Asean Economic Community] but only in terms of know-how and seafood sauces. About 99 per cent of JQ Foods’ customers like our sauces. We are negotiating with the investors in those three countries to tell them they should use their own seafood instead of Thailand’s,” she said.

Sureerat is targeting annual sales revenue of Bt1 billion within three years from Bt350 million currently through expanding the business to franchise it upcountry.

“We plan to have 45 branches upcountry, from 19 branches in Bangkok currently. But the franchise business has to be cautious as well because we want franchisees to execute the steamed seafood [business] as an owner not as an investor,” she said.

If her sales revenue reaches Bt1 billion, Sureerat has the ambitious goal of listing the company on the stock market. But listing would not be to raise money, she said. She wants to bring esteem to her family and inspire the next generation to start their own businesses even if they come from a small family in the provinces.

Home-stay units planned in eco-tourism venture

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



Phairot Pitipantarat, managing director of Suan La Mai Community Enterprise.

Phairot Pitipantarat, managing director of Suan La Mai Community Enterprise.

SUAN LA MAI Community Enterprise plans to invest Bt15 million to develop twenty home-stay units later this year in order to cater to tourists who visit its popular farm.

“Most of the tourists who visit ask me if they can stay at the farm, which has inspired me to invest in making 20 rooms available under the home-stay concept to serve demand,” managing director Phairot Pitipantarat, 53, said during an interview with The Nation early this week.

The investment capital will come from its initial cash flow, bank borrowings and a joint venture that is being negotiated with the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank.

He is also promoting the same concept among farmers located within 5 kilometres of his own farm, encouraging them to open up their houses as home-stays.

Phairot said that in 2014 he had also created a “Fruit Buffet” event, which runs through August each year.

This has contributed hugely to the number of visitors to Suan La Mai increasing from 50,000 in 2014 to 100,000 last year – with a target of 150,000 this year.

The key to the event’s success is that tourists can enjoy as much fruit as they like for Bt400 per head, and they can see first-hand the farmer’s lifestyle and select the fruit directly at the farm.

The annual “Fruit Buffet” has become the signature of farmers throughout Rayong during the harvest season, leading to a big rise in the number of visitors to the province.

“Our philosophy is to run our business as an example for other farmers, so that they can move from selling their produce to middlemen to distributing it themselves. They will then earn enough to keep their business running for the long term,” he explained.

Suan La Mai’s output is for consumption at the “Fruit Buffet” as well as for visitors to take home, while the farm also sells fruit from 53 other farmers in the province, as its output cannot keep up with fast-growing demand.

“We generally buy at market prices from farmers, while some produce is above the market price, depending on the quality. This encourages local farmers to produce quality fruit, and we spend about Bt15 million a year on buying from them,” Phairot said.

The goal in running an eco-tourism business is to create value for agriculture products and a market that does not need the middleman, he added.

The MD said he had embarked on this business 15 years ago by developing 700 rai (112 hectares) of land into a farm growing several fruits, flowers and other plants, targeting year-round visitors.

Thirteen years later, he opened the farm up to visits over three seasons: April-August for fruit, October-December for blossoming flowers, and January-March for strawberries.

This has generated annual revenue of Bt50 million to Bt60 million and sustainable growth for the enterprise, and also more sale for farmers locate to close to Suan La Mai.

“To run a complete cycle, from growing the plants and selling direct to the market under the concept of eco-farm tourism business, is the way to create sustainable farming during the changing seasons … We have had to create new demand and drive market growth by changing our business strategy into being an integrated farm that grows plants, learns how to market, and how to manage the whole operation,” he said.