Path to Success –A Packaging Business from Heart to Heart
Ekarach Paper Industry Co.,Ltd
An employee of a printer that builds up her success from zero, quitted the job to follow his dream as the business owner and finally, can afford to buy a piece of land to successfully set up his own factory. This is considered the pride of the parents’ generation to announce freedom and this is how the name “Ekarach Paper Industry Co.,Ltd” comes about. The name of the business represents the identity and the first stage of success of the “A” family well.
Nowadays, Tik – Aunyarat Jariyasamanchan, the second generation, has taken over the role of the business owner from her father. The path before Tik has fully taken over the role of the owner, she has proven her worth to everyone and she even faced the crisis that shook her business so hard that it was on a verge of collapsing. However, she overcame the obstacles with her own ability, patience, and determination at a level that is bigger than herself.
The first chain of business
The role model that Tik admires and idolizes is none other than her “father” who is the example of determination victors all. He even went through a lack of financial liquidity and had to sell his last string of gold to pay for his employees. Nevertheless, he has never once cast away from his effort and always persists to do his business with integrity and diligence. With all that said, he gained trust from suppliers and customers and, eventually, was being able to expand his business and successfully build a factory on his own piece of land in Minburi. Nowadays, Ekarach Paper Industry Co., Ltd has 2 factories which are not far from each other. The company produces and sells corrugated paper box, package as well as decorative offset prints.
From the day that Tik started to make sense of things, she always sees her father working hard all the time. Despite not receiving high education, he could see through the business game by focusing on the export furniture market. As if discovering the first chain of a business that will bring about the next ones, the scene that appeared routinely to Tik was her father bringing back the customers’ furniture samples, laid them out, and designed the smallest size that the box could possibly be in order to fit as many boxes into the cabinet as possible. It was one of the marketing strategies with an idea to reduce costs. This gained company popularity among customers and allowed the company to rise up to the top of the market, especially, Rayong’s market that there is a total of 22 furniture factories and 20 of them are customers of “Ekarach Paper Industry Co., Ltd”. Besides, it is the box factory that is part of the Thai Furniture Industries Association (TFA).
Taking over to grow
A lady who graduated with honors. She had a dream of becoming a new generation business owner. She wanted to study abroad to gain life experience for herself. However, her whole dream collapsed as she was worried about her mother’s health at that time. Tik decided to help in her family business since she graduated. She started off being the new trainee in the company. She did whatever tasks she was given diligently and was humble. Tik used to think that there were probably not many things for her to do as the tasks were assigned to the respective departments. However, when she got herself into the real working environment, she found out that there was much more work that she had to do. On the very first day, she set foot in the company, there was not a single computer in the company. Everything was hand-written, even the receipts, which were more prone to error. As the company was doing 100% Make-to-Order, which means products will be produced only when there is an order, “if there is any mistake, the paper could easily turn into the trash”. In order for the information at the starting point to be passed accurately to the endpoint, Tik thought of bringing in computer and accounting software to use in management. Also, she wants to upgrade the organization, making it meets the ISO standard. However, changing the mind of the employees that were used to the old system was really not easy. It is like moving a deep-rooted tree to plant it in a new environment that it can grow even more. Thus, it takes tremendous effort and time to get this done.
Trade your heart when doing an important task
For the employees who stay for very long, despite being hard-workers, they deem computers as being scary because they are not used to it. Some of them disagreed with the use of computers because they were afraid that this machine will replace them and snatch away their importance. That applied the same to the ISO system. The goal that Tik set is for the system “to be the workable ISO and not just a certificate”. Thus, she had to know about the process in detail from the employees. However, many of them did not want to tell her the truth. They enclosed the information to sweep all the mistakes under the carpet. The change, therefore, has to take place slowly and sincerity is used to suppress fear.
Tik had to send a clear message that she really has a genuine intention of improving everybody’s life and not to reduce their roles, punish or find faults. “We have to stay by their side as a team. When the employees trust us, they will accept our demands”, said Tik. With her more than a hundred percent dedication, her effort has finally paid off. She obtained coordination from her employees and was able to carry out her plan as she was intended. The company obtained ISO approval within 6 months. The company has a quality system that is workable and produces results. This is considered an achievement that one lady, who takes over her family business and expands the products into a wider market, can be proud of. Apart from that, Tik is also the one who brings business management tools like SCB Business Anywhere to aid the fluidity in operating her business and SCB Payroll system to aid her in automatic salary payment to her employees.
Lessons along the way
It is inevitable for warriors to be wounded, so is doing business. There are always problems and obstacles to test, overcome, and leave us with the scars of experience. Tik, who is the representative of her family business told us that since the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, her company had to bear the drastic increase in the cost of machines from about 3 million baht per unit to 6 million baht per unit or a lesson learned from focusing mainly on export furniture customers. On the day that the production of furniture takes place in other countries, the customers have also moved away. Some of the customers disappeared and some even left with debt. When the company adapted and expanded into a large export fruits market that is not their field of expertise and depends on seasons, the company has to go on a race against time. This results in an inability to control product quality and wastage as they are unable to cope on the day that the weather is not on their side. Despite being able to meet the target, the company has the possibility to lose. Thus, this is another turning point for Tik to consider the plan of the company again. From mainly focusing on single manufacturing, to deeply understands how things work in that particular field, to distributing risks by expanding markets to accommodate all groups of customers ranging from manufacturing factory, fruits, SME entrepreneurs, OTOP as well as online retailers. However, the problem was not only about profits and losses. There was also the brain drain situation that the company’s employees moved over to the rivals companies and bring with them the company’s confidential information. This taught Tik to operate her business with the utmost care and discretion.
Before the rainbow
The most severe crisis that Tik has ever encountered is “The Major Flooding in 2011”. At that time, the instability of her company was shown so clearly. The company that has been through thick and thin for almost 20 years steps so close to “bankruptcy”. Every single family member has their lives depend on this business. Papers and water are archenemies. All machines are huge and heavy, so they are not easy to move. Also, there was a deadline to meet in terms of production. But if the goal is “to survive”, the focus is important. Tik has to do whatever that will keep the factory safe with the least damage. For employees who were staying in the dormitory, the company’s welfare would play an important part to help them in times of flooding and for those who stayed outside, despite difficulty in traveling, they would try to get to the factory to ensure that their production meets the deadline. There was a day that the water surged out of the ground in the factory and they had to immediately take care of it. When the suppliers could not transport the goods, the company would send out their own transport to get the goods. Tik’s younger brother and husband volunteered to stay in the factory to oversee the flood situation with the water pumps ready to work for 24 hours. Father and daughter contacted each other for the whole 3 months, checking on each other’s well-being and encouraging each other. Everybody worked really hard without a single day-off. The sales at that time decreased by many times from 10 million to 2 million baht. However, the company won the customers’ hearts. This is because, in time of crisis, the company was not abandoning their work and was able to meet the deadline without any delay. Most importantly, the company might have encountered the problem that brings it to the verge of being bankrupted but it showed that “friend in need is the friend indeed and friends are all around”. Be it the employees who shown their power to solve problems and carried out their duties flawlessly, suppliers who tried to deliver the goods even though it was flooding, customers who placed unwavering trust in the company as well as SCB Bank that offered a helping hand and came with great customer care policy.
The reward for the brave
The business that can grow “sustainably and elegantly” is not a business that makes the most profit, but a business that can successfully win the heart of the customers. The lesson about gratitude that “whoever helps us, we must remember as if they are our family members” was embedded and passed down from her father to the young business owner like Tik. The opportunity that Tik’s father received from suppliers in time of hardship and the opportunity that was given by the customers, every member of Ekarach Paper Industry Co.,Ltd will never forget and they are still doing business with one another till today. Another strength of the company that was upheld since the establishment of the company is to “expand expertise, be original and add values for the customers”. The job of the company, thus, is not just to produce make-to-order products and quote the price, but to serve as a partner and help to solve every aspect of problems to bring the customers’ products to the more international standard. This includes creating a design that will lower the cost of production and damage, creating an English slogan, and designing packaging without asking for additional charges. Tik said that there was a customer who is selling OTOP from Chantaburi that wished to send their packaging for competition. The company then designed packaging for them. The result was that the customer was ranked as one of the top 10 in the competition which is considered higher than 5-star OTOP and was able to expand into modern trading.
To be the new generation business owner that is successful in bringing computer systems and technology to use in the organization is something that SCB perceives. Therefore, Tik was invited to be a guest speaker at the free seminar for entrepreneurs. Tik came up with the topic of digital marketing by herself. She thinks that this is a good chance for her to share her experience with her fellow business owners as well as her customers who are entrepreneurs. Besides, Tik recommends business pinning with Google My Business service that can be conveniently done at branches of SCB. This allows entrepreneurs to have easier access to new customers through Google. This helps to boost sales without an advertisement fee. Also, it analyses customers by looking at the data. Tik’s first seminar with SCB has received tremendous positive feedback that she was invited by SCB to be one of the mentors to share experience and knowledge with Thai entrepreneurs. She accepts the chance to become a shortcut to success for fellow business owners without hesitation because she believes that “happiness from sharing and adding values to herself and others is the true happiness”.
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