Thursday, February 02, 2006

Sawadee: Made in Thailand

After a busy week in Frankfurt for the annual PaperWorld show last week I just finished a four day visit to our Thailand pencil facility, Propen, Ltd. and am now in Tokyo. More about the fair and my Japan visit in a later post. Quite a change from snow, below freezing temperatures and the hustle and bustle of Frankfurt to the warm climate of coastal Thailand and the wonderfully pleasant and friendly culture typified by the greeting Sawadee.

Our primary business at Propen is to produce OEM pencils for our customers around the world who need either raw, semi-finished or finished imprinted or decorated pencils packed to their specifications. We also produce our Forest Choice, Golden Bear, Prospector and Spangle pencil ranges in this facility. Our Palomino pencils are produced under subcontracting arrangements in Japan to our specifications and then shipped to Propen where we package and consolidate shipments along with our other products produced in Thailand. Finished product shipments go direct from Propen to our customers around the world or can be transferred to one of our warehouse locations to be shipped out in smaller orders to customers in a given market.

This facility is both Chain of Custody Certified to produce FSC certified wood pencils (such as our ForestChoice brand) and ISO 9000 Certified for quality processes. It's located in a special econmic development zone run by the Thai Board of Investment and is located at the port of Laem Chabang in the Gulf of Thailand. This about a two hour drive from Bangkok when traffic is good and about 20 minutes from the resort town of Pattaya. The advantage of the BOI location is that pencil slats from our Tianjin, China facility and other components from overseas can be shipped by port processed into pencils and reexported free of duty.

A typical trip for me here includes time on the factory floor, a review of operating and financial performance with the GM, discussion and analysis on details of upcomming orders and business opportunities we are pursuing to assure we have clear action plans and time with the department heads to keep them up to date on developments in the busines and address any communications issues requiring focus to assure we continually improve customer service and response times as our business grows and the complexity of operations and scheduling issues increases. We have a good young team here, growing in capability and experience and it's a pleasure and honor to see their dedication and commitment.

Finally, this trip we also completed a detailed product line review of our California Republic range to address issues of new product additions, discontinuations, product specifications and quality standards, packaging design changes and other enhancements as we look forward to increased focus on generating some initial retail distribution. We performed a short run to add eraser tips to some Palomino Orange HB and will be offering these next week at our Pencil World eBay store along with an exciting new packaging format for a 12 count Mixed Grade Graphite pack which will include a hand held eraser and a KUM sharpener in a nice Palomino plastic hinged container you will love to have to keep those ponies safe and secure on your workspace.

1 comment:

Thailand Property said...

Hey Woodchuck!
Very interesting article.
I am so happy that Thailand products and goods have demand in the international market.
It seems that there is not necessary many ideas in order to produce a pencil, but it is a very painstaking work, and the whole factories are working with it.