Exclusive license endows SMEs with business opportunities

High-quality food products have always been the main focus in the food and beverage industry, especially after the outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic. Some local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have succeeded in obtaining exclusive agency licenses to well-known overseas brands, and thus gained the attention of local large-scale enterprises.
7 Stars International Food mainly deals in frozen foods such as frozen bakery products. The company targets hotels and the catering industry. Also, 7 Stars is the exclusive agent for Simplot French fries’ products in Macao. The brand is long-established in the U.S. and can be seen in many fast-food chains.

Cooperation begins
Sands China continues to amass high-quality branded products from around the world. Aware that 7 Stars obtained the exclusive license for Simplot, Sands took the initiative to approach the SME and their cooperation officially began at the end of 2019.
“Sands China purchased around 10 kinds of products including French fries, hash browns, sauces, and other semi-finished products from us,” advised Tony Cheong, Managing Director of 7 Stars.
After a year of cooperation, Sands is satisfied with its supplier, according to Sands China’s procurement and supply chain senior supervisor Alex Mok, assistant manager Bella Pun and executive chef Alen Chow.
“The services, prices and quality of the products provided by the company are very good and stable. In terms of food procurement, Sands China’s primary concern is food safety. 7 Star International Food has high standards in storage, transportation, and distribution facilities. What’s more, 7 Stars has obtained HACCP certification, which adds to their reliability. In terms of product quality, we have had no problems since our cooperation began.”
HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) is an internationally accepted technique for preventing microbiological, chemical and physical contamination along the food supply chain. Believing that the core competitiveness of an enterprise lies in its products and services, 7 Stars obtained the certification in 2018. “We require strict adherence to our own service quality before customers put forth their requests,” said the farsighted entrepreneur Cheong.

Professional team, advanced equipment
Cheong says the company’s advantage lies in having a professional team and equipment. The team covers various roles in the functions of marketing, accounting, and logistics. They also constantly update their systems, such as electronics and financial systems, to optimize operating procedures and thus improve efficiency. In addition, they use five warehouses in Macao, located in different parts of the city, which allows more flexibility in terms of distribution and warehouse inventory. Their latest plan is to add more refrigerated vans to further improve their deliveries.
But updating their assets is not enough. Employees of 7 Stars also participated in the Sands Procurement Academy, a training program for suppliers to learn about the procurement process and advantages of large enterprises. In addition, Sands China’s Local SME Supplier Open Day offers potential suppliers a chance to connect with Sands China procurement representatives to learn about opportunities in various departments, bridging communication between suppliers, large corporations, and experts.

Run-in period under epidemic
The outbreak of Covid-19 occurred soon after Sands China and 7 Stars commenced their relationship, which saw a decline in orders or delayed logistics. The SME reacted proactively. For ad hoc orders, if the warehouse was out of stock, 7 Stars would quickly contact the brand’s Hong Kong agent and transferred inventory. “The situation demonstrated our company’s ability for emergency response. And since then, we have been accumulating experience in the supply process,” said Cheong.

Tips for future cooperation
Like most SMEs, 7 Stars aims to increase their scope of business with Sands. Cheong said, “We have diversified our quality products. In addition to French fries, we also have cooked food, baked goods, and sauces. We hope that the supply of French fries is just the beginning and that there will be more opportunities to explore and expand in the future. At the same time, the company will continue to pursue higher-quality products and service packages, so that both parties achieve a win-win result.”
Sands China also believes the scope of future purchases will not be limited to French fries. The enterprise encourages SMEs to explore more quality products. “Sands China will communicate with users and determine if the price and quality are appropriate.”
Sands recommends that similar suppliers actively explore and obtain agencies of unique brands to create more opportunities for Sands China to become familiar with the supplier company, its services and supporting facilities through their products.

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