Sands China honours excellent suppliers, remains committed to partnerships with local SMEs

Sands China Ltd. recently shined a spotlight on Macao’s suppliers with a joint event at The Londoner Macao: the Sands Supplier Excellence Awards ceremony and the graduation ceremony for the 13th and 14th cohorts of the Sands Procurement Academy.

The Macau SAR has released its first-ever economic diversification roadmap, in which cultivating local SMEs is a pathway to diversification. This is something that Sands China has given attention to since its establishment, with the company having purchased services and products from local businesses, including SMEs, for many years. 

So far, the number of service or product providers that have cooperated or are in cooperation with the integrated resort operator has reached 2,000, Dr Wilfred Wong, executive vice chairman of Sands China Ltd., said during his speech at the event.

Sands China enhanced this year’s event by inviting representatives from the procurement departments of both Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, fostering direct links with local SMEs.

Dr Wong said this demonstrates that Macau SMEs are not only attractive to local enterprises, but they also appeal to purchasers outside of Macau.

During the 2023 Sands Supplier Excellence Awards, recognition was conferred upon vendors that have provided commendable services or products throughout the year. 

There are seven categories: small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME), corporate culture and sustainability, cost management, service excellence, project management, total quality management, and innovation.

The winners of the 2023 Awards were Aon Hong Kong Ltd. – Macau Branch for corporate culture and sustainability, Angel Macau Ltd. for innovation, YH Engineering Company Ltd. for cost management, Matrix Event Planning and Exhibition Ltd. for quality management, China Construction Engineering (Macau) Company Ltd. for project management, Maxtime Food (Macau) Ltd. for service excellence and Iat Lei Stationery Ltd. for SME.

The winner of the Innovation category, Angel Macau Ltd., is a manufacturer of playing cards and other cards. Keijiro Kan, president and board member of the company, described the award as a confidence booster to the company and its team.

The award will also help encourage and inspire the company’s team members to progress further in their services and products, Kan added.

Angel Macau Ltd. has also developed an AI product to digitalize analog signals on card games and chips which Kan believes it is one of the reasons the company won the Innovation award. 

The company started in Japan as a stationery wholesaler and is now supplying playing cards to gaming establishments around the world, with Macau being the largest market.

Service Excellence award winner Maxtime Food (Macau) Ltd. began its relationship with Sands China in 2006 by supplying seafood and associated products. Since then, Maxtime has flexibly adjusted its capacities to meet Sands China’s needs, especially during the past several years when demand regularly fluctuated, Hermit Chan, administration and sales manager of the supplier, recalled.

She said the company has its own warehouse where auxiliary stock is stored, so that when Sands China makes urgent additional orders, supplies can be provided as soon as possible.

Sands Procurement Academy: first of its kind

Alongside the award ceremony, Sands China also celebrated two cohorts of SMEs graduating from the Sands Procurement Academy.

Organized in association with the Macao Chamber of Commerce (MCC) and the Macau Productivity and Technology Transfer Centre (CPTTM) since 2017, the academy promotes the development of local SME suppliers by sharing business knowledge and skills.

The academy’s goal is to help SMEs gain experience and capacity for working with large-scale international corporations like Sands China, so that they not only will be on par with Sands China’s requirements, but will also be prepared to close more deals externally.

The academy is a first-of-its-kind industry training academy and initially targeted four categories of local suppliers: small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), micro-enterprises, Macau young entrepreneurs, and “Made-in-Macau” enterprises. It opened to all local SMEs in Macao in 2017, allowing a broader range of SMEs to benefit from the skills and knowledge offered by the academy’s professionals.

Participating local SME suppliers learn through tailor-made practical training modules, presented by lecturers with diverse areas of expertise. 

The modules cover logistics management, sustainability, quality assurance, procurement process and system overview, supplier code of conduct, procurement contract basics, and Macao labour law fundamentals. 

The ceremony saw 69 enterprises graduating from the training program. 

Dr Wong used the opportunity to thank the MCC and the CPTTM for their support. Since 2017, the academy has trained 524 local SMEs, with 485 having graduated.

Victoria Kuan, director-general of CPTTM, said the Sands Procurement Academy has not only turned experience into knowledge for the betterment of local SMEs, but also opened their eyes to the importance of obtaining global accreditations and certifications.

“Many local SMEs did not understand why their business would not thrive despite their quality products or services,” Kuan said. “With training from the academy, they started to see the importance of becoming internationally accredited, such as with ISO.”

U Kin Cho, vice president of the board of directors at MCC, commended Sands China’s efforts in supporting the local business circle.

Echoing Ms Kuan’s comment, he agreed that Sands China has helped broaden the horizons of local SMEs.

[L] U Kin Cho, [R] Victoria Kuan

[L] Hermit Chan , [R] Keijiro Kan

[L] Connie Lei , [R] Edith Sio

During the past several years, local businesses have been heavily impacted by shrunken and unstable demand amid COVID-19 and the cash flow of local SMEs was affected significantly. 

To assist with the situation, Sands China implemented a policy to shorten the payment terms for local SMEs, which effectively supported the survival of local SMEs. The policy has been implemented during other times of acute need as well, such as in the aftermath of Typhoon Hato and during the COVID pandemic period.

Adding to his comment, Mr U concurred with the positive impact on local SMEs brought about by Sands China’s shortened payment term. 

“It represents great trust from Sands China toward local SMEs,” he said.

Among the academy’s two graduating cohorts is Aeternus F Gifts and Design, a small gift supplier with the capacity to provide up to 500 goods in a single order. The company’s owner, Connie Lei, said the academy’s training means a lot to her development.

“For example, I was not aware of certain global standards for courier packaging. When I delivered orders to clients in the past, I used my own ways of packaging,” she said. “However, after completing the procurement training program, I know how to better package my goods.”

Aeternus F’s example demonstrates that Sands China has not only opened the academy for its own business partners and suppliers, but for other enterprises that do not have any business dealings with Sands China.

Sands China has always considered environmental friendliness a prominent element in its corporate social responsibility efforts. Another graduate, Hongcai (Macau) New Material Technology Co., Ltd., is an example demonstrating this.

Its partnership with Sands China started in 2019, when the integrated resort’s purchasers encountered the company at a local commercial exposition. 

Not only has Sands China sourced utensils from the company, it has also made suggestions on how products could be improved in terms of quality and user-friendliness.

Edith Sio, managing director of the company, which supplies biodegradable disposable utensils to Sands China, described the information learnt from the courses as useful. 

“Sustainability is core to many businesses now, not only to those in the eco-friendly industry,” Ms Sio said. “The academy has opened our eyes [to] obtaining certifications in Hong Kong, so that it helps improve the credentials of our products.”

Following the two ceremonies, Sands China arranged a cocktail and networking session at the foyer of the Londoner Theatre for representatives of participating SMEs, enabling them to connect directly with purchasers from Sands China, its parent company Las Vegas Sands and its sibling company in Singapore, Marina Bay Sands.

Sands China believes such occasions are constructive to the expansion and progress of local SMEs, helping them advance their connections and learn from the experiences of others.

As part of its corporate social responsibility efforts, Sands China remains committed to procuring locally and helping Macao’s SMEs grow – 26% of its MOP8.4 billion procurement expenditure last year went to local SMEs.

The winners of the 2023 Awards 
Aon Hong Kong Ltd. Corporate culture and sustainability
Angel Macau Ltd. Innovation
YH Engineering Company Ltd. Cost management
Matrix Event Planning and Exhibition Ltd. Quality management
China Construction Engineering (Macau) Company Ltd. Project management
Maxtime Food (Macau) Ltd. Service excellence
Iat Lei Stationery Ltd. SME


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