As a pioneer in starting local supplier support programmes in Macao, Sands China Ltd. has been investing back into the community by helping local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro-enterprises thrive and grow.
Kuan U Trading, a young entrepreneurial frozen meats supplier, has successfully survived and enhanced their business under Sands China’s Local Supplier Support Programme.
Kuan U Trading’s founder Frankie Lao started his career in the frozen foods industry shortly after graduation. After becoming familiar with the industry, Lao set up Kuan U Trading in 2016. Serving small restaurants barely made ends meet for the startup.
Through media and friends, Lao heard about Sands China’s Local SME Supplier Open Day and enrolled as a participant. Aiming at providing procurement opportunities for prospective local SME suppliers, Sands China’s Local SME Supplier Open Day offers potential suppliers a chance to connect with Sands China procurement representatives and learn about procurement opportunities with various departments.
Lao introduced Kuan U Trading’s products and services to Sands China, and his work paid off – Kuan U Trading became a Sands China supplier in 2018 and the collaboration has continued ever since.
Kuan U Trading then witnessed a turning point. In the early stage of his business, given a limited budget, Lao took care of all processes such as loading goods, receiving calls, placing orders, and delivery.
“Since the company began cooperating with Sands China, orders have grown steadily, which has brought a stable source of income to the company, and has gradually increased the number of employees. So far, we have eight employees,” said Lao.
Meanwhile, working with a large-scale enterprise like Sands China also increased the young entrepreneur’s managerial skills, which has created more business opportunities.
Kuan U Trading has been able to open a frozen meat store, expanding possibilities further into the retail market.
According to Lao, to keep in pace with clients’ business requirements, he increased his investment into equipment, purchasing a refrigerator truck and a warehouse. Kuan U Trading also began working with a new partner – a fish farming enterprise in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province – whose products will be processed, packaged, and shipped to Macao.
Sands China recognizes the advantages of working with Kuan U Trading, who is able to provide the right products with reasonable prices. Beyond that, Kuan U Trading responds to customer requirements quickly. According to Sands China ‘s procurement and supply chain senior manager Rachel Zheng and senior supervisor Alex Mok: “To speed up the cooking process, our chefs proposed some simple changes, such as a cut in the middle of frozen chicken wings. Kuan U Trading then reacted quickly to make the change.”
During the Covid-19 outbreak, Sands China and local SMEs worked hand in hand. Sands China ‘s procurement and supply chain department took the initiative to contact SME suppliers and provided appropriate assistance if they were encountering difficulties.
Last August, for example, the company held the successful Sands Shopping Carnival. Visitation surpassed 100,000 at the three-day carnival at The Venetian Macao’s Cotai Expo. It provided a free business platform for local SMEs and Sands retailers amid the pandemic, while creating a new weekend destination for local residents and tourists, in support of the Macao SAR government’s Consume for the Economy initiative.
Sands China suggests that young entrepreneurs should pay the most attention to product quality and product safety when sourcing food, followed by setting appropriate market prices. Young entrepreneurs may not be familiar with the operations and needs of integrated resort operators at first, so Sands China recommends they get in touch and learn about what clients need. It’s also ideal if enterprises obtain ISO and other international-standard certifications or M-Mark certification through the Macao Product Quality Certification Program. Sands China additionally encourages SMEs to keep abreast of the latest market trends in various professional fields, and welcomes them to take advantage of the most direct way of connecting with Sands China’s procurement team – enrolling in the Sands Procurement Academy.*
Sands China’s long-standing effort to support local suppliers is in line with the Macao government’s initiative to “buy local.” And the partnership between Sands China and SMEs is a pioneering initiative that has helped spearhead industry efforts toward supporting local SMEs. It creates a mutually supportive environment in which SMEs gain business and experience. Meanwhile it allows Sands China to benefit from having local expertise, timely customer service and flexible delivery.
*For details, visit https://www.sandschina.com/the-company/purchase-list.html