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Wise Center Upgrades Operations in the Constant Pursuit of Excellence

Manufacturer strives to position itself in the high-end market segment

Aug 04, 2014 | By Steve Chuang | WISE CENTER PRECISION APPLIANCE CO., LTD.

By STEVE CHUANG

Wise Center Appliance Precision Co., Ltd. has worked hard in recent edge to pull ahead of its competition by sharpening its operational efficiency and worker training, and by enhancing its product development and marketing. The results of this effort are already being realized.

Ever since its founding in 1991 in the central Taiwanese city of Taichung, Wise Center has specialized in developing and manufacturing garden tools, mainly for professionals.  Backed by time-tested know-how and consummate production capability, the manufacturer has built a high profile as a top-end OEM/ODM (original equipment/design manufacturer).

With a focus on IQC (input quality control), IPQC (in process quality control), and QA (quality assurance), Wise Center has achieved ISO 9001: 2000 certification and its products meet Germany's GS (GeprUfte Sicherheit) standards.

Under the direction of its chairman, Thomas Lin, this world-caliber supplier will write a new page in its history this year when it becomes Taiwan's first garden tool manufacturer with TS16949 certification. In an exclusive interview with CENS, Lin confirmed that “Wise Center is scheduled to pass TS16949 certification in July.”

Wise Center’s chairman, Thomas LinWise Center’s chairman, Thomas Lin
Winning TS16949 CertificationInspired by customers who carry out by-the-book quality control measures and daily operations in line with the stringent TS16949 quality control system, Wise Center began introducing the required standards into its factory several years ago at a time when the global economy was suffering severely from the financial tsunami. Since then, the company has worked closely with local universities and research in an effort to standardize and optimize its operations with help of professors and industry experts.

The company has also devoted considerable time and resources to learning the TTQS (Taiwan Training Quality System), which the island's government developed from the ISO 10015 standards for personnel education and training. Wise Center has used the system to conduct a series of job function analyses, evaluating each employee's expertise, knowledge, skills, and ability, and then working out the best education and training programs with the aim of enhancing performance.

Lin noted that the application of TS16949 in manufacturing industries is increasingly widespread, primarily because the quality system, involving the implementation of lean production and the "six sigma" strategy along with other scientific management tools, can help manufacturers improve their yield rates and production efficiency so greatly that they stand out from the competition in terms of image and capability.

“Since Wise Center has been a major supplier to top-3 garden tool brands in North America, getting the TS16949 certificate can further consolidate our lead over our competitors,” Lin said.

As a result of Wise Center's efforts to optimize its production efficiency and meet TS16949 requirements, its Taiwan manufacturing base alone can now turn out as much as its two factories--one in Taiwan and one in China--produced before, and the China plant has been shut down.
All of Wise Center’s garden tools are manufactured under TS16949 standards starting in July, 2014.All of Wise Center’s garden tools are manufactured under TS16949 standards starting in July, 2014.
Growing Potential of Branding
While improving its operational efficiency, Wise Center has not neglected the growth potential of its brand.

“The garden tools that Wise Center sells under its own brands, including 'Wiseya,' are increasingly sought-after by consumers in China, and more and more local distributors there are interested in cooperating with us to jointly explore the constantly expanding Chinese market for garden tools,” Lin commented.

In response to growing consumer preference for its products, the chairman reported, his company will complete the establishment of a logistics center in China this year and will step up efforts to forge formal partnerships with local distributors focusing on different user segments such as crop and fruit growers, professional gardeners, and ordinary DIY users. “To be honest," Lin stressed, "we are relatively optimistic about the growth of our branded sales in China, which are forecast to increase substantially and contribute 6% to our turnover this year.”

Outside of China, the company has also expanded distribution channels for its branded products in other emerging countries, including Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, India, Turkey, and Iran. Lin is proud of the fact that Wise Center is one of only a few Taiwanese tool suppliers whose brands are gaining prestige in Southeast Asia.

Market-driven R&D
Lin attributes Wise Center's current success in branding partly to the rise of Asian economies, particularly China, and partly to a successful marketing strategy that it has adopted to differentiate itself from rivals and take advantage of the growing popularity of budget-priced, functionally innovative garden tools with value-added quality.

“We religiously believe that a successful marketing strategy depends on supplying the best possible quality and innovation to end-users to create a unique user experience for them, and this is an issue that can be resolved through market-driven R&D,” said Lin. “Accordingly, Wise Center has spent lots of time and resources optimizing operating procedures as well as training each worker to cultivate creative thinking and a shared sense of responsibility for finding and solving problems at the very outset of R&D. This is part of the TTQS that our company has implemented.”

One striking example of Wise Center's R&D success, Lin reported, is its development of a special steel alloy in associate with the China Steel Corp., the largest steelmaker in Taiwan. He added that this special material has been widely applied in making blades, and despite its high cost has won accolades from professionals for extending the lifespan of blade's lifespan by 1.5 times. This helps give the company's products a high-end positioning.

Wise Center's most recent R&D project involves the development of a brand-new series of shears with handles having an irregularly-shaped structure--an idea which, Lin stated, came from extensive observation of real-world market demand in both eastern and western societies, and from the firm's decades-long experience.
Shears with irregularly shaped handles are a focus of Wise Center R&D efforts this year.Shears with irregularly shaped handles are a focus of Wise Center R&D efforts this year.
Lin stressed that compared to the conventional oval- and round-shaped structure, the irregularly shaped structure has proven effective in helping handles exert a stronger cutting force with less applied force, mainly because of the interaction between geometric and mechanical properties. In addition, irregularly shaped handles generally have a stronger resistance to torsion, better ductility and malleability, and higher structural strength and lighter weight than those with structures in other shapes.

The handles of the new shears series have other features as well, including an automatic spring-open function for each cutting repetition, a safety hook for easier storage and safety, and a joint design at the upper end that allows the handles to be easily connected to an extension to lengthen the shears' reach.

“These products will be given even more unique features and fun elements that allow users to find enjoyment in gardening,” said Lin. “They are scheduled to go into mass production in October.”
Special blade edge and pivot mechanism that allow effortless and efficient cutting and trimming is among the new shear series's features.Special blade edge and pivot mechanism that allow effortless and efficient cutting and trimming is among the new shear series's features.
With its performance gradually gaining steam from increasing operational optimization, increasing sales of own-brand products in Southeast Asia, and the constant development of new products, Lin is optimistic that Wise Center will continue growing at a double-digit rate this year and will face ever-brighter prospects in the years to come.



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