Sun­top Dis­play Sys­tem

VM&RD - - CONTENTS - Li Hong Ze, Lee Founder CEO Sun­top Dis­play Sys­tems Shikha Kr­ishna

Lead­ing Chi­nese shop fit­ting com­pany Sun­top, en­ters In­dia with a plan to pro­vide end to end so­lu­tion from re­tail con­cepts and de­signs to fit-out. The com­pany's based on a di­verse port­fo­lio of in­ter­na­tional brands is a tes­ti­mony to its ca­pa­bil­ity in of­fer­ings in­no­va­tive re­tail fix­tures. The founder CEO Li Hong Ze, Lee shares his vi­sion for the In­dian mar­ket.

In 1999, Sun­top was setup to pro­vide s olu­tions i n ad­ver­tis­ing, ex­hi­bi­tion and POP stands. While de­vel­op­ing his ex­hi­bi­tion busi­ness, Mr Lee, noted that many of his cus­tomers also ven­tured into retailing and re­quired re­tail con­cept de­sign, in­clud­ing fix­tures. He then en­vi­sioned a big­ger and longer term global op­por­tu­nity in re­tail fix­tures. Here, un­like the case of exhibitions, the de­sign, qual­ity, engi­neer­ing, lo­gis­tic and ser­vice needs were dif­fer­ent.

In 2000, Sun­top com­menced de­sign or­ders from lo­cal Chi­nese clients and a year later in 2001, in or­der to meet the qual­ity con­trol and project dead­lines, the or­ga­ni­za­tion started its own man­u­fac­tur­ing. To­day at Xi­a­men in China, wood fab­ri­ca­tion, metal man­u­fac­tur­ing and ware­hous­ing com­prises 400,000 sq feet with over 400 staff, cater­ing to 36 coun­tries.

To live up to its vi­sion of be­ing a global or­ga­ni­za­tion, Sun­top en­tered In­dia in 2009. “In­dia is our neigh­bour and has a huge pop­u­la­tion which suits our busi­ness. Also, In­dia and China are de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, grow­ing at a very fast pace, which brings in sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween the two coun­tries in terms of de­mand and de­sign of the prod­uct”, states Mr Lee. For the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket, Sun­top pro­vides cus­tom­ized mod­u­lar store fix­ture sys­tems. Most in­ter­na­tional clients im­port their metal hard­ware, lo­cal­ize the wooden parts and as­sem­ble them to form the re­quired fix­ture

sys­tem. The com­pany en­gages over 30 cre­ative pro­fes­sion­als to con­tin­u­ously churn in­no­va­tion.

Sun­top spe­cial­izes in of­fer­ing highly cus­tom­ized re­tail fix­tures as well as cat­a­logued off-theshelf op­tions through mod­u­lar com­po­nents. Mr Lee says, “Gen­er­ally pre­mium brands want cus­tom made items that bring dis­tinc­tion to their store am­bi­ence. Also brands with mul­ti­ple out­lets tend to se­lect cus­tom­ized fix­tures as they have enough vol­ume base to ab­sorb the cost as­so­ci­ated with cus­tomiza­tion. Smaller vol­ume cus­tomers stay with mod­u­lar sys­tems.”

Since 2010, Sun­top has added con­cept de­sign, and ren­o­va­tion ser­vices to its ex­ist­ing re­tail fix­tures of­fer­ings. These ser­vices have been ac­cepted by its cus­tomers with much ap­pre­ci­a­tion and have helped the com­pany to de­velop its do­mes­tic busi­ness even fur­ther.

Mr Lee be­lieves, “In to­day’s com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment, com­pa­nies have to seek dif­fer­en­tial ad­van­tage like in­no­va­tive con­cept de­sign and con­tin­u­ous R&D. These developments can only be ful­filled through – cre­ative/de­sign team.” In the short span of 10 years in China, the ex­pe­ri­ence gained is still far short of what the mar­kets de­sire. But for Sun­top, it is the over­seas mar­ket ex­po­sure that helped its de­sign team to dif­fer­en­ti­ate its work from the Chi­nese mar­ket. Learn­ing came not only from the store de­sign and qual­ity con­trol but also in re­tail strat­egy and mar­ket­ing. De­vel­op­ing peo­ple has al­ways been an in­te­gral part of Sun­top’s growth di­rec­tion. In the ap­proach to re­tain­ing peo­ple, there is a com­mon vi­sion and mis­sion for Sun­top. Through in­ter­na­tion­al­iza­tion of the com­pany’s busi­ness, there is much room for growth and peo­ple de­vel­op­ment where the em­ploy­ees find both chal­lenges and ful­fil­ment in their ca­reer. Ear­lier, the com­pany had 120 em­ploy­ees to ser­vice all the cus­tomers. Through the ex­pan­sion of the com­pany’s busi­ness, the team has been re-or­ga­nized to fo­cus on key ac­counts with small teams. This has given each team their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and ac­count­abil­ity to bet­ter man­age their cus­tomers’ needs and ser­vices.

From 2012 on­wards there has been a con­scious at­tempt to fo­cus on In­dian re­tail. Mr Lee be­lieves that in the com­ing years In­dian re­tail would wit­ness what China is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing to­day; an in­flux of for­eign brands and or­ga­ni­za­tions. This trend will push the lo­cal In­dian re­tail­ers to seek highly in­no­va­tive and qual­ity prod­ucts to main­tain their com­pet­i­tive edge. Tier 2 and tier 3 cities would gain fo­cus and would be re­spon­si­ble to cat­alyze greater growth op­por­tu­ni­ties for busi­nesses.

In the next 5 years Sun­top’s vi­sion is to be­come the pre­ferred choice of in­ter­na­tional brands by in­vest­ing ef­fort and re­sources in R&D and lo­cal sup­ply and ser­vice ca­pa­bil­i­ties

Sun­top's show­room in the fac­tory show­cases var­i­ous fix­ture sys­tems for the re­tail en­vi­ron­ments

Since 2010, Sun­top has added con­cept de­sign, and ren­o­va­tion ser­vices to its ex­ist­ing re­tail fix­tures

Fix­tures dis­played in mock store en­vi­ron­ments fa­cil­i­tates the clients in choos­ing shop­fit­tings

Sun­top's man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity in China, where wood fab­ri­ca­tion, metal man­u­fac­tur­ing and ware­hous­ing com­prises 400,000 sq feet

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