Global Excellence Awards 2020 Page 17 LUX 2020 Global Excellence Awards Supermarkets, Target, Big W, and Jamaica Blue Coffee in Australia; Briscoes, Farmers and Stevens in New Zealand; Woolworths in South Africa; Sur la Table and Crate & Barrel in the US; Loblaws, Stokes and Hudson Bay Company in Canada; and Marks & Spencer in the UK. Stoneage also offers two of their own brands to clients who do not require private label branding called Living Art and Essence, which are both registered in all the countries that Stoneage supplies to. As a private label specialist, Stoneage does not attend exhibitions or trade fairs, instead maintaining its exclusivity by only working with its loyal clients, 70% of whom have been with the firm for more than eight years. Stoneage therefore understands the importance of developing long term relationships with its clients, so that it can better understand their businesses and requirements and adjust their offerings to suit their needs. Working in collaboration with its clients, Stoneage is able to provide bespoke, one-on-one services that can be tailored to the specifications and capabilities of their clients. For instance, some clients may have their own in-house design team, requiring Stoneage only to transfer those designs onto the right materials and manage the manufacture, packaging and distribution of those products. Others have no design capabilities, and turn to Stoneage to handle everything from the trend direction, range specification and planogramming to design, production, quality assurance, compliance and delivery. Technical teams in China and design teams in Australia are constantly exploring and developing new techniques for sculpting, glazing, decorating, even digitally printing, to make their ceramics the most beautiful and of the highest quality on the market. Other clients may call upon the firm for its internationally recognised packaging and distribution capabilities, which sees millions of pieces moved from one centre to a retailer on another continent without a single ticketing error, packaging mishap, or so much as a cracked teacup. Moreover, Stoneage’s service does not end once an order has been delivered. Instead, the company holds extra stock and information on the order in its warehouses and systems, and is also able to spread delivery to reach MOQs. Clients are able to rely on Stoneage season after season to update their stock and review their designs ready for the next season’s trends. Having established its network in the market throughout the last three decades, Stoneage benefits from stability and productivity made possible in its international logistics thanks to its connections with suppliers and third parties across South East Asia and China. This also means that Stoneage is able to leverage production volumes resulting from multiple clients to service those other clients that would struggle to be meaningful on their own. This is best illustrated by Stoneage’s work supplying an 800-store chain, from which the buying power and volumes associated with that project can also be used to supply a smaller, independent customer that has only twenty stores. Having built such strong partnerships with its clients over the years, the effects of the ongoing pandemic on many of them have been hard to see for the team at Stoneage, which has been sad to watch businesses like Laura Ashley entering administration and closing down. Stoneage itself has been able to rely on a strong balance sheet over the last turbulent year, remaining stable and consistent for new and existing partners. Indeed, the homewares industry saw a resurgence due to the pandemic from July 2020, due to more people spending time at home and investing in their living spaces instead of travel and entertainment. This has put pressure on Stoneage and its supply chains as the increased demand has seen suppliers in China and the Far East inundated with orders, resulting in an increase of up to 180 days in production lead times for certain suppliers. Despite the adversity of these unprecedented and challenging times, Stoneage has managed to pull through, relying on its strong network to maintain a degree of continuity which has enabled 94% of orders to be fulfilled on time, a staggering feat in a period when much of the world has ground to a halt. As for its people, Stoneage has had a hard year, with many of its staff having had to isolate in China, Hong Kong, and Australia. A family organisation at its heart, Stoneage is well-known in the close-knit ceramics industry for its family values and employee-centric philosophy. The firm is a relatively small company on the international stage, with many of its team having been with the company for fifteen to twenty years. Regular staff outings and gatherings celebrate the team’s commitment and support of one another, and the whole company is looking forward to the end of the pandemic so that they can be reunited once more in their offices and studios to continue doing the work they love together. The pandemic’s significant impact on the way people across the world shop has presented Stoneage with a chance to develop and innovate its own online sales. Exploring packaging, logistics and JIT supply solutions from its factories, Stoneage is seeking new ways to help its clients through this exciting and important area of growth in its international operations. Stoneage will continue to evolve as necessary to ensure that its commitment to serving the diverse needs of its clients never falters, providing its global network with the exceptional ceramic pieces and outstanding service Stoneage has become synonymous with across the global market. Company: Stoneage Ceramics Int’l HK Ltd Contact: Brendon Lance Website: