[This is a sponsored article with HSBC.]
There are many reasons to start a business. For Mr. Kenny Low, his journey into the candy industry consisted of passion, the continuation of the family business, and the fulfillment of what was lacking in the market at the time.
Kenny has always liked candy to grow, but unlike other candy-loving kids, Kenny had a closer connection to candy candy – his family had a candy wholesale business. He then decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and founded his own business called Nicko Jeep Manufacture Sdn Bhd.
Fun fact: Nicko Jeep as a name has no meaning behind it. Kenny said when he started the company, small jeep toys were popular and the name stuck.
Transition from distributor to manufacturer
When Nicko Jeep first started, they were just a dealer selling candy in small shops next to schools. But Kenny was not satisfied with the status quo. He had big dreams of producing his own sweets, but he didn’t have the skills to do it before.
To realize this dream, the company invested in equipment, facilities and hired staff with the right skills and experience to create Nicko Jeep’s candy line. The company also had to invest money in creating attractive packaging as they needed to stand out.
They succeeded in creating quite a few iconic delights. If you love sweets, you may have come across Big Foot Lollipop and Big Foot Plum candies.
Kenny noted that the candy market is really competitive and the consumers never lack options. He wanted the company to shine not only locally but also internationally. Thus, the business began to export its candies to other countries. They also started working on a truly unique product.
A new category of sweets is being created
When she’s not thinking about sweets, Kenny fills her free time with field trips. As someone who walks often and sweats a lot, I needed an easier way to control sodium levels. While sodium-containing sports drinks can help, they have more sodium water.
It was then that he realized that he could marry his passions to create a solution for his fellow hikers and athletes. Thus, the Himalayan salt sports candies she was born. Although Kenny thought he had a good idea in mind, the company encountered problems during production.
First, Kenny knew the product had to be healthy, as consumers have the preconception that sweets are unhealthy and contain a lot of sugar. The final product contained only two or three grams of sugar per serving.
Also, Nicko Jeep needed to find a sweet spot, balancing sodium and sugar. After trying different types of salt, the team found that natural rock salt was the perfect ingredient for their sweets. In 2018, when Himalaya Salt Sports Candy hit the shelves, it was well received across Asia Pacific. Sweets are now consumed by millions of people in ten different countries.
Looking for the right delicacy
At the top of the ten countries where the Himalayan Salt Sports Candy is distributed, Nicko Jeep also supplies sweets to a total of 16 countries.
In the course of their international expansion, they encountered problems with customers paying by letter of credit. This payment method can take several days for banks to process, which affects the company’s cash flow.
This turned out to be a problem until Nicko Jeep used HSBC as its chosen bank. In addition to a fast processing time, Kenny recalled an instance when HSBC addressed the same day, prompting him to change the details of a letter of credit. If the letter had passed, it would have taken days to fix the potentially costly mistake.
Before using HSBC, Kenny and his team also went to the bank a few days a week to send documents and make transactions.
Through HSBCnet, HSBC’s online portal, Kenny no longer had to go through or call the bank to make shipments or transactions, as he could do it all on his desk or phone.
You can view and control all the financial resources of your companies (local or international) a single login too.
HSBCnet can act as a consolidated interface, providing the business with a set of flexible online financial solutions. It is designed to help companies increase productivity and better manage their cash flow.
Management of coverage requirements through HSBCnet
As a company that manages international exports, Nicko Jeep has to deal with different currencies and this is where HSBC Evolve enter.
HSBC Evolve allows it to Kenny block exchange rates for their settlements as well. For example, the current currency rate stands at RM1 = 7.55 Thai baht. Kenny wants to set his settlement later, but he likes the current rate offered. You can block the rate and you won’t have to worry if the rates fluctuate later and negatively affect your end result.
HSBC Evolve is designed to ensure that a user can better manage and execute their exposure to effects effectively through real-time pricing. The service can also provide SMEs with access to 460 currency pairs.
In the past, to get an updated currency exchange rate, Kenny would have to stop by or call a bank and look for a dealer to get special rates, which takes up a lot of his time. And if he didn’t like the rate, he would have to call the bank again to check and check the rates. But with HSBC Evolve, you can control the effects movement right in front of the computer and run the operation in a minute, without even calling the bank.
Grow the business through digitization
“With the efficiency gained from these digital tools, it’s easier to manage the growth of our business,” said Kenny, CEO of Nicko Jeep.
Nicko Jeep got to where he is because he understood the importance of digitization to improve business processes. With 70% of the business focusing on export, they would get stuck in the background if they failed to digitize their processes sooner.
For companies that still use traditional business models, Kenny said that adapting to trends and digitization processes can help your business stay up to date and stay relevant. With access to 16 countries, it still has plans to develop new products and expand its reach even further.
- Check out our Nicko Jeep product line here.
- For more information on HSBC solutions such as HSBCnet and HSBC Evolve, click here.
- Read what we’ve written about HSBC in the past here.
Featured Image Credit: HSBC