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Supplying Teas to Global Brands

Tea Tang is more than just a supplier of quality Ceylon teas. We take our role of being business enablers for our customers very seriously.  So when one of our clients, a reputable global tea brand underwent a change in its business model, we stepped up to the challenge.

Background:
Tea Tang had been a significant supplier of quality Ceylon teas to a reputable global tea brand that had been positioned in the premium niche segment of teas. Our client’s brand stood for quality, taste, presentation and packaging. We were tasked to source the best quality Ceylon teas based on the brand’s established standards and values. Our role focused on achieving excellence in operational processes so as to meet the stringent standards of the customer.

Challenges:
When our customer underwent a change in management, there was soon a decision to change the brand positioning as well. The brand started to cater, though cautiously in the beginning, to the mass consumer market segment. This required changing the emphasis of focusing on premium positioning for expanding the business to increasing revenues that drove profitability. As a result, lowering costs became crucial for our customer and they initiated a blend optimization programme to deliver cost benefits.

Solutions:
The first step was to understand and accept that the service requirements for this brand had undergone a paradigm shift.

  • In line with plans of the customer, our company decided to make changes on account management. From a service oriented “farmer” approach, we switched to a more commercial “hunter” mindset.
  • Following new guidelines from the client, we implemented a strategy that leveraged our strengths and expertise with Ceylon Tea, allowing us to make changes on blend composition.
  • With our access to plantation and auction centers, we were able to provide market trend analysis and information on tea pricing futures. This allowed us to find opportunities to buy teas for the client at the optimal prices.
  • Despite the changes taking place at the customer’s end, we continued to improve our back-office and operational capabilities in order to minimize lead times, reduce inventory and ultimately increase cost savings for the customer.

Result:
“Superior value” has become the cornerstone of the relationship between Tea Tang and our global tea customer. A joint strategy that aims at achieving mutually-defined income/savings goals provides the blueprint for our interaction. With a relentless pursuit towards strengthening the supplier/buyer relationship, we have been able to provide a more positive and deeper level of assurance to our buyer. As a result, the added value that we provide our client goes way beyond the mere cost of the tea. Our efforts have resulted in significant business growth for the client, propelling Tea Tang to eventually become the preferred supplier for our customer. On our part we learnt a valuable lesson of adapting to new and challenging business environments.

 

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