With 90% of its team based in Asia, it is impossible to deny the size and depth of FORMIA's footprint in the region. Originally, however, FORMIA was established by a Scandinavian who translated the nation's 1950's and 1970's design boom into travel amenities. Originally designed and commercialized through retail channels, the amenities moved later into travel retail and eventually in-flight amenities. The company had begun shifting its supply chain to Asia, but all activities and operations were moved there formally in 2001 when new owners stepped in.
Today FORMIA teams up with a few selected long term manufacturing supply partners located throughout China. As owner of various brand licenses and distribution rights, these strategic locations enable FORMIA to be directly involved in production to manage production licenses of and moulds.
Roland Grohmann is Partner and Managing Director at FORMIA. He says that FORMIA's Hong Kong base of operations allows the supplier of premium inflight amenities to take advantage of several key benefits. In addition to city state's well-developed infrastructure and incentives designed to facilitate the success of small and medium-sized business and its close proximity to China, he says that Hong Kong is also the geographic centre of the most dynamic and fast-growing area.
"Within a range of five hours flying time, half the world's population is at reach," he explains. "Our headquarters in Hong Kong is mainly focused on product development, design, sourcing, logistics and quality management. We also have offices in Shanghai (sourcing and quality control), Bangkok (marketing and sales) and sales representatives in Europe."
He goes on to explain that as China opens up more and more to international markets and brands, supply chain management and quality control are of the utmost importance. Additionally, challenging geography and distances between major hubs means that freight is moved more frequently by sea in Asia, as opposed to the trucking methods typically employed in Europe or North America. This generally implies larger quantities of product being moved at once and longer lead-times, all of which must be carefully managed to ensure that a flight never departs without the supplies it needs.
"FORMIA's Hong Kong location is an advantage for the understanding of China's supply chain and product regulations," Grohmann says. "The ASEAN market is also opening, removing taxes and duties in the trade, so doing business in the region is certainly getting more efficient."