A famous Cambodian documentary director once said, “Clay is a very interesting and fundamental material: it’s earth, it’s water, and – with fire – it takes on form and life.” But as per Mr. Willand C. Kabigting, these fundamental elements are not enough to expand his earthenware empire for the world and all to see.
Quick backstory, Asia Ceramics Corporation was established in 1984 as a humble backyard business that provides alternative source of employment for the people of Sto. Tomas. And if its history you want, it’s history we will share. Remember when the Great Recession struck the United States in 2007 that affected the world and took it several years to recover? Mr. Kabigting remembers it more than Pepperridge Farm. It was the time when all export were almost halted and brought the town of Sto. Tomas, a world-renowned Terracotta exporter, to its very knees because of the cheaper earthenware products offered by China. But Mr. Kabigting, the visionary as he always is, turn to the science and technology for rescue.
Mr. Kabigting is a long time believer of S&T. He is fond of consulting the ceramics engineers of the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) to make his products standout among the veteran earth benders contemporary. When the recession erupted, he took refuge to DOST and Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) make his company wonders.
April 2014, thru the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP), funds were released to Asia Ceramics to acquire appropriate S&T interventions for clay processing. It is a clay filter press using polypropylene filter plates, which improved product quality by producing evenly hardened clay cakes – just a fancy way of saying that his products became more export-worthy.
The enterprise also benefited from the other technical consultancies and assistance of SETUP for advanced business competitiveness. One of which is to attain higher productivity while the other intends to assist them in establishing their own energy conservation measures that would lead to system efficiency improvements. Augmented productivity with less energy costs, in short.
All these assistance caused Asia Ceramics to double its production capacity that also corresponded to double gross sales. Additional 20 workers were hired to accommodate the increase in production volume. Enough with the boring numbers – best part is that, after the intervention, there were increased in the number of buyers in the USA, Australia, United Kingdom, and some Asian Countries. That’s Filipino craftsmanship spread throughout the world.
Bannered in their website, “From clay, we make works that the world has never seen”. But Asia Ceramics Corporation did not simply crafted them from earth, water, and fire alone but with hard work mixed with the right blend of science and technology.