Robyn Miller, Gleaner Writer
Sitting in the Red Hills Road offices of Eileen Chin, the youthful and energetic managing director of LASCO Manufacturing Limited, the magnitude of the move she and her team were about to embark on began to cement.
A photo session in the corridors outside Chin's office reinforced the urgency of that move.
As Chin readied herself to talk about plans to relocate the business to White Marl, St Catherine, and expand the operations there, in between, the busy MD fielded at least a half a dozen telephone calls and knocks on her door.
It's a business that keeps her on her toes. But Chin relishes the challenge and what the move portends for the LASCO Group of Companies.
"It's an opportunity for increased exports and it means we can increase our portfolio," she said, with the aura of a shrewd businesswoman. We've had serious concerns about servicing our demand from our present location."
Scheduled for opening late September to October this year, the new state-of-the-art facility will have 50 square feet of factory space including offices, and, along with LASCO Distributors and another building set for construction at a later date, will occupy 240 square feet of space along the busy industrial belt.
It will also boost efficiency and is set to improve the company's production capacity and secure a bigger chunk of the market share for LASCO.
"We did our market research and realised that we could tap into other markets," Chin said, hinting at an aggressive foray by LASCO into several niche markets, which will see two separate manufacturing facilities, one for drinks and another for dry goods.
Though she did not give much detail, the health and wellness sectors came in for mention.
Founded in 1988 by Lascelles Chin, who is also the company's chairman, LASCO is a major manufacturer and distributor of household products and pharmaceuticals with markets stretching across the Caribbean, North America, Latin America and the United Kingdom.
The expansion of LASCO Manufacturing is expected to see increased staff, bringing the numbers to 250 between the manufacturing and distributing arms. Both companies will eventually "need merchandisers, sales persons, promoters as well as technical" persons, Chin said.
LASCO has always managed to maintain affordable prices for its customers, and Chin said it will continue to do so after long after the expansion, holding firm to its slogan, 'LASCO Makes Living Affordable'.
"The chairman's philosophy has always been to keep the price low to the consumer, no matter which management we have in the company [or] what amount of people we have in the company," she said.
Chin, who is also the wife of Lascelles Chin, held that key to being able maintaining their prices is "a strict cost control".
Therefore, "if it's not necessary, we don't need to have it", and with the manufacturing and distributorship set to share home, further reductions in cost are forecast on the transportation side.
LASCO's low prices, it was revealed, are also driven by a healthy relationship with its suppliers.
Peter Chin, who manages LASCO Distributors, which includes the consumer and pharmaceutical arm of the business, chimed in with his thoughts on the expansion, summing it up as "new" and "big categories" for the business.
He said between 60 to 70 per cent of LASCO's products, on the food side, are manufactured locally.