Saddle Maker DDK Expands Vietnam Factory
HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam – The saddle pre-production hall is huge. The saddle cover paint job is done manually while the production line looks endlessly. It gives a good impression of the size of DDK production capacity in the company’s facility in Vietnam. Once started as a motorcycle saddle manufacturer, today DDK has an annual output of 10 million bicycle saddles plus millions of grips in Vietnam only.
All production stages for the saddles are done by DDK itself in order to control the quality of the final product. This is explained by DDK’s Global Marketing Director Joy Sung. The company’s current Vietnam facility was built in 2016 and fully complies with all chemical regulations.
This includes the Toxic Industrial Chemicals standard. DDK also improved the sustainability of this factory by building huge reservoirs to collect water during the rain season for the production and general use during the rest of the months.
We expect to double our output to 20 million saddles
“While some 75 percent of our production is already for export, we expect to double our output to 20 million saddles in five years from now”, says Joy Sung. To speed up the production of particularly the saddle rails, the seat posts, clamps and future projects, DDK is currently building another hall for steel rolling machinery adjacent to the existing facility.”
28 injection molding machines are operational in the factory where both vacuum and PU foamed saddles are made. Especially this last category requires a lot of skills. It takes some three months of training to fold the saddle cover properly and within requirements of DDK’s quality standard.
Increasing efficiency and flexibility
To boost the efficiency of the production DDK introduced the Toyota Production System in its Vietnam factory. “It not only increased out efficiency but also our flexibility. Today we have all raw materials and components in stock. Once ordered we can deliver in 14days.” Before shipping the products, all quality testing is done in house. A fully equipped departments tests the raw materials and final products whether they comply with Rohas and WEEE regulations as well as the D-HRB hardness standard.”
As exclusive SMP’s agent on the Asian market, the company has a lot of experience with branding. “Therefore, we decided to launch DDK as a brand 12 years ago while we also continued our OEM business,” says Joy Sung. “All SMPs saddle are still made in Italy today. This doesn’t apply for DDKs second own brand; Strace. These are designed in Italy and made in Vietnam.”
Turning to spokes and hubs
DDK started its Vietnamfactory 17 years ago. It gave the company a head start among others in the Taiwanese bicycle industry. While many of them decided at that time to move production overseas to China, DDK was among the group who choose to take a different direction. Soon DDK will even go one step further. The company is investing in an all new facility for the production of spokes and hubs, including the anodization facility. “Both products are not made in Vietnam for the export market yet, although it is in demand by the bicycle assemblers in Cambodia. That is why we decided to step into these new products,” said Joy Sung.