By Lim Wei Sheng
THE first thing that greets any visitor to Golden Bridge Foods Manufacturing Pte Ltd is the unmistakable salty aroma of cooking meat.
An aroma most are acquainted with, but one that is endearingly familiar for Ong Bee Chip, managing director of the 25-year-old meat manufacturing and supply business.
'Our company started off producing only Chinese sausages, as being Chinese, it is closest to our culture,' he recounts.
Golden Bridge has surpassed its humble beginnings on many levels. From a small industrial unit, its factory space has increased by 10 times over the years, and the company is planning to expand in July 2012 in order to ramp up production capacity.
Golden Bridge has also gone beyond offering its traditional Chinese fare. It now provides a range of other products from Western hams to even halal cold cuts, all prepared in four different forms - dry, chilled, frozen, and shelf-stable.
These are then supplied to Golden Bridge's many clients, which include a range of food businesses such as hotels, supermarkets, and food service outlets.
This wide-net initiative is in line with Golden Bridge's strategy to capture as many consumer market groups as possible. This is complemented by targeted, focused branding of its products.
'For our Chinese meats, we still use the jin qiao (Chinese for golden bridge) label to connect with our old- time customers,' Mr Ong explains. The Western range is marketed under the Kelly's brand.
What's most distinctive, though, is Golden Bridge's halal range of sausages, cold cuts, and canned meats, which was introduced in 2009 through subsidiary company Ellaziq Pte Ltd.
'We are one of the only players in the halal sausage manufacturing niche,' says Mr Ong. Besides catering to halal food consumers locally, Mr Ong sees a much larger vision for Ellaziq - to enter the Middle East market in the medium term, in addition to its current seven export destinations in Asean and Australia.
Despite the wide range of product offerings, Mr Ong has recognised the need to focus on a core product in the medium to long term.
This strategy, he notes, is entirely compatible with the necessity for efficiency and productivity to be ramped up in the firm. 'One of the disadvantages of most firms in this sector is that manufacturing operations only occur around 10 hours a day. During the night, operations in the factory are at a much lower intensity and this is an inefficient use of time and machines,' he says.