After many years of outsourcing some of KTC’s contracts to companies in Laos, KTC decided to form its own Company in 1994, the Trio Export Co. Ltd. Its goal was to develop a unique compound in the stunning paradise offering local skilled craftspeople jobs they could rely on, with KTC’s proven ethical work culture.
Trio has positioned itself as a workplace that produces high-end, quality workwear – its catch cry: ‘no blue-collar worker need ever feel poorly dressed again, standing next to a white-collar worker in a supermarket queue’!
To achieve this, Trio’s compound comprises 5 workspaces with a ‘total’ capacity of 600 employees per space. Some employees have a table and a sewing-machine, others are responsible for ironing the garment or packaging. Each part (or panel) of the garment is manufactured with precision, and quality checks are carried out after each line step. Garment manufacturing here is an elaborate, time-intensive process, and it took a very long time to meet the high demands regarding quality understandable to the local workers and managers, and then to implement them effectively. With the vast expertise, strict discipline combined from Chinese and European KTC staff, and an unreserved commitment to establish and control manufacturing processes streamlined for quality and performance, over the years KTC’s renowned quality was met.
Aside from its garment quality, like KTC, the company is also well-known for its CSR – starting with hygiene. Not only is the workspace kept clinically clean, but the employees also access to large washrooms. Also, to prevent food and insects from being brought into the halls and compromising product quality as well as safe and healthy working conditions, there are procedures in place to protect hygiene in and around the factory compound. The fully air-conditioned halls not only contribute to making the whole factory in this tropical climate a comfortable environment but at the same time are essential to increasing and protecting product quality and safety, dealing with issues such as dirt marks, mold and other contamination from a combination of dust, moisture, and high temperatures.
Trio’s quality standards, and the fact that the company has very high customer satisfaction, means new orders are constantly received and this, in turn, leads to a stable financial situation, which makes the company a very attractive employer. Since the minimum wage was lifted to an adequate level in Laos in 2015, many companies have had too close down. Trio is a secure employer that met the minimum wage requirement before it was even introduced, and the village of Sikeut, where the compound is situated, is now one of the richest in the area.
In 2003, the company partnered with former employee Gerlinde Engel, to form the ‘Angels for Children’ Foundation. Through this foundation the company was the decisive factor in the reconstruction of three state schools, namely the Ban Phang Heng Lower Secondary School, the Ban Phang Heng primary school, and the Ban Sikeud primary school – furthering KTC’s commitment to their workers and families under their long-standing motto ‘Clothes Make People’.
Now more than 25 years on, Trio continues to be a major, important employer in Laos and currently has over 2300 happy, smiling workers.