FQ Carmelo Enterprises specializes in the production of hollow blocks in Barangay Sto. Domingo, Urdaneta City. It is one of the beneficiaries of the DOST’s Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) in acquiring production equipment to improve productivity.
“When we needed to enclose our area and extend the fence every now and then, we thought it was practical and economical to construct it on our own. That’s how our production of hollow blocks started,” recalls Franklin Carmelo, the manager of the firm.
Carmelo was thinking of a fallback even before he retired in his banking career. He started with the production of native delicacies together with his wife that remains competitive at present and then came the opportunity in making hollow blocks.
The hollow blocks initially produced for personal use was transformed into a business, catering to nearby walk-in clients. To maximize the opportunities, he reconnected and established partnership with his previous clients in the bank who are contractors and hardware store owners.
Carmelo believes that honesty and high quality products are the hallmarks of a successful business. “If you’re dealing with business, there should be no taint of dishonesty so that you will be known there in the long run. It’s really important that our product is reliable. That’s what I always remind my staff. If it’s 4 inches, it is exactly 4 inches. Our output in a bag of cement is set within 70-80 hollow blocks only to assure quality,” says Carmelo.
One of the challenging situations every business encounters is with the workforce. Although it administers on compensating well and giving benefits to the employees, difficult circumstances still happen.
“There’s not much profit in the business but every day, we can accumulate enough. We create labor. We are creating this business not only for us, but more on them,” he adds, referring to his personnel who are all residing in the community. To lessen surprises, he encourages honest and open communication with them. He listens and responds accordingly.
The business is simple and easy to manage according to Carmelo. Orders are continuous especially during peak season in November through December. However, some orders are turned down because of limited volume as the production process is still manual.
With the mechanized machines acquired by the firm through SETUP, they can now cater the demand of customers. Their production has increased by 15 percent and they employed two additional workers.