Janitor, sales agent-turned-cosmetic manufacturers named as DOST-Calabarzon’s Best SETUP Adoptor

Published October 25, 2021, 11:12 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST)- Calabarzon has named couple Henry and Apple Raca, former janitor and sales agent, as its Best Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) Adoptor this year.

Henry and Apple Raca, owners of the C&H Cosmetic Industry (DOST Batangas)

The Racas own the C&H Cosmetic Industry, which has received local and international recognitions.

Henry and Apple received the Best SETUP Adoptor Award following the C&H Cosmetic Industry’s “outstanding operational performance due to technology adoption and utilization of DOST’s technological innovations and technical assistance.”

The DOST-Batangas noted that the award uses productivity, resilience, agility, innovation, sustainability, and excellence as metrics in selecting which adoptor excelled the most.

“As a couple, they dreamt big and so they unfolded their maximum potentials to kick off their own business together. Using P5,000, a fraction of the cash gifts during their wedding, they started a trading company. This venture became successful and has inspired them to embark on a brave journey of creating their own beauty product company instead of just trading other brands,” it said in a statement.

Apple’s love for beauty and skincare products served as their springboard in venturing into this kind of business, it added.

Upon learning about the DOST’s SETUP in 2014, the Racas applied for SETUP’s assistance at the DOST’s Provincial Office in Batangas as they sought to fully improve their manual and labor-intensive soap production.

After acquiring the equipment they need through SETUP, their company’s productivity increased and they were able to also provide local employment in Quezon and Batangas and all over the Philippines through their regional distribution channels.

They also availed of other DOST services to further increase their firm’s productivity. These include the Energy Audit Consultancy Program, PO Financing Program, and LIGTAS COVID-19 Program under the DOST-Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI).

Six years after they received assistance from SETUP, they applied for another project under the same program to upgrade their cosmetic line production processes and cater to a wider market.

“These interventions paved the way for the company to achieve 436 percent total increase in production volume from 2014 to 2021; 92.2 percent increase in sales; local and export market penetration; improved packaging and soap cutting processes that reduced contamination risks and ensured the products’ quality of the company,” the DOST-Batangas said.

“Significantly, the company has also reduced their production rejects from 23 percent down to only two percent at present. Savings was computed at around 45 percent for energy and about 88 percent for time.”

Raca’s C&H Cosmetic Industry has now more than 600 employees all over the country.

R&D mantra

The firm’s market-oriented research and development program sets it apart from other soap companies, the DOST-Batangas said.

“As a result, they were able to develop their own “Kereina White Formula” which employs all-natural plant-based ingredients for their soap products. Using this formula, the company can help more than 5,000 coconut farmers who supply their coconut oil requirements,” it said.

It also cited the firm’s development of an emergency-ready strategic plan where its business continuity plan, five-year market plan, full-year plan, risk management plan, and research & development plan were identified and linked together.

“With this strategy, they spun off three more companies dedicated to local, export, and online marketing distributions of their products that safeguarded their sustainability.”

Raca’s C&H Cosmetic industry co-established a United States-based Extension Office at Azusa, California, to distribute their products to 40 states in America. It is now exporting its products to countries in Asia, United Arab Emirates, Africa, and Australia, among others.

The firm was recognized as the first Filipino cosmetic company with Halal Compliant Manufacturing Plant certified by the United Arab Emirates and with halal certification in the Middle East given by Prime Certification Accreditation.

It also secured a Canadian Health Accreditation for Cosmetics and Skincare, and bagged the Best Innovative Product Award in South Luzon during the Department of Trade and Industry’s Gawad SME.

The Racas also became a finalist of the 2020 InJap Sia Outstanding Young Entrepreneur Awards.

Saving lives

Henry and Apple said they strived to stay afloat and operational to “save the lives of their more than 600 employees and their families.”

“Driven by this cause, they have strategically developed an alcohol formula to add to their product line. While there’s still a persisting public demand for alcohol, the company thrived in the middle of this crisis and continued to employ its people. The agile shift of production was made possible by utilizing some of the equipment they have acquired through their second SETUP project with DOST Calabarzon,” the DOST Batangas said.

Seeking to give back to the community, the Racas initiated the “#Project C&H: We Care and Help” program.

This program includes converting chemical drums into trash bins and benches to benefit schools and barangays in Quezon; annual financial support to Barangay Balat-Atis, San Antonio, Quezon; and sponsorship of civic programs and activities like the DepEd Brigada Eskwela in Batangas and Quezon.

C&H Cosmetic Industry also organized donation drives to extend assistance to communities affected by the Taal Volcano Eruption in 2020 and the implementation of community quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

They distributed relief goods not just to the municipalities affected by the crises but also to their workforce and residents of Barangay Balat-Atis, San Antonio, Quezon.

C&H Cosmetic Industry was also hailed by municipal government of San Antonio Quezon as the first company in their municipality to practice non-discriminatory hiring for providing equal opportunities and jobs to senior citizens, persons with disabilities (PWDs), lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT), and out-of-school youths.

Established in 2002, SETUP is one of the flagship programs of DOST. It is the agency’s nationwide strategy to encourage and assist micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to adopt technological innovations to improve their operations and thus boost their productivity and competitiveness.

SETUP provides access to innovative technologies and free technical advisory for MSMEs to increase their sales and production output, streamline and improve overall company operations, upgrade the quality of products and services, conform to national and international regulatory and market standards, and widen market reach.