Enquiries about quality control make up a fair share of the conversations that I have these days, and for good reason; it is one of the most frustrating and misunderstood aspects of sourcing products in Asia.
Unfortunately, a good amount of these conversations start with a question of what legal recourse a person might have against a supplier, now that a container of defective goods has already arrived to a warehouse in the USA (or worse, sent directly to Amazon!). When it comes to quality control, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
I’ve been sourcing and manufacturing products in China for over two decades now, and in that time I’ve progressed through all of the stages from Anger to Resentment to Acceptance, and finally ended up with a program that works to get consistent output, at least for me. It’s this Quality Program that I spend a lot of time teaching. In this post I outline the fundamentals of the program that I use to manage production quality.
One of the most valuable lessons that I’ve learned in working in a global business is the power of being able to work asynchronously. Despite having the tools to do so, most workplaces depend upon immediacy of communication to get things done. How many times have you answered the phone to hear a colleague on the other end asking “hey, did you read my email?”.
I’ve found myself making a few “How to get to Southern China” guides recently, so I thought it would be best to get all of this information in one place.
Ok, so assuming you have a visa, global mobile phone plan, and an airline ticket in hand, lets talk about what happens when you hit the ground.
A man famous to all of us around him for his razor-sharp wit, my father often uses his humor as a vehicle for imparting business knowledge.
“Any idiot can make plan” he said “it’s the good managers that know what to do when things don’t go according to plan”
It was good advice that has since driven a lot of the work that I’ve done throughout my career.
Making the jump from China traveler to China expat is still a common occurrence, despite the reported decline in the traditional expat packages in Tier-1 cities like Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong. Living and working an a foreign country is a complicated process, within both the new country as well as your home country. Expats in China are subject to a dizzying array of considerations.
China gets a bad reputation for their treatment of intellectual property. The reality is that all multinational firms should pay attention to protecting their intellectual property both at home and abroad. While the lessons in this post are written with China in mind, we believe they are applicable anywhere.
I picked up my briefcase (or is it an attache? I’ve never sure where that line is drawn) the other day and I was so surprised at how light it felt that I was convinced I had left my computer or power supply somewhere at the supplier I was visiting. After a few panicked seconds of looking over all of the contents and realized everything was where it should be, I was struck by the thought that over the past twenty years of business traveling, I’ve really refined the items that I take with me on trips. I figured I would post a bit about the things I bring (and leave behind).
Last year I was invited to speak to a group of business students at a university outside of Shanghai. After a brief presentation about the work that I do in China, the class took turns asking me questions about business and entrepreneurship in general.
One of the students approached the microphone and asked “you’ve done a lot and accomplished a lot, what advice would you have for someone that also aspires to accomplish great things?”
A continuation and refinement of the ideas presented in last week’s spellbinding, food-based perspective on outsourced manufacturing. What I want to talk about today is the different perspectives that exist between fast-food and fine-dining restaurants and how these perspectives inform our techniques in managing a global manufacturing footprint. And hamburgers; I always seem to work those into my story.