On the surface, China Sourcing sounds risky. Working half way around the world, with a completely different culture and system, with a very difficult language sets off flags in many a CEOs mind. But we all know that if you are stagnant and not expanding you are at risk in todays business environment. We also know that China in not only the quality manufacturer to the world, but now the second largest market. So where is China in your business plan? I said it before; China is either a place to cut your manufacturing or distribution cost, an emerging market or a direct competitor. Sometimes all three.
At my Vistage meeting last week, we listened to a speaker about mergers and acquisitions. And as usual with me, I was trying to imagine how this great information would pertain China sourcing. He said that 65 percent of mergers and acquisitions fail because parties spent time putting out fires and not planning properly. That
Well usually my mind is on all things China. China Sourcing of products and services is all I think about. But at this time in the holiday season, I like to take a break from sourcing and think about what is most important this time of year. And of course that is family. The latest addition to our family is my daughter-in-law … Read More
I get asked quite often; “How can you guarantee that my order from China will be perfect?” I usually say that we have procedures and a process to work through quality issues. There is a whole list of things we do including the development of a check lists, photos and video confirmation and third party materials testing just to name a few. But what I don’t talk too much about is what else we are doing behind the scenes to increase accountability on the China side and both sides for that matter. It is something we do to make our job so much easier in China but it dawns on me that maybe I should be bragging (just a little) about our accountability effort and how it saves time, money and benefits all three parties. (Our client, the factory in China and us- Avela Corporation
There are tons of articles and books on the do’s and don’t of etiquette and culture in China. Everyone who wants to do business in China should have this basic understanding. But once you are past these formalities and want to develop a long term relationship, the foundation I like to build on is “I am not the hammer and you are not the nail”
Every year at this time I am giddy with excitement and anticipation at the prospect of attending the Canton Fair in Guangzhou China. I have attend the Canton Fair over 12 times in the last 10 years and I am always amazed. Maybe I am easily impressed but you tell me if there is anything trade show wise that is more impressive than the Canton Fair?
So what does business transparency have to do with Sourcing in China? I will get to that in a minute, but let me set the stage.
As the transparency movement drives businesses to be more open about their products and services, it is becoming routine to expect full disclosure on the who, what, when, where and how our products and services offered. It has gone way beyond “features and benefits”, and now with instant tools like FaceBook and Twitter just to name a few, we are at the instantaneous mercy of the fingertips of our customers.
I was thinking about my job and what it really represents. It struck me that sourcing products and services in China is all about change and I am really a change agent. I guess that is why I only deal with top executives as change is too difficult to power up from the bottom. Powering change from the top down is where change is most likely to occur. And change seams like such a natural process, but I know from personal experience that it can be seam painful.
Instead of talking strictly about sourcing products and services in China, lets talk breakfast. I usually make 4-5 sourcing trips to China each year that can last 2-4 weeks each, depending on the nature of that particular trip. … I penetrate the crowd and let their energy whisk me along toward my breakfast street vendor rendezvous. Hundreds of smiles, strange looks and a mile later, I’m in line. Finally it is my turn as I watch my breakfast being created.
“A ship in port is safe, but that is not what ships are built for. Sail out to sea and do new things.” – Admiral Grace Hopper:
Are you setting sail or looking for safe harbor?
It reminded me about the reason I got into sourcing in China, but more importantly it relates to todays economy and what CEOs are planning to deal with this uncertain future. Many are setting out to sea and chartering courses to places like China, India, Mexico and Brazil.