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”
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.
I am already thinking about the fall session of the Canton Fair. Â http://www.cantonfair.org.cn/en/index.asp 1,130,000 M2 of exhibit space; 56,915 standard booths I love the energy and there is so much to learn with each session. It really stimulates my creativity, sense of adventure and I always come up with a new idea or two for my clients. I will go … Read More
But as it relates to sourcing products and services in China, our meaning is a bit more literal. We have feet on the ground. We have people in China. We have an established presence. This does not mean “I know a guy” or “we have contacts” in China. So what are the advantages of feet on the ground? Here are just five.
I do a lot of traveling back and forth from Houston to Shanghai as part of my job as CEO of Avela Corporation. My trips involve traveling with clients to do final negotiation on sourcing deals that the Shanghai office has spent weeks and months setting up. Our travels take us to all parts of China, from futuristic mega-cities like … Read More