Hi Tech Manufacturing solutions in China
“Helping our clients to source offshore when the time is right, is a key part of our future. We’re working closely with our partners abroad to ensure we deliver successful offshore manufacturing solutions.”
Greg, Grant, George and myself were in China for two weeks and we were working flat out. There seems to be no other way in China, as the energy and drive is apparent everywhere. China is a place where things get done and a sense of urgency really prevails. Unfortunately if you are not there and giving face-to-face time, that sense of urgency seems to slip. You become a second priority and it can be hard to get action.
Traditionally manufacturing in China is seen as a way to cut costs and increase profitability. This can certainly be achieved but it is a long, hard road. Management overheads, quality assurance, communication, shipping, MOQs, engineering turn around, and lead times are all a mine field of hidden costs and can absorb resource faster than anything.
Relationships are key in doing business in China. What, at the time, is a lot of long meetings, dinners and copious toasts, does lead to the personal relationships that can help to smooth some of the difficulties of dealing with this massive powerhouse of production and often will help to give our relatively small NZ demand a great leg up. It requires a big investment and I am pleased to say that the relationships that Fero has had in China stretch back over a decade. It is very obvious that this gives us a real advantage when dealing with our Chinese partners, and ensures our success in achieving Hi Tech manufacturing solutions in China.
I think it is time that Fero used these relationships to contribute more to our Vision of contributing to sustainable local manufacture and helping NZ manufacturers to be leaders on the world stage. We have very strong relationships in China and we need to be the conduit between the low cost manufacturing model and the niche market that is Hi Tech Manufacturing in NZ.
Our relationships and experience allow us to greatly reduce the hidden cost of having product manufactured in China, however we can still greatly improve this. During our visit I realized that if we were to treat out customers the same way we treat our suppliers we wouldn’t have anyone dealing with us. Supplier relationships are vitally important to the success of any business and we must remember this and ensure that we are nurturing our relationships in China. It is not enough to visit annually and expect that we are going to get the highest level of service and quality with a few emails. We need to be spending time at all levels of the business, from the Managing Director to the process worker on the floor, they all need to know what drives us and our customers.
How can we expect immediate action and focus on our projects, when we are a small fish in a huge pond? As usual we Kiwis need to think of other ways to get the results we want, and can not rely on our purchasing power…
2015 will see us contributing more resource to building our relationships and in turn developing our capabilities to satisfy the manufacturing market back home with increased service out of China. It is very hard for New Zealand manufacturers to go to China and receive the kind of DIFOTIS that we require and expect for our businesses, without the benefit of long term relationships and extensive experience of a company that is dedicated to linking both these markets.
Don’t worry…. We are in no way going to be taking the eye off the ball at home, and in fact this trip just confirms how important it is to have reliable onshore manufacturing capabilities close to our customers. We have big things coming up in the new year and some very exciting investments that are going to hugely increase our capacity and capabilities on shore and ensure that we are providing an even better and more comprehensive service to our customers. WATCH THIS SPACE…I look forward to telling you all about it soon!