Thursday, January 31, 2008

China Quality Control Requires Savvy Managers

Great quality is the price of entry in the global marketplace – it’s expected. Quality problems in manufactured products from China can harm your brand, not to mention your business. How can you prevent quality problems from tarnishing your household name? Successful supply chain managers at multinational companies that manufacture in Asia are proactive in protecting their supply and production processes. Key attributes include:

  • In depth knowledge of your supply chain: Instilling the highest level respect and adherence for quality at your plant won’t prevent a Tier II or III supplier from neglecting your specifications if they do not understand the value of quality to your business. In China experienced supply chain professionals understand and exert control over every supplier by being scrupulous about testing and inspection.
  • Malcolm Who? Western quality and process control standards were developed over decades. We evolved from Quality Control to Benchmarking to ISO to Kaizen, Six Sigma and Baldridge Awards. Successful supply chain and quality managers in Asia are persistent providers of training and reinforcement of these international standards.
  • A supply chain/quality manager who speaks Chinese (Mandarin usually preferred) and has spent at least part of his/her career in the United States, Japan or Europe is valued for his/her close understanding of multinational values and ability to communicate clearly with suppliers at all levels.

To read about trends and challenges in recruiting executives in Asia, read the article in this month's Search-Consult Magazine by DHR International's Asia Pacific Managing Director, Christine Greybe.


(1) Includes new market/product introduction responsibilities
(2) Total compensation usually includes incentive bonuses ranging from 10 - 20%.

THE LAST WORD: Not found at the Detroit Auto Show: Tata Motors: Five Chinese auto makers tested the waters at the Detroit Auto Show in January with plans to enter the US market in 3 – 5 years. I searched in vain, however, for India’s new Tata car, going into production in 2008. The Tata will seat five and run on a 33 horsepower engine. Designed for less-regulated markets in Asia and Africa, it won’t have airbags or anti-lock brakes. Tata Motors will not actually sell cars but car kits, shipping them to dealers to be snapped together. The car will cost about $2,500. The big car makers may be as vulnerable to this upstart as mainframe makers at the dawn of the PC era, according to an article by Kevin Maney in February’s Portfolio magazine.

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