Tag: china

Welcome Year of the Monkey – Preparing for Chinese New Year

Anyone involved in sourcing from China has likely been preparing for Chinese New Year for several weeks.  The “new year,” also known as the Spring Festival, is marked by the lunisolar Chinese calendar.  The festivities usually start the day before the new year and continue until the Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the new year. During that time, factories and other businesses are closed.

What happens during Chinese New Year?

Chinese New Year is the most significant holiday in China.  It’s a time when the Chinese return to their home towns and celebrate with friends and family.  Learn more about the cultural aspects here. 

For those involved in manufacturing within the region, there’s an urgency prior to the holiday to ensure timely shipments. This is where proactive planning is helpful.

How can you plan for timely shipments? 

At Pro QC, account managers usually start reaching out to clients in October. We want to make sure clients are aware of the holiday schedule and also have an opportunity to request inspections of any pending orders. We are able to contact the suppliers and let them know that an inspection will be required. Coordinating the schedule allows us to keep clients informed of any delays.

What happens after the holiday?

Many workers will not return to their pre-holiday positions. Many will use the time off to look for employment closer to their families, or at manufacturers that have reputations of higher wages and/or working conditions.

In addition to the rush of orders waiting after the holiday, the staffing issue also presents quality concerns.  We urge all of our clients to inspect orders for a period of time before and after the holiday to ensure consistency.  With the increase in orders and staffing concerns, quality issues are very common during this time.

Why a monkey?

Each Chinese New Year is characterized by one of 12 animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac. The Chinese zodiac is divided into 12 blocks (or houses) just like its western counterpart, but with the major difference being that each house has a time-length of one year instead of one month.  This year it’s the Year of the Monkey, the ninth animal in the cycle

恭喜发财 / 恭喜發財 (Gōngxǐ fācái)

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Quality testing adventure… Evaluating strollers

They say you should walk 10,000 steps per day, and our engineers in China are hitting the mark as they road test these strollers through various road conditions.

Sebastian Oarcea, Pro QC’s Chief Engineer, explains the evaluation in more detail below.

Purpose:  To determine the functionality and performance of the strollers in a real-life operating condition.

Process:  One sample is subject of functional evaluation in reference with instructions manual provided and applicable standard prior to road test to identify potential failure modes.

The road test is performed with strollers loaded at maximum stated by manufacturer (both for occupant and luggage compartments, basket etc.) over terrain that mirrors the expected usage environment (including stairs, inclined road, grass and sand roads etc.).

The strollers are tested in ways that would parallel the way it would operate in normal home use.  Normally 5 samples of each model are included in this test.

Report: The final Summary Report evaluates and records the performance and physical aspects of the stroller during the test. It includes initial observations from the receiving of the product, packaging, compulsory markings and warnings, instructional literature, Mean Time To Failure (MTTF) with reliability data in hours of use and distance, comments (both positive and negative) and suggestions from testers, satisfaction score and daily reports. The test distance is about 50 km (for current road track 53km).

Product_Testing_Strollers

Intern insight

Before our intern, Melanie Rinehart, left for China, I had the pleasure of meeting with her.  Our Managing Director has a keen eye when it comes to recruiting passionate individuals.  Melanie is no exception.

For the past several weeks, Melanie has been training in our Shenzhen office.  I wanted to reach out to her again for insight into her experience.

You recently moved from Tampa, Florida to Shenzhen, China for an internship with Pro QC. Having been to China before and studied the language in college, do you find there are significant cultural differences?

I definitely feel that the cultures in China and the West can be almost overwhelmingly different at times. The cultural differences between China and the West are nowhere more pronounced to me than in a business/school setting. The hierarchical structure of Chinese society can leave a foreigner feeling uncomfortable and out of place without the proper cultural training. Expectations from the company and staff of an organization may vary widely from those in the West. 

For instance, a Chinese co-worker could expect a lot less from a foreigner in China, not only because of their Mandarin proficiency or lack-thereof, but also because being an intern in general carries a different weight in Chinese culture than in Western culture.

To avoid complications and frustration, I try to read as many cultural studies and foreign professionals’ journals of times spent in China as possible; Eric Shepherd has published many great articles and books about cultural differences to be aware of in China.

What is it like working with Pro QC in the Shenzhen office?

Working for ProQC in the Shenzhen office is much different from the last internship I had in China. I mentioned above that expectations in Chinese businesses are different than in Western businesses, but to be honest working for ProQC has been a more “Western” experience than I have had previously. It is important to take each case individually and not develop any stereotypes from reading about the cultural differences. The best thing about working in the Shenzhen office so far is that the staff has been really welcoming, and I have been given the opportunity to jump right into the actual work.

What do you miss the most about living in the United States?

This is my third time in China, and I have been here for one month at this point. What I always miss most about the United States is my friends and family. Moving far does not seem so daunting at first, but when you arrive in a country whose time zone is twelve hours different it can be very difficult to stay in contact with friends and family as much as you would like. Developing a network of friends in your new city can be very helpful and setting designated times to talk with friends and family is important.

 What is your favorite place to eat and favorite thing to do in Shenzhen?

There are so many great places to eat in Shenzhen! Having been to Beijing and Qingdao before, I can really appreciate the “openness”.  Because Shenzhen was opened up economically in the 70s during Deng Xiaoping’s economy reform, the city is fairly new but also a huge center for foreign direct investment (FDI). FDI has brought many ex-pats from all over the world, so the food is just as eclectic in Shenzhen as it is in the United States. 

My favorite restaurant so far is definitely a small Muslim restaurant in Shekou where you can eat the best 鸡蛋炒拉面 egg fried noodles that I have found in China. The Xinjiang province of China is the origin of the hand pulled noodle, and they are famous worldwide.

One of my favorite things to do in China is to shop. The market itself is a cultural experience. The technology market, iPhone case market, handbag market, and clothes market are all more than five stories of shops. Bargaining with sales associates is a great experience in China, especially if you learn the best techniques from Chinese themselves.

Do you have any words of advice for others looking at internships abroad?

Looking for a job or internship abroad is an interesting challenge. It is important to stay competitive, culturally adaptable, and at least somewhat fluent in the local language.

I have found that my best asset I have for studying and working abroad is flexibility. It is important to know that to be competitive, you have to be willing to take risks as an individual. Each time a business hires a new employee they are taking a risk, and in order to make that risk worth their while, I feel it is important to show that you too are willing to go out on a limb. Plus there is the added benefit of travel, and your company will know that they can count on you to be a reliable asset.

 

Global Manufacturing: Current Reality & Emerging Trends

Companies sourcing from China and greater Asia have enjoyed relatively stable conditions for nearly 20 years. Unfortunately, conditions affecting raw materials, labor, logistics, quality, regulations and currency translations are now changing rapidly and inducing disruptions in supply chain structures across the region while also creating new opportunities in other countries.

In Michael L. Hetzel’s most recent seminar, we review the current reality of manufacturing in China, Greater Asia, The Americas and Europe along with the present and expected trends emerging throughout the world. Michael, Pro QC’s VP/Americas, provides information that will enable you to enhance your understanding of the present conditions and emerging trends in order to create and maintain effective manufacturing strategies, minimize total costs and anticipate potential supply chain disruptions that can lead to delivery delays, increased warranty costs and product recalls.

GlobalBusinessProfessor.com has posted this content to their website with unlimited access.  View the complete seminar here.

The China Trip Wrap-Up (Resources/References)

Since returning from the offices in Shanghai, Ningbo and Shenzhen, I’ve put together several resourceful articles.  Pending content includes the video series, which I will be working on over the coming weeks.  Existing content includes:

Facebook:

Blog articles:

Newsletter articles:

Personal perspective:

Recommended Reading & References: