One thing that always amazes me is the lack of understanding of the average Chinese worker of his/her context.
Let me give a few examples and it will become clear.
- In the West, the airline counter lady can pull a lot of information and take decisions. In China it seems she doesn’t know anything and she cannot decide anything.
- Most ERP systems developed in China show people only what is directly linked to their work. They give no information about related data — just the exact data that are needed to do the job. But how to plan production, for example, without have a view of the whole?
- The production staff doesn’t try to understand the way products end up being used. I know of a factory that makes a variety of metal products, including casket handles. Since workers tend to be superstitious, the managers said it’s door handles. No worker asked “wow these are really huge handles, what must the door look like?”
I am no cultural expert so I won’t try to put my finger on the origins of this situation. I can only guess that the education system and the management/worker relationship have something to do with it.
What I can say is this. When you communicate with a Chinese person and you want them to do something specific, take a little time and give them the context for your needs. That’s necessary because they might not think/dare to ask you for that information and they might not try to make a guess.
If you purchase products from Chinese suppliers, make sure to explain how the product will be used, in what circumstances, etc. It might seem obvious to you, but not to them. Let’s say you buy boat accessories — a very small proportion of China’s population has been on a boat.
In addition, you need to describe your expectations, down to the tiny details. First the macro, then the micro. Don’t forget any one of them.
As a side note, I was interviewed twice recently and I thought it would be interesting to some people with little experience buying in China.
How To Do Quality Control [VIDEO ON YOUTUBE]
- From the angle of someones first time QCing their own product, what are the things we should be considering right out of the gate?
- What to do with failures? How to respond to mass problems?
- What do AQL limits mean?
- Where is the biggest operation system gaps within a factory?
- The most common misconceptions about quality control
- Can you trust your supplier’s internal QC department?
- What are Acceptable Quality Limits?
- Prevention methods for quality control