trip to China - August 2011Mark Spring August 19, 2011 : 0
Earlier this month I visited China as a guest of our newest supplier, Haier (which also owns 20% of Fisher & Paykel). During the flying visit, I got to check out The Great Wall and The Forbidden City and was able to see huge, buzzing metropolises like Beijing and Shanghai. However, the main aim of the trip was to see how the world’s largest whiteware company works and what this can teach dtr in terms of our ongoing relationship with them as well as what we can learn from their processes and culture.
Despite the incomparable differences in scale, I was fascinated by the culture of the company. As the number one whiteware manufacturer, Haier has the capacity to produce over 18 million refrigerators a year! Despite this, it maintains a strong focus on what appeals to customers in every region. This kind of global operation whilst having a local focus and delivery was something that stuck with me.
There mere fact that they had us out there and asked genuine questions about what they could do to better appeal to the needs of our customers in New Zealand, was a real insight into how you can stay true to your values even when you grow rapidly. It’s a natural concern that as a business gets bigger, it loses part of what makes it successful, but you must keep that local connection (even when it seems like it’s low down on the list of immediate priorities).
Whiteware is one of the most competitive markets around so if Haier can do it, so can we.