Offshore sources can be tricky to manage with onshore manufacturing. This blog will talk about how to complement onshore manufacturing with offshore capabilities. Companies have challenges designing offshore source components with product designs onshore. And there is a multitude of reasons that contribute to these challenges.
What type of challenges have you experienced in your communication with customers?
The biggest challenge is those cultural barriers when it comes to communication. These would include language barriers as well as documentation barriers. Some documents are not even supplied to the customer or are in native Chinese. Customers then fear they don’t understand what they are walking into because of this. Additionally, another misperception is that people think it’s a lack of product equality.
Another important barrier is the lack of a relationship and relationship-building over time. The Chinese have a word for business relationship building known as “Guanxi“. Guanxi is the time spent building that relationship. And, if you do not have Guanxi, then you’re somebody who is knocking at the door and inquiring like many others. But, if you have that relationship, you are through that door, and you’re deep in the world of manufacturing. You will receive the manufacturer’s support, internal, and network support to get solutions. Another point is the lack of relationships. Travel restrictions today prohibit building important relationships to get that support. U.S. companies are looking for that support to build trust in the supplier.
How are we solving these challenges?
Foremost, having boots on the ground is a big advantage and you want to leverage that. You don’t build a relationship overnight. It takes time on both sides, supplier, and customer, to spend on a problem. You achieve the goals and objectives that you’re setting for both sides. Having boots on the ground in various offshore locations can get you a major advantage. With boots on the ground that is in the manufacturer’s facility, you can do many things.
First, you can make sure that it is the right manufacturer that you selected by performing audits. Whatever the manufacturer is trying to qualify for, make sure you can work with their teams. This way you can meet onshore companies’ expectations. There’s a lot of willingness there, but often, we’re missing guidance. Boots on the ground boost the confidence of the manufacturer via the quality process. Make sure that factories adhere to environmental and ethics requirements. It’s rewarding for the manufacturers to see they are complying with these requirements. They do want to be compliant. But, they don’t know how to communicate it due to language barriers.
Does having offshore Chinese employees talk to Chinese manufacturers make a huge difference?
Yes! It’s key to use local resources and train them to represent the wants of US manufacturers. And when you keep doing this over and over again, you have a very trained workforce. One that knows what the key ideas are and how to translate them into Chinese. This yields better results than conveying your points in a 20-minute Zoom call.
So, as time passes, you build this element of the relationship that ferments the ground to build upon. Any time that you spend with the:
- with their leadership,
- their middle management
is increasing the relationship. That will get you closer to the solution that you are asking for in the long run. Time spent with suppliers builds relationships and trust. And, that is the top goal that you need to set for yourself and your organization in this relationship.
iConn’s Guanxi: The oil that keeps China running.
Guanxi, in direct translation, means relationship. And there are different levels of business relationships that this one word describes. iConn has earned the Guanxi from hours of interaction with our manufacturing partners. As your partner, we are going to give you access to our Guanxi that we have built the last 23 years with partners in China.