Why Manufacture in China?

Manufacturing in ChinaChina may be a communist country politically, but capitalism is thriving there. In fact, it is the world’s largest producer of manufactured goods.

It’s been the ideal place for Rich Heidrich, President/CEO of Designs Direct and his two partners to manufacture interior home and commercial products.

If you’ve never been there, your perception of China, its people, and the government’s influence on business is probably very different than the experience of Designs Direct over the last 16 years. Take a listen.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM RICH HEIDRICH, PRESIDENT/CEO OF DESIGNS DIRECT

HOW RECEPTIVE IS THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT TO U.S. BASED COMPANIES MANUFACTURING THERE?  (4:27 in)

In Rich’s words –  We had very little dealings with the government. Our first introduction to China was through a Taiwanese agent. The Chinese government was very receptive on our second trip because we weren’t really interested in doing business the easy way.

Tip – Connect with someone who has experience doing business in China.

HAS YOUR RELATIONSHIP CHANGED WITH THE LOCAL AND NATIONAL GOVERNMENT OVER THE YEARS?  (6:22 in)

In Rich’s words – We really don’t have much interaction with the government. Some of our factory owners do. Most of the interaction we have today is through social engagements.

Tip – Find reliable in country partners to manage most government relations.

CAN YOU SAY YOU CAN OPERATE THERE IN A SIMILAR WAY TO WHAT YOU CAN DO HERE?  (7:43 in)

In Rich’s words –  I would. We feel the brunt of the government, but it’s all for the good. We don’t feel it directly.

Insight – Manufacturers have an obligation to adhere to government regulations and client standards concerning the manufacturing process, labor laws, environmental standards, etc.

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES TO MANUFACTURE IN CHINA?  (9:11 in)

In Rich’s words –  Biggest challenge would be speed to market and maintaining secrecy about our designs and intellectual property.

Insight – Retailers are now expecting delivery in half the time they used to receive it.

HOW MUCH TIME TO YOU DEVOTE TO MANUFACTURING VERSUS OTHER ASPECTS OF YOUR BUSINESS?  (10:40 in)

In Rich’s words –  We have great partners that we work with in China. I don’t have to spend as much time on manufacturing as you might think.

Tip – Having good partners and good relationships makes the difference.

ARE THE SKILL SETS OF THE PEOPLE THERE READILY AVAILABLE?  (12:00 in)

In Rich’s words –  No. That’s an ongoing problem. It’s not too unlike the United States. Children (now grown up) don’t want to work as hard as the parents.

Insight – It’s an ongoing challenge to find and train people, fill the order pipeline, and ensure that the end product is produced on time.

HAVE YOU FACED STEALING OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN CHINA?  (14:16 in)

In Rich’s words –  We have. We continue to. We have built really strong partnerships with some of the factories that we work with. They recognize that should they release our images, share our designs with others that would affect their business.

Tip –  The best deterrent is having trustworthy partners.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO MANUFACTURE IN CHINA?  (15:10 in)

In Rich’s words –  Find someone who has been doing business there for at least five to ten years. Find a company that’s been there, done that, recognize the pitfalls maybe you’re not going to here from a government introduction.

Tip –  Watch out for the person who is just looking to make the quick buck.

 

 

Can Partnering with a Virtual Office Improve Productivity?


Virtual Office ProductivitySince 1995 the number of people working untethered, in a virtual office environment is up four fold. Are you one of them? I recently caught up with Kipp Siedl, franchisee of Intelligent Office about what was happening in the world of virtual offices.

While he told me that expectations are different for long time professionals versus young entrepreneurs, what’s trending now is how his clients are served – as partners.

Listen to how he’s taken businesses that didn’t know what they wanted and helped them become more successful by using a virtual office.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM KIPP SIEDL, OWNER OF INTELLIGENT OFFICE, CINCINNATI

WHAT ARE YOUR CLIENT’S ASKING FOR MOST OFTEN?  (1:44 in)

In Kipp’s words – One of our most popular solutions would be our intelligent assistant. We direct phone calls to them offsite. We answer frequently asked question about their business. It’s far more than an answering service. We also become their office. We want to maximize their productivity.

Insight – This type of arrangement is particularly useful for people who need a business address, occasional meeting space, and can free themselves of most phone activity for scheduling, feedback, appointment confirmations etc.

HOW HAVE THE SERVICES YOU OFFER CHANGED IN THE LAST 7 YEARS? (6:52 in)

In Kipp’s words – We were more of an answering service. Customized services weren’t in place to the degree they are now. Clients will partner with us now. We’re a leading indicator as to how successful their marketing programs are and even their business revenue.

Insight – Ask yourself whether outsourcing certain tasks that allow you to focus on more productive activity will improve business performance.

IS THE REQUEST FOR OFFICE SPACE DIFFERENT DEPENDING UPON THE CLIENT’S GENERATION? (9:52 in)

In Kipp’s words – Typically an older generation person is used to having an office, not working from home. A younger generation person is talking about the co-working space.

Insight – Pick the work environment, whether it’s at home, in a single office or in a co-working environment that maximizes productivity.

IS PROVIDING LUNCH & LEARNS AND PERSONAL SERVICES LIKE PICKING UP LAUNDRY BECOMING A TREND IN THE VIRTUAL OFFICE INDUSTRY? (13:04 in)

In Kipp’s words – I think a lot of those things have been going on for a while, especially the lunch ‘n learns.

Insight – Co-working spaces attract the most interest in lunch ‘n learns. Ask if the service provider offers networking events. Personal service assistance varies among providers.

WHAT QUESTIONS WOULD YOU ADVISE A PROSPECTIVE CLIENT TO ASK? (14:35 in)

In Kipp’s words – Often people walk in here not knowing what they need. We stress that they come into our office so they can see our operation.

Insight – Through a personal visit, you can assess capabilities and identify whether there is a match with your business requirements.

HOW DO YOU ADDRESS MANAGING THE BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP WHEN PERFORMANCE ISSUES OF YOUR STAFF COME UP? (15:50 in)

In Kipp’s words – You can train us on how you want things done.

Insight – When assessing a virtual office provider, ask for examples of them being proactive in coming up with solutions to resolve communication or performance problems.

DO YOU THINK OFFICE AND SUPPORT SERVICES WILL BE THE SAME OR VERY DIFFERENT IN 5 YEARS? (18:36 in)

In Kipp’s words – The level of service is going to get more and more detailed.

Wake Up Small Business – Stop Cyber Thieves!

Cyber ThievesCyber crime is an epidemic. Cyber thieves prey particularly on small business because their computer, network and WiFi security measures are often vulnerable. IBM Chairman Ginni Rometty states – “We believe that data is the phenomenon of our time. It is the world’s new natural resource. It is the new basis of competitive advantage, and it is transforming every profession and industry. If all of this is true – even inevitable – then cyber crime, by definition, is the greatest threat to every profession, every industry, every company in the world.”

Yet computer, network, and WiFi security options are more cost effective than breach recovery. Listen to how you can protect your business from cyber thieves.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM BENSON WRIGHT, STRATEGIC NETWORKING CONSULTANT AT BRIGHTISYS.

HOW SECURE ARE OFFICES CONNECTED THROUGH WI-FI?  (1:27 in)

In Benson’s words –   These systems are low lying fruit for cyber criminals.

Tip – Determine whether your Wi-Fi network is open, connected to your server, and can be easily accessed by an unwanted outsider.

WHAT SHOULD BUSINESS DO TO MAKE THESE WI-FI NETWORKS MORE SECURE? (2:07 in)

In Benson’s words – Look at a new type of threat management solution that is comprehensive to your entire network, one that includes PCs, laptops and smartphones.

Tip – Look for a system that will do anti-virus scanning and malware scanning and be able to be customized to fit your business activity needs. These systems can protect remote as well as in house traffic.

DO COMPANIES DO ENOUGH TO EDUCATE EMPLOYEES ABOUT POTENTIAL HACKING THREATS FROM CYBER THIEVES? (5:59 in)

In Benson’s words – Most people don’t understand the level of sophistication of these threats.

Tip – Have a policy that requires periodic changing of passwords. Have an IT tech check the employee’s personal devices for anti-virus and malware software. Block certain categories of sites from access to your network.

SHOULD ALL BUSINESS BE MOVING DATA TO THE CLOUD? (9:10 in)

In Benson’s words – Businesses should have a cloud footprint somewhere, somehow at this point.

Tip – Double check that being in the cloud doesn’t compromise privacy regulations.

HOW SHOULD A COMPANY RESPOND TO A DATA BREACH? (10:28 in)

In Benson’s words – Make sure it is documented for HR (human relations) purposes. Then the authorities can be notified if necessary.

Tip – Be able to track logins, IP addresses, capture communication packets and isolate the cyber threat. Compare the cost of purchasing a unified threat management router with protection software to the hours of time and dollars that would have to be spent to restore a compromised network.

WHY DON’T MORE PEOPLE STEP UP TO PROTECT THEMSELVES? (14:53 in)

In Benson’s words – Most of it is the standard old – it’s not going to happen to me. People don’t know what to do.

Tip – Compare the cost of purchasing a unified threat management router with protection software to the hours of time and dollars that would have to be spent to restore a compromised network.