Supply Chain Relations in the Far East, Ten Months on…

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Last year, I published a blog entitled Supporting and Developing Supply Chain Relations in the Far East, documenting my experiences, impressions and objectives following my first visit to the region on business. This year, I was kindly invited by TAITRA, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council. After spending a weekend in Hong Kong, I travelled to Taiwan on the 16th of July, with the aim of further consolidating our supplier relations, identifying exciting new opportunities and rectifying minor quality issues.

It would be fair to say that since 2015, our presence and reputation in Asia has strengthened. Now in 2016, I was pleased to be able to travel with the news that we have been named as one of the winners of the 2016 Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the field of International Trade and Development, demonstrating our commitment to driving positive overseas business relations.

Previously, I had visited two of our key suppliers Nagasaki and Exertis, based in Taiwan and China respectively. The meetings went well, but being my second visit to Asia I felt I had learnt a lot, knew what to expect and was ready to hit the ground running. I now understood how to engage effectively with Taiwanese and Chinese suppliers to the mutual benefit of both parties. In addition, I composed a corporate presentation which I ran through when visiting each supplier. This afforded the companies I was speaking to a deeper insight into exactly who we are, what we value and what our business is about.

Last year, I participated in a Meet the Buyers trade event organised by TAITRA. This time however, I was invited to join the eCommerce Business Day 2016 at the Taiwan World Trade Centre, set up by the Taiwanese Bureau of Foreign Trade. Its function was to act as a link between global buyers from the eCommerce industry and specially selected Taiwanese suppliers, during quick-fire one-to-one sessions.  The event was facilitated by TAITRA and hosted over 80 companies from all corners of the globe. It represented an important opportunity for me to gain visibility into how the rise of eCommerce enables suppliers in the region to make their products, services and capabilities more accessible to overseas markets.

To touch upon the results of supplier meetings, I was able to visit industrial computing company Nexcom. I was particularly impressed with Nexcom’s automation capabilities and capacity to deliver IoT solutions, an area of strong interest for Captec. An outcome of the meeting was to organise a lunch and learn session for October in the UK. I also visited one of our long-term partners Portwell, whose innovative approach to manufacturing far surpassed the levels currently exhibited by most other companies in Asia.

In terms of new suppliers, I was fortunate enough to have productive meetings and factory tours with companies including: Will Will Way, Nautilus Infotech and iBase, among others. I am looking forward to discussing the capabilities and services of these businesses at management level during the coming weeks, now that I am back to work in the UK.

I believe that this visit to the Far East proved to be even more rewarding than the last. In summary, I was able to further take the Captec message deeper into the supply chain, confirm expectations of our suppliers, understand our suppliers better, identify new and potentially exciting relationships, develop my knowledge of eCommerce, and strengthen our position in the region.

I must give special mentions to all the people in Taiwan and China who made my trip both valuable and enjoyable. Firstly to Jimmy Chang, who continues to do an excellent job of representing and supporting Captec in Asia. To all the suppliers who hosted me throughout my stay; Penny Chiang at Portwell, Robert Huang at Arestech, Vince Coleman at Exertis, Amy He, International Business Development Manager  at Macase, James ‘Jimmy’ Lee at FSP, and Steve Chen at Nagasaki  who not only hosted me but gave me a fantastic and insightful tour of the business.

Last but not least to Ardell Hu and everybody at TAITRA, for making my visit possible and ensuring another memorable experience in Taiwan. The organisation should be congratulated for doing such an excellent job of encouraging trade between Taiwan and international companies through the funding and facilitation of overseas visits.

I am now looking forward to further visits in 2017, where I hope to experience much more of the same success with both existing and new suppliers.

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