Supporting Supply Chain Relations in the Far East

Andy McLeod

Supporting and Developing Supply Chain Relations in the Far East

As Purchasing Manager at Captec, I was pleased to have recently been invited by TAITRA, the Taiwanese External Trade Development Council, to attend a meet the buyers ICT Trade meeting at the Nangang Conference Exhibition Hall, Taipei World Trade Centre.

Embedded in Captec’s culture is acknowledging the importance of maintaining good working and personal relations with all its partners in our supply chain. In keeping with this, I decided to extend the scope of the trip to meet with existing and new suppliers within Taiwan and China.

The trip spanned the 3rd to the 14th of October and represented an important opportunity to both support and advance Captec’s supply chain relations. I was personally keen to meet with existing suppliers, strengthen relationships, identify potential opportunities and evaluate and develop the capabilities of our chassis and tablet supply chains.

In my first two working days, I visited a mix of seven existing and new suppliers, including AmtekUbiqconnNagasaki and Guanghsing. All were very accommodating, with a typical Taiwanese mix of great hospitality, coupled with a professional attitude to business.

On my third day, the 7th October, I attended a networking event organised by TAITRA at Nangang. There, I was seated and given the chance to meet with 12 different companies over 30 minute rounds, somewhat reminiscent of speed dating but for businesses.

It typified the refreshing approach to business prevalent in the Far East. Traditionally, you would never be able to meet this many companies in one day. The event made this possible and also generated two leads of interest, Wanxin Image Inc, tablet manufacturers, and rackmount computer manufacturer, Shuttle Inc. These are leads which I intend to pursue now I’m back to business as usual in the UK.

I was also fortunate to be able to visit Taitronics, the Taipei International Electronics show, which was run in parallel at Nangang. There I was able to catch up with Julie Wu from Evercool, a fan company we had purchased from in the past, who we may be able to work with again in the future.

On the 8th October I visited a further three companies with our Asia representative, Jimmy Chang, including ASRock, a leading industrial motherboard supplier throughout Asia, and Winmate, an established supplier of tablets to Captec.

Friday was a Bank Holiday and Jimmy and I enjoyed a well earned rest. I travelled to Hong Kong on Saturday in preparation for more visits in China on the Monday.

Monday was my first foray in to Shenzhen, with a very busy border crossing and a short stop to meet the guys at Exertis’ supply chain services in downtown Shenzhen.

From there it was an hour’s drive to one of Exertis’ approved ODM suppliers, where they deployed lean manufacturing techniques in a well laid out factory using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) methods to meticulously track the progress of products through the production line, which was highly impressive.

In many cases, the abilities of the suppliers surpassed my expectations. Visits to their factories left a lasting impression due to the levels of skill and professionalism demonstrated, inspiring confidence in relationships moving forward.

At present, we are well known in the Far East as leading UK designers and manufacturers of industrial computers. As such, my arrival generated a lot of attention and interest, with companies keen to learn more about the company and engage in discussions with me around potential business.

Overall, my visit to Asia helped improve and develop a lot of relationships. It helped our representative in the region, Jimmy Chang, continue to do an exceptional job and to fly the Captec flag in the Far East. It was a pleasure to meet with him and spend some time together. Since my return I have seen an improved understanding and faster more concise communications with all suppliers I visited. Also we have engaged with one supplier who has demonstrated exceptional support since my return. I am convinced this would not have happened without my visit.

Special thanks go to Joyce Shen and her TAITRA team in Taiwan for looking after us during the Nangang meetings, and to Stephanie Endo at TAITRA London, for her invitation and for organising an enjoyable and fruitful trip. It must be said that TAITRA do a terrific job promoting Taiwanese trade in the UK and affording companies like Captec the opportunity to be put in front of potential new suppliers.

To build upon the successes of this trip and further establish Captec in Far East Asia, I will be aiming to travel to the region on a much more frequent basis. I am already planning and looking forward to my next visit in the coming months

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