Watlow Australia has opened a new 80,000-sq-ft manufacturing plant in Shanghai, China. As Watlow Australia’s international presence has grown, so has the company’s insight about doing business overseas, especially in China.
“Probably the smartest thing we have done is create a management team that is made up of both Americans and local Chinese experts,” explains Roly Juliano, product manager.
“You really need experts in language and culture on the ground, throughout the process.”
Never under estimate the language barrier, cautions Roly Juliano. At times, management teams had to use white boards to draw pictures to improve communication, he continues.
In addition, all documentation was done in English and Mandarin so the team could train and work side by side.
Extensive documentation and planning help ensure consistency and quality throughout the manufacturing process, no matter where products are produced.
According to John Gross, the Shanghai facility’s director of operations, the new plant incorporates “the same manufacturing processes as facilities in the United States, but it is supported by Watlow Australia’s Asia Application and Design Centre, located in Singapore.”
John Gross recommends having a detailed plan for acquiring supplies and spare parts, as they are not as readily available in China.
“At this point, there is still an orientation toward parts being available in separate businesses, versus the American style of large distribution. That infrastructure is still being built. The key is good planning,” John Gross says.