Chinese Manufacturing The Good, The Bad and The Alibaba!

Recent media highlighted all the problems that had been raised in the companies of China such as, Foxcom and the many garment factories in Asia.

We have to take stock and look at what we are doing as human beings? OK! We all need good pricing, but ethically and morally we are doing ourselves a great disservice when we use companies that treat their people as nothing more than an inanimate object, trained to produce goods at a fast pace with a scant disregard to their welfare and health.

I would much rather pay that bit more and buy from a company where the workers strive to improve the products because they care about the reputation of the company by which they are employed. In turn the company reciprocates by caring for its employees.

Lots of large companies like Primark, Apple, Walmart ( to name but a few) think it is their God given right to seek increasing amounts of shareholder profits. People in the west consider themselves to be getting a great bargain on the products that they purchase, however, the only people getting the real bargain and mega money are the companies who fool us into buying their alleged cheap products.

Having just returned from China in July, I can honestly say there are alternatives to what is looking increasingly like a class enslavement issue in the greater surge for greed.

Let me give you an example of one of the many companies I deal with. Having dealt with the company HLC (originally called Helicheng Organ Industrial Ltd Dongguan) for over 8 years. HLC initially produced metal parts, metal pressings, metal stampings, metal contacts, screws, nuts and bolts etc.

I am proud to say I helped rename this company, which customers now refer to as simply HLC breathing a sigh of relief that they can say the name without taking a massive deep breath whilst reciting the company name.

In my opinion HLC are simply a great company with a brilliant work ethos and it is safe to say that the CEO ‘Jack’ is a wonderful guy. The reason I have come to this conclusion is, Jack treats his staff with the utmost respect and in return his staff work to the very best of their capabilities.

My ethos is I refuse to deal with companies who do not look after their staff, my feelings are, it’s just not right! Any purchaser that can turn a blind eye to a modern form of slavery to make a buck would be more suited quitting their purchasing job and taking up a post in a mortuary.

Ok! Back to my July trip. HLC 10th anniversary was not only a celebration of HLC as a company but the way it had evolved from one man’s vision of improving himself, to become a vibrant company with two factories producing some of the finest metal parts and metal pressings in China. The third company by supplying quality goods at factory direct prices. (Not a sales pitch).

HLC anniversary celebrations has to be one of the most amazing things I have ever witnessed in my career thus far. Such an emotional event! I was the only European there and everyone looked after me. I sat at the top table and gave a speech that was translated in to Chinese and somehow managed to share some of my humour.

At the celebrations not only were the factory staff and family there, but extended families, school teachers from the owner’s youth, old friends, government officials and supply partners. All celebrating a great metal parts manufactures growth.

Everyone had a great time. I suspect no bitching but to be honest if they had bitched I don’t speak Cantonese so I’m not an expert at Chinese bitching. However the party had a great vibe. HLC metal parts 10th anniversary celebration gave me back that feeling that there is the potential to be good in all of us. I felt spiritually elated after the party. Something I had never felt even at a UK Christmas factory party.

What truly amazed me was the rewards Jack gave to all his staff for all their hard work over the past 10 years. Every worker was given a gift ranging from televisions, iPads, iPhones, bikes, HiFi, money and even a car. Yep he gave away a brand new Peugeot just like Saturday Night Takeaway only without Ant and Dec. The person who got the car got a large ticket saying the lady was now the proud owner of a car. She probably needed the car to take home the giant ticket. HLC must have rewarded their staff with over 300 prizes that night.

Jack’s generosity never fails to amaze me. He looks after his workers and gives a fair open price to his customers. He may never be the cheapest but he provides a great service with honesty and integrity. Something sadly missing from a lot of companies I have encountered. The quality of his metal parts are exceptional as well as the service back up.

Visiting China gives you insight into the real deal. China is about meeting people and forging relationships. Once you forge a relationship you can get consignment stock, fantastic terms and a friend for life. Something rare in the West. I know because I have done all this. The fact is you are never going to get a great deal sat on your arse buying off Alibaba, Hong Kong Directory and Global Sources etc… You are just kidding yourself!

HLC metal parts and the other companies I deal with represent what makes what I do seem worthwhile. There are more fine companies like them in China. I’ve opened my eyes to possibilities over the past 13 years and hope you do too.

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