Saturday, December 24, 2005
MADE IN CHINA
Due to heavy fog at Delhi airport this morning, many flights did not take off from Mumbai and most of those that did take off left after a delay of a few hours.I was taking a 10.20 Jet Airways flight to Bangalore and rather unusually I had reached the airport one hour before departure time which meant that I had extra time with me. I decided to visit the bookshop and see whether any book attracted my attention.I asked for "Patna Uncut" and the coffee table book on Pushkar about which I had read some favourable reviews. Surprisingly,both these books were not available.When I was about to leave for boarding the flight, my eyes fell on "Made In China" by Donald Sull with Yong Wang. I quickly scanned the book and realised it was worth reading.The author who teaches at London Business School earlier taught at Harvard and was also a consultant with Mckinsey & Co.Here is a book which was saying what Western managers could learn from successful Chinese entrepreneurs.
In my young days, I had seen products with the marking "Made in USA" or "Made in Sheffield" or "Made in Germany". That was enough to gurantee the quality of the product. Later,cheap products started flooding the market from Japan. The quality was poor and presentation sloppy. Japanese products earned a bad name and their products were shunned by the discerning buyers. Then a transformation of sorts took place in Japan on the quality front.They invited Deming and other quality specialists from USA and seriously pursued the improvement in quality of their products. The results started to show and soon Japan became a quality leader relegating USA,UK and Germany to the background. Japanese cars earned a reputation for quality which GM and Ford had not achieved.Officials of GM,Chrysler and Ford visited factories of Toyota,Nissan,Honda and Mazda to learn the quality improvements that the Japanese had made, the techniques followed by them to achieve such spectacular success.Be it quality improvement or product innovation,Japanese had clearly established their superiority.
China is doing today what Japan did many years ago.Some Chinese companies are being led by trailblazing entrepreneurs who are transforming their organisations and leading them with vision."Made in China" is no more a dirty tag in consumer markets for the poor quality products.The world's second largest economy has achieved a high degree of success in quality improvement and product innovation.
What happens to the "Made in India" brand? That would be a natural question. While many companies have excelled,there are many others who have sullied the country's image. Every organisation has to bring about a major transformation by an attitudinal change and it has to happen from the top to the bottom.We have achieved great success in the IT industry.With our brains,talent and hard work we can replicate the success in other industries as well.And we must do it fast so that we are not left behind.
"Made in China" is a good read for those who want to create successful organizations .It gives an excellent roadmap for the entrepreneur to charter his company in a challenging and uncertain market environment.