‘Factories of the Future’ & managing successful supply chain

China Performance Group’s Coral Li & Aurora Zhai discuss digital twins, ‘Factories of the Future’ & successful supply chains

28.7% of the world’s manufacturing output takes place in China. The north-eastern coastal city of Shanghai is its biggest hub, with over 2,000 container ships leaving the port each month delivering cars, electronics, and clothes to the world. Megacity Beijing is home to 21mn people and thousands of businesses – including China Performance Group.

Coral Li is the Sourcing Manager at CPG’s Beijing office, where she manages the work of CPG’s Sourcing and Quality Assurance teams to ensure clients’ short- and long-term China-sourcing goals are achieved in a cost-efficient way, both in terms of time and money. 

“China Performance Group (CPG) provides support to importers who seek excellence from their China supply chain management. We use a transparent, fee-based approach, ‘The China Sourcing Solution’, which enables global companies to manage complicated business transactions from afar and enjoy all the benefits of their own professional China office without any of the burdens,” Li explains. “Our approach provides companies with a dedicated sourcing team and branch office in China, tailored to their specific needs and objectives. The CPG team manages all the company's sourcing processes to deliver predictable, repeatable results.”

At CPG, Factories of the Future will play a big role. 

“The ‘future factory’ will have digitalisation at its core, running with the aid of digital twins, artificial intelligence, big data, and constantly evolving production that requires innovative information technology. Through the digitalisation of R&D, production, manufacturing, marketing, and management, enterprises will run based on the calibration of data and subsequent predictions,” says Li.

Aurora Zhai is a Sourcing Specialist at China Performance Group, where she manages and executes clients’ projects on the China side.

“At China Performance Group, we help importers source goods from China safely, responsibly, and effectively. We enable international buyers to obtain the maximum benefits of doing business with China – while significantly reducing their risk. 

“My primary job responsibilities include sourcing, helping clients find the most suitable suppliers in China for existing products and new product development, as well as price benchmarking, order management, shipping management and logistics,” explains Zhai. 

Successful supply chain management 

CPG supports manufacturers in a variety of ways, from helping to build positive relationships to guiding suppliers through a supply chain crisis. 

“We connect them with serious buyers, facilitate communication and help to forge a professional, close, transparent client-buyer relationship,” says Zhai.

Zhai’s support for her clients also helps manufacturers by enabling them to perform better and in close accordance with the buyer’s wishes.

“We do this by providing timely feedback to suppliers on client’s requirements, goals, responses, and this strengthens the relationship,” says Zhai. “We collect information on industry segments and market trends for our clients and provide suppliers with the latest foreign market and product trends that the buyers want.”

Over the past few years, Zhai has learned a lot about supply chain management. 

“One of the easiest, most fundamental ways CPG helps clients navigate the supply chain crisis is by finding back-up and alternative suppliers in advance. By doing this, we gain leverage; we can calmly address any problem and still meet clients' requirements on pricing, quality, and delivery should issues arise,” says Zhai. 

To build successful supply chain management, Zhai claims that transparency and information sharing helps build trust - but more is needed.

“Continued rapport building and cooperation between supply chain stakeholders is also essential,” says Zhai. “As well as ongoing training and learning to facilitate innovation and continuous improvement.”

Every business on the planet has learned lessons from the supply chain crisis. At CPG, its careful coordination between clients and suppliers has solved problems and made partnerships stronger. 

“Without identifying the root cause of a problem, how can one manage or resolve it effectively?” asks Li. Here, she shares her supply chain survival tips:

Act quickly to prevent a crisis

“Preventing or resolving a supply chain crisis requires immediate and effective solutions. CPG can provide clients with numerous approaches to choose from that can significantly mitigate their risk based on our years of experience working on the frontlines and dealing with thousands of mainland suppliers, coupled with our inherent understanding of the client’s vision and the local culture.”

Anticipate potential problems 

“While many issues occur suddenly, many also provide warning signs that can alert you to a potential crisis before it happens. For example, if you know a supplier well enough, every abnormal or atypical reaction to a client request can betray the possibility that something might be amiss. 

“Furthermore, market signals and changes to government policies are always good indicators to buyers that they might need to make preemptive adjustments to their sourcing programmes. The better you know your supplier and the market, the earlier you can anticipate and prevent any potential risk.”

Supporting clients and China’s manufacturing sector

Over the next year, CPG will launch the following initiatives to ensure they maintain the highest standards of service for clients. 

The ongoing training of employees will include repeat training and assessment of valued sourcing procedures, alongside training on new technologies and data analysis platforms. Team members will also participate in industry seminars.

“CPG participates in seminars related to our client’s industries, gathers and analyses market data, and writes quarterly market reports that are shared internally, and with our clients as requested,” explains Li. “This enables both CPG and our clients to understand the pulse of their industry and its trends, so we can adjust our sourcing goals and work accordingly. 

“CPG will also hold weekly client management meetings to ensure client project missions are clarified, executed, and completed in the most satisfactory and efficient manner. Issues are solved quickly and thoroughly through teamwork and brainstorming,” says Li. 

For Zhai, the next year will involve identifying new opportunities for clients that may not be readily apparent to them based on CPG’s continued vision and interaction with the China manufacturing sector.


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