With almost 15 years of supply chain- and manufacturing experience in greater China, Jacky Han has established himself as one of CCG’s most senior managers, as well as a trusted and appreciated advisor to most of our largest Scandinavian and North American clients. Jacky earned his place as a fully fledged Partner at CCG in 2019, and this year he celebrates 10 consecutive years with the company. In this article, we ask Jacky about his journey with CCG, and get his thoughts on the evolving “Supply Chain Management” industry in China and hear a bit more about his recently acquired “Lead Auditor” certification.
Please tell us a bit about your 10 years with CCG, how it all started and how you have seen the company grow?
My journey with CCG started back in June 2011 over large cup of coffee with the founder of CCG, Anders Bäckström, at a Starbucks in Pudong District in Shanghai. I was working as a Quality Engineer for a large LED light manufacturer in Shanghai at the time and came a across CCG’s recruitment ad, seeking a Quality Inspector, by pure chance. I was looking for more flexibility and responsibility in my career and this opportunity fit me perfectly. CCG was still a small start-up at the time, and we were mainly working towards small- and mid-sized Swedish companies in the automotive industry, supporting them with procurement and quality assurance of mechanical parts, components and accessories. We grew quickly between 2012 and 2013 and added several Swedish clients in a variety of industries, such as the safety wear-, construction- and food industry. We grew so quickly we had to move office twice in 2 years! In 2016 we restructured large parts of our corporate structure, business model and organization. Several cost-saving initiatives were implemented, and the staff head-count and responsibilities were successfully rearranged to create a more lean, efficient and profitable organization. In early 2017, we also established a physical presence in Hong Kong and invested time and resources in a new service segment targeting the “Security & Risk Management” industry. Around the same time I was also promoted to Quality Supervisor and managed a team of Quality Inspectors doing daily inspections across China, and even abroad. We have since enjoyed another period of strong growth for our company, building on the trust from our long-term partners and clients and most of our new business still comes from their references. My journey with CCG has been very interesting and rewarding so far, and hope to see at least another 10 years with our company!
You have helped numerous companies solve complex problems in their China supply chain over the years. Could you give us an example on a project that was particularly complex, but ultimately successful?
There has been quite a few over the years! One particular case that comes to mind was the complex and comprehensive Sustainability audits we completed for one of Scandinavia’s largest seafood producers, Pandalus AB. Pandalus have been producing and importing seafood in China since early 1990’s and has always invested heavily in transparent, responsible and environmentally sustainable relationships throughout their supply-chain. They sell their products to some of Scandinavia’s largest supermarket chains who requires very tough social- and environmental standards from their supplier network. CCG stepped in and worked closely with the management of their largest supplier in China, and led them through preparations and an extensive corrective action points to ensure they successfully fulfilled all requirements, and eventually passed a number of stringent audits from both of their largest clients.
What would you say is the most common pitfall western companies fall into when sourcing in China, and how could they avoid them?
We unfortunately meet many companies that still doesn’t invest enough time and resources in the vetting and building a relationship with their potential new suppliers. A proper supplier assessment is the only way to check the supplier’s quality management systems, capacity and ability to fulfil requirements set. For successful and long-term business relations in China, you need understand how the supplier’s business works, and meet the decision-makers at the factory. If you are investing long-term, paying a visit by yourself, or a through a third party, is a great way to strengthen the relationship and trust you have with your supplier, and to ensure a mutually lucrative business relationship.
Secondly, we also see many buyers not being reasonable about price, MOQ’s and quality requirements from their suppliers. In an increasingly competitive manufacturing landscape, Chinese manufacturers have thin margins, and are therefore rigid about their bottom line. Clients trying to micro-manage this at the expense of the supplier will cause friction and could harm the business relationship between them and the supplier. Negotiating hard is necessary and expected, but we do not recommend to put too much pressure on pricing, setting unrealistic targets, and over-bargaining. Otherwise, you might end up losing key vendors or receive bad-quality products.
How would you say the global Supply Chain has evolved over the past few years, and where do you feel it is going?
American and European companies are gradually trying to reduce their reliance on China, and its popularity as a sourcing market among Western buyers took a hit during the pandemic. That said, China still remains the very top global sourcing location and is deemed to remain so for the foreseeable future. At the same time, China has taken firm steps to shift the economy away from resource extraction and low value–added, low wage manufacturing, which make up almost half of the country’s economy, to a high-tech, high-productivity economy. Most likely low-tech sourcing will gradually shift away from China to alternatives in South- and South Eastern Asia over the coming years, while high-tech sourcing will increase.
Lastly but not least, you are a CQI/IRCA accredited “Lead Auditor”, trained through SGS. Can you tell us more about that, and how your skills comes to use in the day to day work of the company?
The CQI is a professional body for experts in improving product, project and service quality. For more than 100 years, they have been setting professional standards for quality management globally and have over 18,000 members in more than 100 countries. They maintain the International Register of Certificated Auditors (IRCA) certification for systems audit professionals and it was a natural choice to formalize my skills and experience and increase our capabilities as a trusted service provider for our international clients. The IRCA training is only suitable for applicants with proven experience and track record in their respective filed, and the training lasted for 5 days and finished with a full days of monitored tests, though but very rewarding!