Updated: The Talent Behind ‘China Inc.’


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This article talks about Chinese manufacturing companies not in the context of cheap labor, but in the context of management skill. Most successful Chinese companies are the result of turning around formerly government owned (and inefficient) companies. As companies like Haier look to buy American brands like Maytag, they hope to use that management skill in turning around the American company.

A few other ideas jump out from the article:

1) Haier makes their larger refrigerators here in the U.S., I'm sure due to logistics and shipping costs. Here is an example of a Chinese company creating jobs in the U.S. and being smart about their global production locations.

2) “The CEOs of Haier, Wanxiang, and CIMC all started and spent their careers on the factory floor.” Now here's a major difference between these companies and most U.S. firms. Most American executives come from finance or marketing — doesn't that hamper our lean efforts, American CEO's not understanding the shop floor?

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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