Following the coronavirus outbreak, Chinese new year holidays have been extended throughout China. After more than two weeks of almost zero production, what is the current status?
In AGC, as our offices are located in Shanghai, following local rules, today Monday the 10th of February is the official return to work day. But it is far from returning to normal. We are facing two main issues: human resources issue and subcontractors issues.
China is taking utmost seriously the fight against the virus, which we believe is a good thing, though we cannot deny that it has an impact on our ability to serve our customers.
Employees coming back to Shanghai from other province have to carry out a self-managed quarantine at their home, from 7 to 14 days according to the place visited during the holidays. Many though can still not even travel back to Shanghai, as there are many local restrictions to travel in other provinces. AGC was able to arrange a core team in the office and keep most of our quarantine colleagues busy by teleworking from home.
Nevertheless, only 10% of our suppliers are back to work. Many are planned to open back on next week (from the 17th), but reopening of factories requires validation from the authorities. Validation will only be given after proper auditing have been made and passed. Factory audits, are related to monitoring of employees (check the legal quarantine have been made) and measures taken to work in a virus free environment:
- Temperature check before entry on the premises
- Anti-bacterial cleaning of the workspace
- Personal protections (mostly face-mask)
- Proper reporting of situation to authorities
As above actions need equipment’s that are very difficult to find currently in China, it is very hazardous to predict when 100% of the factories will go back to normal. In AGC we don’t expect it before second part of March, we therefore thank our customers for their understanding and we will keep close contact with them and factories to resume productions ASAP.
My name is Wenou Cai, I am a German intern and have worked for 4 and a half months at AGC;
Even though it was only for a short period I could find out and understand the most important aspects of the business world. Until the midterm, it was the learning and development phase. The good thing about a sales person is that you always get to know new people which extends your social network. At the beginning I was not even able to imagine having such a responsibility like calling people from higher positions and visiting suppliers. Because of this I also could travel around China a lot without spending any money. We have visited suppliers in Kunshan, Suzhou, Hangzhou and some in rural areas outside of Shanghai center. I could experience all the local dishes of these different cities in the presence of the GM. I am really grateful and feel honored for this great opportunity.
After midterm, I got to know the feeling of the work routine which means I did less mistakes and spoke more freely with people. First, I called manufacturers of plastic products, then manufacturers of castings and machined parts. Finally, in the last month, I got deeper into the area of PCBA and sensors which is more sophisticated than the other products.
My most important goal was to dive into the business world in overall, finding out the differences between the Chinese and the German market, understand the operation process and if the work fits me or not. Ultimately, I can proudly say that I have reached my goals. Now, I know how the process is working from customer to subcontractor to the supplier or vice versa. Knowing the products and its process is the key to success and it is the hardest but also one of the most interesting parts of that job. Before, I never cared about how and of which components all the products are made. Now, I know all the different specialization and characteristics of the products, how and of which components they are built and who made them. This is really interesting because I had no clue that there were so many suppliers for certain products.