Griffin-Zwisler, Tori (1990, ASQC) International Quality Consulting, Taipei, Taiwan
Foreign competition, foreign sourcing and sub-sourcing is a topic of concern not only to economists and congressmen but to business owners and quality professionals. The PAC-RIM countries have no intention in the short run of allowing the U.S. to equalize trade volumes, especially the newly developed countries (NICs) Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Korea. Quality improvement is a major factor in their fight to remain competitive, and upgrade to higher value added exports.
Understanding how NICs do business, especially local business attitudes and quality philosophies, are critical for U.S. managers. There are two reasons. First, qualiy professionals in the U.S. must understand the competition in order to aggresively move to remain competitive. And second, quality professionals must be able to take intelligent advantage of what types of quality improvement trends exist in the Far East, where it exists, and in what industrial sectors. Only in this way can U.S. based managers make informed decisions on overseas sourcing opportunities.
The author has spent the last three years in Taiwan consulting in quality, productivity improvement, SPC, creative problem solving, quality auditing, and general management skill enhancement. She has worked in various industry sectors, including electronics, components, heavy manufacturing, textiles and giftware. This paper is a synthesis of that experience. This article will discuss how rapidly developing countries in the Far East move through stages of economic development and begin to see quality as a competitive weapon. Human factors, management-worker relationships, labor movements, economics and education are all intimately involved. Local culture and business philosophy also play a major role. NICs are very different from Japan. Managers must understand and use these differences when making Far Eastern sourclng decisions.
Only if we understand the present sourcing environment, by analyzing the near past, can we understand and more logically deal with the future opportunities, particularly in the NICs.