Transcript of "Making the shift: quality and service in the new economy"
MAkingthe shift:quAlity AndserviCe in thenew eConoMyCheap goods fast: that was the basis of theAsian manufacturing revolution. But the shapeof the economy is fast evolving. Making themove towards better service and higher qualityrequires a new type of ‘harmonious’ thinking, anda different approach to workforce strategy.Anthony rAjA devAdoss
2 | enter the drAgon | MAking the shift: quAlity And serviCe in the new eConoMyA diversifying eConoMy. Nobody ispredicting the end the manufacturing boom in Asia, yet.The amount and speed of production is The list of impressive data for China goes That said, there are changes happeninggoing to take an awful lot for any other region on, and on. And clearly, the flow-on across the Asia-Pacific economy. A growingto beat, and the underlying mechanisms effects across the region are significant, as shift towards quality goods and services isof the manufacturing industry are unlikely Australia’s robust economy and the growing creating new opportunities. However, withto change to quickly, as evidenced by manufacturing industries of Vietnam and these come some different challenges forsome jaw-dropping facts such as: Indonesia can testify. business in the region.• China will soon manufacture more steel For any other country in the world, the than the entire world combined manufacturing statistics for China are just simply inconceivable. While China’s• Chinese exports hit $us162 billion in government would be happy to see some june and $US874 billion in the first half of lower export figures in favor of a greater the year, both up nearly 20% year-on-year focus on the domestic economy, even those analysts that are predicting a downward trend• in 2010, China made 64% of all toys, in Chinese dominance in the manufacturing and $US4 out of every $US10 worth of sector know that significant change will likely knit apparel exported in the world take a generation or more—nothing drastic is going to happen quickly.
3 | enter the drAgon | MAking the shift: quAlity And serviCe in the new eConoMyis the Cost AdvAntAge eroding? Wages across manyAsian countries are still low by the standards of developed nations. Therefore,the idea of quality (and expensive) goods in these economies has beenpoorly understood—few people domestically could afford to buy them.Much of the manufacturing boom has been is increasingly moving to Bangladesh and around one-trillion dollars) come from small-built on the promise of low-cost, disposable, Indonesia, as well as other developing to-medium-sized businesses. Their focus is onshort-term goods. However, as wages begin countries outside of Asia. quality and speed of delivery. They use theto rise, some of the advantage of outsourcing best technology and pay their workers well tojobs and processes to these developing Low-cost production can only be maintained deliver the leanest possible production line.markets is beginning to be questioned. In while wages and skill-bases are low. Asfact, Chinese companies are already moving greater opportunity has entered the region, In almost every Asian market, competition isjobs within the country to access lower wages this wave of increasing costs is spreading, increasing, fuelled by both local and foreignin new provinces. China’s biggest corporate and ultimately new competitive advantages businesses. Skills shortages are a constraintexporter, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, need to be created. Increasingly, this is taking on most firms in the region, and are one ofemploys about a million workers in China the shape of producing higher-value goods the major drivers of higher costs. Jobs canto make Apple iPads, Hewlett-Packard that rely on productivity and technology continually move to lower-cost countries,computers and Samsung Electronics panels, rather than simply on cheap labor. and for some industries and positions thisand is opening up new factories in low-wage will make sense. However, efficiencies and Countries such as Germany have already smarter ways of working will also be needed.areas of inland China. recognized this inevitable shiftand are lookingAnd some of China’s jobs are being moved to to capitalize on the opportunity. Many ofother countries entirely. Clothing production Germany’s locally made exports (worth
4 | enter the drAgon | MAking the shift: quAlity And serviCe in the new eConoMyA Culture thAt vAlues quAlity. Buildinga workplace culture that values and promotes quality willbe key to increasing the quality of goods produced acrossAsia, but also to developing a greater focus on service.The growing need for services domestically advantage for India and they are expanding Unhappy employees deliver poor increase harmony between the organizationhas led to the recognition that there are skills these lessons across multiple industries. performance, and particularly, poor customer and the customer.shortages in this area across the region. India service. By focusing on ‘harmonizing’ thehas of course developed a customer-service- For companies in other parts of the world relationship between customer, employer and Some deeply held cultural beliefs can at firstled mindset and captured market-share, most that want to follow this example, developing employee and seeing how each affects the be barriers to change, but understandingnotably but certainly not limited to, the call a company culture that values and sustains other, HR practices can target specific issues their intent and how they can becenter industry. quality customer service will require them of concern for employees to improve their incorporated into new ways of thinking and to think differently. After all, a product or ability to provide better quality goods and behaving is increasingly a challenge thatFor a thankfully short but significant period, service isn’t good value unless it does what it services. globalized businesses must rise to. BeingIndia’s call centers were becoming the promises. Cost and value are not the same. aware of the potential barriers to the raisingsource of customer frustration and attrition, Perhaps most importantly, HR will need to of quality and service standards can and willworldwide. Turning this around required how the concept of harmony can help focus on getting the balance right between provide insights to overcome them.a new focus on quality and empathy, as raising potential problems in the organization The Confucian concept of ‘harmony’ provideswell a different approach to management with maintaining harmony. The two need a potentially valuable tool for businessengagement with customer issues right up not be mutually exclusive, and in fact they in the region looking to enhance qualitythe organizational chain. While problems can naturally complement each other. The and service. By looking at the value chainundoubtedly remain, customer service raising of customer issues with management between the customer, the employer and theis swiftly becoming a major competitive can instead be framed as an opportunity to employee, it’s possible to understand how business might be done differently.
5 | enter the drAgon | MAking the shift: quAlity And serviCe in the new eConoMyeMBrACing diversity to iMprove skills.To get the mix of these issues right, businesses will need to accessthe kind of talent that can make positive change happen, quickly.This will mean being very selective about Diversity of this magnitude in a rapidly Hiring top talent is important, but anthe personnel that will be recruited into growing market can either hinder or enhance organization’s talent portfolio must bethis dynamic environment and hiring those business innovation, depending on how it balanced—the challenge is always to get thewho can that contribute immediately to is managed. The potential for innovation, right person in the right job at the right time.transformation. Finding those individuals that growth and new ideas that comes with a Workers have different benefits to offer inalready have the right skill set is going to be diverse workforce is enormous, provided that terms of age, experience, skills, education,a challenge in such a tight talent market, and its value is recognized. and flexibility, so businesses need to balancethis is where flexible and contingent workers long-term goals with day-to-day pressuresare likely to be needed. Diversity is not just about ethnicity and when making recruitment decisions. gender, it’s also about varied levels ofA focus on creating a diverse workforce can experience and the kinds of skills that Diversity is also a long-term strategic project.also be helpful. different people bring to the table. To It can’t be achieved overnight, nor should capture the benefits of a truly diverse it be looked at as an end in itself. A diverse“Asia” is hardly a homogenous region. The workforce, employers must look at each workforce is about getting the right mix ofvagaries of different markets within markets, potential hire, based on the skills it needs to ideas and experience, and if companiesof local and fragmented regulation and execute its strategy. If increased quality is the are looking to make major leaps forward inprotocols can be incredibly complex, not to aim, who and where are these skills going to quality, the specific skills required to do thatmention the convergence of many cultures come from? must be the first consideration.under single organizational banners.
6 | enter the drAgon | MAking the shift: quAlity And serviCe in the new eConoMyAs the region’s eConoMiC BAse becomesmore elaborate, a greater focus on quality over cost is inevitable.Asia has fundamentally been a cost-intensive required. And to ensure the right people staymarket, and that is evolving to a quality- on in organizations to maintain quality andintensive market. The challenge for the service, a culture that values and promotesregion is that other developed nations this will be needed.already have the experience, educatedworkforce and sometimes the global reach The Asia-Pacific region has some culturalthat’s required to execute a ‘quality’ and advantages to execute the move towards a‘service’ strategy. quality and service focus in business. How this is interpreted and the speed at which theTo make the shift to quality goods and right talent is accessed to make this happenservices, and to do so successfully, new will make all the difference.approaches to talent and diversity will be
this is pArt 3 of enter the dragon, A whitepAper series exploringthe new tAlent ChAllenges for AsiAn eConoMies.ABout the AuthorAnthony RAjA DevADoss is currently the vice President—APAC with theoutsourcing & Consulting Group of Kelly services. From network services,engineering to e-business solutions, Anthony Raja has worked in both India andMalaysia, within technical roles to the Chief executive officer. he has received hisBachelors degree in science and his MBA in Marketing & Postgraduate Diplomain Computing. he holds membership in various local and international associationssuch as the MIM, human Capital Institute & Association of Career Professionals International. he isthe head of Policy enablement & Government Liaison with outsourcing Malaysia and a memberof the Industry Advisory Board for the Graduate school of Business, UnIRAZAK. he has beenrecently appointed to the hR Capacity Building task force by the Ministry of human Resources,Govt of Malaysia. Anthony is also a member of the hRoA APAC Chapter Board. http://my.linkedin.com/in/anthonyraja http://twitter.com/anthonyrajaABout kellyoCgKellyOCG is the Outsourcing and Consulting Group of Fortune 500 workforce solutions provider,Kelly Services, Inc. KellyOCG is a global leader in innovative talent management solutions in theareas of Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), ContingentWorkforce Outsourcing (CWO), including Independent Contractor Solutions, Human ResourcesConsulting, Career Transition and Organizational Effectiveness, and Executive Search.Further information about KellyOCG may be found at kellyocg.com. EXIT
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