Category: Pro QC

Intern insight

Before our intern, Melanie Rinehart, left for China, I had the pleasure of meeting with her.  Our Managing Director has a keen eye when it comes to recruiting passionate individuals.  Melanie is no exception.

For the past several weeks, Melanie has been training in our Shenzhen office.  I wanted to reach out to her again for insight into her experience.

You recently moved from Tampa, Florida to Shenzhen, China for an internship with Pro QC. Having been to China before and studied the language in college, do you find there are significant cultural differences?

I definitely feel that the cultures in China and the West can be almost overwhelmingly different at times. The cultural differences between China and the West are nowhere more pronounced to me than in a business/school setting. The hierarchical structure of Chinese society can leave a foreigner feeling uncomfortable and out of place without the proper cultural training. Expectations from the company and staff of an organization may vary widely from those in the West. 

For instance, a Chinese co-worker could expect a lot less from a foreigner in China, not only because of their Mandarin proficiency or lack-thereof, but also because being an intern in general carries a different weight in Chinese culture than in Western culture.

To avoid complications and frustration, I try to read as many cultural studies and foreign professionals’ journals of times spent in China as possible; Eric Shepherd has published many great articles and books about cultural differences to be aware of in China.

What is it like working with Pro QC in the Shenzhen office?

Working for ProQC in the Shenzhen office is much different from the last internship I had in China. I mentioned above that expectations in Chinese businesses are different than in Western businesses, but to be honest working for ProQC has been a more “Western” experience than I have had previously. It is important to take each case individually and not develop any stereotypes from reading about the cultural differences. The best thing about working in the Shenzhen office so far is that the staff has been really welcoming, and I have been given the opportunity to jump right into the actual work.

What do you miss the most about living in the United States?

This is my third time in China, and I have been here for one month at this point. What I always miss most about the United States is my friends and family. Moving far does not seem so daunting at first, but when you arrive in a country whose time zone is twelve hours different it can be very difficult to stay in contact with friends and family as much as you would like. Developing a network of friends in your new city can be very helpful and setting designated times to talk with friends and family is important.

 What is your favorite place to eat and favorite thing to do in Shenzhen?

There are so many great places to eat in Shenzhen! Having been to Beijing and Qingdao before, I can really appreciate the “openness”.  Because Shenzhen was opened up economically in the 70s during Deng Xiaoping’s economy reform, the city is fairly new but also a huge center for foreign direct investment (FDI). FDI has brought many ex-pats from all over the world, so the food is just as eclectic in Shenzhen as it is in the United States. 

My favorite restaurant so far is definitely a small Muslim restaurant in Shekou where you can eat the best 鸡蛋炒拉面 egg fried noodles that I have found in China. The Xinjiang province of China is the origin of the hand pulled noodle, and they are famous worldwide.

One of my favorite things to do in China is to shop. The market itself is a cultural experience. The technology market, iPhone case market, handbag market, and clothes market are all more than five stories of shops. Bargaining with sales associates is a great experience in China, especially if you learn the best techniques from Chinese themselves.

Do you have any words of advice for others looking at internships abroad?

Looking for a job or internship abroad is an interesting challenge. It is important to stay competitive, culturally adaptable, and at least somewhat fluent in the local language.

I have found that my best asset I have for studying and working abroad is flexibility. It is important to know that to be competitive, you have to be willing to take risks as an individual. Each time a business hires a new employee they are taking a risk, and in order to make that risk worth their while, I feel it is important to show that you too are willing to go out on a limb. Plus there is the added benefit of travel, and your company will know that they can count on you to be a reliable asset.

 

Quality Quotes – Our Newsletter Collection (2007-2012)

Quality quotes are a popular topic, as we’ve seen in the ASQ LinkedIn Group and in feedback regarding our blog and newsletter.  As we issue quarterly newsletters, we include a “Quote of the Quarter.”  Here’s our comprehensive list of quotes, as noted in our newsletters going back to 2007.

“Customers are the most important assets any company has, even though they don’t show up on the balance sheet.” (Berry)
“The ideas of control and improvement are often confused with one another. That is because quality control and quality improvement are inseparable.” (Ishihara)
“Quality is not what happens when what you do matches your intentions. It is what happens when what you do matches your customers’ expectations.” (Guaspari)
“Good quality is never achieved by accident.” (Ishihara)
“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
“Higher quality costs less, not more.” (Scherkenbach)
“Total quality management is a journey, not a destination.” (Berry)
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” (Peter Drucker)
“Consumers, by seeking quality and value, set the standards of acceptability for products and services by voting with their marketplace dollars.” (Ronald Reagan)
 “You must persevere to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks.” (Chinese Proverb)
“Quality is not an act, it is a habit.” (Aristotle)
“The starting point for improvement is to recognize the need.”   (Imai)
“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people are not used to working in an environment where excellence is expected.”
(Steve Jobs)
“Anything worth doing is worth doing right the first time.”  (Unknown)
“The quality of our expectations determines the quality of our action.”  (Andre Godin)
“Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.”  (Steve Jobs)
“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”  (William A. Foster)
 “It is our choices that show who we really are, far more than our abilities.”  (JK Rawling)

 

Global Sources Electronics & Components in Miami

Last week marked the second year Global Sources hosted a show in Miami, Florida and the first that Pro QC  exhibited at this location.  Nestled in the retro Miami Beach scene, the traffic this year was steady.

Jennifer Stepniowski, Special Projects Manager, and Jeffrey Moellering, Sales & Marketing Director, met with several entrepreneurs seeking opportunities in the Asian market, in addition to the larger organizations seeking to expand operations.  There was no shortage of vendors, ranging from various clothing to LAN cable.  Presentations conducted that Tuesday educated buyers regarding the basics of sourcing abroad and the necessity of quality assurance within that process.

Our team will be returning to the Global Sources Electronics & Components show October 12th through the 15th.  Join us in Hong Kong! Account managers can also assist with arranging itineraries and translators if you’re new to this area.

 

To the quality gurus…

At the recent ASQ conference, there was a Quality Guru Quiz available that matched up your responses to a series of questions with which guru you aligned best with.  There were several life size versions of these guys where you could capture the moment with a quick photo opportunity.  I took the quiz and aligned with Deming, of course. I also learned of the passing of Taguchi earlier this week and started thinking about those we call the “gurus” and their contributions to the field of quality and overall passion for continuously making things better.

Below is a collection of quotes that encompasses their passion and thoughts regarding quality:

Dr. W. Edwards Deming – 

“Quality is everyone’s responsibility.”

“All anyone asks for is a chance to work with pride.”

“If you can’t describe what you’re doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.”

“It’s not enough to do your best; you must know what to do and then do your best.”

“Learning is not compulsory.  Neither is survival.”

“We are here to make another world.”

Dr. Joseph M. Juran – 

“Without a standard, there is no logical basis for making a decision or taking action.”

“Goal setting has traditionally been based on past performance. This practice as tended to perpetuate the signs of the past.”

“Quality means those features of products which meet customer needs and thereby provide customer satisfaction. In this sense, the meaning of quality is oriented to income. The purpose of such higher quality is to provide greater customer satisfaction and, one hopes, to increase income. However, providing more and/or better quality features usually requires an investment and hence usually involves increases in costs. Higher quality in this sense usually “costs more”.

“Quality means freedom from deficiencies-freedom from errors that require doing work over again (rework) or that results in field failures, customer dissatisfaction, customer claims and so on. In this sense, the meaning of quality is oriented to costs, and
higher quality usually costs less.”

Philip Crosby – 

“Quality is the result of a carefully crafted cultural environment. It has to be the fabric of the organization, not part of the fabric.”

“If anything is certain, it is that change is certain. The world we are planning for today will not exist in this form tomorrow”

Armand V. Feigenbaum – 

“Total quality control is an effective system for integrating the quality development, quality maintenance, and quality improvement efforts of the various groups in an organization so as to enable production and service at the most economical levels which allow full customer satisfaction.”

“Pursuing excellence, deep recognition that what you are doing is right, is the strongest motivation in any organization and is the main driver for true leadership qualities.”

Dr. Genichi Taguchi – 

A scientific or technical study always consists of the following three steps:
1. One decides the objective.
2. One considers the method.
3. One evaluates the method in relation to the objective.

An excellent review site can be found here.  There’s also an interesting discussion within the ASQ LinkedIn Group talking about personal favorites.   So far, Deming is in the lead…

Can jet lag be avoided?

Attracting the attention of Pro QC’s Managing Director, Ed Sanchez, was an article relating to avoiding jet lag.  As a frequent flyer visiting our offices in over thirty countries, it is understandable why!  Also, many of our clients are well aware of jet lag too, frequently visiting factories or operations abroad.

Jet lag (AKA desynchronosis) is described as “extreme tiredness and other physical effects felt by a person after a long flight across several time zones.”  While not everyone suffers from jet lag, it can certainly make travel unpleasant for others.  Interestingly, “the condition is not linked to the length of flight, but to the trans-meridian (west–east) distance traveled. A ten-hour flight from Europe to southern Africa does not cause jet lag, as travel is primarily north–south. A five-hour flight from the east to the west coast of the United States may well result in jet lag.” (Source)

The article forwarded to me by Mr. Sanzhez was interesting.  The recommendations of the blogger, Chris Kilham, a frequent traveler himself, are sound:

  • Start out rested.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Drink plain water.
  • Drink little or no alcohol.
  • Meditate on flights for at least a few minutes.

In addition, Kilham offers supplement suggestions that include melatonin and ginseng.

The travel editor for TODAY, Peter Greenberg, added the importance of restricting food on the flight.

Molly Ogorzaly, with Travelsmart, offers twelve steps to avoid jet lag.  Suggestions include the importance of moving to avoid DVT and setting your clock to the destination time at the beginning of the flight.

Reaching out to a couple of Pro QC’s key team members that travel often, they shared the following advice:

“Just go through the day.  No matter when you arrive, hold on and sleep with everyone else.  I also believe that frequent overseas travelers can adjust faster than non-frequent overseas travelers.” ~Fernando Rodriguez, Account Manager

“My remedy to jet lag is more or less the same as the one described by Fernando. I usually try to sleep as much as I can on the plane and I immediately adjust to whatever time it is at destination. If I arrive in the early morning spend the whole day without sleeping and if I arrive at night I go to bed at the time I would go to bed back home. In any case, it is best not to sleep before 11:00 pm. I have had the experience to fall asleep around 4:00pm~5:00pm but that has resulted in me being jet lagged for the next 5 days or so and waking up in the middle of the night within able to fall asleep again. Also, as soon as I arrive I follow the local breakfast/lunch dinner pattern. This helps the body adjust faster.” ~Bruno Singier, Sales & Marketing Director (Europe, Middle-East & Asia)

“I do several things to minimize jet lag, including trying to adjust my schedule at least a week in advance, eat and sleep on the destination schedule en route and minimize alcohol consumption.” ~Michael L. Hetzel, VP/Americas