August 19, 2011

Competitive thoughts

Competition is good and is making us to run faster - regardless of the industry we operate in. But competition can also be hilarious -and a good laugh is many times needed. Here are some experiences:

INNOVATION AT WORK: a supplier of one European trader is taking contact to us, "Can you buy from us, the other company has not paid us in time and we have many products we could sell to you" Once we visit the supplier for the sake of curiosity we find a full set of Peikko technical manuals - our competitior had brouhgt them and told them to produce similar items.

TRAINING OF NEW EMPLOYEES: I interviewed a person who had left from one of our dear competitors. He explained how the new employees were trained in that company - by using Peikko´s technical manuals of course - why not to use the best source for training?

PRICE SETTING: I was participating one industry event and after the official meeting was over a director of a larger competitor comes to me to discuss with an attitude of a teacher that "we need to talk and agree about pricing, you should increase the prices of your engineering products, column shoes etc. particularly in Germany". The person is pretty disappointed, even frightened, when I replied that "Maybe you have a productivity problem yourself? And by the way, it is against the Euroepan competition law to discuss any pricing. Period".

Life is enjoyable - filled with interesting surprises - also in the construction sector :-)

August 6, 2011

Peikko China "rock-n-rolls"

I had the opportunity this week to be in the opening ceremonies of Peikko´s factory in Zhangjiagang, near Shanghai. I must say that each time I visit China I am some way surprised.

The 2,5-hour drive from Shanghai airport to Zhangjiagang is like constant drive in Manhattan - high-rise buildings almost all the way, and a lot of construction activity on-going. One can easily see why China is becoming the single biggest construction market of the world.

There are also some things that make me wonder. I saw e.g. a master plan where a new Danish-type of a town area which will be built in the next years. Why is the city center of Copenhagen copied to China - why can China cannot just be original? The copies to me symbols lack of innovation - and innovation is what China needs.

Also, I got a little worried about the fact that the real estate prices are something that will not go down in China - at least that is the belief. Laws of gravity (what goes up can go down) only exist in Europe and North America.

Another sad fact is that I was not able to visit this blog-site from China - the site was blocked such as many other sites. Freedom of speech is unfortunatley not a value emphasized in that country.

But all in all, opening ceremonies at Peikko Zhangjiagang went well, a lot of nice words were heard, a lot of excellent food was eaten and most importantly, activities at the factory were at full speed and thus Peikko China is more than ready to serve its internal and external customers.