Are you pulling your hair out because of a slow internet connection? And most folks at Headquarters don’t understand the issue?
You are not the only one. Here are some data from the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, based on a survey of their members:
- Over one quarter of respondents report lower productivity in the office, R&D and manufacturing as a direct result of Internet restrictions – a 4 point increase year-on-year.
- Over one quarter also report difficulties in exchanging data and documents with their headquarters, partners and customers.
There are mainly 4 ways it impacts your business.
1. Access to files outside of China
Do you need to exchange files with your head office, and it takes forever? It is quite common for a merchandiser, purchaser, or project manager to launch a download or an upload, only to see the connection dropped after 10 minutes.
Make sure no large files are sent through WeTransfer.com!
An easy solution? Get your colleagues to send you files on an email address that is linked to a China-based server (for example running on qq.com, provided your IT department’s policy allows it).
Another solution, if your company doesn’t want to host anything in China, is to use a server relatively easy to access from within the PRC. (It works well for us at SynControl.) If things are too slow, another option is to use a China CND service from a provider such as Alipay – it helps a lot too.
2. Use of software hosted outside of China
Is your company’s ERP hosted on servers outside of China? And what about your email server, your productivity software (Winddle, CBX Software, etc.), etc.?
The problem is exactly the same as that of accessing files outside of China. Pages that take forever to load really hurt office people’s productivity.
One solution I didn’t mention above is the use of a private line to Hong Kong, Singapore, or another nearby country. It represents a fixed cost of more than 8,000 euros a month from what I was told, but for a relatively large office it can be worth it.
3. Sharing of heavy files
Does it sometimes take an hour for your inspectors to send their QC reports?
Again, an easy solution is to use a China-based email server. When you need to send heavy files, upload them into qq.com, get the link, and send it to your overseas colleagues. It will work fine for them.
Another solution is ‘digitizing’ your processes from end to end. For example, with our quality inspection software, users build their QC reports one element at a time, and they are ‘synchronized’ up to our server one element at a time. No more bottleneck of “sending that big file in one chunk”.
4. Daily communication and meetings
There is a very simple solution for that: Wechat. It allows for free calls, shooting and sharing videos, voice messages, or chat messages. Communication is fluid and instantaneous. The main risk, actually, is to kill people’s productivity by calling for their attention away from their work every 2 minutes!
Forget about Skype, which forces all the data to go through central servers outside of China. It is not a good solution.
A good option for international calls, if you don’t like Wechat or if your colleagues don’t want to install it on their phones, is to use an app called Spaxtel. I use it a lot for phone calls and it is as cheap as Skype, for a much better result!
We hope that these tips help fix your productivity killing internet issues in manufacturing for your China buying office, I am sure some readers have their own strategies. Share your tips with us!