Case Studies



Operations Director - Telecommunications China

Our client formed a joint venture in China with two major mobile phone wholesalers with the aim to consolidate their position as a leading distributor of mobile telephony throughout the country. As a result of this merger they assumed the position of number one delivering over 5M mobile phones on a monthly basis. This was achieved through the development of logistics processes and a nationwide distribution network, extending to over 55 locations across the country, offering total warehousing space of over 65,000m², with the major Chinese distributors, mobile network operators and retail chains as their key customers.

Key to their success lies in forming strong partnerships at the dealer distributor level, an efficiently managed service centre network and a systematic road transport network so critical in this vast country. The new company will focus on the warehousing and distribution of high value products and value added services as well as after sales management, and consolidate their position as a leading telephony player in China. Ultimately they hope to expand their knowledge and service delivery to new markets including high technology and consumer electronics.

China hosts the world's largest mobile market and has been experiencing steady growth rates. The market position of this joint venture is unique with more than 55 warehouses across the country to support local demand.

It was determined that our client lacked the leadership to take their business to the required level in order to capitalize on the continued growth as exhibited in the China telecommunications market. Their joint venture partners lacked the human capital skills and related experience to facilitate and lead this growth. For over 12 months they searched the local market and following two unsuccessful appointments, mandated this consultancy to attract an experienced Operations Director to take on the country wide challenges associated with their warehousing and distribution activities.

Added to the complexity of this search our client wished to appoint a senior executive that possessed intimate knowledge of the China distribution and transport sector, in addition to obvious warehouse management experience. We discovered during this particular campaign that the majority of local executives enjoyed familiarity and the requisite experience with one of these functions however, very few with both.

In addition as the principal warehouse hub existed in Shenzhen it was determined that an appointment could only take place in this city, thereby eliminating those executives stationed in Shanghai and Beijing, and hoping to commute.

The chosen competencies included the following:

a) Exposure to the local telecommunications sector inclusive of OEM’s, operators and distributors.
b) Added exposure to the local high technology sector would be deemed advantageous.
c) Multi site warehouse operations management.
d) Local transport and distribution experience.
e) Experienced with local security issues (transport related).
f) Industry vendor management experience.
g) 3PL experience.
h) Electronic manufacturing exposure is deemed a real plus.
i) Problem solving skills.
j) Financial management skills.
k) Leadership and motivation skills; should be somewhat of a visionary.
l) Effective communication and presentation skills.
m) Fluent in Mandarin and English.
n) Location: Shenzhen.

Our search was concentrated within several industry verticals including the high technology, telecommunications, PC, digital products, technology manufacturers, distributors and 3PL’s and typically would involve Director level executives.

With such a broad network under management the requisite travel was extensive further complicating the associated challenges.

This search saw us make contact with 79 executives and keen interest established with 12  executives with face-to-face interviews conducted with the majority of these. One of the more challenging projects the placed executive is entering his second year of employment, and making an outstanding contribution.

Having visited several of their key warehouse sites and witnessing first hand the complexity of value added services provided inclusive of partial flashing, the loading of applications, carrier branding, kitting and packaging we were able to identify with the associated challenges and key responsibilities. We did note a critical function (revenue stream) was either being overlooked or not being delivered due to the lack of experience and/or skills. There was no provision for reverse logistics.

As we are well acquainted with this industry we introduced several global after market services specialists to our client with the view to substantially grow new markets and associated revenue. To date discussions have advanced with the potential for new income to be realized in 2015. This added revenue has potential to open new industry sectors as well.

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