Another important link, Denis Schmid, has made his career working in Chinese logistics as Panalpina's Northern China area manager.Panalpina
divides its Chinese operations into three parts: Southern China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, contributing to nearly 50 per cent of its China's billing; Central China, primarily Shanghai and nearby regions, comprising nearly 35 per cent; and Northern China, making up the remaining 15 per cent.
Now, however, Northern China faces its greatest pressure, Schmid
explained, with trends of internal relocation, in which high-end manufacturers swiftly relocate their operations from southern coastal cities to northern locations, particularly those with solid logistic infrastructures.
For example, he
reports, Shandong, halfway between Beijing and Shanghai, has attracted a great deal of tech-intensive manufacturing activities, thanks to assistance from the provincial government.
Business is always on the move, Schmid
maintains."Business comes along whenever you can be in the right place in the right time, not simply following trends."Schmid
spends 50 percent of his
work in trotting around the globe in search for changing trends in the market.
"The more expensive the goods, the more likely customers will ask for our services," Schmid
business is not limited to just large international corporations, however, he
adds, "We have a 50/50 split in our service between large customers and SMEs (small- and medium-sized enterprises)."
The good news is that credit management in the domestic environment is no longer a difficult process, as compared with the demand from overseas customers for their hypothetical China price.From time to time, the company must explain to overseas customers that China is not as inexpensive as some believe. Schmid
intends for Panalpina Northern China to see a 25 percent growth in business in the coming year, following the division's reported 20 percent growth for 2004.
Both the company and Schmid
have many long-standing local contacts.
But this year, according to Schmid
, what you call a low season was just a couple of weeks immediately following the Chinese New Year.And the recent change in the Chinese exchange regime could really do nothing to alter the trend, Schmid
Other key industries for Panalpina's
China operations are high-tech, pharmaceutical and auto manufacturing industries, Schmid
The industries expanding in China are evident, while the big-name clients, particularly suppliers for Chinese SMEs proves more difficult, as Chinese supply bases move with surprising speed.Assisting overseas clients manage their China suppliers (perhaps in the thousands) can sometimes be compared to shooting a movie without a script.
One of Panalpina's
areas of expertise, Schmid
said, is its ability to collaborate with overseas clients in supply forecasts while, being understanding and helpful when dealing with local suppliers to allow them time, whenever possible, to deal with government procedures.