China is the world’s factory, and has been for some time. With its experience in manufacturing, some of China’s best practices can be brought to other markets and become global practices (see “Innovation Is Reshaping China’s Economy“). These best practices include:
- Coverage of vast areas at low cost
- A varied mix of technology and labor
- Redundancy in supplying sources
- Effective management of many channel partners
- Inventory management with limited data
- Low-cost, good-enough quality, design that can appeal in other markets
- Examples include dust-proof mobile phones and low-cost yet quality heavy machinery
- Extending care from the workplace to the family (for example, child-care centers, concierge services, adoption benefits, expanded health care)
Financial services firms can apply these best practices from the East to improve business process efficiency and workforce management strategies. For example, ICICI Bank is implementing DEB-LOREX — a lean manufacturing implementation model designed for service organizations. It is a management system to drive operational excellence in service organizations using the principles of lean thinking (see here).
As another example, U.S. firms have recently begun extending care from the workplace to the family in an effort to retain employees now that many firms have significantly reduced head count in response to the financial crisis (see “Perking Up: Some Companies Offer Surprising New Benefits,” The Wall Street Journal, 18 March 2009).