The Hard Year of the Dragon

Kerkhoff Consulting is used to handle tough challenges. That's true especially for China.

About 20 times already, General Manager Gerd Kerkhoff visited the People's Republic and learnt a lot during his visits. With the owner of a textile company manufacturing tailored suits, he had to play a game of table tennis – and he apparently cut a good figure. At any rate, he and his team were welcome to come back afterwards. The warm-up and familiarization period has been lasting for over two years now – definitely not unusual for China. Kerkhoff is optimistic that, soon, he'll be able to wrap up the hoped for consulting contract.

Kerkhoff admits that it's very difficult to convince Chinese companies of optimizing their entire supply chain and to negotiate reasonable daily rates for it. The 54-year-old founder of the consultancy hopes to stabilize the business and develop it further in a sound manner with Gerald Boess, who is responsible for the entire Asia business as Managing Director Kerkhoff Consulting, and with Christine Yu, Managing Director Consulting China. A team of about 20 is currently working in Shanghai.

Christine Yu is a reliable figure. She has been with Kerkhoff for six years. A native of China, she speaks perfect English and is the guarantor for a number of new business opportunities and for successful customer service and support. Responsible in operative matters is Kerkhoff Project Manager Ludwig Göbl.

The Chinese company Infinitus belonging to the LKK Health Group and domiciled in Guangzhou is exemplary for showing that modern Chinese enterprises are certainly willing to become familiar with the requirements of the latest in supply chain management.

Even with a company like Infinitus, it's increasingly a matter of purchasing becoming more systematic – organizing it more efficiently and designing it such that in the future as well, there will be sufficient high-quality goods available in the required amount. Certain medicinal plants and herbs which are the basis of Infinitus health products just don't grow at street corners. An increasing necessity is to establish reliable partnerships with suppliers to ensure raw material supplies beyond the present day.

During an on-site visit at Infinitus headquarters, Christine Yu tells us that, after prior diagnosis, Kerkhoff Consulting had defined five project modules on special purchasing topics. These elements were handled in a teamwork effort with about 40 persons from the sourcing team: Sustained procurement of raw materials; a new model of the purchasing organization; definition of key processes with connections to other departments; as well as controlling / monitoring of purchasing processes. Kelvin Luo, responsible for purchasing at Infinitus, talks about this having been very effective help. He says that a strong foundation has thus been laid to ensure solid and sustained growth of Infinitus through purchasing.