Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing Focus Group Quarterly Update

Published on 2014-03-06

A retrospective look at 2013 as seen through the eyes of the CEO Roundtable.

A retrospective look at 2013 as seen through the eyes of the CEO Roundtable

In 2013, the British Chamber of Commerce hosted four AE&M CEO roundtable sessions for members to discuss hot topics impacting on their businesses.

The year started with an open discussion on the challenges of managing global accounts, specifically in China. As more and more companies expand their global market, the challenges are not limited to who should own the account relationship, but also how pricing anomalies should be reconciled between different territories. Add into the mix a Chinese joint venture partner and the relationship can become quite complicated.

As the summer approached, the roundtable discussed the difficulties of maintaining global health and safety standards in China. It was widely accepted that international manufacturers upheld their high standards of health and safety but the challenge was in the management of subcontractors and trying to impose the high health and safety standards on local companies who are cost conscious.

For the 3rd session of the year, the CEOs turned their attention to another hot topic when they discussed the ever present problem of talent attraction and retention, but linked it with the threat it poses to IPR protection. The general view was that staff turnover had reduced considerably in the previous 12 months and, as a consequence, it was expected that average pay rises for 2014 would be around 6% - 8%. With regards to protecting confidential information and IPR, stringent employment contracts and continued investment in R&D were considered the best solution.

The final CEO roundtable of the year tackled the delicate subject of Integrity and Ethics and the impact of the government’s anti-corruption campaign. It was accepted that MNCs operated strong and robust compliance processes as procedures cascaded down from their central Head Quarters. Breaches of the compliance procedures could usually be attributed to individual rogue employees and, therefore, suggested greater due diligence in the recruitment process. The greater challenge was to engender the same culture in local partners elsewhere in the supply chain which in turn raised the question just how far down the supply chain do a company’s liabilities lie.

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