Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Last Day in Hangzhou

Rexon – Taiwan to Hangzhou

A thought occurred to me as I was meeting with John Otto from WMH JET/Powermatic and Spencer Lin from Rexon: That not only are jobs being moved from the US to Asia … but from spots in Asia to China. Rexon is a manufacturing company that was founded in 1972 in Taiwan and became quite successful in the power tool business among other things. In 1996, in response to demands for more competitive pricing, Rexon opened its first plant on the mainland of China.

I was visiting the Hangzhou Rexon plant at the invitation of John Otto, to check out JET and Powermatic production. It is a truly impressive operation – more vertically integrated than the plants I saw in Taiwan. The quality control, implemented by both Rexon and WMH, was clearly evident as I toured the factory. In addition to some JET product, I got to see the very first production run of the new Powermatic drill press, designed especially for woodworkers. I think that John was only half kidding when he told his QC inspector, Jerry Wu, that he would have to stay straight through the night in order to finish his inspections by the next day. Jerry’s job was made a good bit harder after I decided to help out on the production line. (See photo) Note John’s response.

A Lovely afternoon and evening
After the plant tour, I spent a lovely afternoon with WMH’s May Lu and her assistant Lily. They were very gracious hosts taking me, and my photographer Donna to a super impressive Buddhist temple. It was really a once in a lifetime experience. Later we went to dinner and then shopping. Lily helped me negotiate (okay, she really did all the negotiating) as I bought some more presents for my family. I think Lily has a great future in business.

Hangzhou is a remarkably beautiful city, and May and Lily beautiful hosts. I will remember my last day in Hangzhou fondly.

Photos top to bottom:
Worker assembling the Powermatic drill press. Rexon's Spencer Lin. Your helpful editor on the Powermatic production line. The quality inspection room at Rexon. May, me and Lily at the temple site. Monks entering the temple. A vendor at a traditional market. Sunset over Hangzhou.


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