IN TOUCH : Managers Abroad

New Zealand Management, February 2008 | Go to article overview

IN TOUCH : Managers Abroad


Bruce McNabb, general manager Pertronic Trading (Shanghai)

What prompted you to seek work out of New Zealand?

I was asked by my company, Pertronic Industries, to establish a sales and support office for the company's electronic fire alarm control products in China. Pertronic was encouraged by a China/US joint venture company to manufacture fire control equipment for the China market.

What is your current role?

I came to Shanghai in June 2006 to establish a sales and engineering support office. This involved:

* Finding suitable premises.

* Liaising with various organisations to form a Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise (WFOE); this enables us to sell local product and imported product (from New Zealand) within China.

* Managing the technical aspects of gaining functional and quality certification for our equipment to the China fire standard - an ongoing task.

* Employing local marketing/sales staff to build a local customer base.

* Determining and specifying the engineering requirements of fire systems in China so that new or modified product can be developed.

* Direct involvement with sales visits, quotations, delivery and installation of our equipment; then back-up support.

* Customer support.

How does it fit into your career path?

I will be 65 this year, so this job will probably be the penultimate of my career. Previously I was mostly involved with electronic and software engineering. I was engineering development manager with Pertronic NZ for 16 years before taking on this job.

What are its main challenges?

Apart from the bureaucratic challenges... these have included:

* Obtaining technical and engineering information for the various jobs we have been involved in. At meetings it can take a lot of talking (in Chinese) to discuss a particular topic and the result may not be an answer, so the process has to be repeated or postponed for another time. Much patience is required. I am lucky in having a Chinese engineer who has spent six years in New Zealand to help me with this.

* Ensuring my requests to New Zealand for engineering product are pertinent to what is required here in China which varies from district to district. Resolving this when, initially, we had few contacts within the local fire protection industry was difficult. …

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