While just focused on the electronics vertical, this recently posted article from Electronic Business has some invaluable information on "bridging the Chinese supply gap". The article has some great quotes from Motorola and others on the experience working of working with suppliers in region: "Few Chinese companies have yet acquired the experience and the tools needed to ensure consistently high quality when producing parts in the tens of millions ... Once a potential supplier has demonstrated that it has the basic quality control skills, companies often offer further support in improving manufacturing processes and boosting yields as well as training in the Six Sigma quality control process. To solve problems, Motorola's sourcing team works with a supplier's top management, asking: "Is it a talent issue? Is it a resource issue? Or is it investment in equipment or space or what?" Corporate spokesperson Chen Lei adds that Motorola has similar programs for suppliers worldwide but that coming up to speed requires a bit more work on the part of the company's Chinese suppliers."
I'm headed to China (scroll down for post) in a few weeks, so we'll see if I uncover a similar situation across other verticals. And in the meantime, you can read about another case of developing Chinese suppliers in the metals vertical here (scroll down for post). Regardless of industry or category, however, this article is further evidence that companies should invest in supply (and supplier) performance management systems and processes, a rapidly growing segment within the Spend Management market which is especially critical in global sourcing environments.