"Why has China developed so significantly?" asks Kui Hou, and then answers his question immediately: "People in China adapt quickly to new challenges." Kui Hou comes from the Chinese city of Tianjin. At the BHS Corrugated headquarters in Weiherhammer, he is always a flexible project manager for the Chinese customers.
Networker between Weiherhammer and China
Since 2002, Kui Hou has lived in Germany. In Berlin, he obtained a degree in energy and process engineering, and finally in information technology and management. At BHS Corrugated, he oversees the sales regions of Asia-Pacific and China. If a corrugated board manufacturer orders a new corrugator, Kui Hou will take over the entire project: He overses the construction of the machines, transport, and installation in the production hall of the respective client. Furthermore, he is responsible for the internal communication and organization between the project departments in Weiherhammer and Shanghai, as well as scheduling, quality assurance and final acceptance.
Job: Project Manager.
Change factor: 10/10. Kui Hou enjoys the freedom to experiment. In China and in the Upper Palatinate.
Attitude: "I am always at your disposal. (And your problem is also my problem.)"
As an engineer and manager, Kui Hou is at home in the manufacturing hall, as much as he is at home in the office. And after spending almost 20 years in Germany, he acts "rather German". However, he has maintained and further developed one strength typical for the Chinese: flexibility.
I am always at your disposal
At 10 am Chinese time, it is 4 am in Weiherhammer. But whenever there is an urgent question or problem, Kui Hou can be reached. "That is what I signal to my clients: I am always at your disposal." Kui Hou says that, as a manager, he could not solve these problems down to the tiniest detail. However, he could arrange for a solution. "I have to maintain an overview to be able to act quickly and efficiently at all times."
Kui Hou plays soccer. What position? "Goalkeeper", he answers, and adds with a smile: "Of course." Why of course? "The goalkeeper guides and directs the defense: He must always maintain the overview. He must make decisions in split seconds. And he is only measured by his success: It is taken for granted that he catches thousands of balls. But one tiny mistake – and he is finished." In China, Kui Hou played soccer, completed a training as goalkeeper, and considered a career as professional soccer player. Today, his goalkeeper instincts help him in his job.
To sell a corrugated box plant is a major project. A corrugated box plant consists of about 40 machines, is up to 180 m long, weighs as much as 100 bull elephants, and can, if upgraded, operate for decades. The period from the quote, over the construction, transport, and installation at the customer, all the way to final acceptance lasts six to eight months.
For his job at BHS Corrugated, Kui Hou applies a triangle model. At the peak apex of the triangle is the customer, he himself is at the second apex, and the production site in Shanghai is at the third apex. In case of questions or problems, the clients will contact Kui Hou. He will then check, whether the team in China can take over; if not, he will involve his colleagues in Weiherhammer.
At BHS Corrugated, I have the freedom to experiment. I can try out anything to figure out, how I carry out my job most successfully.
Kui Hou, Project Manager at BHS Corrugated
"I am not entirely sure, whether this model works better than previous processes," Kui Hou admits. "But it definitely helps me to use the resources in the best possible way. My goal is to increase efficiency, reduce losses, and speed up processes." He is pleased with his freedom and the confidence his superiors have in him. "I have already been able to make a difference at my level."
To be flexible also means to think "without limits"
To Kui Hou, flexibility also means to think outside the box. "Often, people in management still stick to the old style, and say: This is not my problem. In my opinion, everyone in the company must be involved and shape the collaboration – across departments: Your problem is also my problem."
Checked: Tianjin vs. Weiherhammer
Kui Hou comes from the City of Tianjin in China with a population of 10 million. Today, he is employed with BHS Corrugated in Weiherhammer (Upper Palatinate) and resides nearby, in Weiden. Just 1 million people live here. No, not in Weiherhammer, also not in Weiden, but in the entire Upper Palatinate. "That doesn't matter to me“ says Kui Hou, "as long as I enjoy my work."